Q:

What is the faucet on a hot water heater used for?

A:

Quick Answer

The faucet at the bottom of a water heater is for draining the tank. Water heaters require draining in the prevention of water scale buildup and during replacement. The valve has a hose bib to allow users to connect a garden hose to drain the water in a safe location.

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Full Answer

In most areas of the United States, water supplies are high in calcium and other minerals. This hard water causes scale buildup in appliances. The heat of a water heater causes more scale buildup than in most other appliances. Using the drain to empty the water heater at least once per year flushes the concentrated dissolved minerals and loose scale from the bottom of the tank. This helps to prevent scale buildup in hot water pipes in the home.

When a water heater requires replacement, the ability to drain the water from the tank makes the job much easier. Water weighs over 8 pounds per gallon, so the water alone in a filled 40-gallon water heater weighs over 320 pounds. Emptying this excess weight allows the installer to maneuver the tank out of place easily.

To use the valve at the bottom of the water heater, an individual connects the hose and ensures it is set to drain in a safe location. He then opens the valve and a faucet from inside the home to provide an air vent. Gravity causes the water to flow from the tank.

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