Do you remember the last time you looked forward to a nice, warm, relaxing shower, only to be hit with an arctic blast of freezing cold water that wouldn’t warm up? If you haven’t checked your hot water heater in the last year, you are signing up for an unhappy surprise in more ways than one.

Your hot water heater should be drained about once a year as regular maintenance. Draining actually ensures a longer life for your hot water heater, because it flushes out minerals and other fragments that may cause it to break down. If you don’t have it drained on a regular basis, it may quit working altogether, or have cold bursts of water when you least expect it.

Here are a couple signs that your hot water heater may need draining:

  • No hot water
  • Inadequate hot water
  • Rust colored water
  • Rotten egg odor
  • Low rumbling or popping noise

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, the best thing you can do is call an experienced plumber who can come flush out debris and anything that is causing the problem.

Once you’ve had the hot water heater repaired, make a note to have it drained at least once a year, or otherwise as your plumber recommends. How often you have it drained is also affected by how much the hot water heater is used. The higher the usage, the more frequently you should have it drained.

Hot water heaters are one part of the house that seem to run on automatic- we don’t notice it when things are running well. It’s only when something leaks, smells or we’ve lost the hot water that anyone starts to notice. The good thing about hot water heaters is that most maintenance is minimal, and those unhappy surprises are almost always avoidable.