• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey explains how to flush a water heater.


    1. Turn off electricity and water to the water heater; allow heater to cool.
    2. Drain water from the heater’s tank using a garden hose and pump.
    3. Catch drained water in a bucket for inspection.
    4. If water is filled with sediment, refill heater and drain again.
    5. Continue to fill and drain heater as often as necessary until the water runs clear.
    6. Disconnect the hose and pump.
    7. Turn on the electricity and water to the water heater.
    • 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the amount of debris in the heater’s tank
    • Difficulty: Easy
      If you can find your water heater, you can complete this task

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      Tools List

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      Shopping List

      1. Garden hose,

      used to drain water heater

      2. Electric pump,

      used to pump drained water to the outdoors; not needed if basement has floor drain

      3. 5-gallon bucket