Mastering the Art of Emptying Your AO Smith Water Heater

Have you ever found yourself staring at your trusty AO Smith water heater, wondering how to properly empty it? Fear not, dear reader, for we’re about to embark on a journey that will leave you feeling like a seasoned pro in the realm of water heater maintenance.

Keeping your AO Smith unit in tip-top shape is crucial for ensuring a steady supply of hot water and prolonging its lifespan. And when the time comes to drain that bad boy, you’ll want to do it right – no shortcuts allowed!

Emptying Your AO Smith Water Heater

Reasons for Emptying AO Smith Water Heater

Emptying your AO Smith water heater is a crucial task that should be undertaken for several reasons. Whether it’s part of your scheduled maintenance routine, addressing sediment buildup, preparing for a move, or getting ready for a repair or replacement, draining the tank is an essential step in ensuring your unit’s longevity and optimal performance.

Safety Precautions

Before you dive headfirst into the draining process, safety should be your top priority. Turn off the power or gas supply to the unit, and allow the tank ample time to cool down. Clear the surrounding area, and don’t forget to don your protective gear – gloves, goggles, and a sturdy pair of shoes.

Step-by-Step Draining Process

Alright, it’s time to get your hands dirty (figuratively speaking, of course). Locate the drain valve, typically found near the bottom of the tank, and connect a garden hose to it. Next, open the pressure relief valve to allow air to enter the tank, ensuring a smooth drainage process. Monitor the water flow and be prepared to deal with any sediment that may come out.

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Additional Drainage Methods

In some cases, the standard draining method may not be enough. If you’re dealing with a stubborn tank, consider using a submersible pump or siphoning with a hose. Certain AO Smith models even allow for gravity draining, but be sure to consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

Post-Draining Maintenance

Once the tank is empty, take the opportunity to inspect the interior for any signs of corrosion or damage. Give it a thorough flushing and cleaning, and don’t forget to replace the anode rod if necessary. Finally, refill the tank, following the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure proper operation.

ModelCapacity (Gallons)Recommended Drain Frequency
Signature Premier50 – 120Annual
ProMax30 – 120Every 6 months
Conservationist40 – 120Annual

Draining Different AO Smith Water Heater Models

While the general draining process remains similar across AO Smith’s lineup, there are a few nuances to consider when dealing with different models. Electric and gas units may have slightly varying procedures, while commercial units often require additional steps due to their larger capacities. Tankless, hybrid, and outdoor water heaters also have unique draining requirements that should be carefully followed.

Troubleshooting Common Draining Issues

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter some hiccups during the draining process. A clogged or stuck drain valve can impede water flow, while excessive sediment buildup can slow things down considerably. Leaks or water spills are also potential issues that may require immediate attention and a change in approach.

Frequency and Timing of Draining

To keep your AO Smith water heater running smoothly, it’s essential to establish a regular draining schedule. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, but also consider factors like regional water quality, household usage patterns, and your overall preventive maintenance plan.

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Professional Draining Services

In some cases, it may be wise to seek professional assistance for draining your AO Smith water heater. This can be particularly helpful for larger commercial units or if you’re uncomfortable tackling the task yourself. Professional services can save time and minimize potential risks.

Disposal and Environmental Concerns

Once the draining is complete, it’s crucial to address the disposal of the drained water and any sediment or debris properly. Explore recycling options for old units, and ensure you’re adhering to local regulations and codes regarding the disposal of water heater components. 


I am a mechanical engineer and love doing research on different home and outdoor heating options. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy blogging about my findings and helping others to find the best heating options for their needs.