SELECTION & MAINTENANCE TIPS
How a Water Heater Works Gas water heaters and electric water heaters are very similar. Electric models use two heating elements, while gas models have a gas burner at the bottom with the vent pipe running up through the middle of the tank.
A water heater contains these parts:
- Glass lined steel tank that holds the hot water (usually 40 to 60 gallons)
- "Environmentally Friendly" Insulation surrounding the tank
- Dip tube to let cold water into the tank
- Thermostat to control the temperature of the water inside the tank
- Heating elements or gas burner
- Drain valve that allows you to drain the tank to replace the elements or move the tank
- Temperature & Pressure relief valve
- Anode rod(s) to help keep the tank from corroding
Measuring EfficiencyThe best way to determine a water heater’s efficiency is its Energy Factor (EF), which is based on recovery efficiency (how efficiently heat passes from the energy source to the water) and other heat-loss factors. The higher the EF, the more efficient the water heater. Electric water heaters generally have higher EF ratings than gas models.
How To Flush & Drain Your Water Heater
- Turn the water heater off. If you have an electric water heater, turn the power off at the circuit breaker panel. If you have a gas water heater, turn the switch to pilot so that heat is off but the pilot remains lit.
- Shut off the cold water intake valve. This is usually located on top of the water heater.
- Open a hot water faucet in your home to vent the system and allow the tank to drain quicker.
- Connect a garden hose to the drain valve near the bottom of the water heater tank. Run the hose outside, open the valve and begin draining the tank.
- The tank will drain about a gallon per minute. After it drains for a while, fill a glass with water from the tank to check the sediment level.
- After draining the tank, flush out the remaining dirt and debris. Close the hot water faucet that’s been running. Go back to the garage and turn on the supply valve in the water heater. Let the water run about 5 minutes and flush the tank through the garden hose.
- Close the drain valve on the bottom of the tank and disconnect the hose. Once the tank fills up with water, turn the power or gas back on.