How to Flush Sediment Out of a Water Heater

How to Flush Sediment Out of a Water Heater

You should flush your water heater every year. This keeps sediment from building up in the bottom of the tank, and increases your tank's efficiency. You can learn more about why you should flush sediment out of your tank with our last post. (If you're not sure how a water heater works go here.)

This post will take you through step-by-step how to flush that sediment out of your water heater, and make sure it keeps your water warm.

1. Turn the Water Heater Off

If you have an electric water heater, turn the power switch to off. If your water heater is a gas heater like this one, turn your thermostat to the “pilot” setting. This makes it so the water will begin to cool before you flush it, minimizing burns. Make sure you do this during a time when nobody is trying to shower or wash dishes or clothes, or else you might have an unhappy family.

2. Turn the Cold Water Valve Off


Turn the valve to the left to stop the incoming water. Without turning the cold-water valve off, the water will continually pump into the tank, and you will end up draining your tank for hours without actually draining the tank. Not only is this counter-productive, but you will end up wasting a lot of money on your water bill.

3. Let the water cool.

You don't want to be draining out boiling water and burning yourself!

4. Attach a drain or garden hose to the drain valve on the side of the tank

Make sure the hose is threaded on completely, otherwise you may have leaks.

5. Place the end of the hose in a bucket or drain.

Make sure the water you are draining is going somewhere, otherwise, you can end up with a flooded home.

6. Turn on a faucet (or two)

While it may seem strange, opening faucets stops any vacuum from forming within your pipes. Turn your faucets full blast on hot. You won't see much water coming out, which is a great sign. 

7. Start draining the tank by turning on the drain valve.

As you might have noticed in the picture earlier, most drain valves must be opened by a screwdriver.

Using the screwdriver, turn the valve on slowly, making sure that there aren't any leaks, and the bucket or drain (or garden) you are draining the water into isn't going to overflow.

9. Turn off the drain valve. 

After you have drained all of the water out of your tank, turn off the drain valve and remove the garden or drain hose from the spigot.

10. Turn on the cold water valve.

To fill your tank again turn the valve on the cold water dip tube on again. Make sure that your taps are still on, and once they return to a normal flow, turn them off. 

11. Turn the thermostat back to the "on" position.

Make sure to turn the water heater back to the "on" position. Wait about 30 minutes to test for hot water. The water heater should have heated the gallons of water within the tank again, sediment free!

If you are interested in getting sediment damage covered on your home warranty, look at getting Premier Plus with your Landmark Home Warranty when it comes time to renew. For more information on Landmark's home warranties, look at

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