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How To Drain A Water Heater

by Ryan Wright

Even if your water heater seems to be running smoothly, it still needs to be maintained on a regular basis. This includes having it drained about once a year or so, to avoid buildup collecting at the bottom over time. If you fail to empty it, you may later be dealing with a bigger problem. Here are steps to drain your water heater.

1. Perform a Quick Flush

To empty out the water heater completely, the water needs to be shut off first, but you can start with a quick flush. This will allow you to get some of the water removed with the water pressure activated. To do this, hook up a hose directly to the water heater's drain and turn on the valve for several seconds, then turn it off. Anything stuck in the valve will be pushed out with the water pressure, which makes the next steps go more smoothly.

2. Turn Off the Unit

Now that the quick flush is complete, you can prepare the water heater by first turning it off. You should shut off the water supply to the water heater by switching off the valve above the appliance, or shutting off water to the entire house temporarily. You also want to turn off the gas to the water heater to avoid any dangerous incidents while it is being drained.

3. Prepare it for Draining

Once everything is turned off, you can start draining it. To do this, hook up a hose to the drain valve. Make sure the drain valve is open with the hose hooked up to it. Pull one end of the hot flex line above the appliance and move it to the side so that some air goes into the tank, allowing enough pressure to push the water out of the drain valve.

4. Flush and Refill With Water

Now that the water has been drained, you can clean the water heater by flushing it with fresh water. To flush the water heater, turn it on for several seconds at a time, which lets it flush water, then let the water drain out. Do this a few times to flush it out completely. Once you are done flushing it, you can let it refill with water. Remove the hose and close the drain valve. Turn it on once more and let it fill with water. Turn on a fixture that uses hot water, and leave it on for a few minutes to let the water heater fill up. Then make sure hot water comes out of the fixture.