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If your home’s water heater isn’t working properly, you may find yourself forced to take an ice cold shower. You can avoid problems like this by having the water heater inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Draining the tank is one task you may be able to handle yourself.

Why Your Water Heater Needs to Be Drained 
Sediment, which may include minerals and other types of debris, can build up in the bottom of the tank and make the water heater operate inefficiently, which can cause your utility bills to gradually increase. Hard water with high mineral content can cause limescale to form at the bottom of the tank. Limescale can cause uneven heating or even make the heating element burn out. It can also cause clogs. If sediment calcifies, the water heater may fail completely and need to be replaced. Regular maintenance can help you avoid those problems.

Draining your water heater tank periodically can remove any sediment that may be present so the unit can function as it should. How often that should be done will depend on the type of water heater you have and the characteristics of the water supply in your area.

Check your owner’s manual to find out how often the manufacturer recommends draining the water heater. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, you should be able to find a copy on the manufacturer’s website. It’s generally a good idea to drain a water heater tank at least once a year, but you may need to do it more often if your community has hard water. 

Should You Drain the Water Heater Yourself?
The process required to drain a water heater tank varies from one manufacturer to another. The owner’s manual may give you step-by-step instructions on how to do it. If you don’t feel comfortable handling the task, however, you can hire a plumber to take care of it.

Draining the water heater yourself can save you a significant amount of money. Making it a DIY job will allow you to avoid paying a plumber to do it. Removing sediment can also keep the water heater operating efficiently, keep your utility bills manageable and prevent the unit from failing and needing to be replaced prematurely.

Schedule Routine Inspections and Maintenance
Even if you drain your water heater yourself periodically, you should still have a plumber inspect it on a regular basis. A professional can spot other issues, such as rust and leaks, and replace parts that are damaged or worn out.