how to drain a water heater?


Old 09-08-03, 03:10 PM
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how to drain a water heater?

I bought a house that has Florida well water. Terrible smell and water was yellow. Had softeners rebed and cold water runs clear and odor free but hot water still smells. I drained the bottom drain for over an hour while running the shower on hot in the back. The shower never went cold but the water heater cooled and ran clear (so it seemed). Hot water still smells but the cold is great. Am I missing a step here? The heater is a big one, but over an hour seemed like it would work. Thanks for the help.
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Old 09-08-03, 03:54 PM
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I'm no expert on getting odors out of water heaters, but I do know that chlorine bleach will kill just about any odor you can think of. Why not turn the water heater off, drain it, take out the anode rod (now would be a good time to change this as well) and pour a gallon of Clorox down the hole. Then put the anode rod back in, refill it and, without turning the heater back on, let it sit over night. Then flush the chlorine out and turn it back on. It might work.

Old 09-08-03, 04:19 PM
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I'm on well water, flush mine on a regular basis but changed a few things to make it easier.

I totally removed the cheap drain valve and replaced it with a 3/4" nipple, a ball valve and a garden hose adapter on the end.
I then threw away my rotten anode and installed a garden hose fitting in place of the anode.
I first shut off the water and while draining, open the garden hose tap on top. With the large open bore drain and the tap opened at the top the tank drains in minutes.
I can then hook-up a hose and back-flush through the bottom fitting.

You can also add chlorine through the tap at the top.
A cup of bleach for an hour or so will do the trick.
Old 09-08-03, 07:44 PM
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I sometimes will hook hose up to boiler drain, keep water on and pulse the hose with my foot, which in turn will shake contents in the bottom of tank to get sediment to come out.
Old 09-08-03, 07:59 PM
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Replacing your magnesium anode rod with an aluminum anode rod will help minimize the problem, along with chlorination.
Well water is more prone to put harmless, but smelly bacteria into your water heater or sulphur in the water, both of which react with a magnesium anode rod to produce odors.
Old 09-08-03, 09:46 PM
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Thanks for all the help folks. I kinda feel like an idiot asking what an anode rod is but since it sounds like I need to straighten it out, maybe someone could indulge me. It's about a 50 gallon Kenmore and it does have the cheap drain valve. I've got a plumbing supply down the road and I could probably get a replacement there.
Old 09-08-03, 10:31 PM
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What is an anode rod you ask? It's the one water heater accessory your plumbing supply store probably doesn't have. Seriously though, it's the thing in the top of your water heater that looks like a plug. Take a socket or a wrench and unscrew it. When you get it out, it'll probably look more like a big rusty nail than a rod. If it looks like it's almost gone or is gone, it's a good idea to replace it. To make a long story short, the purpose if the anode is to corrode so your tank doesn't have to.

Old 09-09-03, 08:02 AM
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This is what they look like and what they look like after years of use.

Old 09-09-03, 12:38 PM
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You guys have been real helpful and I appreciate it. Is there anything I should know about prior to removal and is the anode rod a manufacturer's part?
Thanks again,
Old 09-09-03, 01:59 PM
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There are after market segmented anode rods from plumbing supply houses. The gotcha can be that you may not have enough headroom to remove the old rod without bending/cutting it. The segmented rods can be flexed at each segment to insert with low headroom.

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