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I hope that we all realize that we have 30-40-50 gallons of drinkable water available in our water heater in case we should need it. (power outage, etc.) But have you recently drained the sediment from it lately? Water heaters occasionally get a build up up sediment in the bottom, and we don't need to get that if we have to access the water in the heater.
Here's how I drained mine today as part of my "Pre-Sandy" prep. I thought the info might be helpful to someone.


1. First, I made absolutely sure the water heater is OFF, no power. Ours is gas so it was easy to just flip the switch on the side. If you have an electric unit, you may have to access the circuit breaker in your electric panel. It should be marked. This is to make sure that no damage occurs to the heating elements as the water leaves the tank and the elements are exposed. They depend on being covered with water to prevent them from overheating and burning up.

2. I closed the water inlet valve to prevent more water from entering the tank.

3. Then I connected a hose to the water heater drain, located at the lower part of the tank. I used a "drinking water" quality hose because it is what I would use to get the water out in case I need it for drinking. Regular hoses may contain chemicals that could make the water unsafe.

4. Next, I opened the hot water faucet in the kitchen to allow air into the system so that my draining did not create a vacuum.

5. I then opened the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater to allow the water to drain through the hose.

6. The flow should slowed, so I opened the pressure relief valve, located near the top of the tank.

7. After the tank was drained, I closed the relief valve and opened the water inlet valve and checked to see if the water coming out was clear. It wasn't, so I let it run until it was.

8. When the discharge was clear and to my liking, I closed the drain valve and allowed the tank to fill until I had water coming from the kitchen faucet in a steady stream. Some air was bleeding out, but that's OK it soon stopped.

9. Next, I double checked the drain valve and relief valve to be sure they were closed, and I shut off kitchen faucet.

10. Then I turned the water heater back on, and now I'm sure to have clear, sediment free water available from our water heater if needed.

EDIT: I need to get some caps for my hose so no bugs get into it!

DISCLAIMER. I am NOT a plumber, or an expert, just a regular folk that has to take care of our own stuff, where I can. This is what I did, It may,or may not work for you.

Stay Prepped!
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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EDIT: I need to get some caps for my hose so no bugs get into it!
I have a food-grade hose as well. To keep the bugs and anything else out, I simply screw the two ends together. No caps. :)
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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I drain my water heater like that about once a year. We have a lot of sediment in our water and it's also quite alkaline, so it builds up in the tank quick. Keeping the sediment out also increases the efficiency.
 

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I assume also that you have the tank secure mounted against things like earthquakes?
 
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Draining the water heater periodically is important as was posted earlier. We wouldn't want to drain some emergency water off just to find the drain valve clogged up with lime.

Also for city dwellers installing a check valve on the cold side of the water heater feed, or maybe even where the water enters the home may be prudent. This would prevent the water from back siphoning out of the water heater during a loss of water from the city water source.
 

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Number six is a no-no, they are not meant to be opened and closed, they may not reseat correctly.
I would disagree. It is a great idea to cycle the relief valve to make sure it is not sticking shut. That device prevents your hot water tank from becoming a bomb. If it does not reseat it might need replacing or simple cleaning.
 

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Just for discussion, not saying right/wrong. I typically don't shut off the water valve first. I prefer to let the sediment blow out full force for a few minutes. And then I'll shut it off and drain it.

Another tip is that the original drain is sometimes not the best for removing out sediment. Mine was this narrow cheap plastic thing with a bend that was easily clogged. I replaced it with a straight ball valve that let maximum flow through it. That helped a ton. You just have to be very, very careful removing the original valve. Last thing you want to do is break the thing off in the heater.

And lastly, every now and then I pull the valve and use the shop vac to get out the sediment that doesn't drain. I also take a peak at the heating elements. I have well water and sediment can build up on them too.

Good thread.
 
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