How to use a water heater drain valve for fast and easy draining. Tips when replacing a drain valve, how to drain a water heater with clogged valve, how to fix the problems such as leaking, not working, sediment build-up, see the types, how to use it, how does it work...
There are two types of the drain valves that are mostly found on tank-type gas and electric water heaters; made of plastic and brass. As stronger and more durable is better, recommendation is to buy a water heater that is equipped with the brass drain valve, while the plastic drain valves are easy to damage especially around the threads making them more likely to leak. If the water heater has the plastic valve already built-in, you might want to replace it with the brass valve.
Some plumbers suggest using the ball valves as these are better and bigger for successful and fast draining, and provide hassle-free maintenance.
Some manufacturers, such as AO Smith, utilize a reliable tamper resistant brass drain valve with the standard size of 3/4", in almost every water heater.
There are several reasons why to drain a water heater:
Before you drain a water heater make sure that water inside the tank is not hot. The best will be if you turn the unit off for a few hours and after that perform the actions below.
Note that when filling the heater with water again make sure that the drain valve is closed. It is recommended that the water heater is drained and flushed every 6 months or a year.
The valve is designed to be installed on a certain height from the bottom of the tank, so there will always be some water left even if you try thoroughly to drain the unit. Water that is left at the bottom of the tank will contain most of the harmful and corrosive particles, which can again clog the drain valve. This is why the recommendation is to flush the whole system and remove those deposits.
Replacing a drain valve on electric and gas heaters is very easy and it doesn't require any specially tools or skills. It is important to have the water inside the tank cooled off. To replace the part you can either fully or partially drain the water from the tank. The reasons for replacing the valve might be leaking, clogged or broken valve.
All heaters have a drain plug at the bottom of the unit. Such a location allows you to perform a routine maintenance and drain the tank easily. But there are also problems... the valve might be damaged or leaking.
If there is a missing drain valve it may be difficult to get the sediment deposits out of the bottom of the tank. If the valve is damaged it may not be able to operate. If it is leaking than there is a problem that has to be fixed.
It is easy to recognize when the water heater drain valve is clogged - nothing comes out, water flows sporadically or trickles instead of a steady stream.
The main reason for blocking the stop mechanism within the valve is the sediment build-up. As the water gets warmer and eventually hot, mineral deposits will start extracting at the bottom of the tank. Keep in mind that if there is no regular maintenance, sediment build-up can develop really bad, clogging up the drain valve, or affecting the performance and efficiency significantly.
There are few methods that can be used to fix this problem:
Keep in mind that all these drain valve problems could be prevented from happening by performing the regular maintenance.