Draining Water heater

Hello All,
We've just moved in and I would like to drain the water heater. It was installed in 2000, but the owner never drained it.
What is the safest way to do this without damaging the heater? Water on or off? Pilot light on or off? Etc, etc...
Many thanks for taking the time to respond!
Alain
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Drain or flush? If you are going to drain it dry, turn the heat off. If you intend to just flush it, leave the water on and no need to turn it off.
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I would open up the popoff valve. It lets air in, thus letting the water go out with more force, carrying more crud. I would turn the water on and off SEVERAL times to flush as much stuff out as you can.
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

WARNING WARNING!!!
Most drain valves are junk, espically the plastic ones, once opened it may NEVER close:( You can buy a cap that fits with a washer to close the drain when your done. be prepared to replaace the valve, like start early AM of day off not end of day:(
Turn burner off leave pilot on.
messing with the T&P valve may cause it to leak.
your better off opening valves anywhere above the height of the tank to assist draining by allowing airr to enter
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Messing with the T&P valve is a good idea, every year. They lime up, and when they do they can fail in the "will never open" position -- a very bad thing. Or, they could fail in the "won't stop leaking" position, but that's easily fixed by replacing it.
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wrote:

I completely agree about the plastic valves. I'd buy a brass one in advance. You can always return it. They are usually 3/4" pipe thread. I think they should outlaw those plastic valves.
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

USE BALL VALVE as replacement and dont forget teflon tape!
Ball valves are best since they open completely so debris can easily exit. Regular valves openings are small and can easily clog:(
On the T&P valve, after messing with one every spring and having it leak every time, i use a dont ask dont tell and hope it opens in a emergency water here is very hard, but i tired of valve replacement. much the same occured at my moms house too, i bumped the lever and the valve wouldnt shut completely on a 1 year old sears tank, sears covered it under warranty.
after never getting much out of draining tank I dont disturb them till they fail
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To drain... Turn off gas to water heater. Turn off water supply to water heater. Open drain at bottom of unit, attach garden hose to route water to drain or outside. Open TPR valve at top of unit, to allow air in. Water will come out now!
To flush... Once unit is empty, turn on water supply to unit, allow to flow through and out.
To refill... Close drain at bottom of unit. Close TPR at top of unit Turn on water supply to unit. Open a hot water faucet somewhere in your house, like in the kitchen. When water comes out there, the heater is filled. Turn on gas and relight pilot. Then, go around the house and purge each faucet for air and debris.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

just be prepared to replace TP valve, drain valve, and perhaps thermocouple since that occured once here after draining tank. Start early in the day in case issues arise.
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A. Pismo Clam wrote:

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