Picture of Water Heater Maintenance
Very few people know that in order to keep your water heater running properly and efficiently very simple maintenace procedures need to be performed. (These come with the instructions and are often overlooked.)

As water is pumped into your water heater tank dirt, sediment and various minerals settle on the bottom. Depending on your water quality these extra "ingredients" can add up rather quickly robbing your water heater's efficiency and costing you in the long run. If left unchecked they can not only make your water heater work harder but also allow your tank to rust and slowly be eaten away until you need to replace the entire unit which is very costly yet easily preventable. And cheap to prevent! You just need a hose, bucket (optional) and gloves (optional too, but safer with.)

This Instructable will show you how to perform a simple yearly draining of your water heater to keep it running smoothly.
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Step 1: Locate Water Heater

Picture of Locate Water Heater
First off, you need to know where your water heater is. This should be very simple. It should be located in your garage.

Be careful! You are going to be dealing with gas/electricity and very hot water and steam.

Step 2: Determine if it's Gas or Electric

Picture of Determine if it's Gas or Electric
This should be simple enough. Look around the tank itself and read any warnings and labels. If you can't determine one sure fire indication is if there is a pilot light odds are it's gas. Mine is gas operated.

Note: Read the instruction on the tank for turning off the gas and or electricity. Don't just do it unless you know what you are doing.
androl2 months ago
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zatan1 year ago

You do not have a gas segment trap.

markbjames1 year ago

how do you know when the tank is full ?

loltax2 years ago
Flushing your hot water heater is all well and good, but don't do only this and expect your hot water heater to survive a long time. The sacraficial anode is a far more important factor to extending the life of your water heater than flushing it every year.

The good thing though is that if you're already flushing your water heater so often, every year, you can easily just check the anode at the same time and replace it as necessary. Oh and use magnesium anodes, not aluminum.
Toxictom2 years ago
Besides doing the maintenance suggested in the instructable, I suggest that if you ever have to purchase a new water heater always tape the receipt to it. I have had two water heaters replaced as most have a fairly long warranty. One of them was about 3 days away from expiring and Lowe's replaced it no problem.
Asmodeo6 years ago
Well, after reading your instructable, I cleaned my heather!!! My water heather is a thermos one, it means that It heaths the incoming water AND stores it hot until used. Those heathers have another item that's CRUCIAL : the "sacrifice anode" !! The job of this anode is to sacrifice corroding itself in order for the thermos tank to remain (almost) intact of corrosion.I don't know if the normal (non-thermos) heathers use such kind of device.... It could be accessed in the top, near the chimney, and is visible only as a big bolt, some 22mm to 25mm depending of the brand/model of heather. You MUST cut the incoming water flux, and unscrew that bolt. Then, pull out the anode, which is (as new) a long rod, almost the height of the heather and (new) almost 20mm diameter That rod will be, certainly, corroded more or less, depending of the time It was there, and the particular chemical condition of the local water. It's as simple as replacing the rod with one according to the brand/model of heather. Typically, any rod will serve it's purpose for some 4...5 years. I , once, saw a rod that was untouched for..20 years!!! It was only a thin wire left under a lot of corrosion "powder" I hope that this information, will serve a lot of people, along with TheOneAndOnlyMrP's excellent instructable! Thanks a lot !
What is a heather?
Its the girl from down the street...
TheOneAndOnlyMrP (author)  Asmodeo6 years ago
You're welcome! Thanks for the input and feedback!
cherie19603 years ago
What is a heather?
paulhbrown3 years ago
You're only draining the tank via gravity. You could vastly increase the flushing action by giving it a "power flush." After partially draining the tank (before you open the pressure relief valve), close the drain valve. Then open the pressure relief valve to reduce the vacuum. Here is the secret step: open the fill valve to pressurize the heater. You'll hear the water filling the tank. Once the sound stops, you'll have a tank that is mostly filled with water, but with a high-pressure air "bubble" at the top. The whole tank is now pressurized to the same pressure as your incoming water.

Now open the drain valve again.

The water in the tank will now be forced out of the drain under high pressure (maintained by the air bubble), doing a much more thorough job of flushing sediments out. Once the sediment is gone, or the pressure inside your tank drops, you can close the drain valve and open some other hot water spigot in the house to let the air bubble out and allow the tank to fill. If you, instead, open the pressure relief valve to let the air out, you'll wander away to do some other chore and return to find water overflowing through the pressure relief valve.
mr.pipes4 years ago
Where do you live that they allow a water heater to be installed like that?
dontno6 years ago
You're spot on about draining your water heater. Very good Ible. Many years ago I had to replace my water heater. Where I bought the heater the technician told me besides draining the heater, replace the anode rod in the heater every 2 years, and in most cases you'll better than double the life of your heater. He told me he has the same water heater in his house for 23 years. I've been changing mine every 2 years. Its amazing how little of the rod is left after 2 years. My heater is 14 years old.
ilpug dontno4 years ago
i keep telling my parents to replace ours... hasn't happened at all. its 14 years old also.
plumber_bob6 years ago
Very good job! I couldn't have said it better myself. I even put a bump on your stars, it's good to see stars .