How to Drain a Clogged Water Heater

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You need to clear the water out of your water heater to make it lighter and easier to move, but you’ve run into a problem: the water won’t drain out! In this case, your water heater drain valve is likely clogged. Don’t fret, this is a common issue and is easily fixable. Try these methods to drain your clogged water heater. Scroll to the bottom for video how-to!

2 Ways to Drain a Clogged Water Heater

Use A Wire to Clear the Clog

First, attempt to clear out any debris caught in your drain valve with a wire (sturdier the better). Have the water valve turned on so you can see if debris removal is helping the water flow. Be aware that if it works, water can begin to spray rapidly, so you’ll probably want to be prepared for it. Be ready to close the drain valve immediately to stop water flow.

Also, you may want to lay out some towels and/or have a bucket handy to catch as much of the water as you can (you may need a helper for this). If it stops draining after awhile (or if this method doesn’t work at all), there are probably lime deposits in the drain valve. Move on to the next method if this is the case.

Use a CO2 Drain Gun

For this second method, you’ll need a CO2 drain gun, which uses compressed air to help clear drain lines. Before attaching the drain gun to the water valve, be sure to open the pressure release valve. This allows air pressure to escape. When you’ve done this, press the attached trigger to send the compressed air up into drain valve and clear the deposits. This should work almost instantly, so again beware of rapid water flow after you press the trigger.

After you’ve shut off the drain valve, attach a hose (that feeds to where you want the water drained) and turn the drain valve back on to allow for easier water removal.

Watch the video below to see Tiger Tom of Tiger Mechanical demonstrate how to drain a clogged water heater:


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