Skip Navigation

DIY: How to Flush a Water Heater - Sears

DIY: How to Flush a Water Heater


Keeping your hot water heater in good condition for years to come is simple. By performing regular water heater maintenance that includes flushing sediment buildup from the interior, you can help prevent potentially costly repairs or damage that can destroy the appliance entirely. Flushing a hot water heater is a simple chore that can save you valuable time and energy in the long run. Read on to learn how to maintain your appliance and keep hot water flowing cleanly and reliably.

What You'll Need:


Step 1: Turn off the Water Heater

If you have a gas heater, turn off the gas so the pilot is extinguished. For electric models, go to your circuit breaker and turn off the line supplying the heater.

Step 2: Connect the Hose and Prep the Drainage Area

Connect the garden hose to the drain valve and run the loose end to an area that won't be affected by the warm water and sediment. Remember to wear work gloves that will protect your hands from hot water and components.

Step 3: Drain the Tank

Open the drain valve and let the water flow for several minutes. Then go to the kitchen and turn on the hot water faucet. This will help the water drain quickly and smoothly. After another couple of minutes, turn off the water supply valve. The flow of water will slow and eventually stop altogether. At this point, you can turn on the water supply valve again for another quick flush before closing it again.

Step 4: Close Valves and Resupply Water

Once all the water and sediment has completely drained, close the valves and turn the water supply back on. Watch the open faucet in the kitchen. The flow will be sporadic at first as air is flushed out of the system. When the stream is smooth and consistent, you know that the tank is full and flowing properly.

Step 5: Turn on Power and Heating Element

Once you're sure that the tank is completely full, restore power to the unit and turn on the heating element. Remember not to turn on the power or heater until the tank is full, as this can cause damage to the heating element or the tank itself. Then simply shut off the faucet in the kitchen and you're all finished.