How to drain a water heater

How to drain a water heater

  • What to Expect while draining the water heater
  • Steps for Draining a Water Heater
  • FAQ
    • What’s the look of the pressure valve and how to open it?
    • Is it safe to empty sediment from a water heater into the toilet?
    • How do you drain an electric hot water heater?
    • Why is water still entering the hot water heater if I have turned off all the valves?

How to Drain a Water Heater: Most water heaters are designed to have the drain valve opened regularly to release built-up sediment and avoid clogging, which can lead to many common problems. To drain your water heater, you’d first need to locate the drain valve on your model. It should be located at approximately the bottom third of the unit. If you’re not sure where it is, consult your owner’s manual to see if there’s an illustration pointing it out. Draining should be done once or twice per year–how often this is highly dependent on your household’s water quality and other factors.

What to Expect while draining the water heater

Drain a Water Heater. Part of owning a home is the responsibility to maintain it, and that includes the water heater. A water heater can last decades if properly maintained, but it needs to be drained occasionally to remove sediment buildup from the bottom of the tank. 

The procedure for draining a water heater may differ depending on the brand and model. Some manufacturers recommend periodic flushes instead with an affordable replacement part.

Steps for Draining a Water Heater

How to drain a water heater

As with routine maintenance, periodic draining of your water heater is important for keeping it operating correctly. These simple instructions can aid in following the necessary steps to drain your water heater and help maintain its optimum performance.

Perform a quick flush of Water Heater

The easiest way to flush a water heater is to attach a hose directly to the drain valve on the bottom or side of the tank, depending on the make and model of equipment. Open a hot water faucet near the drain valve to get water moving into the hose. Turn off all power to the water heater. 

How to drain a water heater

Open both valves fully and wait for any air in the line to fully bleed out before closing one of them. A garden hose provides enough pressure for this operation but use caution when working with water at high pressure.

The purpose of a water heater quick flush is to remove any sediment that may be built up in your water heater. This sediment can cause decreased efficiency, higher energy bills, and even result in building damage due to scale build-up.

Turn Off the Water Heater

Shut off the gas and water supply valves leading to the water heater. If you’re unsure which ones are the water supply and gas, turn off the main shutoff valve.

Open the drain valve of Water Heater

How do you drain a water heater? Unscrew the drain cap, and water should run out freely. If it doesn’t work, try to shake the system from side to side to loosen any sediment that may be blocking the drain line. Open all faucets and appliances so you don’t damage them during the draining process.

How to drain a water heater

Flush the tank with water

The best way to flush out your water heater is to use the cold water where you can to flush out the tank. Make sure that your faucet at the bottom of the tank is open and run for several minutes until a few gallons of water have gone through. Be certain to keep the temperature setting on cold.

Refill the water heater

Take off the drain hose, drain valve from the water heater. Reinsert the hot water pipe above the heater and tighten it well. Turn on the hot water supply to the heater again and turn on a faucet in your house until all the air is gone.

Relight the water heater

You can get hot water in either of two ways: relight the pilot or turn the power back on. After an hour or so, you will have hot water.

Drain Valve Checking

If the outlet was not completely closed or the valve did not close completely, you can put a cap over the outlet to stop further leakage. Or, if you have another spigot nearby, you can switch to it temporarily while you repair your old faucet.

How to drain a water heater

FAQ

What’s the look of the pressure valve and how to open it?

The pressure valve is located on the side of the water heater. Turn off the main water supply (running water from the faucet) to the water heater. The pressure valve will be closed. Use a wrench or pliers to open the valve. It has a ball configuration and will release when opened. If this does not work, there may be a problem with your gas line or it could be that you need a new pressure valve.

Is it safe to empty sediment from a water heater into the toilet?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to empty sediment from a water heater into the toilet. There is no danger of contaminants getting into your water supply or equipment. Water heaters are connected to the cold-water supply line, so if the heater develops a full tank condition you can easily drain off the sediment from the cold-water supply line to the toilet without any problems.

How do you drain an electric hot water heater?

Follow these steps to drain an electric hot water heater: Turn off the power to your water heater at the main electrical breaker. If necessary, turn off the breaker that feeds the water line leading away from the tank (usually located at the top of the wall in your home). Drain all of the water from the tank by using a drain hose or drain pan. Now that your hot water tank is empty, you can pressure wash it with a solution of one part vinegar to five parts water. Let it sit and dry for five minutes before brushing off any remaining residue. The vinegar will remove any build-up of scale

Why is water still entering the hot water heater if I have turned off all the valves?

If you turn off the valves, and the pipes are still filling up, there is a problem with your drain line. If this happens, water will creep up through your hot water pipes and into your home until it can be repaired or a new tank water heater is needed. It’s also possible that there is something blocking one of the pipes that return hot water from your tank to the house. A professional should be able to find and fix the problem for you.

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