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Importance of Draining a Hot Water Heater

By: Danny Lipford

Draining some of the water out of your hot water heater annually removes sediment that settles in the bottom of the tank to make your hot water heater last longer and operate more efficiently, which can save on your utility bills.

To drain a hot water heater:

  1. Turn off the power or gas to the hot water heater.
  2. Close the cold water line intake valve to the water heater.
  3. Attach a garden hose to the water heater drain valve at the bottom of the water heater, and run the hose outside.
  4. Open the drain valve on the water heater.
  5. Open the pressure relief valve on the water heater.
  6. Allow some or all of the water to drain out of the water heater.
  7. Close the pressure relief valve on the water heater.
  8. Close the drain valve on the water heater.
  9. Open the cold water intake valve to the water heater.
  10. Allow the water heater to refill with water.
  11. Check the drain valve and pressure relief valve to make sure they’re not leaking.
  12. Turn the power back on to electric water heaters, or relight the pilot on gas water heaters.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: Susan asks, “Why do they say you need to drain your water heater every year?”

The reason it’s important to drain some water out of your water heater at least once a year, is it moves a lot of the sediment that settles down at the bottom of the tank to the outside. Now you don’t have to drain all of the water, but at least a few gallons once a year.

Now, the sediment, if you leave it in there, it really will reduce the life expectancy of your water heater because it just has to work a lot harder. That’s also going to cost you more money in energy costs.

And it’s so easy to drain some of the water. All you do is hook your garden hose right to this drain valve, turn the drain valve on, and if you’re at the other end of the hose, you’ll see what I mean when a white, milky sediment comes out the other end. You will have to open the pressure relief valve to allow the water to drain.

Now these tasks will cost you no money at all but they’ll save you some.


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3 Comments on “Importance of Draining a Hot Water Heater”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    January 21st, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Hi, Douglas! Thanks for your question.
    What kind of water heater do you have? Is it a power vent water heater, standard natural gas or electric?

  • Douglas Says:
    January 16th, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    We leave our place in the summer months (5 mo in AZ), can the tank be left empty during that time or should it be refilled?

  • Carol Dodge Says:
    November 3rd, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Why can’t I drain water while the heater remains lit? Assuming I turn the dial off so it won’t try to heat.

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Importance of Draining a Hot Water Heater