Lost The Heat In Your Shower? It May Be Time To Drain Your Water Heater And Here's How

Posted on: 21 June 2016

Have you noticed that your hot showers haven't been quite as hot and steamy lately? If so, it could be due to your hot water heater losing some if its vigor. Over time, minerals – particularly calcium and magnesium – will build up inside of the water heater and reduce the water heater's ability to heat your water. When this happens, all you need to do is drain your water heater, flush the tank and fill it back up again so that it's as good as new. Here is how to complete your water heater repair:

  1. Turn Off the Power – Your first step is going to be to switch off any power to the water heater. If the water heater is electric, this will involve turning the circuit breaker off at the main breaker. If the water heater is gas, this will involve finding the gas supply line and turning the valve to "Pilot" position.
  2. Turn Off the Water – Next, you will need to switch off the water. At the top of your hot water heater, there will be a shut-off valve on the cold water pipe that is coming into your water heater. You will want to turn this knob clockwise in order to manually shut off the water.
  3. Attach the Garden Hose – Hook up a garden hose to the drain valve, which is located at the bottom of your water heater. Make sure that there are no kinks in the hose and run it outside the house, into the bathtub or into an empty bucket. If possible, try to run the hose downhill so that the water flows as freely as possible.
  4. Open the Drain Valve – Now, you need open the flood gates, so to speak. You will open the drain valve, which is typically a plastic handle. If you are using a bucket, you will need to keep an eye on it as you will need to empty it quite often. Note: the water will likely be extremely hot so be careful.
  5. Open the Pressure Relief Valve – Next, you need to locate the pressure relief valve, which is normally located on the top of the water heater. To open this valve, you will simply raise the handle up. This will allow air into the water heater, which will allow the water to drain faster.
  6. Flush the Tank – Turn the water back on and allow it to run until the water that comes out of the water heater is clear. This process is flushing out any sediment that remains in the water heater. Once the water is clear, close the water valve, remove the hose and close the drain valve.
  7. Refill the Tank – You can now close the pressure relief valve. Next, you will want to turn on a hot water faucet in the bathroom. You will notice air coming out at first, but this will stop once the water heater is full of water again. Now, open the cold water shut-off valve back up. Once the water heater is full (which is when there are no more air bubbles and only solid water coming out of your bathroom faucet), you can turn the power back on or relight the heater. 
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Avoiding Plumbing Problems

After we purchased a brand new place, I was blown away with how many plumbing problems it had. It seemed like every time we turned around, there was another issues with a sink, a toilet, or a shower. After doing a little research, we discovered that the home had been having trouble with plumbing for quite some time, and we knew that we needed to fix things. We decided to have a professional plumber come in and completely overhaul our system, and that decision was absolutely the right one to make. This blog is dedicated to avoiding plumbing issues the first time around.

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