The most important piece of maintenance for your water heater is to flush or drain the tank. This is a relatively simple process that should be performed at least once a year. Flushing your tank will prevent dirt and sediment from building up at the bottom of the tank, which can cause rust and other problems. If you live in an area with a lot of water sediment, you may need to drain your tank more often than once a year.
Before starting the process, it is important to take safety precautions since the water will be extremely hot. You should wear gloves and safety goggles and read all warning and safety information for your water heater.
• Turn off the gas or electricity running to your water heater.
• Make sure the water supply to the water heater is turned off.
• Connect a garden hose to the drain valve. Make sure that the free end of the hose is located over a drain or in an area where the hot water can drain safely.
• Ensure that the pressure relief valve is open before opening the drain valve to allow the water to drain.
Depending on the size of your water heater and the amount of accumulated sediment, it can take up to 30 minutes for your tank to drain. When the tank has finished draining, you should close the drain valve and the pressure relief valve. You can then turn the water supply back on, but do not turn on the electricity or gas until the tank starts to refill to avoid damaging the unit. Once the tank is full, turn on the power to allow the water to heat.
Replacing the anodes is another way to extend the life of your water heater. The anodes are rods that hang down inside the top of the tank and help prevent corrosion. Changing the anode every few years can extend the life of the water heater tank almost indefinitely.