Should You Drain a Water Heater When Not in Use? – Here are Some Reasons Why

Water heaters are not cheap, which is why maintaining it well is a must. My water heater saves me from the cold weather, especially when I’m taking a bath. It’s challenging to survive my mornings and evenings without using it. It’s the main reason why I make sure that my heater at home is always in good condition.

One of the main concerns regarding a heater’s maintenance, which I also have, is whether to turn it off when not in use. Since I often leave my house for a business trip or a vacation trip with my friends, I think about shutting my heater off to save money. However, some factors about leaving it switched-on surprise me.

Some Reasons Why You Should Leave Your Water Heater on

heater leaking and brassPurchasing a water heater takes a big part of my budget. It’s one reason why I think of some ways on how to I can save more after buying it and installing it at home. Hence, I tend to turn my heater off during trips, thinking that I’ll be able to save my money through consumption reduction.

One later-realization about my old heater is that it will not save me the right amount of money, even if I turn it off when I’m not in using it. It may save me a few centavos, but it costs me more than centavos once it malfunctions.

Another realization is that repairing broken heater cost me more than what I’m saving from shutting it off. It struggles in coping back every time I turn it off, which leads it to the worst-case where I have to replace it with a newer model completely. Also, there’s no hot water to use when I need it.

Importance of Draining Your Water Heater at Home

Aside from deciding whether to leave my heater, I have to decide if I should drain the water. Saving money may be a big thing, but sanitation is more significant because unclean heaters will only cost more money than a full replacement.

Some new heater owners ask me this question; “Should you drain a water heater when not in use?” My answer is always a “yes.”

Despite these heaters’ differences, it’s crucial to drain the water because the sediment inside the tank can block the spigot. These inches of residue inside my heater interfere as it functions, regardless if it’s a little or a lot, and it’s making it more challenging to heat my water.

I didn’t know how much residue my tank already has. The amount surprises me upon draining the water. After the shocking exposure, I set a draining schedule every six months to make sure that my tank is clean, and the spigot is free from blockages.

Easy Steps to Take on How to Drain Your Water Heater

water heater repairDraining the water heater didn’t cost me anything, yet it keeps my tank in good condition to prevent it from possible repairs or replacements. Before anything else, here are some things to prepare:

  • A Garden Hose
  • A Wet/Dry Vacuum
  • Pair of Gloves
  • A Drain Valve Replacement (if necessary)

After gathering this stuff, here are easy steps on how I drain my heater at home.

  1. Turn off the water supply. Before everything else, it’s essential to shut the water supply off to prevent undesirable leakage or mess inside the house. Way back, I have to turn the main water supply line off before it enters my home. Since I have an installed water softener between my water and its main supply now, it’s easier to turn it off through its supply valve.
  2. Turn down or turn off the heater thermostat. After I turn my water supply off, I had to turn the thermostat off or down. It’s crucial to prevent the heater from turning on, especially during the draining process, because heating the tank without any water can lead to further damages. I set my heater on vacation mode so I will not have any problems in turning it on after draining it.
  3. Connect a hose. I bought a garden hose and connected it to my tank’s drain valve. It’s essential to put the end of the tube to drainage or somewhere that’ll lead the water outside the house. I have to put the end of the hose away from the foundation. It will avert it from flowing into my space or my plantings. I prefer to drain my tank with tap water. Hence, I have to wait overnight after turning the heater off to cool it down.
  4. Open the faucets and the drain valve. After the cool down, it’s time to open the spigots. It’s how I drained the water from my tank quickly. After the faucets, the drain valve comes next. It’s essential to check if the water is flowing continuously. When I opened the pipe, it isn’t releasing the amount of water that it should discharge. After opening it, there were clogged residues. To keep the water from flowing, I have to open the temperature-pressure release valve. Opening it will let off some pressure that’ll help further in draining.
  5. Use a wet/dry vacuum. Clogged residues always give me a hard time in draining my tank. Hence, I use this equipment to suck the blockage out of my drain valve. I also have to wear a pair of gloves to protect both of my hands.
  6. Remove the temperature-pressure release valve and replace the drain valve. When I couldn’t remove the massive blockage of the residues, I had no choice but to remove the temperature-pressure release valve, use the wet/dry vacuum to clean it thoroughly, and replace the drain valve.
  7. Turn the water supply on again for checking. After draining the tank, I turned the water supply on to rinse out a few sediments in the bottom of the container for a few minutes. When the clear water was flowing at the end of the hose, I turned the supply off again.
  8. Remove the hose from the valve, and use the vacuum to clean its opening. After disconnecting the hose from the pipe, I have to use the vacuum again for sucking out any residue that can cause clogging. After cleaning the opening further, I closed the valve and turned on the water supply.
  9. Leave the faucets open until it flows clear water, and then close it back. I’ll leave the water faucets open until I can assure that no more rust or residues are flowing out from it. Once it dispenses a clear one, then I can turn the faucets off.
  10. Reset the thermostat. After draining the water, I reset the heater thermostat to my setting. As it fills the tank again, I can have my clean hot water in 15 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the container. Moreover, this step works adequately for both electric and natural gas water heaters.

When it comes to water heaters, I make sure that my heater at home is in good condition. Since I want to save money, I make sure that I maintain my heater well. Turning it off during idle times would undoubtedly cost me more as it can lead to unwanted repairs or replacements. Moreover, not draining the water and letting inches of sediment linger at the bottom of the tank can worsen the performance and the quality of my container, which can also lead to undesirable replacements. As I give my heater a regular check, I can prevent expenses from arising.

Related Topic: Why Does My Water Heater Keep Turning Off? – Troubleshooting Hacks

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