5 (Easy Steps) to Know How Long It Takes to Drain a Water Heater

Draining A Water Heater

Most of us think that emptying our water heater is such a bothersome that we do not perform it as often as it needs to be. How long it takes to drain a water heater will not even take us a whole day to do. Understanding one’s water heater is essential to enjoy its benefits. However, most water heater users like us do not give a hoot about how our water heater functions to the point that we do not perform maintenance on its systems. Like any appliance that comes in contact with natural elements like earth, fire, air, and water, it needs cleaning for maintenance. It doesn’t take much time and effort in all honesty, especially if we are determined to do it from the very beginning of our relationship with our water heater.

Now, there could be various reasons why we would want to know how long it takes to drain a water heater. One could be for replacing the tank of the water heater entirely. The other is for essential maintenance. Maintenance is needed when there is hard water. Hardening of the water happens when minerals, sand, and other dissolved solids become sediments at the bottom of a container or water environment. These sediments will settle at the bottom of the tank. Sometimes even on the walls of the tank and it can happen in both gas and electric water heaters.

When sediments build-up, it clogs up the drain and block its passageway. It can also prevent the heat from reaching the water. It can cause a drop in the desired temperature or not heat the water at all. Over time, this can also cause the tank to destroy, which can significantly ruin it and shorten its lifespan.

We can also learn about the quality of water in our area by using a quality test kit. This type of test can tell us about bacteria, lead content, chlorine, hardness, and the pH level in our water supply. Accurate reading on water hardness will help us greatly in knowing how often we should perform maintenance on our water heater as well as how long it will take to drain our water heater. The harder the water in our area means that it contains higher amounts of calcium and magnesium.

drain a water heater

How long it takes to drain a water heater will depend on what type of water heater we have. It usually takes between 20-40 minutes. Also, it will depend on how thick the sediments that have formed. So, it is recommended to at least remove our water heater at least once a year.

Luckily, here are five steps on how to drain our water heater:


  1. Cut off the source of the heat.

The first task of figuring out how long it takes to drain a water heater is to find a way to remove the water in the tank first. We need to first stop the tank from getting filled with fresh cold water. It also depends on the type of water heater that we have.

With an electric heater, we will have to turn off our supply first. We wouldn’t want to get some accidents by getting electrocuted or getting hand-burnt. Turn off from the circuit breaker or unplug it if it’s easily connected to a socket.

With a gas water heater, turn the pilot off. That’s way better than just turning off the gas.


  1. Cool it down.

After the electric or gas water heater has been turned off, wait for things cool down.

Water heaters are usually set to a temperature of 120-140 degrees. An average person would not want to handle this kind of water heaters. Third-degree burns when exposed to this water temperature, even for just a few seconds.


  1. Cut the cold water supply.

There is a valve next to the power “on” button of the heater that we can turn to cut the fresh cold water supply. It’s not going to be challenging to find.


  1. Attach a hose for drainage.

If our water heater did not come with a tube, we might want to make use of a sturdy garden hose that can withstand the heat. There would be a lot of cheap hoses we can choose. However, we must really take into consideration something that will not melt or soften in the middle of the draining process.

Cheap quality tubes are usually prone to leakage. That would not be a suitable choice, plus we would want something that will last we a long time. We do not wish to buy another hose every time we need to clean out the tank of the water heater. That’s not a smart choice.


Attaching the hose, make sure that it goes through proper drainage. Or, if we do not have drainage, we can always choose to use a bucket for a bit of a workout.

  1. Drain the water

The draining process will be straightforward for we if we have followed the steps before this. After setting up, we will have to open the hot water faucet in our home – a sink in our kitchen or the tub in our bathroom. After that, turn the slot on our drain valve to open it. Open the pressure relief valve. Once we’ve done this, the water will drain. Let it take its course flowing and wait until there is no more water coming out of the hose.

That, we will have to flush out any of the hard water that formed by turning on the cold water. Observe if the water is flushing the sediments. We will know that it has been cleared out once we start seeing clear water coming out of the hose.

It is not clearing, we will have to keep on running the cold water until it flushes out all the sediments that have formed in our tank.

The tank has been cleaned thoroughly, close the drain valve back up and let the cold water fill up the tank. After filling up our tank, turn the power back on for our electric water heater or the gas on for our gas water heater. We’re all done.

How long it takes to drain our water heater depends on the type of water heater we have. But the condition it is in will also affect the duration of draining the tank. If we responsibly perform routine maintenance on our water heater and learn about the quality of the water in our area, how long it takes to drain our water heater will be within the standard time of 20-40 minutes.

We must know that if it has already brought us a significant amount of time-draining our water heater and the water has not cleared, we will need to replace the tank. Corrosion could have probably already taken effect.

Related Topic: 8 (Easy Steps) on How to Add Hydrogen Peroxide in Water Heater

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