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how to drain water heater

How To Drain Water Heater In 5 Easy Steps

How To Drain Hot Water Heater

Your hot water heater manual will suggest that you drain your water heater every six to twelve months. Draining a water heater isn’t difficult and should be something you’re able to do without an issue. Doing this to your water heater helps remove the sediment that builds up the bottom of your tank. This sediment can cause your water heater to work harder, which will increase your energy bills and cause you not to have enough hot water. 

Proper maintenance on your water heater, including draining it, will ensure that it lasts for many years. You will want to ensure that you follow all instructions to ensure that your water heater is adequately drained. If you are not sure of doing it yourself, call a professional plumber to do this for you. Proper maintenance is essential to make sure that your water heater is working the best that it possibly can, keeping your water hot. 

In this article, we’ll walk you though a step by step guide on how to drain your water heat in 5 easy steps.

Preparation for Draining Your Water Heater

When learning how to drain a hot water heater, the first thing you will need to do is prepare. Look at your drain valves and see if they are plastic. You will need to replace it with a better quality valve if it is. It is always a good idea to have an extra valve with you as your hot water tank has been sitting for six to twelve months, and it may not close all the way again. 

It may leak if you do not replace it, causing a severe mess and damage to your home. A leaking hot water valve can cause your water heater to work harder and can cause damage to your floors and walls over time. Only replace the valve with a top-quality valve made for your water heater otherwise, you could get the wrong valve or pair your water heater with one that doesn’t fit. The wrong valve could easily cause more leaks and damage overall. Water heater maintenance is an essential task to ensure the life of your water heater tank.

Starting the Water Heater Drain

opening water heater

Here are the steps to do the water heater drain. Ensure that you follow these precisely to ensure that your water heater is appropriately drained. If you don’t drain your water heater, you could have serious damage to your home.

You should be able to walk through this process without professional help, but at any point, if you feel in over your head, you should ways reach out to a professional. 


1. Flush the System

After opening all the hot water faucets around your house, attach your garden hose, if you don’t have the floor drain line, to the water heater drain valve and flush the water tank while the water pressure is still on. It would help if you did this in a bathtub or outside to make sure that the sediment and old water in the tank go to a safe place.

This will help you limit clean up in the long run. You will need to open the drain valve for a second and then close it again. 

This will allow the pressure to blow out the sediment buildup stuck in the valve. By doing this, you will help the tank drain faster. If you notice a lot of sediment coming out, do this quick flush several times until the water runs clear. 

Once the water runs clear, your tank should now be spotless, which means you should be alright to turn off the power. 

Why Flush The System?

Your water heater, over time, pulls in a lot of sediments leading to it slowing it down drastically. Over time, your water tank can also collect corrosion, leading to big and small leaks.  Along with those leaks you can have higher utility bills, less hot water, and a harder time heating water up. Over time this is going to become quite frustrating. 

Taking the time to flush the system completely now will save you a headache later by ensuring the sediment is completely blown out of the system.

2. Turn Off The Power

Shut off the power if you operate an electric heater or turn off the gas to your water heater if you have a gas water heater. You will then want to shut off the water by either shutting off the cold water supply valve that supplies water to the water heater or the main water supply. 

Go back to your hot water tap in the house, and make sure that there is no hot water coming out before beginning the next step. Make sure you turn both the gas and water off; otherwise you could have quite the mess on your hands. If you have an electric water heater or a hybrid, you can turn the water off and move on from there as your water heater won’t be warmed with gas. 

3. Open the Drain Valve

Make sure that you have the drain hose attached, and then open a pressure relief valve followed by the drain valve. You will notice that the drain will move slowly until the vacuum in the tank is released. To release the vacuum, you will need to remove one end of the hot water pipe. This hot water pipe will be above your hot water tank. You will need to move it to the side to allow air into the tank. Once the air is in the tank, the water will push out of the drain. 

4. Flush the Tank

Once your tank has been fully drained, you will now want to flush it with water. You can do this by turning on the water for a few seconds and then letting it drain. You will want to leave the hot water pipe disconnected until you finish the flush. Make sure that you reconnect the pipe before refilling the water heater. If you don’t flush your system, you run the risk of leaving built up sediments in your tank, which will cause you more problems later. Your best option is to flush the tank as soon as you can to ensure that your system is running smoothly.

5. Check the Drain Valve

The last thing you need to do while you learn how to drain a water heater is to check the drain valve. Look for any leaks or dripping, you don’t want to see any water at this point at all!

If you see any leaks, make sure that you place a cover over the leak or replace the drain valve. If you don’t, not only will you continue to have a mess on your hands, but the problem could get progressively worse.  Once you’re done you can then close the pressure relief valve and drain valve and turn the cold water valve on.

Now you have learned How to drain a hot water heater. If you have any issues during this process, be sure to call E Dennis. Their fully trained plumbing technicians can flush your heater for you without any issues. You can also have them replace the valve if you think it might leak or be a plastic one.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Kind of Water Heater Do I have?

There are several different kinds of water heaters, including gas, electric or a hybrid system. You should be able to find out what kind you have by looking at the manual provided with your system.  Each one will use energy differently and requires a different set up inside your home.

Why is my water heater leaking?

A leaking water heated could be a variety of different issues, from age to internal or external damage. If you’re experiencing a leak, turn off the shut off valve to your water heater and drain it as soon as you’re able to!

Sizzling noises from my water heater?

A sizzling noise, like hot water in a pan, may indicate that you have a leak in your water heater.

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