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How To Dispose Water Heater (8 Easy Steps)

How To Dispose Water Heater

How To Dispose Water Heater, contact your local recycling center or waste management facility and follow their specific guidelines for proper disposal. Water heaters can be cumbersome to handle and dispose of, but it is important to do so safely and in an environmentally friendly manner.

How To Dispose Water Heater

In this article, we will guide you on how to dispose of a water heater efficiently. Whether you are replacing your old unit or need to get rid of a broken one, it is crucial to follow the correct procedures.

We will provide you with valuable information on how to navigate the disposal process, ensuring that you adhere to local regulations and minimize any negative impact on the environment. By the end of this article, you will be equipped with the knowledge to dispose of your water heater responsibly.

This guide will outline the required materials and steps for safely disposing of a water heater.

  1. Tools:
    • Wrench or pliers
    • Pipe cutter or saw (if necessary)
    • Screwdriver
    • Utility knife
  2. Container
    • Large, sturdy container or bucket
    • Trash bags
    • Plastic sheeting or tarp (for potential water containment)
  3. Drainage and Cleaning Materials:
    • Hose
    • Large buckets or containers
    • Sponges or towels
    • Non-toxic cleaning solution
  4. Transportation and Hauling:
    • Hand truck or dolly
    • Ropes or straps (for securing during transportation)
    • Vehicle with sufficient cargo space

Step 1: Gather Safety Gear and Tools

Before you begin the disposal process, ensure you have the necessary safety gear and tools to protect yourself and effectively complete the task:

  • Safety Gear: Put on heavy-duty gloves, safety goggles or glasses, and a dust mask or respirator. These items will shield you from potential hazards such as sharp edges, dust, and debris.
  • Tools: Gather a wrench or pliers for disconnecting plumbing connections, a pipe cutter or saw (if needed), a screwdriver, and a utility knife. Having the right tools on hand will make the process smoother and more efficient.
How To Dispose Water Heater

Step 2: Turn Off Utilities

Safety is paramount, so start by turning off the utilities connected to the water heater:

  • Electricity: If your water heater is electric, locate the circuit breaker or fuse box and turn off the power to the water heater. This will prevent any electrical accidents during the disposal process.
  • Gas: For gas water heaters, turn off the gas supply using the gas shut-off valve located near the unit. If you’re unsure about this step, consult your gas provider or a professional for guidance.

Step 3: Allow Cooling Time

Give the water heater ample time to cool down before you start the disposal process. Hot water heaters can remain hot for hours after they’re turned off, so waiting a few hours ensures you won’t encounter scalding temperatures during the removal process.

Step 4: Drain the Water Heater

Draining the water heater is a crucial step to prevent spills and messes during the removal:

  • Attach Hose: Connect a hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose in a suitable drainage area, such as a floor drain or outside.
  • Open the Drain Valve: Open the drain valve to allow the water heater to empty completely. This water can be hot, so exercise caution.
  • Open Hot Water Faucet: To facilitate drainage, open a hot water faucet somewhere in your home. This will help air enter the system and assist with a smoother drainage process.

Step 5: Disconnect Plumbing Connections

Next, disconnect the plumbing connections from the water heater:

  • Inlet and Outlet Pipes: Use a wrench or pliers to carefully disconnect the inlet and outlet pipes from the water heater. Have a bucket or container ready to catch any residual water that may drip out.
  • Other Connections: If there are any other relevant plumbing connections, disconnect them as well.

Step 6: Remove the Water Heater

Once the water heater is drained and disconnected, it’s time to remove it:

  • Maneuvering: Carefully maneuver the water heater to a suitable location where you can work on its removal. If the water heater is too heavy to lift, consider using a hand truck or dolly to move it.
  • Dismantling: If the water heater is too large to fit through doorways or transport, consider dismantling it into smaller components. Use a pipe cutter or saw to carefully cut through any necessary parts.

Step 7: Prepare for Transport

Preparing the water heater for transport is crucial to ensure safety during transit:

  • Securing: If you’re using a vehicle for transportation, secure the water heater using ropes or straps to prevent it from shifting during transit. This will prevent damage to your vehicle and potential accidents.
  • Contain Residual Water: Lay down plastic sheeting or a tarp in your vehicle to catch any residual water or debris that might come out during transportation. This will keep your vehicle clean and protect against potential leaks.

