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#4702114 - 03/21/18 03:38 PM Draining water heater - tips?
HawkeyeScott Offline


Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 785
Loc: El Oeste
Had a new water heater installed last March. Ready to do the first drain on it. Any tips for doing so?

We have very hard water here. The house we bought had an old water heater when we first moved to this region a few years back. It was clanking so I never drained it. Now, with the new one, I will as a means of getting the minerals out.

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#4702125 - 03/21/18 03:47 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
MuzzleFlash40 Offline


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 1151
Loc: SE Ohio
I had to change the lower heating element in mine when we moved in, I hooked the garden hose to it and drained it out in the ditch. Took about 15 minutes.
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#4702126 - 03/21/18 03:48 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
Gebo Offline


Registered: 09/18/02
Posts: 1986
Loc: VA
Garden hose to the outside.
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#4702158 - 03/21/18 04:04 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
JLawrence08648 Offline


Registered: 01/20/17
Posts: 161
Loc: NJ
I like to drain it and then leaving the flush valve open, turn the inlet valve on and course hoping to dislodge any particles on the bottom, then close the flush valve, open the inlet for a minute then turn it off and open the flush, then fill.

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#4702161 - 03/21/18 04:05 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5456
Loc: South Florida
When my 12 year old heater took a dump, I opened the spigot and nothing came out. I then blew some compressed air into the inlet, and it forced the sediment through the drain and starting draining.
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#4702167 - 03/21/18 04:10 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I would also remove the cathode and put some pipe dope on it. Also inspect it to see him much it was eaten away during that year. This way it will be much easier to change and you will have a feeling how long it will last.
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#4702185 - 03/21/18 04:29 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: KrisZ]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4460
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: KrisZ
I would also remove the cathode and put some pipe dope on it. Also inspect it to see him much it was eaten away during that year. This way it will be much easier to change and you will have a feeling how long it will last.


I think you were referring to the anode rod. They're usually good for at least 3-4 years as most water heaters have a 6 year warranty. But it's a good idea to loosen it as a few wouldn't budge even with an 18 inch breaker bar. Had to add a 4 foot pipe to it in order to get them loosened.

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#4702193 - 03/21/18 04:34 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: Wolf359]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
Originally Posted By: KrisZ
I would also remove the cathode and put some pipe dope on it. Also inspect it to see him much it was eaten away during that year. This way it will be much easier to change and you will have a feeling how long it will last.


I think you were referring to the anode rod. They're usually good for at least 3-4 years as most water heaters have a 6 year warranty. But it's a good idea to loosen it as a few wouldn't budge even with an 18 inch breaker bar. Had to add a 4 foot pipe to it in order to get them loosened.


Yes anode, brain [censored] on my part. Thanks for catching that.
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#4702205 - 03/21/18 04:43 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
Oldtom Offline


Registered: 07/05/14
Posts: 293
Loc: Maryland
I replaced the cheap plastic drain valve on my water heater with a pipe nipple and brass ball valve. A ball valve is less likely to clog with sediment because it has a large diameter, straight through opening. I hook a garden hose to the valve, run the garden hose outside, and open the valve for a minute. Then I am done till next year.

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#4702295 - 03/21/18 06:08 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
Kawiguy454 Offline


Registered: 06/01/15
Posts: 567
Loc: Arizona
You call it an anode? ...when I used to service boilers we called them cathodic protectors. Basically a zinc bar that sacrifices itself instead of the metal boiler being attacked. Check it and replace as needed it will help esp with the hard water.

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#4702315 - 03/21/18 06:25 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: Kawiguy454]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: Kawiguy454
You call it an anode? ...when I used to service boilers we called them cathodic protectors. Basically a zinc bar that sacrifices itself instead of the metal boiler being attacked. Check it and replace as needed it will help esp with the hard water.


At least residential water heater literature refers to that rod and anode rod. From the chemical reaction POV, it may as well be a cathode, IDK, I used to remember that stuff.
In any case it's irrelevant, as long as you remember to check it periodically and change it when it's almost gone.
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#4702327 - 03/21/18 06:32 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10416
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Scott, be careful in doing so. The plastic drain valves on residential water heaters are a cheap needle valve. They are pretty much intended as a one time only drain of the unit. The tiny orifice in them isn't big enough to pass much of anything and can jamb up with debris.

On my current 40g tall natural gas unit, the one time I used it, I couldn't get it to seat, then the body of the valve started leaking. When I tried to replace it, it broke apart, leaving the threaded part stuck in the tank. I had to saw at it with a hacksaw blade to get the stuck section out. I then replaced it with a brass hose bib looking deal, but like said above, I wish I had just used a short 3/4" pipe nipple and a 3/4" ball valve. This way you have a true ~3/4" opening that will REALLY get things moving and flush the tank.
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#4702368 - 03/21/18 07:16 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: Kawiguy454]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4460
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: Kawiguy454
You call it an anode? ...when I used to service boilers we called them cathodic protectors. Basically a zinc bar that sacrifices itself instead of the metal boiler being attacked. Check it and replace as needed it will help esp with the hard water.


That's what they call them in the stores:

https://www.comfortgurus.com/water-heater-parts/7434-rhe-sp11526c-4-pk.html

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#4702465 - 03/21/18 08:33 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: Gebo]
zuluplus30 Offline


Registered: 11/23/13
Posts: 356
Loc: Fly-over country
Originally Posted By: Gebo
Garden hose to the outside.


This. Once a year. My 6 year warranty Bradford White unit is going on year #13.

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#4702482 - 03/21/18 08:50 PM Re: Draining water heater - tips? [Re: HawkeyeScott]
das_peikko Offline


Registered: 01/01/18
Posts: 410
Loc: San Antonio, TX
You're not supposed to drain it without turning the flame off first, correct? ???

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