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Thread: Trouble Emptying Water Heater

  1. #1
    DIY Member foxhome01's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    Default Trouble Emptying Water Heater

    I'm trying to empty my water heater and am having some issues with the "flow" of the water. I've turned off the water to the tank and hooked up the hose, turned the black knob and nothing. I called the manufacturer and she said to turn on a faucet in the house to help add pressure. Nothing. So, I turned on all of them and I'm getting a little...but it's going to take FOREVER to empty at this rate.

    I can get the water to empty faster if I turn the water valve on a smidge, but that defeats the purpose since I'm trying to empty it. If I turn it on I'll never know when the tank has emptied.

    I don't have the original instructions but we think the tank is 2002-2005.

    Am I missing a step?

    Is it normal for it to be this slow?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Think finger over the end of a straw...you must have a way to let air in to get water out. Open the T&P valve at the top of the WH...it has a lever on it and if you move it out, you can get it to stay if you go far enough (in line with the valve). If that doesn't do anything, then the bottom of the tank is full of minerals...take a screw-driver or stiff wire with the valve open and poke it in there to try to open up a hole through it. Depending on the valve, you may not be able to get a screw-driver through, but something like a coat hanger might do it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

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    fox, it would not surprise me or others if it were that slow, mineral build-up would be my #1 suspect. I've had water heaters like this and there are two choices in my opinion, O.K. everyone has an opinion. You may could remove the water heater from the house with the water in it, provided you know what to do, have easy access to it and a clear removal route, then take the drain valve out of it outside. Or, my choice, close ALL water faucets, valves, any method of air getting into the tank and remove the drain valve where the unit is located. Prepare for some water leakage, hold a rag over the hole and have a wet-dry vac handy. Have a new ball type valve of appropriate size with an appropriate nipple ready and screw it into the tank pronto. This makes it so much easier to drain now and later if needed. The first time I did this wasn't such a pretty site but the rest of them have been easier. Thanks, David.

  4. #4
    Master plumber Jay Mpls's Avatar
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    Thurmans got it. 3/4" pipe threads on this. Spin this one off and consider a short nipple and a threaded ball valve in its place.and when you do this get some air.An open faucet is a good way to go.
    So...you didn't tell us why you are draining this heater?

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you are trying to get any loose mineral deposits out, leave the water on, then you've got the incoming water pressure to help push it out. Also, note that if you truely are planning on draining it, make sure you've either turned the gas or electric off...having the heat come on with an empty (or potentially even partially empty) tank can ruin it quickly, or at least burn out an element, if electric.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    All of the above. I would just note that the so-called drain valves on water heaters are pretty much crap. They may look pretty, but they don't function worth beans. The 3/4" ball valve with a hose adapter is the answer. Turn the power (electricity or gas) off first the flush the tank with the water on full. I have a cut off valve on the hot side that I use when flushing. It's a bit redundant, but it does keep the crud from the rest of the system. After running a lot of water through, shut the intake off and allow the tank to drain completely. Remember, you have to let air in the top of the tank to drain it. Be certain the tank is completely full before restoring power by opening a hot water faucet while filling. When water run freely without spitting air, you're full.

  7. #7

    Default Brass air fittings

    Now that is a lot of brass air fittings there is just about every type
    of air fitting that you could want. Wholesale prices too. I guess these could be used as small water pipe fitting also. I
    used some of the parts to make my babington wvo burner.
    Last edited by Cass; 02-22-2009 at 10:45 PM.

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