Flushing your hot water heater is one of those things that should be done about once every year or two. Not only will it make your water hotter, but it can save you money in water heating costs. Why? Because over time, sediments and other deposits collect in the bottom of the tank. These ‘non-water’ particulates suck up a lot of the heat that isn’t transferred to the water, thus wasting money. This guide walks you through the steps for flushing the sediment out of your hot water heater.


TL,DR Flushed out the hot water heater. It had several cups of what looked like white sand in the bottom. Water is hotter now.

This procedure is for a Richmond Model # 6E50-2 electric hot water heater. For gas hot water heaters, the procedure will be slightly different.


The procedure is as follows:

Turn off the power to the hot water heater at the circuit breaker.


Turn off the water supply line to the hot water heater.


Attach a hose to the drain port at the bottom.


Feed the hose over to a drain, or to the sump pump reservoir.1521906742837_image489556416.jpg

Turn on the hot water at the sink nearby.

Open the spigot on the bottom of the hot water heater to release the water and start draining it.
There is a ‘pressure relief valve at the top of the tank, open that.


Wait for it to drain several gallons.
I let some drain into bucket so I could see how much sediment was in there.


After it is mostly empty, turn on the feed water at the top of the hot water heater, to stir up the sediment. BUT, close the pressure relief valve when you do this, or else when you forget, water will come shooting out the overflow tube.

Continue to drain water.
Turn off the water supply line after a while, when water starts coming out of the hot water spigot at the nearest sink.
It seems to really help to turn on the cold water supply line, when water heater tank is almost empty, in order to stir up the sediments.
It is recommended to fill and drain probably 3 times to make sure everything is adequately flushed out. When water runs clear, shut the drain valve at the bottom of the tank.
Shut the pressure relief valve at the top of the tank.
Leave the hot water spigot on at the nearest sink, this will ensure that you don’t leave bubbles or air trapped in the system.
Turn on the water supply line to the tank.
Turn on the power to the unit at the circuit breaker box.
(Clean up the water you spilled everywhere.)
After this procedure, you will notice the water is hotter coming out of your shower. Even without adjusting the temperature setting at all.
I hope you find this useful!

Check out this post on replacing your anode rod!