How to Remove Sediment From a Hot Water Heater

Sediment builds up in all storage hot water heaters.

Sediment is sand, gravel and minerals that come from wells and other environmental sources and end up in your water supply. Most hot water heaters recommend regular removal of sediment. Using an item you probably already have in your garage and a little time, you can remove the sediment in your tank and improve its efficiency.

Turn the gas valve of your hot water heater to pilot. If your hot water heater is electric, turn off the circuit breakers. This will keep the burners from coming on while you are removing sediment or flushing out the hot water heater.

Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the hot water heater. Place the other end of the hose near a city drain, away from children and pets.

Turn off the cold water inlet for the hot water heater. This knob should be marked "cold."

Open the drain that is connected to the hose. Water will flush out into the city drain. Turn the cold water inlet back on if sediment is clogging the hose. This brief burst of water will push the sediment through.

Drain the water from the hot water heater until the water coming out is clear and free of debris.

Close the drain at the bottom of the tank and then disconnect the garden hose.

Open the cold water inlet. Turn on the hot water at one faucet inside your house and let it run until there are no air bubbles visible.

Turn the gas knob back to on and relight pilot light if necessary. If your water heater is electric, turn the circuit breaker back on. The hot water tank will be free of sediment.

Things You Will Need

  • Garden hose


  • Drain some of the water into a bucket or some other storage container and when cooled used to water your lawn or flower bed.


  • The water drained from the tank will be hot.
  • Do not drain this hot water into your grass or flowerbeds.

About the Author

Kimberly Alston is a teacher certified in kindergarten through eighth grades, which she uses to inspire her writing. She received her undergraduate degree from Norfolk State University and her master's degree from Old Dominion University.