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Thread: what's behind the thermostat??

  1. #1
    DIY Member ginahoy's Avatar
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    Default what's behind the thermostat??

    On my electric water heater, I was able to drain and remove lower element to gain access and clean out the mineral build-up at the bottom of the tank. I now have a gas model (Bradford White Defender) and was wondering if there's a big enough hole behind the thermostat to scoop out the crud.

    My water has a lot of calcium. I'm planning to add a water softener, and thought it would be a good idea to have the plumber clean out the 2 year old tank when he installs the softener. I haven't contacted a plumber yet, but a friend said he doesn't think it's possible to clean a gas water heater.

    What's the real story on this?

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    It can be done, but you do not want to pay "plumber's rates" to do it. A new heater would be cheaper in most cases.

  3. #3
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking clean it from the drain valve....

    Why would you want to take out the thermostat that is
    hanging about 10 inches up from the bottom of the tank???

    All you have to do is unscrew the little brass faucet located at the very bottom of the tank and scrape out the lime with a flattened and bent piece of 3/8 copper pipe....

    if your water heater is located in the garage or near a floor drain or sump pump, where water damage will not happen,,,
    I would shut of the water to the heater and then do this procedure with the heater stilll full of water.......

    you can really stir up some sediment of fthe bottom of the tank with water glugging out that faucet port



    have barrels of fun....

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Default

    The thermostat is 3/4" pipe thread, meaning the hole is about 1" ID. You wont get much out there. Use the drain valve.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    The drain valve is also 3/4".

  6. #6

    Default

    If the drain valve is plastic, rather than brass, it's possible to snap it off. If that happens, you'll need a nipple extractor to remove the broken piece.

    It might be best to simply drain the tank and then flush it out for an hour or so by keeping the drain open while opening up the cold inlet valve.

  7. #7
    DIY Member ginahoy's Avatar
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    Default

    The drain valve... hmmm... well, of course! No gas plumbing to remove :-> Also, it's brass, so no concerns about what Verdeboy said.

    Unfortunately, the tank will need to be drained before the valve can be removed (heater is in a drywalled alcove in the garage, on a raised floor). Also, there's a gap between the tank and the outer shell so if water were allowed to drain directly from the valve port, it seems like it would spill into places where water shouldn't be.

    Thanks for all the replies!

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Default

    if water were to get in places where it shouldnt be it will evaporate later and will not harm anything.

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