Safety Tips To Follow Before Draining Your Gas Hot Water Heater

Posted on: 29 April 2016

If your gas hot water heater is not properly heating your water, you may decide to try to drain it in case sediment has built up inside the tank. If so, use the following tips before you begin to keep from hurting yourself or busting the tank.

Turn Off The Burner And The Gas Valve

Before you begin, you want to make sure that there is no danger of gas leaking into your work area. Not only does leaking gas create a fire and explosion hazard, but it could also cause asphyxiation if you breathe too much of it.

Turn off the burner to the hot water heater. This should leave only the pilot light burning. Open the front compartment to see the pilot light, then turn the gas valve until it is switched off. You should see the pilot light flicker, then go out.

Wait about 10 to 15 minutes to let the natural gas smell dissipate. Then, see if you detect the odor. If not, the gas is off and there should be no leaks. However, if you still smell a strong odor resembling rotten eggs, which is the odor additive in natural gas, open your windows, and call a professional to examine your tank and gas lines.

Relieve The Pressure Inside The Tank

Once you have safely turned off the gas to your hot water heater, it is time to relieve the pressure inside the tank. If you try to proceed without doing this, the force of the water coming out of the tank when you try to drain it could burn you. Also, the excess pressure as you add water to the tank could rupture it.

To get rid of the pressure, turn off the water running to the water heater. Then, locate the safety valve at the top of the tank. Press it until air starts escaping, allowing it to flow until you no longer hear the sound. Then, open all of the hot water faucets in your home until they run dry. Once this occurs, you can safely attach a garden hose to the water heater's bottom spigot to drain the tank.

Using the above tips can help you ensure that you can safely proceed with draining your water heater. However, if you do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, you may want to contact an HVAC contractor that performs water heater maintenance to do it for you. You can learn more at websites like


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