Drain Your Water Heater Before it Drains You
The No. 1 cause of water-heater failure is sediment buildup in the tank. Sometimes it makes a sizzling, crackling noise when the heating element fires up as it works harder to heat the water. This wastes energy and often requires earlier replacement.
However, you can save money and extend the life of your water heater by draining your tank and flushing away sediment at least once a year. Here’s all you do: For electric heaters, turn off the power. For gas, turn the control to pilot.
Next, turn off the cold-water inlet valve. Attach a garden hose to the outlet valve at the bottom. You will be running hot water, so be careful. Then, open a nearby faucet to improve flow. Once the hot water drains out, open the cold-water valve to rinse out the tank. Then reverse the process to restore normal operation, turning off faucets last. Also check your thermostat. It should be set at 120°F or lower. A water heater that might have lasted only 10 years could now last 15 or 20 years, or even more.