How to Drain a Water Heater

January 10, 2019

Draining your water heater tank once a year will help reduce sediment and minerals deposits in the tank. Sediment can hinder performance, and potentially lead to leaks. Follow these steps to drain your water heater.

Turn Off the Water Heater and Water Supply

First you’ll need to switch off the cold water supply valve on your water heater. If your water heater is gas, put the thermostat on “pilot”. If your water heater is electric, you’ll need to turn off the breaker that goes to the water heater. Make sure that no electricity is going to your electric water heater while you flush it or the heating elements can be damaged.

Connect a Garden Hose to the Drain Valve

Find the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and connect your garden hose to it. Put the other end of the hose in a drain or running outside where it the water will drain away from the house. Remember that the water being drained will be hot, so take precautions if necessary.

Run Hot Water and Open the Drain Valve

Run hot water from a nearby tap, upstairs if possible. This allows hot water to drain from the tank and relieves pressure in the system. Open the drain valve and make sure the water is flowing out of the tank. When the hot water is out, turn the cold water supply to the tank back on to loosen any remaining sediment and repeat until the tank and water is clear.

Close Drain Valve, Fill Tank, Turn On Water Heater

Now that your tank has been drained, close the drain valve again and disconnect your garden hose. Make sure your cold water supply valve is on and the tank will start to fill. Return to your hot water tap you’ve been running, wait for cold water to start running and turn it off. Turn the gas valve back on for your gas water heater or flip on its breaker in your breaker box for electric water heaters. Check the valve for any leaks, presto, you’re done.

Some tanks need to always be full, so check your manufacturer’s instructions to avoid any damage to the heating elements. If you notice any problems with your water heater’s performance, call at (316) 847-4277 anytime and we’ll have one of our experts come out for an inspection.

Learn more about water heaters in our tank vs tankless water heater FAQ.

Water Heater Tank

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