Expert Septic & Plumbing Services in Greenville & Beyond

How to Drain and Flush a Water Heater

If you find that your long, hot steamy showers are getting less steamy, it might be time to drain your water heater. In order to properly flush your water heater, follow these steps, Shut off gas or electric heater, turn off water supply, leave hot water running from shower or faucet, connect hose to drain valve, drain the water tank, flush out the hot water and reconnect or turn on your gas or electric heater.

Often times, when your hot showers turn more into cold showers, minerals like calcium and magnesium build up over time, they can reduce the effectiveness of your water heater. To help extend the life of your water heater, you'll want to drain and flush the water heater at least once a year. It’s a job you can tackle on your own without calling a plumber. All you need is a flathead screwdriver, garden hose, and protective gloves, and you’ll have this project done in no time. Below we expound on this very easy process.

1. Shut off gas or electric heater.

On a gas heater the thermostat is usually found near the bottom of the tank. If you turn it all the way off, you'll need to re-light it to turn it back on. But, for now, turn the knob to “Pilot”

Electric heater- You'll want to flip the circuit breaker off on your electrical panel to ensure that your water heater is fully turned off.

2. Turn off water supply.

The cold water valve is always near the top of your water heater. Turn the valve 90 degrees to close the cold water supply valve.

3. Turn on and leave on hot water.

Leaving the hot water faucet on while draining will prevent air flow and a vacuum from forming in the lines, thereby allowing for the water heater to drain more easily.

4. Connect hose to drain valve.

Attach the garden hose to the drain valve. Make sure that the other end of the hose is outside or in an empty bucket. Make sure the hose is tight on the valve to ensure no leaking during the process.

5. Drain the water heater tank.

Loosen the drainage valve with the flathead screwdriver and allow the water to flow until no water remains to drain. (When using a bucket, be prepared to empty frequently.) Water will be very hot unless you allow for time to cool down before draining.

6. Flush the hot water tank.

Turn on the cold water spigot leading into your hot water tank and run until the water runs clear; then turn off.

7.Reconnect and turn back on gas or electric heater

Turn off the drainage spigot and disconnect the hose. Turn off the hot water faucet. Turn on the cold water spigot leading to your hot water heater. Turn back on the thermostat and re-light the pilot light if you have a gas heater. If you have an electric water heater, flip the breaker switch on your electrical panel. Wait 20 minutes for the water to heat up before turning on the hot water spigot to ensure hot water is coming out.

If you run into issues, please contact TPE immediately. We will gladly send a professional licensed plumber over to check it out.