Maintenance to your hot water heater this September weekend will have you enjoying hot showers all winter long. 
The buildup in your water heater can cause your water heater to operate inefficiently and shorten the life span of the water heater. To keep it working properly you should drain two gallons of water from the tank twice a year.
It is very important that when you are doing this maintenance that you make sure it is turned off and that you protect yourself from a potential burn. Wear thick gloves, long sleeves, and safety goggles. Do not touch the water draining out of the tank. Turn it off for one hour before you begin to reduce the temperature of the water in the tank. 
There are two valves on your water heater. The one near the top is a safety valve that releases pressure–DON’T TOUCH IT.
The one near the bottom is for draining and the only one that should be opened for this purpose. Connect a hose to the water heater drain valve and set it to drain into a sink, or outside where the hot water can not hurt anyone. Once the hose is safely in place, turn counter clockwise to open the drain.
Remember, the water is going to be very hot!  In a few gallons, the water will become clear as the sediment washes out. Close the valve by turning clockwise and make sure you close it completely so there are no drips. Turn the water heater back on and continue enjoying your hot water.
P.S. If you aren’t comfortable doing the maintenance  yourself, or if your water heater is located where damage from leaks might occur, please have a licensed plumber perform the water heater check up and maintenance. 

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