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Thread: electric water heater: no drain valve??

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member gramps's Avatar
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    Default electric water heater: no drain valve??

    I need to replace my 25 year old Rheeem electric water heater. naturally i would have to drain it first, but there is an odd situation that is preventing me.
    as you can see from the photo, there is no tap for draining it.
    At the top of the unit are 3 plastic covers. maybe there is pressure relief value under those plastic covers, but how would you drian this?
    I was planning on maybe doing the job myself properly.
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    Last edited by gramps; 06-29-2013 at 10:19 AM.

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Obviously a non-standard install. It looks like the drain port was used for either the cold entry or a recirc line. The TPR if that is what is shown, is in the wrong place and would not sense a high temp.

    Remove the lower element and screw a hose bib in its stead to drain it.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member gramps's Avatar
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    to remove the element, doesn't the unit have to be drained first?

  4. #4
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I would not have suggested it if that were the case. Elements are very often replaced without draining the tank.

  5. #5
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    They made your job hard.

    Like mentioned above, the drain was removed.
    If you keep all the taps closed, you can cut the copper pipe and slip on a sharkbite hosebib that will allow a hose connection.
    You will need to shut off the water supply first.
    By keeping everything closed, the water will drain very slowly, allowing some time to cut and push on the hosebib.
    It's like holding you thumb on top of a straw. The tank will be slow to drain if no air can replace the water as it drains.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member gramps's Avatar
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    if quickly put on a sharkbite, the water wont gush out quickly at first? i don't understand the purpose of removing the lower element if this is the method.

  7. #7
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Terry and I gave two different options. If you cut the pipe like Terry suggests, then don't remove the lower element. If you cut the pipe you will get water from the top section of pipe so be prepared to catch it or quickly plug it.

  8. #8
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Remove the relief valve and screw in a hose bib in its place that will allow you to drain most of the water.

    John

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    FWIW, do NOT replicate the install you have! A T&P valve needs to be installed on the hot outlet or the special port near the top of the tank provided for it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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