We don’t use our summer cabin very often, so when we do go up there, before we use the hot water, I like to drain the tank and get rid of the water that had sat inside over the last several months. I also want to make sure my pressure relief valve is working properly. I don’t leave the hot water on, so this is just a bit of maintenance that I have begun to do over the years. Although it can be a bit time consuming since I not only need to drain the hot water, it is worth it. I want to make sure that there is only fresh water for my family to bathe in. I also use the hot water for cooking. The other problem is that if the pressure relief valve isn’t working properly, when the heat builds inside, it won’t allow the excess steam pressure to escape and we could end up with the tank exploding, or with a flood in the basement, or in our case, in the water tank closet. This could be a time consuming and expensive cleanup. I start by turning off the water that leads into the hot water heater. I turn on the hot water taps throughout the house, to drain the water from the tanks. When I open the pressure relief valve, I have a small pan beneath it. This makes sure that any water left in the tank, isn’t running onto the floor. Once I hear the hiss of the valve, I know that it is working properly. I attach a hose, flushing out the tank and removing all debris from the standing water. Then I turn off the faucets, and open up the cold water, refilling my water tank.