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How to Drain a Hot Water Heater Safely
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How to Drain a Hot Water Heater Safely

When you’re maintaining your home, things like HVAC maintenance and changing out batteries in your smoke detector are probably at the top of your list. But certain tasks can feel daunting, like draining your hot water heater. It’s an important task to extend the life of your unit and ensure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Colorado Springs water heater repair requires some caution and care to do so safely and accurately.

If you’re looking to try this on your own, the team at Big Cat Plumbing, Heating & Cooling put together our pro tips to drain your hot water heater correctly. Or if you want to rely on an experienced plumber in Colorado Springs, call Big Cat’s professionals to make sure it’s done right!

A Colorado Springs plumber demonstrating how to drain a hot water heater safely.
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What’s the Point of Draining Your Water Heater?

Over time, your hot water heater will experience sediment buildup, which can decrease its efficiency and make your water unpleasant to drink. As the minerals from the sediment settle to the bottom of your tank, it can cause corrosion and damage or clog your system. Draining your water heater periodically prevents damage and loss of hot water so you always have peace of mind that your drinking water is safe to use.

What You’ll Need to Drain Your Water Heater

Before beginning to repair your water heater drain, gather the necessary tools and supplies.

  • A long garden hose
  • A durable pair of work gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • A clean bucket to test your water
  • A screwdriver or wrench that will work with your water heater’s drain valve

All of these items are essential for your safety and to avoid damaging your water heater.

Step 1: Turn Off the Power to Your Water Heater

Before you do anything else, turn off the power at your circuit breaker box to avoid any electrical hazards. Turn the gas water heater to the “pilot” setting to prevent the light from going out completely and to ensure your safety when you start draining the unit.

Step 2: Cool Down the Water in Your Tank

You should always assume that your water heater is hot. After you turn off the power or set the light to pilot, let your tank cool down for a few hours. If you start draining the water too soon, you could burn yourself or damage your garden hose.

Step 3: Connect Your Garden Hose to the Water Heater

Once the water is cool, attach a garden hose to the drain valve. You should find it located at the bottom of your water heater. Secure the connection to prevent any leaks, and keep your draining job as clean as possible. The other end of your hose should drain into an outdoor area that can safely drain without making a mess.

Step 4: Carefully Open the Drain Valve

Choose a faucet in your home and open up the hot water to allow air to circulate into the system. This step helps facilitate the draining process. Next, take care to slowly open the drain valve of your water heater. Keep in mind that any sediment may clog the valve, but this isn’t something to be alarmed about. Keep working on it, and allow all of the water to drain.

Step 5: Flush Out the Water Heater Tank

Once the valve has drained the last of your water, you should give it a good flush with cold water to help get rid of any lingering sediment. Turn on your cold water supply to the tank while the drain valve is still open and your hose is in place.

Step 6: Refill Your Water Heater Tank with Clean Water

As your water runs clear, it’s time to close the water heater’s drain valve. Go ahead and remove the hose from your tank and turn off the faucet you opened to allow air into the system. When you turn on the cold water supply to refill the tank, you can watch for leaks to make sure your unit doesn’t have hidden damage somewhere.

Step 7: Restore the Power

Once the water heater tank is completely full, you can restore power by turning on your circuit breaker. If you have a gas heater, you can turn the valve back to its original setting. You may need to relight the pilot light.

When to Call Our Colorado Springs Plumbers for Help

You have all the steps you need to drain your water heater, but sometimes the unexpected can happen. You might discover additional leaks or significant sediment buildup that won’t go away. You should also never handle gas or electrical lines yourself. If you have any issues, look into Colorado Springs plumbing companies to safely service or repair your water heater to maximize its efficiency and extend its lifespan. If the process overwhelms you, feel free to contact Big Cat at any time for a stress-free service call.

Get Help from Your Water Heater Experts in Colorado Springs

Need help servicing, maintaining, or repairing your water heater in Colorado Springs? We’re here to help! The team at Big Sky offers all types of water heater service to keep your water clean, reliable, and as hot as you want it. Call our plumbers today!

(719) 431-6990

Learn More About Water Heaters in Colorado Springs & Beyond

Check out our blog posts below for some helpful info, expert tips and more!

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