Draining the water heater - again

I posted a quick question a couple weeks back, this is a follow up.
I'm trying to drain my water heater, Sears PowerMiser 9, and I can't get water to come out when its supposed to.
Here is what I have done.
Shut off cold water supply, opened all hot water faucets, connected garden hose to drain spout, opened drain spout. Nothing, no water flow at all.
Did all the above, turned on cold water supply. Nice clear hot water poured out of garden hose at a reduced pressure.
Removed garden hose, obvious vacuum breaking sound, opened up faucet. Nothing, water heater gurgled for a couple of seconds then stopped.
Am I gonna have to totally disconnect the water heater from the system in order to do the bi-annual draining that the manufacturer suggests? I just don't want to do that, considering all the water that's gonna dump all over the place when that happens.
What about opening the pressure release valve?
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Turn off the cold water supply to tank, then open pressure relief valve to allow air to get into system. The only problem with that is the pressure relief valve may not fully close again.
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install ball valve as drain valve, its likely a plastic valve designed to be used just once to drain the tank at end of life. the ball valves nice unobstructed opening allows eaier drain water flow.
personally I QUIT draining my tank many years ago. after getting little sediment out and having leaks, opening that pressure relief valve can cause a leak.
Only begin this project first thing in orning you have entire day off!
Be prepared to replace valves and perhaps the entire tank.
to me its not worth the effort
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On Tue, 26 Jun 2007 01:31:48 -0000, " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

In 10 years, I have not drained my tank.
I do get a gallon of hot water out the drain about once a year - to use to add freon to my car. The cheap plastic faucett still works fine - just be gentle with it.
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?? You heat the freon can so more goes in?

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wrote:

Exactly. The 12 oz cans have printed instructions on them to do just that.
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I have yet to be able to close a WH drain (or PT valve) to the point of being leak tight.
In the case of the drain valve, I end up screwing on one of those valves used to shut off water at the business end of a garden water hose. Works every time.
In the case of the PT valve, I just put a small bucket to catch the drips. After a month or two the crap in the water plugs the leak.

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wrote:

Well the manual asks me to operate the pressure release valve 2 times year, so I might as well bite the bullet and go for it. Seems odd that I'd have to do all this arm waving to drain the stupid tank, it's not like I have some weird setup or something.
But before I do that I have to find a fitting to attach to the pressure release valve so I can redirect the water away from the burner. The pressure release valve fitting give me no room to attach pipe elbows.
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It's very good advice. A 5 gallon water heater that explodes will tear a huge hole in a cinder block wall, big enough to walk through. Imagine what would happen with a 40 or 50 gallon heater. Many here say the T&P valve may leak, as if that's a reason to not test it. So what! If it leaks, tap it with a hammer and the leak will probably stop. If not, they're not that hard or expensive to replace.

It should go straight down to about 6" off the floor. No elbows or anything unless the thing is on the top of the tank, which is unlikely.
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So what was the solution - open up the pressure release valve. I didn't even have to open a hot water tap, I simply opened it up, opened up the drain valve, and voila!
Nice clear water came out - just as I hoped.

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On Sat, 30 Jun 2007 11:15:09 -0700, Eigenvector wrote:

That's because that valve is at or near the top of the tank. And you lucked out because 9 out of 10 times those things drip after they are messed with.
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Opening the pressure relief valve may cause it to leak if it does not re-seat properly.
No need to drain the tank, just flush it out on the bottom a bit to get any sediment out. OTOH, if you have good water it may never need flushing.
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Like I suggested the first time, turn off the water and hook the system up to an air compressor. Or not, as you wish.
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It sounds to me like the outlet is blocked. You could try reverse flushing the valve by shutting off the cold supply, and releasing pressure as well as you can, and leaving a hot tap open. Then connect the garden hose to the drain valve with an adapter or washing maching hose, open the drain valve, and turn on the hose to flush it. I wouldn't run it long - just enough to clear obstructions.
Bob
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Well and here's my thing, with both your and Toller's remarks. If I'm getting water from it when I turn the cold water tap on, wouldn't it stand to reason that the opening isn't plugged? I'm not getting rusty water, I'm not getting cold water, I'm getting nice clear hot water from the drain when the cold water tap is turned on. It's certainly not coming out at a deluge amount, but its isn't a trickle either - it's about the same amount that I get when I turn on the outside faucets.
It's almost like water is being pushed up a drain tube at the top of the tank and out the drain spout, and since the tank isn't under pressure it has to fill for the water to overflow into the drain tube. Kind of see what I mean, like the drain tube is at the top of the tank instead of the bottom.
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You suggested the flow was slow even with the supply on, and my suggestion was based on that.
If the valve is clear, you should be able to turn off the cold supply, open a hot water tap somewhere above the tank, open the drain valve, and get a reasonable flow from the tank.
If it's a siphon problem, Start the flow with the supply on. Open one hot tap and the drain valve, so water comes out of both. Then turn off the supply and see if the flow continues. Get the end of the drain hose as low as possible to help the siphon.
Bob
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On Mon, 25 Jun 2007 21:50:35 -0700, "Eigenvector"

You make sense. That's why I didn't post. I can't account for this.

You've lost me. What drain tube, especially since I think you yourself are saying there isn't one!
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On Mon, 25 Jun 2007 17:17:26 -0700, Eigenvector wrote:

That's all reasonable

Don't
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Eigen,
Something ain't right with your story. The system is pressurized so when you open a faucet water should come out until the pressure equalizes. May not be a lot of water but some must come out. You open a bunch of faucets and get nothing? When draining this tank with a garden hose are you trying to get water to flow up hill? I own a similar heater. It's on the first floor. I run a garden hose out across the deck and down about 4 ft, to the ground, turn off the electricity, open the drain valve, open a sink faucet and then turn off the water supply valve. Opening the relief valve isn't necessary since the sink faucet allows air to enter the tank.
Dave M.
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