Step 8: Dispose of the Water Heater

The final step involves proper disposal of the water heater:

  • Research Local Regulations: Before disposing of the water heater, research your local waste management or recycling center’s guidelines. Different areas have varying regulations for large appliances, so ensure you’re following the appropriate procedures.
  • Curbside Pickup or Drop-off: Depending on your area’s regulations, you might have the option for curbside pickup of large items or dropping the water heater off at a designated location. Some areas may require a fee for proper disposal.
  • Recycling: Whenever possible, consider recycling components of the water heater, such as metal parts and certain materials. Recycling helps reduce the environmental impact of disposal.


Properly disposing of a water heater involves a series of steps aimed at safety, environmental responsibility, and adherence to local regulations. By following this step-by-step guide and using the right safety gear and tools, you can ensure a smooth and responsible disposal process. Remember to prioritize safety, proper drainage, and adherence to waste management guidelines throughout each step. Disposing of a water heater responsibly is not only a personal responsibility but also a contribution to a cleaner and safer environment.

Why It’s Important To Safely Dispose Of A Water Heater

Water heaters are a common household appliance that provides hot water for various purposes. However, when it comes time to replace an old or malfunctioning water heater, it’s important to dispose of it properly. Improper disposal of water heaters can have detrimental effects on both the environment and our communities.

Let’s explore the reasons why it’s crucial to safely dispose of a water heater.

Health And Environmental Hazards

  • Water heaters contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and other heavy metals, which can pose a threat to human health and the environment if not disposed of correctly.
  • Improper disposal methods, such as dumping water heaters into landfills or pouring hazardous substances down the drain, can contaminate soil, groundwater, and nearby water sources.
  • Exposure to these hazardous materials can lead to serious health issues like respiratory problems, neurological disorders, and developmental delays, particularly in children and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Impact On Local Communities And Ecosystems

  • Disposing of water heaters in an irresponsible manner can have detrimental effects on our local communities. Toxic substances released during improper disposal can seep into the soil and water, making them unfit for consumption and endangering the health of nearby residents.
  • The contamination of ecosystems is another significant concern. Waterways and natural habitats may suffer irreparable damage due to the release of hazardous chemicals, affecting aquatic life and the delicate balance of ecosystems.
  • Additionally, improperly discarded water heaters contribute to the growing problem of electronic waste. This waste poses a challenge for recycling facilities and adds to the burden of already overflowing landfills.

By ensuring the safe disposal of water heaters, we can protect our health, environment, and local communities. Choosing responsible methods of disposal, such as recycling or contacting professional disposal services, can help minimize the negative impact on our surroundings. It’s our collective responsibility to safeguard our planet and create a sustainable future.

Disconnecting And Draining The Water Heater

Disposing of a water heater can seem like a daunting task, but with proper knowledge and guidance, it can be a straightforward process. One of the crucial steps in the disposal process is disconnecting and draining the water heater. In this section, we will walk you through the necessary steps to prepare your water heater for disposal and safely disconnect and drain it.

Preparing The Water Heater For Disposal

Before you begin disconnecting and draining your water heater, it’s essential to take a few preparatory steps to ensure a smooth process. Here are the key points to keep in mind:

  • Turn off the power: Safety first! Locate the breaker or fuse connected to the water heater and switch it off. This will prevent any accidental electrical shock during the disconnection and draining process.
  • Gather the necessary tools: Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need, such as a pipe wrench, a garden hose, and a bucket. Having these tools handy will make the disconnection and draining process much easier and efficient.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions: Each water heater may have specific guidelines for disconnecting and draining. Consult the manufacturer’s manual or instructions to ensure you follow the recommended steps for your specific model.

Now that you’ve prepared your water heater for disposal let’s move on to the next crucial step: disconnecting and draining the unit properly. Here’s what you need to know:

Properly Disconnecting And Draining The Unit

Disconnecting and draining your water heater requires careful execution to avoid any water damage or potential accidents. Follow these essential steps to ensure a safe and effective disconnection and draining process:

