How Do You Drain A Water Heater with A Broken Drain Valve?

How Do You Drain A Water Heater with A Broken Drain Valve

The water heater is one of the most important parts of the home. So, I was concerned when I discovered that I had a broken valve. If not corrected, this could be a big potential problem. So, I did some online research to find out the right way to drain the valve.

To successfully drain a water heater, there are 8 detailed steps that you will need to go through. We list each of these steps with details below.

Though it looks like a simple plan, there’s are a few things to consider, to make sure that you’re doing it safely. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.

Disconnect Power and Water

Before you start working with the water heater, you should turn off the power and water supply.

There are a few reasons why this is so important. First, it will ensure that you don’t accidentally electrocute yourself. Though the risks of this are low, you should try to avoid it. Also, if the water into the tank is still flowing, it will be impossible for you to drain it properly.

What you’ll need to disconnect will often depend on the type of heater that you have. It’s always a good idea to check with the manual, to make sure that you’re doing it properly.

How Do You Disconnect A Water Heater From Gas Or Electrical Supply?

First, you’ll need to find the gas pipe, which is connected to the water heater. In most cases, you’ll need to twist the valve into the off position. However, in older models, you’ll need to follow the pipe to the shutoff. If you have an electric model, you’ll need to flip the circuit breaker switch.

The first thing that you’ll need to do is find the right output for the gas heater. To do this, you might need to move some things around, to get a clear view of the top of the heater. You should notice a pipe that leads into the heater. This feeds gas into the heater.

In most recent heaters, this pipe will have a valve on it. When the valve lever is perpendicular to the pipe, the gas will be flowing into the heater. To turn off the gas, you’ll need to turn the lever onto a 90-degree angle.

If there isn’t a valve, you might have an older model. Follow the pipe until you reach the shutoff point. If you can’t find the shutoff point, you might need to turn off the gas at the mains.

Once you’ve turned off the gas, you should check that everything has been disconnected properly. To do this, turn up the temperature on the heater, and see if the burners ignite. If they don’t, the gas has been shut-off correctly.

Disconnecting an electric water heater is a much easier option. In this case, you should have a switch on the side of the heater. Flipping this will turn it off. To check it’s worked, test it. Turn up the temperature, and see if the water gets hotter.

How To Disconnect Water To A Water Heater?

To turn off the water supply to a water heater, you’ll need to find the water inlet valves. You’ll need to find the blue one, which supplies cold water to the system. Shutting this valve will stop the water supply into the heater.

The water valves shouldn’t be too far from the heater. You might want to follow the pipes until you find the valves. You will see two. One is marked with red. The other will be marked with blue. The blue one will provide the input. It provides cold water to the heater. Close the blue valve. If you can’t find the valves, you might need to turn off the flow at the mains.

After the power and water have been turned off, wait a while before moving onto the next step. This ensures that you give the water in the heater plenty of time to cool down.

Prepare To Drain The Water

The next thing that you’ll want to do is prepare to open the valve. When you do this, it can get messy.

To help absorb the water, you might want to have some towels spaced around the base of the heater. It’s also a good idea to get some buckets ready, to help you catch the water.

Remove The Drain Valve

Once the water is cooled and the area is prepared, you’ll be able to remove the drain valve. If you have a plastic valve, you’ll need to use a self-tapping serrated insert tool. If you have a brass valve, you’ll need to use a hacksaw blade. This will allow you to pierce the nipple, and start the water flowing.

The type of valve you have will determine how you’ll need to approach the water drainage process. If the damage is minimal, you can attach a hose to the end of the valve. Then, open it and allow the water to drain away.

However, in some cases, the valve might be more severely damaged. In this case, you’ll need to pierce the nipple, to allow the water to start flowing. Once you’ve drained the heater, you can work on replacing it. How you’ll need to pierce the nipple will depend on the type of valve you have.

If you have a plastic valve, you’ll need to use a self-tapping insert. This is like a screw. This will allow you to open the nipple, releasing the water. This size of the insert you’ll need will depend on the type of heater you have. As a result, you might want to use this self-tapping insert kit. It comes in many different sizes, making it easy to find the right one for you.

