Priority Plumbing

Draining Your Water Heater: Sedimentary, My Dear Watson

The plumbing system is a vital part of your Toronto home and requires care to keep it functioning properly. The water heater is one important plumbing fixture that requires maintenance in order to keep it running efficiently. Over time, sediment and sludge can accumulate in a water tank which will make the heater less efficient and it will also shorten its life span which can be very expensive to replace. As well, the accumulation of sediment at the bottom of the water tank can solidify andclog the drain valve. To avoid sediment accumulation, it is important to drain the water heater to get rid of the debris and sludge.

The following is a guide on how to drain a water heater:

1. The first thing you should do is shut off the power to the water tank. For a gas water heater, turn the thermostat to the ‘pilot’ setting. For an electric water heater, turn off the breaker at the main electric panel.

2. Next, turn off the main water source. There will be either a lever or knob on one of the water pipes coming out of the wall to the water heater. Turn it until the lever can no longer turn.

3. The next thing to do is locate the draincock. The draincock can normally be found at the bottom of the tank on the side. It looks like an outdoor tap. Get a garden hose and attach one end to the draincock and extend the other end outdoors so the water will drain outside and not on the floor.

4. Slowly turn the draincock to open and allow the water to flow through the hose and outside. Open the hot water faucet of the bathtub and let it run. Allow the water to run until you no longer see any sludge and debris coming out with the water. The water should be clear, not yellowish brown.

5. Close the drain valve and turn off the faucet.

6. Turn the cold water supply back on and allow the tank to fill. Turn the power supply back on after the tank has filled with cold water.

Water heater experts and your Toronto plumbing contractor recommend that homeowners flush the sediment from their water tanks once or twice a year, depending on the quality of water in their area. If you live in an area with high mineral content in the water, draining twice a year may be necessary.

Generally, most Toronto homeowners do not think about maintaining their hot water heater until it breaks down and they end up with an expensive repair bill or replacement tank bill. Because the hot water tank is an essential plumbing fixture, it is essential to make sure the unit is properly maintained. It is important to flush the water tank to help extend the life span of the water tank. Your Toronto plumbing contractor has the experience and expertise to properly drain a hot water tank and check the tank for any potential problems.


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