Water Heater Drainage

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On Fri, 7 Feb 2014 09:19:38 -0600, micky wrote

Very good advice. I hadn't thought of that. Sometimes the easiest things to do aren't entirely obvious to me. As I've explained, I thought periodic draining of a w/h was important. This is the first time anyone has ever said otherwise and there are good reasons not to, apparently. Hope we can put this thread to rest now :)
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A lot of people have said that on this very ng, and it must have been true a few years ago, and maybe for the previous 80. I'm not sure what changed, water heaters, water, or people. .

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And maybe if my father had lived longer, he would have taught me to drain the WH. But he didn't and he didn't.
The first 10 years here I had no internet, and it never occured to me to drain ir. Year 13 or so, the wh leaked and the directions for the new one didn't mention draining, afaicr.

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On 02/05/2014 08:37 PM, James wrote:

Attach a hose and portable pump and dump the water in the nearest drain.
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On 2/5/2014 8:37 PM, James wrote:

Cut a hole in the side of the pan, and patch the hole later?
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On Thursday, February 6, 2014 7:38:28 AM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:

If the drain connection is so close to the lip of the pan that nothing else will work, that's the best option I see, if it has to be drained. If there is enough room to get a 90 deg hose fitting on there, those are available in the garden section.
If the need is just for routine maintenance, if it came to cutting the pan, I think I just wouldn't drain it. Another factor is, how old is it? If it's a 10 year old gas heater and it hasn't been drained, it's nearing typical end of life point anyway.
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On Thu, 6 Feb 2014 08:03:09 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote

There is actually a hole in the pan with a pvc fitting in it but it's turned at an angle to the heater spout and the spout points downward so it doesn't look like there's enough room for an angle fitting.
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There's not supposed to be a connection between the "spout" and the hole. Water falls out of the spout, starrts to fill the pan, and then runs out of the pan.
There's supposed to be a connection between the hole and a drain or a sump. .
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On Fri, 7 Feb 2014 09:22:03 -0600, micky wrote

No place to drain it from the pan hole. Only drain in there is for the clothes washer :( Would have to connect a hose to outside afaict.
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What do other people in the building do? What did the guy who did the home inspection expect the owner to do? It surely wasn't what he did.
Don't ask the people right underneath you. If you do and then you don't do what they say, they'll know you didn't do it if and when the flood comes.

I noticed that, and it's four feet high, not the best place to put the drain for a wh that's 4.5 feet high.
And I suppose I should mention that the instructions for washing machines say to turn the water off when not in use. The hardware store guy said he sold loads of replacement rubber hoses, when they burst. He talked me in to woven stainless steel clad rubber hoses, which are much much less likely to burst, though mine started to leak a bit at the end when it was twitsted the wrong way.
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On Friday, February 7, 2014 11:03:40 PM UTC-5, micky wrote:

Live there with him I guess. Again, he did say it was a *house* in the very first post.
What did the guy who did the

That's a good question. Probably just said "WH missing drain pan" and the seller just put one in himself that goes no where, or got some hack to do it. I think it's code that there needs to be a drain to somewhere for a WH installed in a living space. Sounds like the seller got away with the $10 DIY fix instead of the $500 or whatever solution that was really required.

What? He has an illegal apartment down there? I guess I missed that part.

Now you're on the right track....
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James wrote:

Hi, Do you have normal IQ?, LOL!
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I've always had a water develop a leak right at the drain after trying to drain it - IMHO, there's no need to drain them unless you have really bad water issues.
My water heater is inside the house in a "utility closet". They don't always fail catastrophically - when my water heater failed, we noticed not as hot water as normal for an evening shower (exceptionally cold out - figured that had something to do with it), and almost no hot water the next morning. When I went to look at the water heater in the morning, the pan was just starting to overflow - si it was a slow drip. I turned off the water, used my shop vac to suck out the water in the pan, and hooked a garden hose up to the water heater and drained it to the outside.
The original pan had a drain to the outside, but the guy that installed it originally had a backflow preventer in the drain line - installed the wrong way - so the pan simply overflowed !
I had the guy that replaced the water heater reorient the drip pan under the heater and put a drain fitting in the side of the pan (without a backflow preventer) that tied into the condensate line for the AC - that line drains to the outside, too.
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On Thursday, February 6, 2014 10:33:16 AM UTC-5, Tony Hwang wrote:

