Draining a Hot Water Heater

Draining your water heater regularly allows it to work more efficiently and last longer. To drain your water heater:

  • Turn off power or gas to hot water heater.
  • Close cold water supply valve to water heater.
  • Attach garden hose to drain spigot on water heater.
  • Run hose outside.
  • Open drain valve spigot on water heater.
  • Open pressure relief valve on water heater.
  • Allow water heater to drain.
  • Close water heater drain spigot.
  • Close pressure relief valve.
  • Detach garden hose from spigot.
  • Open cold water supply valve to water heater.
  • Allow hot water heater to refill.
  • Relight gas pilot light and turn on water heater, or turn power back on to electric water heater.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


Draining a water heater regularly is the best way to extend its life and ensure efficiency. Begin by turning off the power or pilot light. Turn off the valve supplying water to the top of unit, and connect a garden hose to the drain spigot at the bottom. Once you open the drain, you’ll need to flip the pressure relief valve on the top or side of the heater to release the vacuum so the water will drain. Once the draining water has removed the sediment in the tank, you can close the drain, turn back on the water, and restore the power.


  1. I flushed water heater and put in new aluminum rod and replaced both elements. Filled up and water was hot but two of my faucets had real low pressure. What did I miss?

  2. Get – settlement went through the lines and clogged the aerator on those sinks.

    Sherry and Mark – settlement has clogged the drain. First relieve any pressure in the tank. Turn the hot water on at a sink. Then open the drain valve all the way on the water heater. Back the valve a little (turn to close it may 1/8 turn). Then with a wrench loosen the packing nut on the valve. That’s the nut the stem goes through. Then by hand remove the nut and stem. Keep your face protected. Safety glasses are recommended. Then with a wire or something at least 6″ long and semi rigid poke into the tank through the drain. That will push the settlement out the way so it’ll drain. Once the clog is moved it may spray out with some force. Just use your thumb to plug the whole. Repeat until drained.

  3. If you have an electric water heater and there is a lot of settlement on the bottom. Remove the bottom element once the tank is drained. Then use a wet vac and a washing machine drain hose to suck the settlement out. The washing machine drain hose should fit perfectly into the hole so you can suck out the bottom of the tank.

  4. Low pressure in faucets may be due to rusted metal or debris that did not drain out but when refilled was pushed into the water line. I had this happen before, not much you can do that I am aware of, possible take faucet screen out to see if rust deposits are caught there


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