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How to Drain a Water Heater

how to drain a water heater santa cruz ca

Most water heaters should be drained every 6 months or so. Even if you haven’t worked on yours for a long time, you can help your water heater last longer if you flush it now. Here’s what you need to know about how to flush a water heater so you can keep yours in great shape for a long time.

If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, or want a second opinion, contact us at Rosenthal Plumbing and we’ll make sure your water heater gets drained properly! We can also schedule regular water heater maintenance for you to keep your water heater running smoothly for years to come!


1. Quick Flush the Water Heater

Attach a hose to the drain valve and open it briefly while the power is still on. This should flush sediment from the water heater. Repeat if a lot of sediment comes out.

2. Turn Off the Power

Turn the gas to “Pilot” or turn off the electricity at the breaker and unplug the water heater. Turn off the water flow into the water heater as well.

3. Open the Drain Valve

Open the drain valve. Make sure your hose is draining into a bucket or straight into your sewer line. Move the hot water pipe at the top of the heater around until it lets air into the tank. You’ll know this has occurred when water rushes out of the heater.

4. Flush the Tank

Turn on the water for a few seconds, then let it drain out. Repeat until the water that comes out does not contain any sediment.

5. Refill the Water Heater

Close the drain valve and disconnect the hose. Make sure everything is connected the way it was when you started the process. Turn the water for the water heater back on. Then turn on a hot water tap in the house (most people use the hot water in the bathtub). As soon as the air is out of the line and you just have water flowing from that tap, turn it off.

6. Turn On the Power

Turn the electricity back on or relight the pilot light. You will need to wait an hour or so before you will have reliable hot water again.

7. Check Your Drain Valve

Look for leaks around the drain valve. If you have some, you may be able to put a cap on the valve to stop the leak. If that doesn’t work, you may want to replace the valve entirely.

Water Heater Help in Santa Cruz

And that’s how to drain a hot water heater! If you run into any problems or you don’t have time to tackle this project yourself, call us at Rosenthal Plumbing. Our Santa Cruz plumbers will get your water heater flushed fast!