Just like any home appliance, water heaters need a certain level of upkeep so that it can last for a long time and so that it can perform its tasks efficiently.
The first thing to remember when attempting to clean a water heater at home is to turn of the power supply. For electric water heaters, you may need to turn off the circuit breaker powering the unit while for gas heaters the switch needs to be turned to the pilot position.
As an added precaution, wear gloves and safety goggles while cleaning the water heater.
One of the most important things to check when servicing a water heater is the pressure relief valve. This component hinders any possible explosions due to over-pressurized tanks.
To check if this is working properly, pull the valve switch and then let it go. There should be a gurgling sound or a slight rush of air signaling that it is functioning well.
Another important part of water heater upkeep is flushing the unit every six months. This gets rid of any sediment buildup which may corrode and affect the energy efficiency of the tank.
To drain a water heater, connect a garden hose to the drain valve placed at the bottom of the unit and direct it to a tub or outdoors. Open the pressure relief valve and the water tank drain valve and allow the water to flow.