How Long Does It Take To Drain a Water Heater?

12th Jan 2023

Proper water heater maintenance can curb costly plumbing services that can arise when large amounts of sediments settle into the bottom of your water heating system. Part of the preventative maintenance for a water heater involves drawing the reservoir and cycling through new water. If you’re noticing a lot of salt buildup in your system you may benefit from transitioning to a citric acid water softener instead of a salt-based one. NuvoH2O has all the details you need to make an informed decision about draining your water heater. Learn more and get in touch with our team today!

Why Should I Drain My Water Heater?

Draining your water heater can help remove mineral deposits, sediment, and scale build-up from your plumbing solution, leading to a more efficient and cost-effective water heating system. Scale buildup will be much more prevalent if you have a salt-based water softening system and you might have to drain your water heater more because of it. NuvoH2O’s water softening system removes the possibility of having harsh salt deposits build up on your water heater and will prevent costly plumbing services.

How Often Should a Water Heater Be Drained?

Water heaters should be drained at least once per year as part of your routine maintenance. If you have an older water heater, draining it every six months is a good plumbing solution. Think of it as part of your annual spring cleaning. Regular draining of your water heater can help extend the life of your water heater and reduce the need for costly repairs or plumbing services.

How to Drain a Water Heater?

There are a few steps to follow in preparation for draining your water heater. By no means should you start draining your system before following these steps, or you will have a typhoon on your hands.

Start by shutting the power off for an electric water heater. If you have a gas machine, turn the gas control knob to “off” and close the gas shut-off valve. Then close the cold water valve and open the hot water faucets in the house to speed up draining the heated water.

Attach a hose to the drain output valve and connect it to a floor drain or bucket and then open the drain valve. If the hose appears to clog at any point, don't panic! This is the point of draining your water heater and you're seeing the collection of sediment you’re trying to flush out. If this happens, turn the cold water supply valve and clear the water pressure for a few minutes.

How Long Does Draining a Water Heater Take?

The time it takes to drain your water heater will depend on the size of your system. A typical residential water heating system is between 40 and 60 gallons and can take as little as 15 minutes to drain. If you have a larger tank, draining it can take up to an hour.

Don’t forget that draining a water heater is the quickest part. Setting up a drainage hose can take a few minutes and refilling it with fresh water can take up to two hours.


Draining your water heater should be part of your annual house maintenance to flush out sediment and scale that builds up in your system. If you’re noticing more salt scale than usual, it may be time to switch to a citric acid water softener that uses natural citrus to balance your water’s pH and removes the worry about harmful saltwater runoff getting into your lawn. Check out NuvoH2O’s innovative water-softening solutions today!