I believe what he is saying is that the pan edge is so close to the drain connection that he can't get a hose on it. That's why I suggested a 90deg elbow that's available in the garden supplies might be an option.
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I just did an image search. Not all hose bibs are that high up. I have no idea how old this unit is, but there were other images of low hose bibs. Just sayin'...
http://www.earlgrayandsons.com/images/leaking-water-heater.jpg
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On Thu, 6 Feb 2014 12:33:42 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote

That may not be possible in this particular situation but the pans are cheap so if I have to kill it I won't be pissed. Never lived in a house that had a drain pan under the water heater so I was kinda surprised. I thought draining the water heater periodically was proper maintenance to remove sediment in the bottom and it will need to replaced eventually anyway. In reality it will have to be drained at some point, so I do not understand the snide remark or the questions about why I want to drain it. I'm here to learn things.
Thank you for trying to be helpful :)
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People, and vendors, are always trying to improve our standard of living. Even if men don't care, women don't like it when every 20 years there is 40 or 50 gallons of water on the floor.

What do you care if there is sediment on the bottom? It only matters if the sediment is so deep it starts to surround the lower electric heating element. Do you even have an electric WH? Or gas?
Assume it's electric. I have that too. When I, probably mistaking thermostat or element problems for something more serious, junked my 8yo WH. I cut it open and there was less than 2 tablespoons of sediment. At that rate it would have taken over 80 years for the sediment to reach the heating element.
Water varies by location. You need to talk to your neighbors and find out if they ever drain the WH, how often and how much sediment comes out. Some of them don't drain it, that's for sure. How long do their WH's last. In the 10 years I've been reading, no one in this group has ever reported good results from draining the WH, curing an existing problem without creating a bigger problem. What they say often happens is sediment gets in the drain valve, the pressure and flow are not enough to flush the sediment out, and the valve won't shut tight anymore and is always dripping hot water and the WH has to be replaced.

Why?
When it leaks it will drain itself. Why do you need to drain it before then?

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I flush my gas water heater once a year. I don't drain it, but leave supply on full and open the drain valve full to a hose going out a door to an exterior sidewalk. I see ~1/2 cup of white mineral chips spread out on the sidewalk when I'm done. In a gas heater I assume that the chips would have remained on the bottom of the tank and slowed heat transfer to the water mass. When I have a faucet aerator with reduced flow, I pull it off and find those same white chips clogging the screen. My municipal system gets the tail end of the Colorado river before we send it into Mexico, so the dissolved solids can be very high at the end of the summer.

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On Fri, 7 Feb 2014 09:37:07 -0600, micky wrote

Very good points. I do not intend to waste time doing anything I don't need to that may make things worse. I lived in another house near where I live now (same water supply). Sediment was pretty bad in that home's w/h but I do not know how long the w/h was sitting before I drained it. IIRC there was about 2 cups of crap in it. Luckily the valve didn't leak when I was done. Could have replaced it if it did I suppose.

I see your point. But if it starts leaking just a little bit I won't have the time to power it off, shut off the supply and babysit it until it drains out by itself without a hose. Now if it suddenly starts leaking a quart a minute and I am away then I will have bigger problems (I'm exaggerating of course). I just wanted to see if there was a way to get a hose on it without tearing up the pan or causing other problems. I won't drain it just for the sake of doing it if it's really not needed.

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On Friday, February 7, 2014 5:11:07 PM UTC-5, James wrote:

One thing I would do. Given that the WH is in a closet, I would get two of those $10 battery water alarms that they have at HD, etc. Put one in the WH pan and the other one by the washing machine that's also there. They have contacts on the bottom and the alarm goes off from water. Since the pan is metal, you'll have to put a piece of plastic or similar on the bottom for it to sit on.
BTW, another thought came to mind. We talked about the pan having a drain connection. Is that at least closed off? I don't remember from the pic. If not, I would tend to that too. With it closed off, at least the pan will hold 2" of water or so. It should have a pvc fitting that you can cap off or whatever.
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