Run through the following steps to recycle a hot water heater properly.
To safely disconnect the heater, turn off the power.
Unplug the heater and let the tank cool completely.
Label the power connections to the heater. This saves time and effort when installing a new heater.
Hook up a hose to the drainage valve on the tank. Let the water in the tank drain into an outdoor area or a drain that can handle the amount of water in the tank.
Disconnect the heater from the plumbing.
Contact local recycling centers and ask if they accept hot water heaters. As recycling centers often charge fees, it may be helpful to contact local utility companies, as these often pick up old heaters free of charge. Some companies also offer rebates or discounts on new heaters to dispose of old heaters. This is due to the federal Energy Star program, which encourages customers to purchase energy efficient appliances. Find participating recycling programs and utility companies through EnergyStar.gov.