Understanding Plumbing Basics
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Understanding Plumbing Basics

As a new homeowner, I can tell you that things aren't always as simple as they appear. I started thinking about it a few years ago, and I realized that there were some serious problems with our plumbing system. We had issues with drains working correctly and toilets flushing like they should, so I started focusing more heavily on understanding the basics of our plumbing system. Within a few short months the entire system was operating more fluidly because of a few changes that I made, so I wanted to create a blog all about my journey. Check out these articles to learn more about the plumbing basics.


Understanding Plumbing Basics

The One Water Heater Maintenance Task You Should Do Every Year

Jorge Alexander

The water heater is the one appliance you probably never think about. You get hot water out of your pipes when needed and on demand, until that one day that you don't. Then you're taking a cold shower and washing your hands with ice water. It can be quite a pain to have to go without hot water. Prevent a premature breakdown of your hot water heater by performing maintenance on this appliance. The number-one maintenance task you should do each year is to drain the sediment out of the tank. Read below for instructions on how to do this task.

Tools For The Job:

  • Bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Rags


  1. Turn the power off to your water heater, and shut off the gas as well (if you have a gas water heater). 
  2. Shut off the water valve coming into the water heater to prevent any further water from getting into the tank; since you're going to be draining the tank, leaving the water valve on will hinder this.
  3. Next, turn the hot water on on one of your faucets, allowing it to run to get rid of some of the pressure inside the tank. Leave the faucet on while performing this task.
  4. You can now begin draining the tank to get rid of the sediment in the bottom of the tank. Attach a hose to the drain valve and run the hose to the outside of your house or to a floor drain. 
  5. Open up the pressure release, and then open the drain valve to begin emptying the water from the tank. 
  6. Once the water is drained from the tank, you can begin removing the sediment from the bottom of the tank. This sediment can block the heating element on the bottom of the tank and can cause the water heater to be less energy efficient.
  7. Remove any sediment that wasn't removed by turning the water valve back on, allowing the water to run through the water heater and draining any sediment out as well.
  8. When the sediment is removed, turn the water off again, disconnect the hose, and close the drain valve. Then turn off the pressure valve. Open the water valve back up again when finished, then turn the water heater and gas valve back on.
  9. Allow your water heater to fill up again and test your hot water after about an hour or more.

Sediment can build up in your water heater over time, especially if you have hard water. This buildup can cause your water heater to work overtime and can cause a premature breakdown of your appliance. Be sure to empty the sediment from your water heater at least once per year to lengthen the life of your appliance. Contact a water heater repair service in your area for additional advice.