Removing drain on water heater

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by hungry bill, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. hungry bill

    hungry bill New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Texas
    I am about to try draining a 9 year old WH that has not been touched since installation. I am going to try to replace the lower element because the ohm meter moved a tiny bit when I checked for open circuit between an element terminal and the tank. (Water gets too hot, and limit switch and/or breaker switch is thrown.) Thought I might as well try to replace the anode as well. Most of my projects only get done after I have tried at least 2 wrong solutions, so the plastic drain valve is probably going to break off. Could you tell me how to remove the drain valve without breaking it? And how do you get the anode out through the hot water outlet? Thanks.
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Hungry Bill, it would have been best had you started a new forum thread instead of posting a question on the back of someone elses.

    The anode rod is threaded into the top of the tank, it does not come out through the outlet or inlet.

    If the drain valve is plastic, breaking it is of no concern since it is junk anyway. Just have a replacement ready to install. If you are going to make a habit of draining it, install a quality 1/4 turn ball valve in it's place.
  3. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,050
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    A complete electric water heater isn't all that much money. Have you priced a new anode rod?
    When a heater gets to the ten year mark, it's normally more cost effective to replace, then it is to start repairing.

    Removing a plastic drain is not a big deal for a plumber, it could cause problems for a homeowner. Plumbers have ways to quickly remove them if they break off internally. That may be with a hack saw blade to cut a slice, or by using a bit of heat. Either way, plumbers remove them all the time. Whenever I add a recirc, I change the drain.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Ballvalve, I suppose you are right if you consider an easy-out a special tool.
    In my life they are as common as a hammer.
    One can also carefully cut a 3-4 slots in the plastic with a hack-saw blade and remove the remainder in pieces.

    I've never seen an older residential water heater that had anywhere near 3 inches of foam insulation either.
    They must have some good stuff in California.
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    A-Z Outs do NOT always grab a plastic drain valve to remove them and CAN expand the plastic making it tighter. I do NOT drain water heaters to replace the drain valve OR the elements, and I NEVER replace anodes on older heaters. I remove them and plug the opening.
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Exactly true, No draining for me also.

    But for 13 bucks, why not try and save the tank with an anode?
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,684
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    My opinion is that by the time the anode rod has deteriorated, ANY exposed metal in the tank should already be coated by the rod, so it should have no benefit to replacing it. I have removed the anode rod in MANY water heaters, (one in particular that I see every week which I removed the rod from at least 6 years ago), and NONE of them have failed "prematurely".
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