How to Drain the Tank on an Electric Water Heater Video

 

Once a year, you should empty out all the water from your water heater. This helps prevent a buildup of mineral sediment in the bottom of your tank that could reduce the water heater's effectiveness and possibly damage the heating elements. This video from Sears PartsDirect shows how to safely drain your electric water heater tank to flush out sediment. 

For more water heater repair troubleshooting tips and repair guides, check out our Water Heater Repair page. Get replacement water heater parts at Sears PartsDirect.

Find out how to drain the tank on your water heater

Tools and Parts Needed

Sediment Build-Up Can Erode Tank, Damage Heating Element

Hi, this is Wayne from Sears PartsDirect. Today I want to show you an often-overlooked maintenance tip on a water heater. We’re going to drain the sediment from the tank.

 

Over time, sediment can build up, eroding the tank bottom and damaging the lower heating element. Sediment can also interfere with the elements heating up effectively. Flushing the sediment from your water heater will increase its efficiency and longevity and it’s easy to do.

How to Drain the Water Heater Tank

First, shut off the electrical power to your water heater. This is extremely important because the heating elements can break if they turn on when the tank is empty.

 

Next, connect a garden hose to your water heater drain valve. Use a heavy-duty hose that won't be damaged by hot water. Run the open end of the garden hose out into your yard to a safe spot where you can drain the hot water.

 

Fully open the drain valve. Water will start to flow out of the garden hose, flushing out the sediment. After a couple of minutes, turn on the hot water in the kitchen. This will create an air gap in the pipes that will force the remaining sediment out of the water heater, after we turn off the water supply later.

 

Turn off the water supply valve above the water heater. This will also stop the flow in the kitchen sink, but be sure to leave the hot water valve open.

 

The water and sediment will now start draining faster, because gravity and pressure are helping us out. You can open the T&P valve if the water’s not draining fast enough.

 

If the hose gets clogged during the draining process, you can use a shop vac to unclog it. Be careful, that water is hot.

 

Once the water stops draining, you can turn the water back on briefly to give the tank another quick flush and remove any remaining sediment. Then close the water supply valve again.

How to Refill the Water Heater Tank

Once the tank has drained completely, close the drain valve and disconnect the water hose. Wear gloves to protect your hands. The hose fitting will be hot.

 

Be sure to close the T&P valve when you start to refill the tank.

 

Open the water supply cut-off valve for the water heater and refill the tank. As the water heater fills up, you’ll start hearing your open faucet in the kitchen spitting and sputtering as air is purged from the water heater.

 

Don’t turn the faucet off, until a full stream of water starts to flow again. Now you know that all the air is out of your water heater and the tank is full of water.

 

Restore electrical power to the water heater and you're done. Make sure it’s full before you turn the power back on.

 

Repeat this procedure every year to keep your water heater working efficiently.

 

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