electric water heater: no drain valve??

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by gramps, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. gramps

    gramps New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Ontario
    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.
    water pipe.jpg
    IMG-20130629-00008.jpg
    -g

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    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. gramps

    gramps New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Ontario
    to remove the element, doesn't the unit have to be drained first?
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I would not have suggested it if that were the case. Elements are very often replaced without draining the tank.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,053
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    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. gramps

    gramps New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Ontario
    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. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,004
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    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. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    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. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,058
    Location:
    New England
    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.
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