How to Drain an AO Smith Water Heater?

When it comes to maintaining your water heater’s efficiency and prolonging its lifespan, periodic draining is a crucial task. Draining your AO Smith water heater helps eliminate sediment buildup and enhances its overall performance. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

To initiate the draining process, the first step is to turn off the power supply to your AO Smith water heater. This safety measure is essential to avoid any electrical mishaps during the procedure. Once the power is off, you’re ready to proceed. 

Next, ensure that you’ve gathered all the necessary tools and materials to facilitate the draining process. A hose, a bucket, and some towels or rags are crucial to manage the water flow and prevent any spillage. 

Now, let’s move on to the second step in this guide.

Understanding the Importance of Draining

Your water heater accumulates sediment over time, which can negatively impact its efficiency. Sediment buildup can lead to reduced heating capacity and higher energy consumption. Draining your AO Smith water heater is a proactive measure to mitigate these issues. Regular maintenance ensures that you consistently have access to hot water when you need it, making your daily life more comfortable and efficient.

Gather Necessary Tools and Materials

Before starting the draining process, it’s essential to gather the tools and materials you’ll need. Ensure you have a hose, a wrench, a bucket, and protective gear like gloves. These items are vital for a safe and successful water heater drainage.

Step 1: Turn Off the Power Supply

Before beginning the process of draining your AO Smith water heater, it is crucial to prioritize safety. The first step is to turn off the power supply to the water heater. By doing so, you reduce the risk of electrical hazards while working on the tank. Here’s how to do it:

  • Locate your water heater’s circuit breaker or electrical panel.
  • Identify the circuit that supplies power to the water heater. This circuit should be clearly labeled.
  • Turn off the circuit breaker or switch associated with the water heater. This action ensures that no electricity is flowing to the heating elements inside the tank
  • Turning off the power supply is a fundamental safety measure, and it should be performed before proceeding with any maintenance or drainage tasks related to your AO Smith water heater.

Step 2: Shut Off the Cold Water Supply

With the power supply to your AO Smith water heater turned off, the next important step is to shut off the cold water supply that feeds into the tank. This ensures that no new water enters the water heater during the draining process. Follow these steps:

  • Locate the cold water inlet valve on the water heater. It is typically located near the top of the unit.
  • Turn the valve clockwise (right) to close it completely. This action stops the flow of cold water into the tank.

By shutting off the cold water supply, you prevent fresh water from entering the tank while you’re in the process of draining it. This step is essential to allow the water heater to empty properly during the drainage process.

Step 3: Connect a Hose

To efficiently drain your AO Smith water heater, you’ll need to connect a hose. Here’s how to do it:

  • Obtain a standard garden hose that is long enough to reach from your water heater to a suitable drainage area. The hose should have a fitting that can be attached to the drain valve on your water heater.
  • Locate the drain valve on your AO Smith water heater. It is typically located near the bottom of the unit. This valve allows you to control the flow of water during the draining process.
  • Attach one end of the garden hose to the drain valve securely. Make sure it is tightly fastened to prevent any leaks.
  • Place the other end of the hose in a floor drain, utility sink, or any suitable drainage area. Ensure that the hose is properly positioned to direct the water safely outside your home or to a proper drainage system.

Connecting the hose is a crucial step, as it allows the water to flow out of the water heater and into the desired location, preventing any mess or water damage.

Step 4: Open a Hot Water Faucet

  • Before you proceed with draining your AO Smith water heater, it’s important to open a hot water faucet. Here’s how to do it:
  • Choose a hot water faucet in your home, such as a sink or bathtub, and make sure it is fully turned on.
  • By opening a hot water faucet, you allow air to enter the system. This air helps the water heater drain more efficiently by preventing a vacuum from forming, which could impede the flow of water.
  • Keep the hot water faucet open throughout the draining process. You’ll notice that water starts to flow from the faucet initially. As the water heater empties, the flow from the faucet will slow down and eventually stop.

Remember to be cautious when the hot water initially flows from the faucet, as it may be very hot. Opening the faucet is a simple yet crucial step to ensure a smooth and effective water heater draining process.

