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How to Empty a 16 Gallon Shop Vac

Cynthia Measom

Shop Vac manufactures a 16-gallon model capable of cleaning wet and dry messes. Depending on the model you have, the process of emptying it may vary. For dry contents, you should always remove the tank lid to empty it. For wet contents, your 16-gallon Shop Vac may have a drain cap that you can remove for easier dumping.

Shop Vac Without Tank Drain

  1. Turn off the 16-gallon Shop Vac and unplug it from the outlet. Pull the unit's latches outward and remove the tank cover.

  2. Lift the Shop Vac's tank and pour the contents into a bathtub drain or other appropriate area. For example, if the contents of the tank contain plain water, you can dump them on your lawn.

  3. Replace the tank cover and push the latches inward to lock the lid. Proceed with cleaning.

Vac With Tank Drain

  1. Turn the 16-gallon Shop Vac off and unplug it from the wall. Position the Shop Vac next to a drain or in an appropriate draining area.

  2. Loosen the drain cap, located at on the lower side of the machine, by twisting it to the left with your hand. Remove the drain cap and set aside.

  3. Tilt the Shop Vac slightly toward the direction it is draining to completely rid it of all of its liquid contents.

  4. Replace the drain cap by twisting it to the right and continue using the unit.