Draining and Flushing A Water Heater w/Master Plumber Trade Secrets

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Mr Rooter Tip Of The Day: Hard water can build scale that reaches the bottom element in a just a few months.

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To keep water from coming back into the heater, turn the main supply valve off, too, normally at the valve on the cold side of the heater.

“Whenever it is necessary to change an element in an electric heater, leave the heater unused over a freezing winter, or when the heater needs cleaning, it must be drained,” according to Bob Beall, master plumber and president of Mr Rooter Plumbing Pittsburgh.

An electric water heater will need to be drained prior to replacing the unit, as well.

According to Mr Rooter, “to drain a heater open both its drain valve and the T&P valve (or a hot water faucet in the house) to break the vacuum the water will pull as it drains.” Beall adds, without breaking the vacuum, some water will always stay in the heater.

TRADE SECRET: Hard water can build scale that reaches the bottom element in a just a few months. If the heater is not drained, the element will be covered by the scale and burn up.

Mr Rooter Tip Of The Day

Tip #1 Before draining an electric water heater, turn off the electric power at a cutoff switch near the heater of at the circuit breaker or fuse panel. Throw the breaker (typically a 30-amp or 20-amp double pole) to the off position or remove both heater fuses.

Tip #2 For a gas heater, follow the manufacturer’s shut-down procedures printed on the side of the tank. To keep water from coming back into the heater, turn the main supply valve off, too, normally at the valve on the cold side of the heater.

Tip #3 Attach a garden hose to the drain valve on the bottom of the heater and pull the opposite end of the hose outside the house or push it into a floor drain.

Tip #4 The hose end must be level with or below the bottom of the heater to allow all the water to drain out.

Tip #5 Open the T&P valve by lifting the lever or turn on a hot water faucet anywhere in the house.

Tip #6 Open the drain valve.

Tip #7 Let the heater drain completely, then close the drain valve and the T&P valve. When refilling, to make sure the air gets purged from the tank so it can fill completely, open a hot water faucet i the house (if you haven’t already done so), and turn the faucet off when water begins to flow from it. Then turn off the water coming into the heater. Reapply the power to the heater.

BONUS TIP: To flush a water heater, first drain the heater. Leave the hose attached to the drain. Then turn the water heater valve back on in spurts (full on for a few seconds and then off) to dislodge as much debris as possible in the tank bottom. Do this at least a dozen times. Observe the drain hose end for muddy water and debris. Refill the heater when the hose runs clear.
There’s A Reason They Call Us Mr.™

Debra Santavicca PR, SMM, WebIT
Mr. Rooter Media Center
http://www.rooter.com
724-553-9510

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Rooter (Pittsburgh)

Robert A. Beall
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