Water heaters need to be drained on a regular basis to prevent them from becoming clogged and malfunctioning. Not only is this a necessary safety action, but it can also dramatically reduce the life of your water heater.

In this post, we’ll show you how to safely and easily drain your water heater.

What You’ll Need

To carry out this draining process, you’ll need a few basic supplies:

  • A bucket
  • Towel
  • Household pliers
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Pipe or adjustable wrench
  • Garden hose

Steps for draining a water heater

  • Shut Off the Power

Before carrying out this draining process, you need to shut off the power to the water heater. You can shut the power by turning off the breaker switch. Consult your owner’s manual if you’re not sure how to do this.

  • Shut Off the Water Supply

You’ll need to find the water meter to shut off the water supply. It’s usually a large metal cylinder that’s located near the street or curb. Once you’ve found it, turn the valve handle to the off position.

  • Connect a Hose to the Drain Valve

Now that you know where the drain valve is, it’s time to attach the garden hose. Simply thread one end of the hose over the valve and tighten it in place using the screwdriver or wrench. Make sure the garden hose is securely attached so that water doesn’t leak out.

Once the hose is in place, open the valve by turning it in a clockwise direction. This will allow water to flow out of the tank and into the garden hose. Keep an eye on the water meter to make sure it’s draining at a steady pace.

If you notice that water is leaking out of the drain valve, turn off the water supply and tighten the hose connection. Then try opening the valve again.

  • Open the Pressure Relief Valve

Now it’s time to open the pressure relief valve. This is the small, round valve on the top of the water heater. Use a wrench to turn it counterclockwise until it’s open all the way.

Once the valve is open, water will start flowing out. Place the bucket below to catch the water, and be prepared to close the valve as soon as the bucket is full. If you don’t close the valve, the water will just keep flowing out until the tank is empty!

  • Turn on a Hot Water Faucet

Now it’s time to turn on a hot water faucet and open the drain valve on the water heater. Make sure the faucet is turned all the way up so that the water heater can fill up as quickly as possible. Once the water heater is full, turn off the faucet and close the drain valve. Let the water heater sit for a few minutes so that the sediment can settle at the bottom of the tank.

  • Open the Drain Valve

To drain the water heater, you’ll need to open the drain valve. This is usually a small, round valve located either on the bottom of the tank or on the pipe coming out of the tank.

Once you’ve located the valve, turn it counterclockwise to open it. The water will start draining, so have a bucket or container ready to catch it. Keep in mind that the water will be hot, so use caution when handling it.

  • Close the Drain Valve

Now it’s time to close the drain valve. This is the small valve on the bottom of the tank. Turn it clockwise to close it. If you don’t close the valve, hot water may continue to flow out, and you’ll have to start over from step one!


With the well-detailed steps provided above, draining a water heater is as easy as ABC. However, if you still find these steps difficult, it is advisable to contact a professional like Frost HVAC to help you out.