Archive for Monday, July 18, 2011


Fix-It Chick: Drain a hot water tank

July 18, 2011


Over time, sediment builds up in the bottom of most hot water tanks. These sediments reduce the water capacity of the tank and impede the overall efficiency of the heater. Periodic flushing of the hot water tank will remove sediments and increase the life expectancy of the hot water heater.

Step 1: Turn off the power to the water heater. For electric water heaters, shut the power off using the circuit breaker or fuse in the electric panel box. For gas water heaters, turn the control knob to “pilot.”

Step 2: Turn off the cold water supply flowing into the tank. If there is not a shut-off valve along the cold water line, turn the water off at the main entrance.

Step 3: Open the hot water side of a faucet near the water heater to relieve pressure.

Step 4: Attach a hot water rated garden hose to the drain valve located near the bottom of the water tank. Run the hose into a floor drain, sump pump pit or out into the yard. Remember, the water will be hot.

Step 5: Once the drain hose is in place, a faucet is open and the water supply into the tank is shut off, open the drain valve and let the water drain out of the tank. Check the drain line periodically to make sure the water is draining properly.

Step 6: When the water stops flowing out of the hose, turn the water supply back on. Allow water to run through the tank and out the garden hose until the water exiting the hose is clear.

Step 7: Close the drain valve, turn off the hot water side of the faucet that was opened earlier and allow the tank to refill.

Step 8

Sediment buildup in a hot water tank will affects it efficiency. You can drain it yourself.

Sediment buildup in a hot water tank will affects it efficiency. You can drain it yourself.

: Once the tank is full, turn the power back on and remove the garden hose from drain valve. Chances are there will still be some hot water in the drain hose, so be careful when detaching it from the valve.

Depending on how much sediment buildup there was in the bottom of the tank, you should notice a difference in hot water availability, as well as tank efficiency. Make note of when you drained the tank and plan on doing it again within the next few years.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.