One easy way to add years of life to your water heater, is just simply connect your garden hose to the drain. You don’t have to touch the control valve or do anything to the water heater at all. Just connect one end of your hose to the water heater drain, position the other end in a safe place (the gutter or the street is good), then open the drain. This should be done once or even better yet twice a year. This will clean out the bottom of the water heater from all the minerals and harder water deposits the build up over time. This mineral build up acts as a heat sink, which makes your heater work significantly harder than a clean tank. This also wastes natural gas and speeds up the demise of the water heater itself.
NOTE !! THE WATER COMING OUT OF THE HOSE IS HOT AND CAN BURN YOU. THE WATER ISN’T MIXING WITH COLD WATER. WHILE DOING THIS FLUSHING PROCEDURE, DO NOT LET HOT WATER TOUCH YOUR SKIN!!! DO NOT ALLOW THE WATER TO FLUSH OUT ONTO THE GRASS, ON PLANTS, OR ON A SURFACE WHERE PEOPLE – ESPECIALLY CHILDREN – MAY WALK BAREFOOT ON.