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How Long Does It Take To Drain A Water Heater?

By November 7, 2023April 14th, 2024Water heater
Standard hot water heater.

A water heater is an essential appliance that provides hot water for various household purposes. Over time, sediment and minerals can accumulate in the tank, affecting its efficiency and potentially causing damage. To prevent these issues, it is important to drain your water heater regularly. How long does it take to drain a water heater? Draining a water heater can take 30 minutes to over an hour.

Let’s find out more about water heaters and why they need draining.

What is The Purpose of a Water Heater?

The primary purpose of a water heater is to heat and store hot water for domestic use. It is typically connected to the plumbing system of a house and ensures a continuous supply of hot water for showers, laundry, dishwashing, and other activities.

Why Should I Drain My Water Heater?

Draining your water heater is essential for maintaining its performance and extending its lifespan. When sediment and minerals build up inside the tank, they can cause corrosion, decrease heating efficiency, and lead to leaks. Regular draining helps remove these deposits, ensuring optimal operation and preventing potential problems.

Knowing what to do will allow you to properly drain your water heater in a timely manner.

How Long Does it Take to Drain a Water Heater?

The time required to drain a water heater depends on several factors, including its size, the amount of sediment accumulated, and the flow rate of your drainage system. On average, the process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour.

How Often Should You Drain a Water Heater?

Now that you know how long it takes to drain a water heater, it is important to know how often you should drain it. It is generally recommended to drain your water heater at least once a year. However, in areas with hard water or high mineral content, more frequent draining may be necessary. Also checking the manufacturer’s guidelines or consulting a professional can provide specific recommendations based on your water heater and local conditions.

Hire a professional if you don't know how to drain a water heater.

Tools I Need to Drain a Water Heater

To drain your water heater, you will need the following tools:

    • Garden hose
    • Adjustable wrench or pliers
    • A bucket or suitable container for collecting the drained water
    • Towels or rags for cleaning up any spills

Steps to Drain a Water Heater

    1. Turn off the power supply: For electric water heaters, switch off the circuit breaker connected to the heater. For gas water heaters, turn the thermostat to the “Pilot” position.
    2. Locate the drain valve: This is typically located near the bottom of the heater and may have a hose attachment.
    3. Attach the garden hose: Connect one end of the hose to the drain valve and place the other end in a suitable drainage location, like a floor drain or outside.
    4. Open the pressure relief valve: This assists in the draining process by allowing air into the tank and facilitating the flow of water.
    5. Open the drain valve: Use an adjustable wrench or pliers to slowly open the drain valve, allowing the water to flow out through the hose. Be cautious as the water may be hot.
    6. Empty the tank: Allow the water to fully drain out until it runs clear, indicating reduced sediment.
    7. Close the drain valve: Once the tank is empty, close the drain valve securely.
    8. Refill the tank: Disconnect the hose and close the pressure relief valve. Turn on the water supply to refill the tank.
    9. Restore power supply: For electric water heaters, switch on the circuit breaker. For gas water heaters, set the thermostat back to the desired temperature.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know how long it takes to drain your water heater you can begin to understand how the rest of the water heater works. For example, how to test a water heater thermostat is a good thing to know. You might just need to replace it and save money by doing so.

Next, be sure to read up on some great maintenance ideas for your water heater. There are a few things in addition to draining the water heater that you will need to complete the proper maintenance of your water heater.

Lastly, as with everything, things wear out and need replacing. You may need to replace your water heater and will find it will take about 2-3 hours to do this.

When Do I Call A Professional?

If you aren’t sure how to properly drain your water heater it is a great idea to call a local professionally licensed master plumber. Consequently, you should never take on a project that you aren’t sure about getting done. Too many things could go wrong or break. Additionally, call on All Coast Home Inspections, your local home inspection team. They can inspect your water heater and plumbing system during a full home inspection. Also, they can refer a reputable master plumber.


Being a brave homeowner who takes on any project is a great trait to have. However, if you don’t completely understand the working parts and pieces of your plumbing system, you could end up doing more damage than good. Trust your local home inspection company to take a look at your water heater. While you are doing that, reach out to All Coast Home Inspections for a home inspection in Houston, TX.


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