Few homeowners ever bother with hot water tank maintenance. Water heaters are almost forgotten until they fail, at which point the homeowner almost always has to ask for emergency repair services. But there is nothing hard about hot water tank maintenance drain; it just takes a bit of effort. With proper maintenance water heaters last much longer, do not pose dangers to the homeowner, and will not spring surprise failures at the worst possible time.
Regularly drain your hot water tank:
When water heats up, some of it evaporates leaving concentrated minerals behind. These minerals in the water form a muddy sludge at the bottom of your water heater tank. In time the sludge hardens to form calcium deposits.
The calcium deposit at the bottom of your tank acts as an insulation that prevents effective transfer of heat from the source to the water in your tank. This makes your heater use up more electricity or gas to achieve the same result. At worst the metal bottom could overheat, corrode and ultimately fail.
Prevention is very simple; just drain your water heater’s tank regularly. To be safe, it is best to drain the tank every 3 months. To drain the tank safely, follow the following steps:
Make sure you are wearing gloves and eye protective gear.
Turn off the electrical power and /or the gas valve to the water heater.
Also close off the water supply to the cold side of the heater.
To make sure there is no pressure on the heater’s water tank, crack open the temperature and pressure relief valve. In set-ups where the temperature and pressure relief valve drain line is not piped directly onto floor drains, it may be prudent to catch the water that comes out in a bucket or a pan.
Open the tank’s drain valve to allow all the water inside to drain. The process should take no more than half an hour. But if no water comes out, you need to call a plumber immediately.
If at the end of the process the water remains murky, close the drain and fill up the tank with fresh water again. Repeat the draining process till clear water runs out.
After draining your water tank, you can reinstall the T&P relief valve, close the drain valve and open the water supply line. When the tank is full, the water will start to flow out of the highest point – the temperature and relief valve fitting. Close the T&P relief valve, turn the electricity and/or gas supply on, and adjust the thermostat to the previous setting.
Check the relief valve:
The temperature and pressure relief valve drains off too much pressure and regulates temperature. It is a safety feature you cannot do without. Simply open and close to ensure proper operation – water should flow when open, stop when closed.
If you have any doubts as to your ability to fix a malfunctioning water heater, call in a professional. Organizations like the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada can help you locate suitable contractors.