Fall and winter water heater tips from Optimized Plumbing & Piping Sonora, Ca
Its that time of year when we start getting calls from people with burnt out heating elements on their electric water heaters. Whether you are a full time resident who has drained down your water lines while out of town, or have a cabin you drain down to prevent freezing this post will help you to prevent dry fired heating elements in your electric water heater. If you have a gas water heater or tankless water heater it is a good reminder to maintain the water heater to preserve the high efficiency because of the colder water this time of year. Call us for maintenance, service or new water heater installations. 209-352-4294
The steps to draining down and refilling and starting electric water heaters is mixed up frequently and often causes burnt heating elements and service calls that would not be needed. Here are some tips:
- Before draining down water lines turn off the electricity to your electric water heater this will prevent the burnt element at drain down
- Once the power is off shut off the main water shutoff valve
- With the water shutoff open the drain valve, and open all faucets, shower/ tub valves etc.
- If you have a shower diverter open that too, to prevent trapped water in the shower riser
- Flush all toilets (Some places will also require some care for drain lines, and I will write another blog post about these soon)
To refill the system when returning:
- Shut off the drain valve
- Open the main water valve
- turn off the faucets and shower valves
- run water through the hot water lines until all air is out. You will get some blast of air, then air and water, and then a steady stream of water.
- turn on electricity to the water heaterMany people forget the bleeding of the air from their water lines, and the air that is trapped in the water heater moves to the top of the tank and has nowhere else to go until you open the hot water line to bleed the air. Turning on the electricity before the air is bled causes an element at the top of the tank to turn on and without water to take some of the heat will burn out quickly and not heat the water. This is called a dry fire, and requires replacement of the heating element.