what's behind the thermostat??

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by ginahoy, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. ginahoy

    ginahoy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Sierra Vista, AZ
    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. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    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. 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. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    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. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    The drain valve is also 3/4".
  6. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    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. ginahoy

    ginahoy New Member

    Messages:
    70
    Location:
    Sierra Vista, AZ
    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. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    if water were to get in places where it shouldnt be it will evaporate later and will not harm anything.
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