How long does it take to drain a Water Heater? – My Blog

How long does it take to drain a Water Heater?

There are countless reasons why you’d want to empty your water tank – basic maintenance or even a full replacement of the tank to name a few.

The maintenance part especially comes into play when the water is hard. Hard water is simply water that contains lots of minerals, sand or other dissolved solids in the water. Over time, these sediments settle at the bottom and around the walls of the tank. In both gas & electric water heaters, this has two major implications:

  • If the sediments build up, it will block clog the drain, making it impossible to drain the water.
  • It can result in prevention of heat from reaching the water, basically implying the water won’t be able to be warmed (or heated) anymore.

Instructions regarding how long does take to drain a water heater may depend on the type of water heater you have, but luckily enough, here are detailed steps regarding each type of heater.

If you’d like to save yourself the trouble, why not check out some tankless water heater reviews and infrared sauna reviews and find out if they fit your taste.1

Step 1: Cutting off the Supply

When trying to figure out how long does it take to drain a water heater, you first have to figure out how to empty the tank. This step varies from a heater to heater.

  • Electric Water Heater: Turn the power off to your electric water heater then tape the breaker at the off position. If you were lucky enough, your builder, electrician or plumber may have been nice enough to install an actual outlet, so all you need to do is unplug it.If you don’t shut off the power and end up exposing the heating element(s) you will more than likely burn them out.
  • Gas Water Heater: There are basic two trains of thought here: some argue that you only need to turn the gas off, while others say that turning it to pilot is a more than adequate option. This is up to you and either one will work fine.

Step 2: Turn off the cold water supply to the tank

This step should be simple enough to figure out. Most times, the valve for turning the cold water supply off it found next to the ‘on’ switch off the heater. Tankless water heater reviews are a good place to avoid the hassle, though since they don’t work on a ‘store water’ basis.3

Step 3: Attach a garden hose to the drain valve


The drain valve is usually found at the bottom of the tank. Find a reliable, good quality garden hose and attach it to the bottom of your hose.

Follow few quick tips to see how long it takes to drain a water heater. Cheap hoses tend to turn soft and are prone to leakages when hot water is run through them. This is often the case for people who fail to check infrared sauna reviews before actually buying them.

Just be sure to run the hose to a convenient drain and not simply into your crawl space. If it happens you don’t have a drain or it happens to be in a higher position than the water heater, you can always do the bucket brigade or alternatively buy a pump to help propel the water out and of the house.4

Step 4: Draining the water

  • The first step is to open up your hot water faucet, then the drain valve on your water heater. After you’ve done this, you should open up the hot water side of any faucet.
  • Second, open up the drain valve on the tank and allow it to flow empty.
  • Depending on the size of the hose and the water pressure, it should deliver 9 to 17 GPM. If you have a 50-gallon tank, the water should be flowing at full pressure for 3 to 6 minutes. If the water flow is slow, turn on the cold water supply to the tank. This should hopefully help you blast through the clog.

Step 5: Rinse and Repeat

  • After, you’re done waiting out and the tank is finally empty shut off the drain valve.
  • Turn the cold water supply back on and let the water heater refill. Once the tank is partially filled, about ½ full, let the tank fill partially and start the draining process again.
  • Once the water starts flowing out, turn the water supply off. If you have extreme amounts of sediment still in the tank, you may have to repeat this procedure a few more times. If the drain water is running clear, you are done.

A few final notes

For the most part, you are pretty much done. So, how long does it take to drain a water heater? About 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of your tank.

An easier alternative would be to see what people’s thoughts in a few tankless water heater reviews and see how it goes for you. Before you buckle up and start filling that infrared sauna with your now hot water, feel free to ask around for the best infrared sauna reviews, you won’t be disappointed.

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