How to flush your hot water heater

Hey, there are people who really don’t know they’re supposed to flush/clean their hot water heater once a year. Your hot water heater gets a sediment build up at the bottom making it harder to heat the water and shortening the life span of the water heater.  It’s smart preventative maintenance and here is how you do it (these instructions are for an electric water heater):

Step 1:  You’ll need a regular garden hose and a bucket.  Have them ready.

Step 2:  Turn off the breaker switch to the hot water heater (find the breaker switch on your circuit breaker panel.  If you can’t find it, turn off the main switch to the entire house).

Step 3:  Locate the drain cock on your water heater.  On most models it’s at the bottom of the water heater and it looks like a regular garden spigot/faucet.

Step 4:  Attach the hose to the drain cock and drag the rest of the hose outside where the hot water can come out of the hose and not cause  damage or  burns (the water coming out will be HOT and under normal household pressure).

Step 5:  Turn the drain cock to open the flow of water (remember the water will be hot coming out of the hose).  If the drain cock will not turn, do not force as you may break it; call a professional instead.

Step 6:  Allow the water to flow.  After 5 minutes, fill your bucket with water coming from the hose.  If (after a minute or two) there is sediment settling or any funky colored (i.e.:  rust colored) water, allow the water heater to continue draining.  Check again after another 5 minutes.  Keep repeating this step until the water in the bucket is clear and no sediment settles to the bottom of the bucket.

Step 7:  Once the water is clear, shut off the drain cock and remove the hose.  Remember to turn your circuit breaker back on. 


That’s all there is to it.  Take the time to conserve energy and prolong the life of your water heater.


2 responses to “How to flush your hot water heater

  1. After successfully flushing our water heater we have lost a significant amount of pressure when running the hot water. We have tried to adjust the valve at the heater but this did not help.
    Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance!

  2. I would check the aerators on the faucet and see if there is any gunk in there. I have low pressure for a while after draining the tank but within a few hours all is back to normal.

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