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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As we all know, sometimes we come across a water heater that seems impossible to drain. Sometimes if the situation permits, I can simply remove the entire drain valve and away we go.

If you have any pointers, I would like to hear them. Just looking to take in some other methods from other fellow plumbers. thanks guys!

Draining the tank would be for removing old heater.
 

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Drain it down 3/4 of the way, then haul it out the side door in the garage and kick the drain valve off it (plastic) a transfer pump with a hose down the hot outlet works Great also.
 
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If I get a heater with the drain clogged, I usually will stick a piece of pipe attached to my pony pump through the hot water side of the tank. Pump enough water out till you can carry it on your back..
 

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If its in ceiling/attic/2nd floor or any higher elevation.Roll out water hose. Take 1/2 pex. Stick one end in hot outlet and take other end suck out water for siphon and put pex inside water hose. Usually fits perfect. Drains faster than regular way. I do it all the time.
 

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Never done this but a co-worker found a 20 gal tank in a department store in the mall ceiling, with no drain port on the hw tank.

What he did was connected a shark tooth coupling to a hose bib. Shut off water to the tank, cut the cold supply line and very quickly squeezed on the sharktooth coupling with valve and drained it with a hose, very smart and very little mess, especially in a clean place like the mall. Always helps to carry a towel when doing this too!
 

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There is a lot of hard water and lime in my area so draining the old heater can be a chore.. Here's a couple things I've ended up doing with mixed results.
Partially plugged drain.. With the cold inlet valve closed open a hot faucet and try feeding water up in to the drain thru a hose and a double ended hose, to back flush the tank.
Completely plugged drain.. Let pressure off heater then close everything, make up a 3/4 nipple with a ball valve and a male by hose adapter (ahead of time), unthread the drain quickly and thread your valve/nipple on, then you can rod the drain open with whatever you have (threaded rod works good) again working quickly pull out rod, close valve hook up pump and away you go..

Air sounds like it would work good as well, could blow air in drain to clear it out.
 

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What I typically do to drain any water heater is to disconnect it and then cap the hot side. I then connect an adapter with a schrader valve installed to the cold inlet. Connect a hose to the drain valve and pressurize it. It will drain down much faster than a pump will empty it...

If the drain valve is clogged with sediment or lime scale, it can be a real PITA. What I do then is to jam a piece of 1/2 pex into the tank from either the hot or cold inlet and then pump it out.

In a situation where I have an ancient WH in an unfinished basement or mech room with a WORKING floor drain nearby, I have been known to drill a few holes into the tank when all else fails. Messy but effective....
 

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Most of the time, a good kick or bent screw driver jab to the drain valve will make things happen. thick wire works good as well. loosen unions, and open relief valve good to go.
 

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siphon off the heater

In our state you have to think on your feet or you will
be sitting on a job for hours waiting for a heater to drain...

I have a heavy duty pump that hooks up the the bottom
of the heater and will pump it out in 4 minutes... if the bottom
is clogged up with lime, I take teh nipple out of the bottom and
rheem it out, then I insstall a 3/4 galv nipple with a gate
valve and hose adaptor on it....


For a more desperate situation....
if the unit is absolutely full of lime and will not drain....
you can siphon off most of the water from the hot side of the unit....
You take a 6 foot washing machine hose and cut off the end,,,
then you force it down into the tank to just above the lime level
at the bottom. from the hot side...
then you hook up your pump to the other end of the hose......


It will suck out almost all of the water... then you got to have a couple
of dumb-asses available to help you haul out the heater with 2 foot of lime inside of it...:laughing:
 
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