How to Unclog a Water Heater That Won’t Drain in 4 Simple Steps

How to Unclog a Water Heater That Won’t Drain in 4 Simple Steps

27th May 2022

If you find yourself working on a water heater that will not drain, it may be due to a large build-up of minerals and sediment within the tank. This is a common problem with most homeowners, so luckily there are a few ways to help unclog a water heater that will not flush water out. To stop this from occurring in the first place, we at NuvoH2O have created effective water softening systems that help reduce hard mineral build-up, which is often the culprit for clogged drains. Visit our website to learn more!


The first step to resolving this problem is having some patience, as most clogging issues tend to fix themselves. As your draining hose is connected, the pressure of the water will eventually push the debris through, letting the water flow as normal. So, simply make sure your hot water faucets are closed and then open the valve, give it some time, and if nothing changes, move on to the next step.

Using A Wire

If there is not a large amount of debris blocking the water's flow, then using a stiff wire to further break down sediment may help. Begin by making sure the drain valve is closed, and ensure the hose is not connected to the valve. Open the drain valve, and insert a stiff wire (such as a coat hanger) while rotating it in a circular motion. If this works, you will notice water flowing out of the valve, but this may not be the case if the debris found within the water heater is too large.

Stomping The Hose

At this point, you may be thinking, ‘Is there some sort of way to prevent this build-up from occurring in the first place?’ The answer would be yes, with a water heater cleaner system. This product prevents hard water build-up while reducing and removing existing scales, helping you save on maintenance costs!

In continuing your mission of unclogging the water heater, another method to try is stomping on the hose. Ensure that the hose is attached and the valve is open; then stomp on the water hose around two feet from the unit with great pressure. This may send air bubbles into the tank, which is often enough to unclog the valve!

Reverse Flow

This last method is almost always effective, but may not work if the drain valve is faulty or the clog is severe. Begin by closing the drain valve while connecting one end of a washing machine hose to the valve and the other end to a water hose. Connect the water hose’s other end to a threaded faucet; then turn it on while opening the drain valve for around 15 seconds. As the water flows, the clog should be undone!

The best thing you can do to deal with a clogged water heater is to prevent it from occurring in the first place by using a water heater cleaner system! At NuvoH2O, we have the best water softening systems available to help your home’s water system run as smoothly as can be! Contact us today for more information.