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  • Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

    OK FFM's (Fellow Forum Members),

    I've searched this forum for 45 minutes for my answers to no avail .

    I have an electric 40 gallon under counter heater in a condo (12th floor) with a badly clogged drain valve.

    There is a bath tub 20 feet away to drain into.

    I usually use a drill pump connected to the nipple at the cold inlet.
    Or connect the hose to the cold inlet and let it siphon out (after priming or course).

    What's in your bag of tricks?

    Shop Vac? Electric/Battery operated pump? Call "The Hulk" ?

    Tracy
    sigpic.................I Love My Toto Bidet :twofinger2: :twofinger:

  • #2
    Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

    I've always had my water heaters in the garage so I'll just pick them up with the handtruck, wheel them outside and knock the hose bibb off with a hammer. If the valve is brass, I just take the stem off. How good does the drill pump work? I tried them once in the hose bibb and the pump was destroyed in 2 minutes by all the gunk. Never thought about the cold side.
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

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    • #3
      Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

      Oh boy, thats a good 350-400 lbs.
      Open the valve and it gets jammed with rust flakes or sediment and thats a problem.
      I'd wrestle it as close to the tub as possible, then try to drain it.
      ...and my wife doesn't understand why I don't join a health club.

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      • #4
        Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

        I just shut everything off, keep a shop vac handy, screw off the drain valve and quickly replace it with a ball valve on a nipple, with a hose connector on the other side of the valve. I take the handle off the ball valve so I have room to screw it into place in the off position. You shouldn't lose much water this way.

        Once the hose is ready to drain, if it's in a basement, I use a gas test rig on the hot side and a carry-air tank to blow the water out. Usually, it's just enough to pump out a 50-gallon, though I sometimes have to get more air.

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        • #5
          Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

          I have an old washing machine hose that I cut one end off and adapted the other end to an air chuck so that I can back blow the valve. If that does.nt work, take the relief valve off and adapth the tank opening to an air chuck and then you can blow most of the water out the tub spout.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

            Put a pony pump on the drain valve and shoot the flow in to blow the gunk loose then let it drain normally.

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            • #7
              Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

              Let the incoming pressure push the sediments out first. Then shut incoming water off. If it's still stopped, I pull a vacuum on the heater and pop a new drain on like Herk said. Can be risky in a condo

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

                Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                I have an old washing machine hose that I cut one end off and adapted the other end to an air chuck so that I can back blow the valve. If that does.nt work, take the relief valve off and adapth the tank opening to an air chuck and then you can blow most of the water out the tub spout.
                With eleven stories of finish ceilings, walls, trim, electronics, computers, T.V.'s, and probably millions of dollars in god knows what, thats an answer.
                I can't imagine how fast my heart'd be pumpin' if I couldn't get that water to stop gushing....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

                  Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                  I have an old washing machine hose that I cut one end off and adapted the other end to an air chuck so that I can back blow the valve. If that does.nt work, take the relief valve off and adapth the tank opening to an air chuck and then you can blow most of the water out the tub spout.
                  That's what I do when all else fails.
                  Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

                    Like Plumberscrack,I too flush the sediment out under pressure before draining.Ive not yet had a heater fully plugged to where a couple of whacks losens ehough to get it flowing.If I ever have to I have the knowledge of replacing the bib with a ball valve,thanks to Robert(Westcoast)

                    Then blow it out with my co2 tank

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                    • #11
                      Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

                      All of the above ideas are good ideas. I usually just pull the drain and put in a ball valve. If nothing else will work, I have a pump hooked up to a piece of 3/8" PEX. I take the line off the hot side and put the PEX in to almost the bottom of the water heater. It's a good, clean way to get almost all the water out of the tank quickly without having sediment clog up and burn out a pump.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

                        As mentioned I use the water pressure to my advantage, keep opening and shutting till it runs clear, then shut it down and open all hot side valves to break vaccum out of the tank to flow.


                        Thing is, running that hose to a tub drain is only going to drain that heater to within 20" of the floor.

                        It'll make it easier to move at that point.
                        Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                        • #13
                          Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

                          I had one today, second story laundry room, 50 gallon, hooked up my nice little adapter, turned the cold water off, took a pipe wrench to the water heater drain cock, loosened it, hand turned it, wiggled it a bit to let the air out and get it vapor locked, and removed the cock and screwed in my adapter, drained the heater in the tub in about 15 mins.

                          Nothing works better!! My adapter is a 3/4 nipple, about 3" long, a IPS ball valve and a 3/4 x 2" nipple and a 3/4 fip x 3/4 hose thread adapter.
                          sigpic

                          Robert

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                          • #14
                            Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

                            i do the same as drtyhands and crack ive never had one that i couldnt atleast get lite enough it may take a while though
                            Mike
                            Clark County Plumbing And Drain
                            www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

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                            • #15
                              Re: Clogged Drain Valve for Water Heater

                              Thanks for the replies guys. I really appreciate it.

                              My normal routine does include turning on the drain valve while the heater is still under pressure. Usually I let it run for a minute prior to turning off the cold valve, But this time.......... I just heard a psssss for a second then nothing. I tried cycling the cold valve while the drain was open, still nothing.

                              I'm sorry but I forgot to mention that the drain valve is plastic .
                              From my experience, after being subjected to heat for 10+ years, they break off at the threads more than 50% of the time when you try to unscrew them (I found this out by experimenting after I drain and remove old heaters to outside the house, Not the hard way ).
                              So attempting to replace it with a ball valve could be a disaster waiting to happen.
                              I've even had new plastic drain valves snap on me while trying to remove them to run a HW return line.

                              On other problem drain valves, I've tried backfeeding the drain hose from another faucet to try and stir up the deposits, but they usually settle quickly and clog the drain valve again only after a few minutes.

                              I'll probably end up siphoning from the cold side first, till dip tube end height. Then pull out the heater and shove a 1/2" copper pipe into the hot side and siphon the rest.

                              Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
                              Thing is, running that hose to a tub drain is only going to drain that heater to within 20" of the floor.

                              Matt Foley , I'm sorry but this is wrong. Provided there is no blockage, the water heater will always drain down to the same exact level as the end of your hose. Usually when I stick the end of the hose into the tub drain pipe, the water heater drains nearly dry because the tub drain pipe is below finished floor height (depending on tub model).
                              The water level will always equalize at both ends, kinda like a water level.

                              Sometimes when the tub drain has a cross in it or if it's a toe- touch stopper, I remove the overflow plate and shove the hose in as far as it can go, then pull back a few inches.
                              or
                              I remove the grate from the shower drain and do the same as above.

                              Thanks again guys.

                              Tracy
                              Last edited by yasudaplumbing; 01-04-2008, 03:04 AM.
                              sigpic.................I Love My Toto Bidet :twofinger2: :twofinger:

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