Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

Bundling Up Your Water Heater During Winter Cold Spells

Most homeowners think about their water heaters when they develop problems. Obviously, that’s too late because you’ll not only have to spend money on repairs but also put up with cold showers. Prepare your water heater for the cold season by taking the following steps.

  • Turn off the water valve — Start by shutting off the water valve then the gas valve of a gas water heater. Unplug an electric water heater from its power outlet.
  • Drain the tank — Connect an ordinary garden hose to the heater’s drain then open the drain valve. Direct the water to a nearby floor drain or bucket. After emptying the tank, open all faucets and sillcocks outside.
  • Make an adaptor — A compressor that’s set to 40 pounds per square inch (psi) will help prevent your pipes from bursting due to air pressure. You’ll need to make an adaptor to connect the outdoor sillcock to the compressor. Begin by adding Teflon tape to the threads of a standard sillcock then adding a three-quarter inch hose and one-half to three-eighths inch coupler. Secure the connections with a wrench and slip-joint pliers.
  • Connect the adaptor — Wrap Teflon tape onto the threads of a compressor hose before attaching the adaptor. Tighten the connection with a wrench. Attach the hose to your compressor. Bridge the outdoor sillcock to the adaptor with a washing machine hose.
  • Pressurize your water system — With the valves inside your house closed and the outside ones open, turn on your compressor. Air will occupy the cold water line, move up the tank, and push out all the water.
  • Check your faucets — Open the outdoor sillcock that’s farthest from the compressor. If only air comes out, close the valve and check your indoor faucets one at a time. Open them up until only air comes out then close them tightly.

Protecting your water heater during the winter is an excellent way of extending the lifespan of its components. For more information on how to take care of your water heater, contact Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air. We serve the San Diego area.