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2014

How to replace water heater drain valve

Instructions for gas and electric water heaters.

Brass hose cap

Water heater drain cap

If drain valve is dripping

Buy brass garden hose cap with washer
Most local home centers sell plastic cap
Install plastic cap and then order brass hose cap for permanent solution.
Buy:
Brass hose cap at Amazon
2-pack brass hose cap Amazon
Hose cap requires rubber washer.
Rubber washer will seal tank.

Resources:
Emergency steps for leaking water heater
Troubleshoot leaking water heater
Water heater will not drain

Flush to remove debris

If drain valve is leaking, it might have debris caught under washer

Use washing machine hose and garden hose to connect outdoor spigot to water heater
Open water heater drain valve, Turn on outdoor spigot for a few seconds, and then close water heater drain valve.
See if dripping problem is solved.
Plastic water heater drain valve
Plastic drain valve

Plastic drain valve will probably break off when removed

Use hose cap, and do not replace plastic valve unless valve is cracked
Plastic drain valve can break off.
Read instructions below how to remove broken drain valve.

Repairable:
This type drain valve can sometimes be repaired with a washer.
However it is easier and less risk to install brass hose cap to stop dripping.
Buy:
Plastic drain valve with 2-1/2" shank at Amazon
I recommend brass drain valve or ball valve shown lower on this page
Resources:
How to repair drain valve (lower on this page)
Water heater will not drain

Tank pressure

Avoid pressure over 80 psi

High pressure will cause drain valve to leak, and crack
Rainbird P2A or Brady BTG-100 pressure gauge will attach to hose thread

Buy pressure gauges at Amazon
Rainbird 200 psi pressure gauge
BTG 100 psi pressurte gauge
Pressure reducing valves at Amazon

Resources:
Low hot water pressure

Replacement steps start here

Turn off power and water

Steps for replacing drain valve:

1) Turn off power to water heater:
     Electric: turn off circuit breaker;
     Gas: turn knob to 'pilot' setting.
2) Turn off water
3) Open bathtub faucet on Hot side so air can enter tank
4) Drain water heater.
clogged water heater

If Water heater will not drain

Connect washing machine hose to water heater.
Connect garden hose to washing machine hose.
Open water heater drain valve.
Turn ON water hose for 15 seconds
Repeat if needed.
Resource
Read more
Pipe wrench
crescent wrench

5) Remove drain valve with wrench

Put wrench on valve and turn counter-clockwise to unscrew

7/8" holer saw is slightly less than diameter of 3/4" galvanized pipe

If Plastic drain valve breaks

If plastic drain valve breaks when removed, then 'gently' break out broken part using hammer and big screwdriver. Use 7/8" hole saw to carefully cut away plastic drain valve.
Drain valve is 3/4" pipe thread, 7/8" holer saw is slightly less than diameter of 3/4" galvanized pipe
Be careful: don't cut into threads on water heater. Use propane torch to melt and burn. Use 3/4" galvanized pipe to help re-thread opening. Slow and easy so threads on water heater are not torn up.
Buy
7/8" hole saw at Amazon
Dewalt 7/8" bi-metal hole saw
Holesaws at Amazon
water heater tank drain
Brass drain valve

6) Buy BRASS drain valve

Check water heater department at local hardware or box store
Buy
Brass drain valve at Amazon
Water heater drain valves at Amazon
Brass water heater drain valve

Install brass drain valve

7) Put teflon tape on new drain valve threads.
Apply 3-6 turns of white teflon tape to 3/4" threads.
Twist galvanized pipe into water heater first to clean threads so drain valve will install without cross-threading
8) Tighten valve very firmly into tank.

Recommended: do not use plastic drain valve. Buy brass water heater drain valve from water heater department at local hardware or home center.

