Did you know that every year, you should drain and clean your tank water heater? You could be drinking milky water if you don’t do this. What is milky water? It doesn’t come directly from a cow. Milky water is water containing hard water minerals, sediments, and rust.

What is gross right? Our Long Beach Plumbers service all makes and models of water heaters. Our plumbers are experts in their field. We want you to have the knowledge you need to take control of your home’s plumbing.

This blog will explain why tank-style water heaters should be drained and when, as well as what equipment is needed, and how it can be done.

How to Drain a Water Heater

Drumroll, please…hard water is a problem for tank-style water heaters. Hard water water that has high levels of calcium and magnesium. The hard water can cause scale problems in your water heater.

  • It eats through the metal and rusts it
  • It reduces its efficiency

You can either drain the tank-style water heater to stop this from happening. How do you determine if your water heater is leaking? If you are in the US, then you probably have hard water. Don’t believe us? A water test can be used to test the water’s hardness.

How to tell if your water heater needs to be drained

These are the signs you need to drain your water heater.

  • Lukewarm Water – Sediment takes over space your water should use. You’ll get luke warmer water quicker.
  • Popcorn sounds The sediment that has been heated up is what you hear coming from your water heater. These sounds can be heard from all over the house.
  • Cloudy water – If your water appears cloudy, there is a lot sediment in it.
  • Scale your fixtures –Minerals can build up and block fixtures.

If you are experiencing these issues or it has been over a year, it is probably time to drain your water heater.

How to drain your water heater

You should allow 2-3 hours for draining your water heater. Tank-style water heaters are more difficult to clean as the process is often very tedious. You will need to gather a few items depending on how large your water heater is to drain it.

You will need different materials depending on the size of your water heater.

You’ll need this if your water heater is 30-75 gal.

  • To Catch the Water
  • Hose – To drain the water
  • Channel locks- To loosen bolts on your water heater
  • Screwdriver To loosen your durian valve

Channel locks such as these can be used to loosen stubborn bolts.

You’ll need the following for an 80-100 gallon water heater:

  • Scraper – To dislodge scale buildup
  • Shopvac –To remove scale and water leftovers

These items are necessary for you to clean your water heater.

How to Drain a Water Heater

We’ll be covering the six steps involved in draining your water heater in the next section.

  1. Turn off your water heater
    • Turning off a Gas Water Heater Look for the pilot light knob to turn off a gas heater. This should be turned off. This prevents the water heater’s from turning on while you are working on it.
    • How to Turn Off an Electric Water Heater If your electric water heater is on, locate the circuit breaker in your home. Locate the circuit breaker leading to your water heater, and turn it off.
  2. Turn off your water
    • Locate your cold water valve. This is attached to the cold water line. Turn the knob so that it is parallel to the ground. This will ensure that you don’t waste water when you clean your tank.
    • Allow your tank to cool before you move on to the next stage. Most water heaters can be set at 120 to 140 degrees. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends 120 degrees, while the Occupational Safety & Health Administration recommends 140 degrees. High temperatures can lead to third-degree burns.
  3. Connect your Hose
    • Locate your drain valve. It should be located near the bottom your water heater. To drain your water heater, screw the hose into the valve. Make sure your hose is securely secured using the channel locks. Next, use your screwdriver for opening the drain valve.
  4. Your Water Heater Should Be Dismantled
    • It’s now time to get to work. You can drain your water heater by one of these two methods.
      • Regulator – The Pressure Relief Valve (Regulator), will be located on the side of the water heater. Lift the valve and air will flow to the heater. If the valve is working, you will hear bubbling or coffee brewing sounds.
      • Water Flex – You can use your channel locks to release a water flex from your water heater if your pressure relief valve doesn’t work. These are flexible pipes.
    • When you add air to your water heater, it will start to drain. It may take up to an entire hour for the water heater to drain completely.
  5. Water heater cleaning
    • After your water heater has been completely empty, it’s time to clean it. The method of cleaning your water heater’s interior will vary depending on its size.
      • Small Water Heaters If you have loosen a water flex, tighten it. Next, you will need to turn the cold inlet valve back on. This will flush your water heater and stir up any sediment. Allow your water to run for five minutes.
      • Large Water Heaters You can clean a large water heater more thoroughly with an access plate. The access plate allows you to see the inside of your water heater. You can remove the plate and use the shop vac and scraper to remove the scale buildup. It will look similar to cottage cheese. After it is cleaned up, seal the access plate.
  6. All Things Can Be Returned to Normal
    • Once everything is cleaned, you can put everything back in its original place. Next, run a fixture through your home for five minutes to remove any air trapped in the water heater.