How to Flush Water Heater with Vinegar: A Simple Tutorial

We must regularly clean and flush the tank on the water heater unit. To do this, you can use vinegar. Knowing how to flush the water heater with vinegar is a simple hack for household management.

This simple trick will help you eliminate the sediment inside the tank. However, if not handled regularly, this sediment will cause some problems for your unit. Less hot water, broken machines, and water not appropriately heated are some of the problems. Therefore, you need to make time to flush the unit yourself and clean your water heater.

how to flush water heater with vinegar

How to Flush Water Heater with Vinegar

Sediment build-up on your water heater will cause some trouble in your daily life. It could cause the unit to work correctly and make life uncomfortable. Knowing how to clean gas or electric water heaters yourself is the right way to solve this.

Before that, you must also know what ingredients and tools to use for this tutorial. The things you need to have are:

  • Hose
  • Bucket
  • Step tool
  • Vinegar
  • Socket wrench
  • Funnel

Then, here are the steps you could take to flush the water heater with vinegar. Follow it accordingly for the best result.

  1. The first thing to do is to turn off the water heater. Use the circuit breaker panel if your unit is electrical, or close the gas shutoff valve if you use the gas water heater.  
  2. After that, close the water supply. Next, find a water shutoff valve and turn it off. This will help the flushing process since it is impossible to do the job if the water supply is open.
  3. Then, you could drain the tank. You can find the drain valve on the bottom of the tank. Use the hose and connect it to the drain valve. Make sure to drain the water outside of the house. Wait several minutes.
  4. You can remove the water heater’s anode rod if it is finished. Find a lid at the top of the hot water tank and remove it. Also, do not forget to remove the insulating material if your unit has one.
  5. Loosen the anode rod using the socket wrench and slide this part out.
  6. The next step is to fill the anode rod with vinegar. Again, you could use the finger and place it into the anode rod. Finally, pour 3 gallons of vinegar into the anode rod chamber.
  7. Insert the anode rod again and then remove the funnel.
  8. Replace the insulating material and the cover.
  9. After that, open the main valve and let the hot water into the tank for several minutes.
  10. Let it be for at least 6 hours to remove the sediment properly.
  11. Flush the water heater.
  12. Fill the water supply and run it as usual. Your water heater should be clean by now.

What Kind of Vinegar to Flush Tankless Water Heater

If you already know what to do with the vinegar and the tank, now it is time to understand what kind of vinegar to use for this tutorial. You are on the wrong track if you think regular white vinegar is correct.

It is common to use ACV or apple cider vinegar to flush the water heater tank. This kind of vinegar is slightly more alkaline than the other one. Therefore, it will not corrupt the metal aggressively like white vinegar. ACV will help clean the tank without eating away the parts.

However, you could also use the water heater sediment cleaner from the store. This option is much easier if you want special tools and materials. Nevertheless, the two options are both good.

Additional Tips:

  • Flushing your water heater with vinegar is a natural and effective way to deal with sediment buildup. This method is especially beneficial for those with hard water issues.
  • Regular maintenance, including an annual flush, can significantly extend the life of your water heater and improve its efficiency.
  • If you’re uncomfortable performing this maintenance, consider hiring a professional to ensure it’s done safely and correctly.

Following these steps, you can flush your water heater with vinegar, improving its performance and longevity. Regular maintenance is key to avoiding common water heater issues and ensuring you always have access to hot water when needed.


Knowing how to flush a water heater with vinegar is a simple hack for a house owner. However, being able to do the work yourself will help you go through it independently, especially if you are about to face a cold winter in your area. It is a little trick to keep the body warm.

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Heater Technician is a skilled author and water heater expert with years of experience in the field. He has authored several articles and books on various aspects of water heater installation, maintenance, and repair.