Repairable:
This type drain valve has replaceable washer, and can be repaired if dripping starts.
Buy:
Brass drain valve at Amazon
Water heater drain valves at Amazon
Shop Amazon Industrial and scientific

Tank must be full of water before power is turned ON

Fill tank

How to fill water heater tank:
Tank must be full of water before water heater is turned on.
9) Open water shut off so water eneters tank. Open bathtub faucet on hot side. Re-fill tank with water until water is coming full stream out of bathtub spout with no air. Open TP valve for a moment. This lets out last bit of air inside tank. Turn off bathtub spout.
10) Tank is full of water: Re-light gas water heater -or- Turn on circuit breaker to electric water heater

Last step

Turn water heater ON

Resources:
1) Gas: read instructions located on tank
How to troubleshoot gas water heater
2) Electric: Turn on circuit breaker
How to troubleshoot electric water heater
Water heater drain valve    
Larger image        

How to repair water heater drain valve

Some plastic drain valves can be repaired by replacing washer

How to:
Open valve handle, drain water heater, put wrench on nut located below knob, rotate nut counterclockwise, replace washer.
Or add garden hose cap over end of valve to seal the leak.

Note: the valve may be leaking because small piece of sediment is stuck under washer.
Connect washing machine hose to drain valve, and then connect garden hose to flush debris out ow way.
clogged water heater

How to unclog water heater that will not drain

Connect washing machine hose to drain valve, and then connect garden hose to flush debris out of way.
Resource
Read more details

water heater ball valve
Water heater drain valve

Replace Water heater drain valve with 3/4" ball valve

Easier flush and clean out
Full open position lets you insert 1/4" copper pipe flushing tool
Resources
How to replace drain valve
How to clean sediment out of water heater
Water heater dip tubes
Identify different types water heater valves

Buy water heater drain valve and curved dip tube
Buy ball valve and curved dip tube
Also install curved dip tube to help prevent sediment from settling on bottom of tank

Buy parts:
Pex-lined di electric nipple
Dielectric nipples at Amazon
3/4" ball valve
Lead-free 3/4" ball valve at Amazon
3/4" NPT pipe thread ball valve
3/4" pipe to 3/4" garden hose
Use 6 wraps teflon tape on threads
Shop Amazon - Industrial and scientific
Flush tool
tank rinser

Buy plastic tank rinser

Works with ball valve

Buy
Tank rinser at Amazon

Water heater flush tool

Make a flush tool

Works with ball valve
36" aluminum tube or plastic tube connects to garden hose.
Remove drain valve to insert tool -or- install full-flow ball valve shown above
Tube inserts through ball valve opening.
Make tool using 3/8" flexible copper pipe
Buy:
3/4" Hose barb adapter at Amazon
No-rust hose shut off at Amazon
Hose adapter to 1/4" compression
3/8" clear hose at hardware
Hose clamp at hardware

Remove drain valve to install the following:

 See larger

Direct return line on recirculation system

Recirculation line connects to water heater drain port.
Add valve so water heater can be drained/flushed periodically

Resources:
Read more
Read about recirculation system and resources
Anode rod heads
Anode

Use 3/4" drain valve opening for cold water inlet

Then install 2nd anode rod in cold water port at top of tank

Tanks with 2 anode rods can last longer
Resource
Read about anode rods
Buy
Anode rods at Amazon

Use drain valve opening to circulate water through home-made solar tank.


Resource
How to make passive solar heater

Additional links

Troubleshoot electric water heater
 
Leaking water heater

9 ways to save with water heater

How to install gas water heater
How to install electric water heater

Clean sediment out of tank

How to replace element

How to wire off-peak water heater

How to test elements

How to adjust temperature

Low water pressure

Cost to run water heater

Troubleshoot electric water heater
Troubleshoot gas water heater

Figure volts amps watts for electric water heater

Compare gas and electric water heater timers

Basic water heater circuit

Install a subpanel
Intermatic parts
Intermatic trippers and parts

All costs are energy
Pro-n-con tankless water heater
Do it yourself
Do it yourself water heater
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Troubleshoot Bosch tankless

Troubleshoot gas water heater

Troubleshoot electric water heater

Gas water heater FVIR

Drink American Beer
How to make a still/ book
Beer books at Amazon
Gas and electric water heaters Support the economy:
Buy water heaters  from my associate links:

50 gallon Gas water heaters at Amazon
40 gallon gas water heaters at Amazon
50 gallon Electric water heaters at Amazon
40 gallon electric water heaters at Amazon
Hybrid / heat pump/ water heaters at Amazon

Resources:
How to install gas water heater
Troubleshoot gas water heater
Troubleshoot electric water heater
box timers Compare box timers
programmable timer Compare programmable timers
Countdown timers Compare countdown timers
Compare power packs

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