How to Drain a Water Heater Easy (Step-By-Step Guide)

Wake up to an ice cold shower? Is there water leaking in the house? It may be time to drain your water heater.

Plumbers recommend that you drain your water heater at least once a year to flush out the sediment build-up and keep it running efficiently. Draining a water heater is an easy process that takes little time and basic household tools.

Draining your own water heater is possible, but can also be dangerous. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, give us a call and schedule a professional draining to have your water heater flushed in no time.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Turn off the water supply valve at the top of your water heater.
Rotate the valve in a counterclockwise direction completely to stop the flow of water from going into the heater.

Step 2: Shut off the water heater.
It’s crucial to turn off the power before draining your water heater, or you could burn it out. If you have a gas heater, turn the thermostat to the pilot setting. If it’s an electric heater, turn off the power in the house’s electrical panel. Your owner’s manual will have specific instructions for turning off the power for your model.

Step 3: Wait for the water to cool off.
Even with the heat turned off, the water may remain very hot for hours. It’s recommended to wait overnight if possible. If not, a hot shower may speed up the process - or proceed with extreme caution while draining as to not get burned.

Step 4: Attach a garden hose to the drain valve.
Towards the bottom of the water tank, find the drain valve and attach one end of the garden hose. Attach the other end to the floor drain if you have one, if not then outside of the house or several buckets will work.

Step 5: Open the hot water tap.
Find a sink faucet nearest to the tank and turn on the hot water. It’s recommended to use a faucet from the floor above if possible.

Step 6: Open your water heater’s drain valve and let it fully drain.
Once you find and open the water heater’s drain valve, hot water will start to flow out. Let this go on until all the water has drained from the tank. Be patient, as this may take awhile.

Step 7: Turn on cold water to flush the tank.
With the drain valve open, turn on the cold water from the water faucet until the water runs out of the hose clear (short bursts of water can help dislodge buildup quicker). Then turn off the water faucet.

Step 8: Refill the tank and finish up.
Once the water has been flushed out and the sediment buildup is gone - close the drain valve and remove the garden hose. Turn on the cold water faucet and the tank will begin to fill. Once the water starts to flow from the faucet, turn it off. Then turn the gas valve back from the pilot (or turn on the power from the electrical panel if it’s an electric heater).

Enjoy your sediment free water heater! If you ran into any issues or feel you need a professional touch, feel free to give us a call and schedule an appointment with one of our experts!