Servicing All of Your Plumbing Needs

Water Heater Know-How

How to Prepare Your Electric Water Heater for an Extended Absence


If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, you will need to prepare your water heater.  The process is fairly simple, but it is important that all steps be followed.  The most important step is to drain all the water from the heater and the pipes feeding the water.


1)  Turn off the water heater circuit breaker located in the main breaker box.

2)  Locate the incoming water line for the house and turn off the water.  The         shut-off valve may be on the outside of the house where your exterior                 house connection is, where the water enters the house.  There should be a           shut-off valve, turn it all the way shut (clockwise).

3)  Locate the drain at the bottom of the tank.  The drain should have a                 connector that a garden hose can be screwed onto.  Extend the garden                 hose to an outside area where the water from the tank can safely drain, then       attach the garden hose to the drain.

4)  Turn the drain on by turning the handle all the way open in a counter-               clockwise direction.  Open the air vent at the top of the tank by flipping                 the lever into an upright position.  Depending on the style of tank you                   have and how old it is, it could take up to 30-40 minutes for the tank to                 drain completely.

5)  Open all sink faucets in the house including the kitchen and bathrooms.             Leave the faucets open.  They should drain a small amount of water and           then stop.

6)  After the water heater has drained completely, remove the hose and               close the drain cock at the bottom of the water heater.

Upon Returning Home to Put the System Back in Use

1)  Open the main water shut-off valve to the house located at the house      entry.  NOTE:  Leave all faucets open to purge air from the system.

2)  Upon completion of hot water tank filling and assuring full flow of water from all faucets, begin closing open faucets.

3)  After completion of closing all of the open faucets, turn the electric circuit breaker back on for the water heater.

 Final check is to make sure the drain cock at the bottom of the water      heater is securely closed and has no drips.

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