How to Winterize Your Hot Water Heater: Simple 5-Step Guide

A simple 5 step guide on how to winterize your hot water heater.

Preventing your water heater from freezing can protect your Pasadena, MD home from expensive damage. Follow these 5 simple steps before leaving home for an extended period.

Your water heater is one of the most essential appliances in your house, especially during the cooler months. Nobody enjoys waking up and being forced to take a cold shower because your home’s water heater isn’t working.

Fortunately, you can influence your water heater’s health and longevity when you take the necessary actions to take care of it. One of these actions includes winterizing your water heater when temperatures drop below freezing, which happens almost every winter in Pasadena.

If you’re a new homeowner or it’s your first time owning a property that experiences a cold winter, you’ll want to find out how to winterize your water heater to keep it running smoothly for years to come.

When Do You Need to Winterize Your Water Heater?

If your home or investment property will be sitting empty during the winter months when the temperatures drop below freezing, you should winterize your water heater.

This is important for those who go somewhere warmer during the winter months and let their house sit empty. It’s also important for landlords who have a vacancy during the winter and find it difficult to fill.

Why Should You Winterize Your Water Heater?

Most people never know they have to winterize their water heater because you stay in their homes during the winter. It’s only until you have a property that will be empty during the winter that you’ll become aware of needing to prevent your hot water from freezing.

But why is this good practice?

Following the steps on winterizing your home will prevent frozen pipes.

First of all, it helps to prevent your pipes from freezing during the coldest temperatures of the year. Frozen pipes aren’t just a hassle to take care of, but they can cause expensive damages to your home if a pipe breaks.

Secondly, winterizing your water heater is a way to keep up its maintenance, therefore making it last longer. Unexpected water heater repairs aren’t fun for anyone’s wallet, so taking preventative measures to keep it in tip-top shape can help you avoid this.

Steps to Winterize Your Water Heater

Now that you know when and why you should winterize your water heater in Pasadena, let’s dive into the steps to actually do it.

Step 1: Shut Off the Power Source

The first step to winterize your water heater is to shut off the power source. It’s important to identify which type of water heater you have and find the switch or valve necessary to cut the power.

For example, gas water heaters have a valve you’ll have to turn to shut it off. This valve must be perpendicular to the gas line, so you’ll usually have to turn it about halfway. 

For electric water heaters, there is usually a control panel with an on/off switch. Simply flip this switch to shut off the power.

Step 2: Close Incoming Water Valve

Once you’ve cut the power source to the water heater, it’s time to close the valve for the incoming water line. This will keep water from entering the water heater while it isn’t in use and freezing in the cold Maryland winter.

Remember, the water valve may be located outside or somewhere in your basement. There will most likely be a wheel-shaped gear on the valve that you’ll twist to close it.

Step 3: Drain the Tank

The goal of winterizing your water heater is to ensure water doesn’t freeze inside of it or the pipes connected to it. Therefore, you must drain any water that may be inside the heater already.

To do this, you’ll have to locate the drain on the bottom of the water heater. Usually, there is a notch where you can attach a water hose to drain the water into your yard. If you don’t have a garden hose, simply place a large bucket under the drain to catch the water.

Once you’re set up, turn the handle and let the water drain. This can take up to half an hour to drain fully.

Opening all faucets is a critical step in winterizing your home.

Step 4: Open Faucets

While the water is draining from the water heater, go throughout the house and open all of the faucets. There should only be a small amount of water that comes out.

This step is to ensure there is no water left sitting in the pipes for months that could potentially freeze and cause issues.

Step 5: Insulate the Tank and Pipes

If you know you’re going to be away from home for most of the winter, you may want to insulate the tank and pipes to prevent them from freezing.

You can purchase a water heater blanket to put over the tank from your local hardware store. Use blankets and duct tape to wrap around the pipes and keep them insulated.

De-Winterizing Your Water Heater 

When the flowers and plants start to bloom and the freezing temperatures are long gone, it’s time to de-winterize your water heater and get it back up and running.

It’s a fairly simple process. You’ll turn on the water heater’s power source and turn on the incoming water valve. It could take some time to get warm water running throughout the house, especially if there is some frozen water in the tank.

Keep Your Water Heater in Tip-Top Shape with Chesapeake Plumbing Inc.

Taking care of the plumbing system in your home is no easy task, especially when you try to do it on your own. That’s why you need the professionals at Chesapeake Plumbing Inc to help you take care of your Pasadena home.

From installing and renovating bathrooms to replacing gas lines for fireplaces to winterizing your water heater, we can take care of every plumbing need you have. As the #1 Pasadena plumbing company, our team of trained experts works quickly and effectively to make repairs and provide a place where you’ll always feel comfortable.

Contact us to see how we can help you with all of your plumbing needs today!