Draining Your Hot Water Heater

When was the last time you drained your hot water heater? Did you even know you needed to? A cold shower is a brisk reminder of the importance of water heater maintenance. Checking this one task off your list once a year can extend the life of your hot water heater. Draining it removes sediment buildup, helping the tank perform more efficiently, which will in turn save you money.

How to Drain Your Hot Water Heater

To drain your hot water heater, you will need a 3-4ft section of garden hose with a fitting that can connect to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Direct the flow of the hose into either a bucket or a floor drain, whichever is easiest for you. If you have a gas water heater, begin by turning off the gas and extinguishing the pilot light. For electric water heaters, simply remove the plug from the wall or manually trip the circuit breaker.

  1. Turn off the water supply
  2. Attach the hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater
  3. Open that same valve.
  4. Open the pressure relief valve.
  5. Allow the water to drain either in a bucket or floor drain
  6. When the tank is empty, turn on the water supply valve.
  7. Allow the water to flow through the tank and out the drain valve until it runs clear.
  8. Close the drain valve and pressure relief valve so the tank can refill.
  9. For electric water heater: Flip the circuit breaker or plug the unit back in.
  10. For gas water heater: Turn on the gas and relight the pilot light.

This may seem like a simple task, there is always a potential danger of flooding. Hot water heater valves made of plastic or valves that have not been used in a while can leak. Always keep a close eye on the valve after you close it to ensure the valve is not defective. Even a small drip can turn into a big problem.

Draining a hot water heater is a maintenance task that many homeowners can do themselves. If you’re not comfortable doing this, contact Meridian Plumbing and Heating or request an online estimate. If this is an emergency, we’re available 24/7 at 204-504-9551.