  • Turn off the water supply: Locate the main water supply valve connected to your water heater and shut it off. This will prevent any additional water from entering the unit during the disconnection process.
  • Turn off the gas supply (if applicable): If your water heater operates on gas, locate the gas supply valve and close it. This step is crucial to prevent any potential gas leaks while disconnecting the unit.
  • Open the hot water faucet: To relieve pressure within the water heater, open a hot water faucet in your home. This will allow air to enter the system, helping with the draining process.
  • Attach a garden hose: Take your garden hose and securely attach it to the drain valve located at the bottom of the water heater. Make sure the other end of the hose is placed in a suitable drainage location, such as a floor drain, sink, or outdoors.
  • Open the drain valve: Slowly open the drain valve on the water heater, allowing the water to flow out through the garden hose. Be cautious as the water may be hot and can cause burns. Ensure the water is draining properly before proceeding.
  • Open the pressure relief valve: To facilitate the draining process, open the pressure relief valve on the water heater. This will help with the flow of water and prevent any suction issues.
  • Drain the water heater completely: Allow the water to drain fully from the water heater. Once the water stops flowing, close the drain valve and disconnect the garden hose.

By following these precise steps, you will have successfully disconnected and drained your water heater, preparing it for safe disposal.

Remember, safety is paramount throughout this process. If you’re uncertain or uncomfortable with any step, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional to assist you. With these guidelines in hand, you’re now well-equipped to dispose of your water heater in an efficient and responsible manner.

Removing And Transporting The Water Heater

Removing and transporting a water heater can seem like a daunting task, but with the right precautions and tips, it can be done safely and efficiently. In this section, we will discuss the safety precautions you should take when removing a water heater and offer some valuable tips for transporting the unit securely.

So, let’s get started!

Safety Precautions For Removing A Water Heater:

  • Before attempting to remove the water heater, make sure to turn off the power supply and shut off the gas or disconnect the electrical connection. This will prevent any potential accidents or injuries.
  • Ensure that the water heater is completely cooled down before attempting to remove it. Hot water or steam can cause severe burns, so exercise caution.
  • Wear protective gear, including gloves and eye protection, to safeguard yourself from any potential hazards during the removal process.
  • If the water heater is located in a tight space or requires lifting heavy objects, consider recruiting a helper to assist you. This will reduce the risk of strain or injuries.
  • Take note of any nearby obstructions or obstacles that may hinder the removal process. Clearing the area will make it easier and safer to transport the unit.

Tips For Transporting The Unit Safely:

  • Empty the water heater completely before moving it to reduce the weight and prevent any potential water leakage during transportation.
  • Securely cover and seal all the openings of the water heater to prevent any damage or spillage during transit.
  • Use a dolly or hand truck to transport the water heater, as this will make it easier to maneuver and minimize physical strain.
  • Secure the water heater to the dolly or hand truck using straps or bungee cords to prevent it from tipping over or falling during transportation.
  • Take extra care when lifting or moving the water heater to avoid any sudden movements that could cause injury or damage.

Remember, when removing and transporting a water heater, safety should be your top priority. By following these safety precautions and tips, you can ensure a smooth and secure process.

Recycling Or Disposing Of The Water Heater

Replacing your water heater is a significant task, but what should you do with the old one? Proper disposal or recycling of your old water heater is essential for environmental reasons. But how exactly should you go about it? There are a few options to consider when it comes to recycling or disposing of your water heater.

Options For Recycling The Water Heater:

  • Donate: If your water heater is still in good working condition, consider donating it to a local charity or organization. Many organizations may be in need of such appliances, and your donation could help someone in need.
  • Scrap metal recycling: If your water heater is beyond repair or not suitable for donation, consider recycling it as scrap metal. Metal recycling centers often accept water heaters and other appliances made of recyclable metals such as steel or aluminum. Remember to check with local recycling facilities for any restrictions or guidelines.
  • Manufacturer’s take-back program: Some water heater manufacturers offer take-back programs where they recycle the old units. Check with the manufacturer of your water heater to see if they have such a program available.

Proper Disposal Methods For Different Types Of Water Heaters:

  • Electric water heaters: Before disposing of an electric water heater, make sure to turn off the power supply and disconnect it from any electrical connections. Drain the water heater completely by opening the drain valve. Contact your local waste management facility to find out the proper disposal method in your area.
  • Gas/propane water heaters: Gas or propane water heaters require extra caution when disposing of them. Turn off the gas supply and disconnect the unit from the gas line. Drain the water heater and remove any remaining gas or propane by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Contact your local waste management facility or fire department to learn about the proper disposal method for gas appliances in your area.
  • Tankless water heaters: Tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency. When disposing of a tankless water heater, disconnect it from any electrical or gas connections, drain any remaining water, and contact your local waste management facility for proper disposal guidance.

