How to Drain a Hot Water Tank

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Draining a hot water tank once every couple of years will remove sediment and debris that could be inhibiting the efficiency of the tank. Sediment buildup in a hot water tank forces it to work harder. Not only does this make the hot water tank more costly to run, it can damage the unit itself. By draining the hot water tank, you are removing this buildup so the tank can operate properly. This will save you money on repairs and your energy bill, and ensure the hot water tank last longer.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Turn off the power to the hot water tank. For a gas unit, turn the knob at the bottom of the tank to the off position. Flip the circuit breaker that controls the hot water tank if the unit is electric.

  • Shut off the cold water supply by turning the valve clockwise. This is located at the top of the unit and will prevent water from flowing into the heater during draining.

  • Pull up on the handle of the pressure relief valve located on top of the hot water tank. Once it locks into place you will know it's open.

  • Connect a garden hose to the drain valve. This is located near the bottom of the tank.

  • Run the garden hose outside in a safe location to drain. The draining water will be hot, so do not place the hose near plants, grass or other things that may be sensitive to hot water.

  • Turn the drain valve counterclockwise to open it. Straighten out any kinks in the garden hose and ensure that the water is draining. It generally takes at least 30 minutes for the hot water heater to completely drain.

  • Open the intake valve once the tank has completely drained. This will flush out any sediment that remains in the tank. You can now refill the hot water tank.

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