So I just tried to drain my water heater...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by chet again, May 21, 2019.

  1. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    We have hard water here and have the hardness build up in the bottom of the tank to the point of the lower element being buried in the white hard chalky stuff within 3-4 years.

    I tried cleaning it out with the first one but ended up replacing it anyway.

    Now, if it's 3-4 years old, at the first sign of not enough hot water I just replace it myself.

    They're only about $250. Two pipes, one circuit, done in two hours, good for 3-4 more years.
     
  2. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Wow! Your friend is brilliant! Another idea is to post your problem on an internet chat forum and ask for ideas.:)
     
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  3. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    Better than Talibama...
     
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  4. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    I was a military plumber and journeyman one when I got out for a few years...the best jobs were new installations and never repairs. The first time I had to be a tunnel rat to slide into the crawl space beneath an old farm house was enough for me to quit and seek another career. I was not alone down there and those critters were not friendly.

    If that water heater isn't draining from the valve....stop right there and leave it alone. That rule applies to all valves, if they are stubborn or plugged up, leave them alone or else be ready to replace everything. I can't tell you how many times people replace a toilet yet keep the old supply valves only to end up with bad leaks inside the walls. The old line was always that "Water will always win" and it is very true. Don't invite trouble, if the valve isn't working, leave it alone.

    Water heaters are robust items, they are operating 24/7 after-all, but don't expect more than 10-12 years max out of them regardless of your maintenence. If you use natural gas for your water heater now, replace it with a whole house tankless unit and you will never have to worry about it again.
     
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  5. Bluetelecaster

    Bluetelecaster Tele-Meister

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    Draw a ten inch circle on the side of the w/h next to the bottom. Pop a loaded 30 round mag in your trusty AR15. Eliminate said Ten inch circle. W/h is now drained
     
  6. stxrus

    stxrus Friend of Leo's

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    A good tradesperson will steer you in the right direction instead of trying to upcharge you
    I do this all the time. I figure if I can make the client’s life better and don’t have to do repeats because they can do basic maintenance I will get referrals and more business.
     
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  7. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The only reason I disagree with not replacing the drain now is because he already opened it to drain it. I'm doubtful that if he put 50 lbs of water pressure on it that it will ever not drip now. He's already rubbed the lantern and when water pressure is back the genie will come out and it will eventually start dripping. I've been through this with more folks than I can count.
     
  8. chet again

    chet again Tele-Meister

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    I can put a new drain valve in it with a bigger opening. It isn't dripping as of yet.

    I found the siphon that works with a drill at Home Depot and bought that tonight. I don't think I have much to lose by trying to fix it.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  9. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

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    Just be sure the water level is below whatever hole you open to insert the siphon hose or you'll end up with a flood.
     
  10. ddewerd

    ddewerd Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I had my water heater replaced last year, cost about $600 for parts and labor.

    The old one had been there about 15 years, and never drained (I know, my bad)

    They had the same problem. They had an air compressor that they pumped air in from the top. Eventually they got it to drain. I don't know if that's a good idea to try on your own, but that's what worked for them.

    Good luck!

    Cheers,
    Doug
     
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  11. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Meister

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    If you need to replace the water heater -- and that will be sooner rather than later -- consider a tankless. We've had one for going on 20 years, and it's been great. We have hard water, so I've had to de-scale the unit once over that time (probably should have done it more often), and I had to remove and clean the burner unit once (if I had known what I was doing, I would have done both things at once). Otherwise, trouble-free service, and unlimited hot water, with no holding tank to collect sediment, and no bill for keeping a big tank of water hot 24-7. They're more expensive, but imho, a better way to go.
     
  12. chet again

    chet again Tele-Meister

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    Another thing to consider is this: what if you do as advised with a new heater and drain it, let's say, a couple of times a year. How long will the heater last?

    Mine probably has never been drained in six years. The previous tenant (the house was rented out) didn't do it and I didn't know to do it. (New to this house owner thing)
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  13. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Tele-Meister

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    Close the faucets,open the drain (with the hose attached) and turn the water back on to the heater. It should blow the calcium out and get it flowing.

    I just went through this exercise the past weekend. I poked around with a screwdriver after removing the drain. I was amazed how much calcium is built up in the bottom of the tank. It sure seemed deeper than the drain valve is from the bottom of the tank. I was probably lucky to get it to drain, but the shutoff was leaking to begin with so there had to be some water there to leak.
     
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  14. beach bob

    beach bob Friend of Leo's

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    I got my WH replaced about a year ago, third one for my house. The guy who did it is a pro plumber, does commercial building jobs and stuff for mansions over in Palm Beach, lots of high end clients. He supplied us a commercial unit (State was the brand I think) and gave us the friend deal. One of the few times I haven't paid through the nose for house repairs.

    Anyways. What he said was, do the drain and refill 1X/year, replace the anode as needed, and the WH will probably last forever. He said that what kills them is people not draining out the sediment. Now, he was talking about the units that he installs, since he also told me the Home Desperate (his misnomer :lol:) units are junk.

    I tend to believe the 'HD units are junk' assessment... the unit he replaced was bought from HD and installed by me, and was only seven years old. It failed at the weld for the upper heating element... the weld leaked, and that caused water to saturate the couple of inches of insulation between the tank and the outer metal skin. No way to dry that, so it was a dead soldier :mad: ... but after that aggravation, we now have a good one.

    If you don't want to tackle the replacement yourself (I think you shouldn't if that ain't your day job), go either with the tankless as advised above, or try to get a commercial tank. The unit I have now is considerably better built than what it replaced: brass drain valve, etc...
     
  15. chet again

    chet again Tele-Meister

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    You might have a good answer there. I have to think about and ask around before I try it.

    What did you mean by "removing the drain"?
     
  16. chet again

    chet again Tele-Meister

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    And what is the name of it and where do you get them?
     
  17. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

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    If you do decide to change the HWH yourself, don’t leave the old one where it can be easily seen from the street.
    Many municipalities have building codes that require you to get a permit and pay for an inspection, if the work is not done by a licensed plumber.
    I talked a friend into doing his a couple years ago when his blew out.
    He set the old old on the curb when they had a pick up day for stuff like that.
    Code enforcement came by and left him a $25 bill, which was the cost of a permit.
    After he paid that and received the permit, they sent him a letter telling him he had 30 days to schedule an inspection or have a licensed plumber sign off on the back of the permit and return it to Code Enforcement.
    Your city may not have such a thing, you might ask before you DYI.
     
  18. beach bob

    beach bob Friend of Leo's

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    As I said, I think the brand I have now is State. (I'm not at home right now)

    Getting one, may involve some finagling... you'll have to ask around about how to get a commercial unit. Helps to know someone 'in the biz'.
     
  19. Rick330man

    Rick330man Tele-Holic

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    Yep. My current water heater is the original one installed when the house was built in 1976. I've had to replace the heating elements, but that's to be expected after 28 years. Fortunately, I found an old, unused, American-made GE one and have been running off of it since.
     
  20. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Tele-Meister

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    The spigot the garden hose goes on to drain the tank is called a boiler drain.

    I replaced the leaky plastic drain in my tank with a brass one, which is why I had to drain the tank, so I had to remove the plastic junk. While it was off, I poked around inside the tank with a big screwdriver. There was a lot of calcium built up in the bottom of the tank.
     
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