A lot of people's hot water tanks aren't coming back on. It's been a mess."
Francis outlined a few simple mistakes area residents could be making when flushing their systems that could spell disaster for their water heaters.
He said most consumer-grade electric water heaters can be rendered useless if they are drained from the unit's drainage valve without turning it off.
"What happens is in an electric current water tank, if you expose those heating elements to air, they burn though and you'll have to replace them," Francis said. "They're draining the hot water tanks, but they're not turning the power off, and the elements will burn through on most of them."
Francis said gas-fired water heaters are also susceptible to expensive damages. He said it is typically recommended to turn the gas heater completely off before draining the unit, but once an old gas heater is turned off, it may never light up again.
"Over the years, the metal tips degrade and burn off" Francis said. "When you shut them off for the first time in five, six or seven years, sometimes they won't re-light."
Francis said gas-powered water heaters can be safely drained even if the pilot light is left on. If the water heater goes dark and doesn't re-light, repairs would have to be made by a plumber, and that could get costly.
"If you go back to pilot, your pilot light will continue to burn and you can safely drain your tank," Francis said. The water company may tell you to turn it completely off, but then it might not re-light."
Contact writer Marcus Constantino at 304-348-1796 or marcu...@dailymailwv.com. Follow him on Twitter at @amtino.