How To Drain Or Flush A Water Heater?

You probably didn’t know, but for the correct maintenance of your water heater, you should drain the system at least once a year (once every 6 months is even better).

Most people avoid this passage even because they have no idea how to do it.

Not draining or flushing your water heater can cause water heater leakage & water leakage floods. In fact, according to, Dome Home Automation, home flooded with 9-12 inches of water costs approximately $18,930 in repairs.

So, in this article, we’re providing an easy-to-follow guide on how to drain or flush a water heater so that you can avoid such issues.


Preliminary steps

Before draining your water heater, you want to make sure you’ve performed some passages:

  • If you still don’t know, check where the water shutoff valve is located in your house. It’s the valve that, if turned close, stops any water flowing through your pipes. If anything gets out of hands during the procedure, you can turn this valve and save your apartment or take care of things without any rush.
  • Turn the heating system off several hours before you begin draining it. This is because you are manipulating water, and you don’t want it to be hot in case it touches your skin.

Read: Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

Read: 15 Ways To Get Qualified Home Inspection Leads

How to drain or flush a water heater? step-by-step procedure

How to drain or flush a water heater? step-by-step procedure
  1. Connect a garden tube to the drain valve of your water heater and let some water drain while the pressure is still on. You can simply attach the tube, open the draining valve for a few seconds and then turn it closed again.
  2. This passage is important because, if there is any sediment, it will be pushed out quickly thanks to the pressure.
  3. You already shut off the water heater hours ago; now it’s time to shut off the water. You can turn the water supply valve close on the water heater or close the main water valve of the house (but nobody will be able to use water in the house during the procedure).
  4. Now, you can pen the drain valve. Water will begin gushing out. For this passage, of course, you need a big bucket to collect all the water that comes out.

The procedure is basically done. You can now open the water valve and turn the water heater on again.

If you can’t realize what you’ve done with this procedure, it is actually simple. You’ve closed the incoming water, and you’ve opened the valve that lets water out.

This way, while no more water could enter the system, all the water that was in the system was drained out. 1

How long does it take?

Time can vary depending on the dimensions of your tank and water heating unit. However, the entire procedure doesn’t take longer than an hour. 

However, note that you’ll need to shut the system off some hours before: you won’t have access to hot water inside the house for several hours in total.

Even because after the procedure is over, you need to wait for the water heater to heat up the water again.

Read: What Is The Home Inspection Business Start-Up Cost?

How To Drain Your Electric Water Heater?

How To Drain a Gas Water Heater?

Why Should I Flush My Water Heater Tank?

Water has mineral content in it, and in certain areas, the mineral content in water is more than in others. This can cause the heater tank to pick up magnesium and calcium deposits, and this can produce sediments that can choke the water heater. If not flushed regularly, these sediments can calcify, making them hard to remove. If left unattended, you may even need to replace your water heater altogether.

This is how it affects different types of heaters:

  • In natural gas heaters, these sediments can cause uneven heating, which can lead to leakage.
  • In electric heaters, scaling can cause the heating element to burn.
  • And also, in both types of heater, sediment can block the drain valve. 2

How To Identify If My Heater Has Sediment Buildup?

You can identify the buildup of sediment in your heater when it makes a rumbling or popping sound. This sound is caused by the steam bubbles that move up through the muck. If you have a gas water heater, then you will also notice hot spots caused due to sediments.

Is It Really Necessary To Drain or Flush My Water Heater?

How To Know My Water Heater Needs A Flush?

If you start to notice that you are getting less hot water from the tank, then it is a signal that your water heater needs a flush. Similarly, if your water heater is within your reach, then you will be able to spot sediments coming out from the drain unless the valve is already choked by the sediments.

If you have not flushed your water heater in years, then we suggest you call a plumber and do the job for you. Ignoring the sediments can cause leaks, corrosion, and blockage.

Benefits of Flushing Water Heater

Benefits of Flushing Water Heater

Flushing your water heater is recommende for many reasons and some of them are:

  • Noise – Water heaters make a lot of cracking or popping noise when they are stuck with sediments. You can get rid of this problem when you flush your water heater.
  • Smooth Working – With the accumulation of sediments, it becomes difficult for the water heater to function correctly and to distribute heat evenly. When you remove sediments from the heater, the heater starts functioning smoothly.
  • Increased Life – By flushing the water heater, you are removing the build-up that causes stress in the heater. At the same time, the sediments can also cause the metal at the bottom of the tank to heat up more and create a leak. So by flushing the heater, you can avoid putting stress on the machine, and your heater lasts much longer.
  • Reduced Bills – Again, with more sediments, the heater consumes more energy to heat the water, but if you get rid of the sediments, then the heater can function normally, and you will get reduced bills as a result. 3

How Often Should I Flush My Water Heater?

You should get your water heater flushed by a plumber at least once a year so that it functions smoothly.

Wrap Up

Flushing the water heater is very important to get rid of the sediments that block the heater and also to avoid corrosion of the heater. Flushing the water heater is easy, as we have explained in the text above; we hope you found this useful.


Should I drain or flush my water heater?

You should flush your water heater once a year at least so that it does not get blocked with sediments over a long period of time.

How much does a water heater flush cost?

You can expect to pay between $75-$100 if you get your water heater flushed by a plumber. This service also includes maintenance and inspection of the heater.

What will happen if I do not flush my water heater?

The sediments from the water will block the heater, and your heater will get corroded if you do not flush it.

How to flush my tankless water heater?

You can pick up a tankless water heater flush kit from your local hardware store and do the flush yourself, or if you haven’t flushed it in years, then you should call a plumber.

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