How to Remove Sediment from Your Hot Water Heater

A water heater’s typical life expectancy is nine years or more. One way to possibly extend the life of your hot water heater is to flush it periodically, removing any sediment build-up. While professionals–including us–offer this service, some people opt to do it themselves.

Why is it a good idea to clean sediment from a hot water heater? Good question–over time, your heater can accumulate sediment (sand, gravel, mineral deposits etc.)  This buildup can reduce the amount your water heater holds, which reduces your unit’s efficiency. The buildup of sediment at the bottom of the tank can harden and sometimes clog the drain valve.

How to Remove Sediment from Your Hot Water Heater - Image 1

Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to flush sediment out of your water heater.

1) On a gas unit, turn your gas valve to “Pilot.” On an electric unit, turn off its circuit breaker.

2)  Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Remember, the water coming out of the other end of this hose will be hot! Make sure it has a place to drain that is free of people and pets.

3) Close cold inlet shut-off valve.

4) Slowly open the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank and leave it open.

5) Open the drain valve.

6) Wait for the water coming out of the hose to be clear and free of sediment.

7) Close your drain valve, remove your hose, close your pressure relief valve, and turn the cold inlet valve back on.


Run hot water into a sink to clear out any air trapped in the pipes.

That’s it! If the water doesn’t run smoothly out of the hose once you open the drain valve, you may have larger chunks of sediment blocking the hose. You can adjust the pressure value and cold-inlet valve to force a stronger stream of water out of the hose…or you can call a plumber!

Questions about your water heater’s useful life? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help answer them. Want us to service your water heater? Contact us and we’ll get you on the schedule!



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