Water Heater That Won’t Drain? Here’s What You Can Do

by Jay | Updated on July 26th, 2022

Ever woke up with water that won’t drain? Well, it must be one of the worst things to wake up to. But, if you’re like me, who isn’t naturally fond of learning the ways around my home, you’re in for a treat. 

You may ask: how do you remove the sediments when it’s not draining? Let me tell you; you are not alone. Many water heaters, especially the older models, do not have an anti-sediment feature. There are two major ways to unclog the drain:

water heater

Hot water procedures

With these methods, there’s no need to cool off the tank. However, wear protective gear if available because this may pose some burn risks.

  1. Backflushing

Here, you will need to get your hands on a washer-fill hose. It has connections on opposite ends. Just attach the drain valve to one end and the wash tub or a faucet to the other. After this, the drain valve should be opened. Lastly, turn the water on.

The water pressure generated by the hose will push the sediments and eventually unclog your heart. Wait approximately two minutes, then shut it off, close the valve, take the hose out and let it drain.

  1. Hose stomping

If the drain, which-way valve, is clogged before or while you are trying to drain, stomp your foot forcefully on the hose so that a huge chunk of air will make its way to the tank. This will push away the sediments. You may repeat the stomping until you see your water flowing freely. However, this does not apply to kink-proof hoses. But, this should do the trick if you have the standard ones.

  1. Some patience

Chances are: your heater may unclog on its own. The waiting time may take until an hour or two, but this need not be closely monitored. Checking back in once in a while should suffice. 

Well, this method is the most time-consuming and the one with the least effectiveness. Additionally, it might not work against heavy sediment congestion.

Cold water procedures

You must be extremely near the drain valve with cold water methods. Because of this, we recommend that your hot water tank should be shut off for up until a whole day.

  1. Hanger method

This method is tedious, so protect your floors with some towels. First, open the drain valve and put the coat hanger’s wire in. As it enters the valve, allow it to move in circular motions in the hopes of hitting and dislodging the sediments.

Once the water starts to flow out, turn the drain valve off to attach the hose. Repeat as needed.

  1. Replacement of drain valves

The clogged water heater isn’t always the one to blame. A malfunctioning drain valve may be the culprit; if so, you would have to replace it. Before starting the process, ensure that all faucets around your home are turned off. This is to prevent air from entering the tank as you work.

To start, get the new valve and put some Teflon tape to its threading for waterproof sealing. Then, remove the screws of the defective valve and prepare for some possible leakage, after which, quickly take it out and put the new one in. And there you have your new drain valve!

  1. Open flushing

If you have a floor drain situated just beside your heater, you may take the drain valve out and let the water flow. After which, you may start to fish with, again, the use of an ever-so-reliable coat hanger. This is extremely tedious but may be one of the most effective if done properly.

And there you have it! Now, you have six ways to choose if you have a clogged heater again. 


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."