If you have a brass valve, it will be tougher to get the water flowing. You’ll need to make a crisscross cut across the nipple of the valve. This will create enough space for you to put in a screwdriver. Then, you’ll be able to pry it out. Once it’s free, turn the valve anti-clockwise. This will start the water flowing.

Drain The Heater

Once you’ve got the water flowing from the broken valve, it’s just a matter of time until the heater has been drained. The bigger the heater is, the longer it will take for you to drain it. If it is going slow, open some hot water taps around the house. This will increase the pressure in the heater, improving water flow. Once the water has been completely removed, you’ll be able to remove and replace the broken valve.

Replace The Broken Valve

There are two steps to this process. First, you’ll need to remove the drain valve. Then, you’ll need to install the replacement.

How To Remove A Broken Drain Valve?

There are two ways that you’ll be able to remove the drain valve. This depends on the type of valve you have. If you have a plastic valve, you might be able to unscrew it. However, if you have a brass valve, you might need to use a hacksaw.

Removing a valve can be very difficult. In many cases, they will break apart as you’re trying to remove them. If you have a plastic valve, it will often be easier to try and unscrew it. Turn it counter-clockwise. If it starts to fall apart, you’ll need to use pliers to remove the pieces.

If you have a brass valve, you’ll need to make a cross-cut above the nipple. This will create enough of a gap for you to put the screwdriver in and pry it away from the heater. As you’re doing this, you want to make sure that you don’t damage the threading on the heater. This can make it more difficult to install the new valve.

How To Replace A Broken Drain Valve?

First, you’ll need to choose the replacement valve. Then, wrap the valve in Teflon tape. Then, you’ll need to put it back into the drainage hole. Use a wrench to make sure that it’s tight. Once it is secure, turn on the cold water. Lastly, check that there aren’t any leaks.

The first thing that you’ll need to do is choose the replacement valve. Brass and plastic are 2 options with plastic being less expensive. A brass option may be more expensive but they will last for longer. Because of this, brass valves tend to be the best option.

Once you’ve found the right valve, you’ll need to wrap it in Teflon tape. As you’re doing this, apply the tape in the same way that the valve has been threaded. This will ensure that the tape will tighten as it is put into place.

Once the tape has been applied, you’ll need to put the valve into the hole. Then, start to tighten it up. You might need to use a wrench to do this. This will create a tight seal, stopping the valve from leaking. As you’re doing this, check the positioning of the valve. There should be enough space for the lever to be fully on and fully off. Check that it’s got a slight downward angle, to get good water flow.

Turn The Heater Back On

Once the valve has been installed, you’ll need to turn the water heater back on. If you have an electric model, you’ll need to flip the switch on the side. If you have a gas model, you’ll need to turn the valve perpendicular to the pipe.

Turn The Water Back On

When you’re happy with how the valve has been put in, turn on the cold tap. This will allow the water to flow back into the heater.

As you’re doing this, check closely for any leaks that might be forming around the valve. If not, the valve has been installed correctly.

How To Fix A Clogged Drain Valve?

There are a few ways that you will be able to break up a clog around the base of the valve. The drainage valve can be blocked by a build-up of sediment. This can reduce the flow of hot water. The ultimate solution is to clean the heater and remove the sediment. However, in the meantime, there are some ways that you’ll be able to bust through a clogged drain valve.

First, you might want to step on the hose. This will temporarily stop the flow of water. When you step off, it will produce an air bubble. This will travel back through the pipe and could help dislodge any debris. Next try using a coat hanger or longer heavy duty wire and feed it through the valve. Then, wiggle the coat hanger around. This will allow you to dislodge the sediment that is blocking the flow.

The best time to do this is when you are draining the tank.

Final Thoughts

If your valve has started to develop leaks, it’s time to replace it. Thankfully, this doesn’t need to be a difficult task. With a few tools and a little know-how, you’ll be able to do this yourself, without the need to hire a plumber. So, follow these steps to drain a water heater and replace the drain valve.

Dean Luoma

As a long-time homeowner, Dean has been working on his own home projects for over 30 years. He is a licensed real estate agent in the state of Minnesota, helping clients with the buying and selling of their homes.

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