draining a water heater

How to Drain Your Water Heater

As part of your water heater’s regular maintenance, it needs to be drained regularly. Over time, sediment builds up within your tank, which can cause clogs, low water pressure, low-quality water, and a system break down when it is not taken care of. To prevent a malfunction and keep your water heater functioning efficiently and effectively, it should be drained at least once a year. Luckily, this process can be a DIY project. The actual draining process takes about 15-20 minutes, but the prep work can take longer. It’s usually best to set aside a couple of hours to make sure everything is handled properly.

4 Items You Will Need

Before you get started, you will need to gather a handful of items. Your house likely already has everything you need.

To drain your water heater tank, you need:

  • A garden hose
  • A pan
  • An old towel
  • A flathead screwdriver

The 8-Step Process

Now that you have everything you need, you can begin the process of draining your water tank.

1. Shut off the Power

The power to your hot water heater needs to be shut off before you begin the draining process. Simply flip the circuit breaker if you have an electric water heater or turn off the gas valve if you have a gas system.

2. Shut Off the Water Supply

The water supply to your water heater needs to be turned off. Otherwise, water would continue flowing into it, you would not be able to completely drain it, and you would waste a ton of water. To shut off the water supply to your water heater, locate the water pipe and shutoff valve at the top of your tank. Turn the valve to shut it off.

3. Let the Water Cool

This is the most time-consuming part of the process. Once the power and water have been shut off, you need to give the water in the tank time to cool down. Some people opt to take long hot showers before shutting everything off to speed this process up. If you don’t want to do that, you might just need to give your tank a couple of hours to cool down. You could also begin this process in the evening and allow your tank to cool overnight before returning to the task of draining it.

4. Attach the Hose to the Water Heater

Once your tank has cooled, attach one end of your garden hose into a floor drain, a bucket, or directly outside (if it is long enough). Attach the other end onto the drain valve located near the bottom, on the side of your water heater. Make sure the hose is secure to avoid a leak.

5. Turn Some Faucets On

Go inside your home and turn a few of your sink faucets on using the hot water tap. It is best to use the hot water taps closest to your water heater. This alleviates any pressure buildup within your pipes and prevents a vacuum from forming inside of them. It also helps your water heater tank drain faster.

6. Open the Drain Valve

After double-checking that your hose is securely attached to the drain valve, go ahead and open it. Once the valve is open, water will begin to drain from the tank. As the water leaves your tank, it is taking any sediment from within your tank with it. The draining process itself should take around 15 minutes.

7. Turn the Water Supply Back On

Once the tank has finished draining, turn your water supply back on for a few minutes to flush any remaining sediment in the tank. When the water starts running clear, you can shut it off once again. Also, be sure to turn off any hot water taps you have running inside at this time.

8. Refill the Tank

Once your tank is drained of all sediment, go ahead and remove the hose from the drain valve and close it back up tightly. Then, turn your water supply back on to refill the tank. Once your tank is full of water again, turn the power for your tank back on to begin the heating process.

Call Parks Heating, Cooling & Plumbing!

If you don’t have the time or energy to drain your water heater, don’t worry! Parks Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here to take care of your entire plumbing system. From routine drain cleaning to water heater flushing to careful inspections, our team is fully qualified to maintain your plumbing system and keep your home running smoothly.

Give us a call at (704) 313-1443 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today. We look forward to serving you!