Water Heater Maintenance

It’s been a long hard winter here in Michigan but believe it or not Spring is just around the corner. That means it’s time for yearly maintenance of your water heater. Keeping up on your yearly maintenance keeps your appliance running and working efficiently for many years to come. Here is a quick easy guide to do your yearly water heater maintenance.

T&P (temperature pressure relief) Valve Check

How To Check Your T&P Valve

Locate the T&P valve

  • The valve will be located on the top or near the upper side of the water heater. It is spring loaded and will have an attached handle.

Make sure your unit has a discharge tube attached

  • In most cases, the water heater will have a discharge tube threaded into the valve outlet that safely carries water down to the floor when the valve opens. If there was not a discharge tube attached during installation call Todd at (989)-780-2693. Without the discharge tube there is a scalding hazard and one will need to be installed.

Place a bucket under the end of the discharge tube to catch discharged water.

  • Lift the valve handle and hold it open for a moment until you hear water being emitted and see discharged water enter the bucket. Then let the handle go and the valve snap shut.

Watch the end of the discharge tube in the bucket to be sure there is not any dribbling or water leaking from the valve. If your valve does not snap shut properly and you have dribbling water contact a plumber, Todd at (989)-780-2963, to have the valve fixed or replaced.

Annual Tank Flushing

Every year your water heater needs to be flushed to get rid of any sediment build-up. The build-up can cause your water heater to use more energy and lead to poor performance and can also to rust out. If you have an electric water heater it can cause your heating elements to burn up.

To Flush Your Water Heater:
  1. Turn the water heater gas valve to the off position (gas heaters) or shut off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker (electric heaters).
  2. Then close the cold-water inlet valve on the top of the water heater.
  3. Next attach a garden hose to the faucet on the tank and take the other end of the house outside where it can drain.
  4. Open the tank drain valve to initiate drainage & hold open the T&P valve to allow the vacuum seal to break.
  5. Afterwards, when the tank is fully drained, open and shut the cold-water valve several times to let more water into the heater. This will create a flushing action inside the tank.
  6. Then allow the tank to drain again.
  7. Then close the drain valve and the T&P valve. Next disconnect the garden hose and turn the cold-water inlet valve.
  8. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight gas heaters. For electric heaters make sure the tank is full of water and then turn the power back on at the circuit breaker.


If you have any questions or not comfortable doing the maintenance yourself, you can count on Three T’s Plumbing to provide excellent service and quality work. Call Todd at (989)-780-2963 to schedule your yearly water heater inspection or to have your yearly maintenance done for you. We service Bay, Tuscola, and Saginaw counties in Mid-Michigan.

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