If your hot water looks red-brown, rust and minerals are probably building up in the tank. It’s time to drain the water heater. Turn off the main gas burner or the electricity to the water heater. Close the inlet valve. Remove the aerator, if any, from the hot-water faucet closest to the heater and open that faucet. Turn on the inlet valve occasionally during the draining to help flush out sediment. Close the drain valve and open the inlet valve. Close the nearest faucet and open one farthest from the water heater. When water begins to flow from the far faucet, the water heater is full. Relight the pilot light or restore electricity. Clean out all faucet aerators.
If discoloration returns, occasionally flush out two or three gallons from the drain valve to keep the bottom of the water heater free of sediment. To do this, connect a hose to the heater’s drain valve and run the hose to a drain or outdoors. Open the valve as far as possible until the water from the hose starts to run clear.
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