By recycling or properly disposing of your water heater, you are not only helping the environment but also ensuring that it doesn’t end up in a landfill. Consider the options available to you and choose the most suitable method based on the condition and type of your water heater.

Remember to always follow local regulations and guidelines to ensure responsible disposal or recycling.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Dispose Water Heater

How Do You Dispose Of A Water Heater Safely?

To dispose of a water heater safely, start by turning off the power or gas supply and draining the tank completely. Next, check your local regulations for proper disposal methods. Some options include contacting a scrap metal dealer, scheduling a pickup with a waste management company, or taking it to a recycling center.

Can I Recycle My Old Water Heater?

You, you can recycle your old water heater. Many recycling centers accept water heaters made of metal, which can be broken down and reused. Contact your local recycling center to find out the specific guidelines for recycling your water heater.

What Are The Alternatives To Disposing Of A Water Heater?

Instead of disposing of a water heater, consider other alternatives. If the unit is still in good working condition, you could consider selling or donating it. Additionally, you may be able to repurpose the water heater for other uses, such as a storage tank for rainwater or a wood-burning stove.

Can I Dispose Of A Water Heater In The Regular Trash?

In most cases, you cannot dispose of a water heater in regular trash. Water heaters are typically large and can contain hazardous components. It’s important to check your local regulations for proper disposal methods. This will help prevent environmental damage and ensure that the heater is handled safely and responsibly.

What Should I Do If I Need Professional Help With Water Heater Disposal?

If you need professional help with water heater disposal, consider contacting a waste management company or a plumber. They will have the expertise and resources to safely remove and dispose of the water heater. Additionally, they can guide you through the process and ensure that all regulations are followed.

How do I dispose of a hot water heater near me?

To dispose of a hot water heater near you, follow these steps:

Check Local Regulations: Research your area’s waste management guidelines. Some localities offer curbside pickup for large items like water heaters, while others may require you to drop them off at designated locations.

Contact Waste Management: Reach out to your local waste management or recycling center to inquire about their disposal process. They can provide information on pickup schedules, fees, and any recycling options available.

Prepare for Pickup or Drop-off: If curbside pickup is available, follow the schedule and guidelines provided. If drop-off is required, ensure the water heater is properly drained and disconnected before transporting it.

Secure Properly: If transporting the heater yourself, use a dolly or hand truck for easy movement. Secure the water heater to prevent shifting during transit.

Follow Safety Precautions: Wear safety gear, secure residual water, and protect your vehicle from leaks during transportation.

Remember, adhering to local regulations ensures a responsible and safe disposal process for both you and the environment.

How do you get rid of a hot water heater?

Getting rid of a hot water heater involves these steps:

Disconnect Utilities: Turn off the electricity or gas supply to the water heater. Allow it to cool down for a few hours before proceeding.
Drain the Heater: Attach a hose to the drain valve, let it empty completely, and open a hot water faucet in your home to aid drainage.
Disconnect Plumbing: Using tools like wrenches, disconnect the inlet and outlet pipes.
Remove the Heater: Carefully move the heater to a suitable location for further steps.
Dispose of Responsibly: Research local regulations for disposal options. Contact waste management to arrange curbside pickup or drop-off at designated locations.
By following these steps, you can safely and responsibly get rid of your hot water heater.

Is it safe to drain an old water heater?

Draining an old water heater is safe if done correctly:

Turn Off Utilities: Cut off the electricity or gas supply and let the water heater cool down for several hours.

Use Safety Gear: Wear gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask to protect yourself from potential hazards.

Attach Hose for Drainage: Attach a hose to the drain valve and direct it to a suitable drainage area. Open the valve and let the water empty.

Prevent Burns: Be cautious of hot water during draining. Open a hot water faucet in your home to help with drainage and prevent vacuum formation.

Monitor for Leaks: Keep an eye out for leaks during draining. If you notice any issues, stop the process and seek professional assistance


To sum up, disposing of a water heater requires careful consideration and adherence to local regulations. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a safe and environmentally-friendly disposal process. Remember to turn off the power and water supply, drain the heater, and disconnect any necessary connections.

If the heater is still in working order, consider donating it to a local charity or organization. On the other hand, if it is no longer functional, contact your local recycling center to properly dispose of it. It is crucial to prioritize safety during the disposal process to prevent any accidents or harm to the environment.

By taking these responsible steps, you can not only dispose of your water heater correctly but also contribute to a greener and cleaner community.