Water Heater Draining

There’s nothing that beats a hot bath or shower at the end of a long, hard day. For this you can thank your water heater. These helpful appliances sit in your garage, closet or other location and silently heat water using gas or electricity for your bidding. The water heater connects to your home’s fresh water supply so that as soon as the water inside is used, it’s immediately filled again and the heating process starts all over.

Water heater draining is an important maintenance task that should be done occasionally to help flush out the sediment inside your water heater.

Shut Off the Heater

The first thing to do when it comes time for water heater draining is to shut off the power for the water heater. Most water heaters are either powered by electricity or gas (unless you’re living off the grid and using solar). To cut the power for a gas water heater, you will simply need to turn off the gas supply valve. This will cut the gas supply and turn off the heater. The easiest way to turn off an electric water heater is by cutting the power at the main circuit breaker. Inside your breaker, there should be a map that shows you which switch controls what circuit. Find the one for the water heater and flip the switch to the “Off” position.


Once the power is shut off, you will need to cu the fresh water supply for the heater, otherwise it will try to refill while you are draining it. The water supply valves for heaters are usually mounted on the top. Turn the valve to the right to turn off the water.

Drain the Heater

Connect a garden hose to the drain valve on the bottom of the heater. Run the other end to a drain or into your yard. Flip up the pressure relief valve located on the side of the water heater. Open up the water heater valve on the bottom of the heater by turning the handle counterclockwise. You should be able to see the water that was inside the heater rushing out through the other end of your hose. In some plumbing configurations, it also helps if you open up a hot water tap inside your house or apartment.

If you do not have a garden hose, or your water heater is in a place where attaching a hose is difficult, you can drain the heater into a bucket or other container. Close the drain valve in between trips to empty the out the container.

Water Heater Draining and You

Some home improvment professionals reccommend that you perform water heater draining once every six months, others say it should be once a year. Your water heater draining schedule really depends on the type of water you have in your area and the amount of sediment it may contain. Consult with a local professional to see how often you should perform water heater draining to keep you and your family in hot water (the good kind) for a long time to come.


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