Comprehensive Guide: How to Clean Water Lines with Propane Water Heater

Maintaining the cleanliness of your propane water heater’s water lines is crucial for ensuring efficient and reliable hot water supply. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your water lines, providing you with the technical details and expert insights to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning.

Preparing for the Cleaning Process

Before you begin the cleaning process, it’s essential to gather the necessary tools and materials. You’ll need:

  • Garden hose
  • Bucket or container to collect the drained water
  • Protective gloves and eyewear
  • Wrench or pliers to turn the valves

Shutting Off the Heat Source

how to clean water lines with propane water heater

  1. Gas Water Heaters: Locate the temperature setting on your gas water heater and change it to the pilot or vacation mode to turn off the heat source.
  2. Electric Water Heaters: Identify the breaker that powers your hot water heater and flip it off, or simply unplug the heater from the wall.

Turning Off the Cold Water Supply

  1. Locate the cold water supply valve, typically found near the top of the water heater.
  2. Turn the valve clockwise to the fully closed position, shutting off the cold water supply.

Connecting the Drain Hose

  1. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve, which is usually located near the bottom of the water heater.
  2. Route the other end of the hose to a floor drain or outside, ensuring proper drainage.

Allowing Air into the System

  1. Locate the pressure relief valve, typically found near the top of the water heater.
  2. Lift the lever on the pressure relief valve to allow air into the system, which will help the tank drain more efficiently.

Draining the Tank

  1. Open the drain valve, which is usually a spigot-like valve near the bottom of the water heater.
  2. Monitor the draining water for any sediment or debris.
  3. If the water is clear, the lines are clean. If not, continue draining and repeat the process until the water runs clear.

Refilling the Tank and Restoring Power

  1. Once the tank has been drained, close the drain valve and remove the hose.
  2. Turn the cold water supply valve back on, allowing the tank to refill.
  3. For gas water heaters, turn the temperature setting back to the desired level.
  4. For electric water heaters, flip the breaker back on or plug the heater back into the wall.

Maintaining Cleanliness

To ensure the ongoing cleanliness of your water lines, it’s recommended to flush the water heater at least once a year, especially in areas with hard water or older pipes. If a significant amount of sediment comes out during each flushing, consider increasing the frequency to prevent sediment buildup and potential corrosion.

When flushing the water heater, always take safety precautions, such as wearing protective gloves and eyewear, and turning off the power source before starting the process.


  1. CR4 Discussion Thread: How to Clean a Propane Hot Water Heater
  2. YouTube Video: How To Flush A Hot Water Heater To Remove Sediment
  3. JustAnswer Forum: Where do I pour the vinegar in if I want to flush the water