Maintaining Your San Mateo Home Water Heater: How to Drain It and When to Call a Specialist

September 12, 2023 0 Comments

Your water heater is a vital appliance in your San Mateo home, providing hot water for showers, cleaning, and various household tasks. To ensure it operates efficiently and prolong its lifespan, regular maintenance is essential. One important maintenance task is draining your water heater. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of draining your water heater and help you recognize when it’s time to call a specialist for professional assistance.

Part 1: How to Drain Your Water Heater

Draining your water heater is a relatively simple process that can be done with basic tools and some caution. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Safety First: Before you begin, ensure the water heater is turned off. For electric heaters, turn off the power at the circuit breaker. For gas heaters, set the thermostat to the “pilot” position.
  2. Locate the Drain Valve: The drain valve is typically located near the bottom of the water heater. It looks like a hose bib or a simple spigot.
  3. Gather Supplies: You’ll need a garden hose, a bucket or large container, and a flathead screwdriver or pliers.
  4. Connect the Hose: Attach one end of the garden hose to the drain valve and place the other end in a safe drainage area, like a floor drain or outside. Ensure the hose is secure and will not pop out during the draining process.
  5. Open the Pressure Relief Valve: To allow air into the tank while draining, open the pressure relief valve on top of the water heater.
  6. Drain the Tank: Carefully turn the drain valve counterclockwise using the screwdriver or pliers. Hot water will start flowing through the hose and into your chosen container. Be cautious, as the water may still be very hot.
  7. Flush the Tank: Allow the water to drain fully, flushing out any sediment or mineral buildup. You’ll notice the water becoming clearer as the process continues.
  8. Close the Drain Valve: Once the water runs clear and free of sediment, close the drain valve by turning it clockwise.
  9. Turn On the Water Supply: Reopen the water supply valve to allow the tank to refill. Once the tank is full, you can turn the power or gas back on.

Part 2: When to Call a Specialist

While draining your water heater is a DIY task, there are situations where it’s best to call a specialist:

  1. Unfamiliarity with the Process: If you’re not confident in your ability to safely perform the draining process, it’s wise to seek professional assistance.
  2. Persistent Issues: If you notice recurring problems with your water heater, such as frequent leaks, unusual noises, or inconsistent hot water, it’s a sign that a specialist should inspect and repair your unit.
  3. Aging Water Heater: If your water heater is more than 10-15 years old, it may be nearing the end of its lifespan. A specialist can assess its condition and recommend replacement if necessary.
  4. Gas Water Heater Issues: If you have a gas water heater and experience issues with the gas supply, pilot light, or burner, it’s crucial to call a professional to avoid safety hazards.


Regular maintenance, including draining your water heater, is essential to keep it running efficiently and extend its lifespan. By following the steps outlined above, you can perform this task safely and effectively. However, if you encounter persistent issues or have an aging water heater, it’s best to call a specialist to assess and address the problem, ensuring the continued comfort and functionality of your San Mateo home’s water heater.

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