I need to drain my water heater. It's in the garage ,which is
convenient cause it opens right to the driveway. I know you have to
attach the hose to the faucet and turn that one on to drain the water
and residue out. My question is.. do I have to turn off the water heater
? (It's natural gas) .. or the water coming into the water heater?
OR can I just attach the hose, turn on the faucet and let 'er rip ? and
it fills itself right back up after I'm finished ? Could it possibly be
that simple ? <G>
Turn off the incoming water, turn the on gas knob to pilot, attach the
hose to the bib run it out to your driveway, open the hose bib, then
open a hot water tap that will break the siphon. To refill close the
hose bib, open the cold water in, leave the tap open until there is a
good solid flow of water. Then and only then turn the gas knob to run
Go to GOOGLE:
Do an "Advanced" search on this newsgroup for "draining water heater".
Around 900 hits!!
If your purpose is to "flush out" the heater, rather than "drain" it,
leave the incoming water *ON* so it will flush with full line pressure.
And you can leave the gas on as well.
If the heater is old and hasn't been flushed periodically,
don't disappointed if not much comes out; much of it has
already solidified to rock.
A new heater should be flushed every month or so, just a bucket full
will do it. Doing it frequently keeps the concentration of dissolved
minerals low so that they don't precipitate out.
I hear you, but I don't understand it.
Why, if those minerals are disolved, don't they get swept along by the
intermittant water flow through the heater, or move to areas of lower
concentration when the water in the heater is standing still?
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."
The water with high concentration has a higher spec grav and
"sinks" to the bottom where it continues to build.
To be sure, some is swept away by the dischg from the dip tube,
but that is generally a bit higher up.
There are some heaters which have a "self-cleaning" feature
wherein the cold water entering is deliberately swept around
the tank bottom to keep the solution in motion (out of the heater).
Jim ('58 EE)
It turns to a heavy gravel , compacted sand, I recently had a unit
replaced in an area without hard water we saw and removed 12" of the
crap, The easiest way to lower you efficiency is not clean your tank
I've oft heard that is correct advice for gas heaters, where the heat
has to come through the bottom of the tank, but pretty much irrelevant
for electric heaters because even the lower heating elements are so far
up from the tank bottom.
The 12" of stuff you found was probably quite the exeptional case, and
not typical of most homes in the USA, at least not the ones on city
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"If you can smile when things are going wrong, you've thought of someone
City water is not softened water, lower elements on electric water heaters
I've repaired are often buried in sediment. If you replace enough water
heaters you'll find the biggest problem can be draining tanks that are
clogged with buildup. Some city water has less of a problem dependent on
water source and filtration. But finding a tank with up to a foot of
sediment on city water is not what I'd term "exceptional" but is not
typical because of the problems that such a buildup will cause.
I made a tool to clean water haeters from 3/4" CPVC. It is just cut linearly in
half and used like a shovel through the bottom element hole. When they are
really plugged you may have to remove the boiler valve to get the water out.
In SW Fla you can get a couple inches of scale a year in a water heater and
this stuff will not come out the valve by draining. The good side is you can
keep your water heater outside so draining it is not a big deal. Water doesn't
freeze here and it is really better to keep the heat load off the A/C.
I used a shop vac to suck the deposits out. Worked like a charm. I had to
attach a flexible tubing to the end of the shop vac in order to insert it
into the drain hole. The heater used to make rumbling noises, but it does
i would turn off the heater of the gas and then shut off the cold water
coming into the hot water heater and then turn on the faucets inside the
house with the hot water that way you have no air locks holding the
water in the tank.....
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