No mud when water heater drained


I drained my 3 year-old gas water heater last night, for the first time. I drained it into a sump pump pit that is in the basement at a lower level than the water heater, through a piece of garden hose that I screwed onto the drain output. There was no sign of anything other than clear water throughout the entire 40 gallon draining process. After it finished draining, I turned the input water back on and put a couple of gallons of fresh water into the heater to see if I could stir up anything on the bottom. But the new water drained out clear also. I guess I should be happy, but I am wondering if I missed something.
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Probably not. If everything goes right, the water passes through and leaves little or nothing behind. Mud comes from solids the precipitate out when standing. If you have good water, there will be little solids. Some water supplies have lots of sediment. If you have a whole house filter in line, that helps too.
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my heater never has sediment of any type, so i quit draing it after one drsaining where the thermocouple failed after turning tank off.
to me water heaters are install and forget till they fail or get old and i replace them as preventive maintence.
if you divide the purchase cost per year of service its less than a buck a week, or one cheap candy bar per week.
not worth messing with, espically risking premature tank failure
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.
The argument I've heard is that draining them can leave some sediment in the valve. If so, after a couple of times you may find you can't shut it all the way off.
I've never drained one and so far never had one fail that seemed to be sediment related. But with a number of kids, may our flow through was enough to keep it clean.
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wrote:

Where I live the water sucks so bad your bottom element will me under the mud in a few years. I found the little drain valve they put in is no match for scale. I take it out day 1 before I install the heater, extend that hole out with a 3/4 galv nipple and put a ball valve in. That works pretty well. I may use a gate valve next time tho since you can take them apart and clean them.
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On Tue, 20 Oct 2009 16:20:59 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

So far mine is down around 45 cents a week and dropping. One thermocouple replacement at about 5 years or so. We have pretty agressive water, but use a water softener. The original in the house lasted about 12 years, and was just a cheap contract house unit. Top of the line GSW this time.
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All the water heaters that I have installed recently have had a dip tube that was curved at the end so as the cold water comes in, it swirls the water constantly cleaning the bottom.

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Interesting about the curved tube, I don't have a clue if mine has onbe or not. Thanx for the idea.
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On Tue, 20 Oct 2009 15:21:32 -0700 (PDT), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

Tanks with a "turbulator" very seldom have any sediment build-up.
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Pick it up and shake it for ten min. and drain again.
Jerry
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/MyWoodWorkingPage
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/1974RuppCentair
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On Oct 21, 1:32am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Jerry - OHIO) wrote:

Using the word "mud" makes me wonder if you missed actual sediment. The only sediment I've seen come out of my water heaters are very small particles, about the size of lead pencil points that are slightly white in color. If you were looking for something more like muddy water, you could miss it.
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On Tue, 20 Oct 2009 15:21:32 -0700, hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

What's the drain valve like on yours? On mine it's a plastic thing where the water path goes through a narrow channel with a couple of quite tight bends. Whoever designed it was an idiot. When I was having issues with the tank a few weeks back I was getting clear water out of the drain (and at a quite good flow rate) - but the tank really was very badly sludged up, and the valve body's just of such a poor design that it released water OK but not any of the sediment.
I ended up draining the tank and taking the valve apart, which gave a little less awkward path for the outflow. Then I'd turn the water on to fill about 4 or 5 gallons of the tank (not enough to overflow the bucket I was draining to - if you've got a sump you can add more and get a better head of water) and feed a bit of wire in through the top of the open valve body to dislodge sediment as it drained.
Even better would have been to remove the whole drain valve body (leaving a 3/4" hole straight into the bottom of the tank), but it didn't want to unscrew and I was worried about cracking it if I put any more force on it.

If you want, you can probably unscrew the bottom element and just visually inspect it inside. My lower element was jammed solid (I had about 4' of breaker bar on it with no luck) so I couldn't take that route. Throw a bit of plumbing paste on the threads when you put the element back in and it'll all seal up nicely again.
cheers
Jules
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wrote:

It's a gas heater and very hard to get to since it is behind the water softener. I think I'll just wait 2 or 3 years and try again. I didn't see any small particles or anything, just clear water coming out the end of the hose I was using to drain it so maybe our water is pretty good. It comes from Lake Michigan via Chicago water system and then our DuPage County water folks so it has a lot of places to drop sediment as well as pick up god knows what along the way.
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On Wed, 21 Oct 2009 09:33:25 -0700, hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

yes, duh, sorry about that. That'll teach me not to post when I haven't had enough coffee ;)

Fairy nuff. If there's no apparent problem then it makes sense, I suppose. If it's partially silted it'll lose efficiency, but there's probably no easy way to monitor that over time with a gas heater.
(I must have pulled about ten gallons of crud out of ours, which obviously hadn't happened all at once - yet in terms of water temperature it had all seemed to be working fine until recently, and previous checks of the water from the drain valve had shown no signs of build-up because the poor valve design wasn't letting it through. It had probably been using way more power than it should for several years...)
cheers
Jules
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