Like so many appliances, your hot water heater only gets thought of when it breaks and when it gets brought up on a home inspection report. While your water heater is designed to withstand frost by nature, if you are leaving your home or not using your hot water heater for an extended period of time, the pipes surrounding it might freeze. 

One way to prevent this from happening is to winterize your hot water heater in the same way you would winterize your pipes on a very cold day. This simple 3-step guide will demonstrate how to winterize your hot water heater for an extended period of downtime. 

The Importance of Protecting Your Hot Water Heater

Like gutters and pipes, winterizing your hot water heater is essential to maintaining your home through extreme cold weather. If your hot water heater is not in use and freezes, all the water inside the pipes will expand, destroying the system.

Worse yet, it could lead to leaks and pipe bursts that result in mold and foundation cracks

Precautionary Steps

Before you begin winterizing your hot water heater, you must make sure to turn off the water and gas supply or unplug the heater if yours happens to be electric. Once this is done, you need to make sure the pilot light is turned off along with the knob on the heater control box. This will prevent accidental electrocution or injury during this process. 

Step 1: Drain the Tank

The next step is to drain the tank. To do this, you must first locate the drain near the bottom of your water heater and attach your garden hose to it. Then, you will be able to drain the water into a bucket until it is empty. While doing this make sure your air vent is open at the top of the water heater.

Step 2: Let Water Drain Through Your Faucets

Now that your tank is empty, you should turn on all the faucets in your home and leave them open. When you do, some water may come out, but it should stop in just a few minutes. Be sure to keep lower-level faucets open in your basement as well to allow all the hot water to drain out entirely. 

Step 3: Insulate Your Tanka and Pipes

We highly recommend purchasing a water heater blanket to protect the equipment while it is not being used, keeping it warm and preventing ice from forming. Not only should the water heater be protected from the cold, but the pipes leading up to it as well. To protect your pipes, you should purchase some insulation and wrap it around them using duct tape to secure it in place.

By following these simple and easy steps you can enjoy your time away from the cold and relax knowing your water heater has been taken care of and will work properly upon your return!