Step 5: Drain the Tank

Now that you’ve prepared your AO Smith water heater for draining by turning off the power supply, shutting off the cold water, connecting a hose, and opening a hot water faucet, it’s time to drain the tank. Follow these steps:

  • Locate the drain valve on your AO Smith water heater. It’s typically positioned at the bottom of the tank and looks like a standard hose bib.
  • Place the free end of the hose in a suitable drainage area, such as a floor drain, utility sink, or outside where the water can safely discharge without causing any damage.
  • Slowly turn the drain valve counterclockwise to open it. Be cautious, as the water that comes out can be extremely hot. Allow the water to flow freely through the hose and into your chosen drainage location.
  • If your water heater has a T&P (Temperature and Pressure) relief valve, you can also open it to help speed up the draining process. Simply lift the lever on the T&P valve to release any pressure within the tank.
  • Keep the hot water faucet that you opened earlier turned on. This step ensures that air can enter the system and allows for a smoother draining process.
  • The tank will take some time to completely drain. You’ll know it’s finished when water stops flowing from the hose, and the hot water faucet you opened earlier starts sputtering or stops altogether.
  • Once the tank is fully drained, close the drain valve by turning it clockwise, and turn off the T&P relief valve if you opened it. This helps prevent any air from entering the tank once you refill it.

Your AO Smith water heater is now drained and ready for maintenance, repair, or replacement. Remember that the water you’ve just drained may still be scalding hot, so exercise caution throughout the process.

Step 6: Close the Valve and Remove the Hose

With your AO Smith water heater successfully drained and any necessary maintenance or replacement tasks completed, you’re now ready to close the valve and remove the hose. Follow these final steps:

  • Carefully turn the drain valve clockwise to close it. Ensure it’s tightly sealed to prevent any water from escaping once you restart the water heater.
  • Turn off the T&P (Temperature and Pressure) relief valve if you opened it during the draining process. Gently push the lever back into its closed position.
  • If you opened a hot water faucet to allow air into the system, you can now turn it off as well.
  • After ensuring all valves and faucets are securely closed, you can disconnect the hose from the drain valve.
  • Hold the hose upright to allow any remaining water to drain into the drainage area before coiling it for storage.

By following this final step, you’ve effectively closed the water heater’s drain valve, removed the hose, and completed the draining process. You can now proceed with any necessary maintenance, repairs, or replacement of your AO Smith water heater. Remember to handle the hot water heater components with care to avoid any potential scalding or safety hazards.

Safety Precautions

  • Avoiding Scalding: As you deal with hot water, be cautious to prevent scalding. Wear protective gear like gloves and ensure you avoid direct contact with the hot water.
  • Handling Hot Water and Steam: Steam and hot water may be emitted during the process. Ensure you handle them with care and avoid any contact that could lead to burns.
  • Turning Off the Power and Gas: Safety is paramount. Always turn off both the power and gas supply before initiating the draining process to prevent accidents.

Structural Integrity

The structural integrity of your AO Smith water heater plays a vital role in its longevity and safety. Ensure that the supporting structure can handle the weight of the water heater. Draining is part of the maintenance process that contributes to maintaining this integrity.

Installation Planning

When planning to replace or install an AO Smith water heater, it’s essential to consider the weight of the unit. Understanding the factors that influence its weight is critical for proper installation and ensuring a safe and reliable operation.

Why Does Weight Matter?

The weight of a water heater is a crucial consideration during installation. Whether you’re replacing an old unit or installing a new one, understanding the weight of a 50-gallon water heater is essential to ensure it operates optimally and to prevent any structural issues in your home. In this guide, we’ll explore the weight of a 50-gallon water heater and the key factors to keep in mind during the installation process.

Advantages of Obtaining a Permit

When dealing with water heater replacements, you may wonder if you need a permit. Understanding the advantages of obtaining a permit is crucial. It ensures that your installation complies with local regulations and offers benefits such as safety, compliance, and even potential insurance coverage.

Do You Need a Permit to Replace a Water Heater?

This section explores the necessity of obtaining a permit when replacing your water heater. We’ll provide insights into when permits are required, the benefits of obtaining one, and the potential consequences of bypassing this essential step.


Q1: How often should I drain AO Smith water heater?

It’s recommended to drain your water heater annually to prevent sediment buildup and maintain optimal performance.

Q2: What should I do if I encounter leaks during the draining process?

If you notice leaks, immediately close the drain valve, disconnect the hose, and consult a professional for repairs.

Q3: Can I drain my water heater without any tools or special equipment?

You’ll need basic tools and materials such as a hose and a wrench to successfully drain your water heater.

Q4: Does draining my water heater void the warranty?

Draining your water heater as part of regular maintenance should not void the warranty. However, always check your warranty terms to be certain.


To sum it up, the regular maintenance of your AO Smith water heater, including the crucial drainage process, plays a pivotal role in preserving its efficiency and extending its overall lifespan. The step-by-step guide provided ensures that you can carry out the drainage safely and efficiently, reducing the risk of issues down the line.

 Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when performing maintenance. With a well-maintained water heater, you can enjoy a consistent supply of hot water without interruptions, making your daily life more comfortable and efficient.

Leave a Comment