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A Free And Simple Way To Prevent Premature Electric Water Heater Failure

If you are like most Americans, then you only think about your home's water heater when it has failed. Whether your home's electric water has stopped heating water or the side has split, making a small flood all over your garage floor, it's simply a matter of buying a replacement and having it installed by a plumber.

However, you might be surprised to learn that there is a simple procedure you can safely perform that can increase the life expectancy of your water heater. This procedure is known by plumbers as flushing the water heater.

This project can be completed by any homeowner and requires only the following tools and supplies:

  • a garden hose
  • a flashlight
  • an electrical safety current tester

The entire job will take about two hours to complete.

Step 1: Turn Off the Electrical Current

The first step in extending the life of your water heater is to turn off the power breaker at your home's main electrical panel. If you do not understand how to do this, then you should stop and hire a professional plumber to assist you with the water heater flushing.

Step 2: Test the Electrical Current

Using a safety current testing tool, test the electrical wires at the top of the water heater to ensure there is no longer any current running through them. If the power is off, then proceed to Step 3. If the power is still on, then go back and turn off the appropriate breaker before you proceed.

Step 3: Turn Off the Water Inlet Valve

Located at the top of the water heater is a water line that is connected to an inlet valve. Turn the valve until it is at the "off" position by turning it to the left. This will keep any water from flowing into the water heater while you are draining it.

Step 4: Connect the Drain Hose

Connect your garden hose to the outlet valve located at the bottom of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose into your home's bathtub or out a window into a garden.

Step 5: Drain the Water Heater

Moving the outlet valve to the left, drain the entire water heater. This will take about ten minutes, depending on the size of your home's water heater.

Step 6: Inspect Inside the Water Heater

Once water stops coming out of the hose, then the water heater's tank is empty. Remove the garden hose from the tank. Before you close the outlet valve, you should first shine your flashlight into the water heater to check for white chunks of calcium buildup. If there are chunks of calcium salts in the water heater, then you will need to talk with a plumber about installing a water softener. Without water softening, your home's water heater will fail prematurely from the heating elements arcing from the contaminate material.

Step 7: Turn On Water at Inlet Valve

Once you have inspected inside the water heater, then you should close the valve and turn back on the water inlet valve on the top of the water heater. Allow the water heater to completely fill with water before you turn on the power. If you fail to do this, then your water heater's elements could fail. Additionally, you can tell if the water heater is full because you will no longer hear water running into the tank.

Step 8: Restore Power

The last step in preserving your water heater is to restore the power and allow the water to heat for about an hour. After an hour has passed, then your home will have its hot water service restored.

If you need assistance with flushing your home's water heater, then you should contact a plumbing contractor, such as Smedley & Associates, Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning.


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