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Tank Type Water Heater Draining & Flushing Information. Tankless Info Included.

Tank Type Water Heater Draining & Flushing Information. Tankless Info Included.

Old 06-11-03, 10:43 AM
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Arrow Tank Type Water Heater Draining & Flushing Information. Tank-less Info Included.

Hello Do-It-Yourself Members.

Provided to assist you with "Basic Tank Type Water Heater Maintenance Information."

Topics Covered:
Tank Flushing and Draining.
Explanation of The Terms.
Information and Procedures To Accomplish The Task.

Safety Warnings:
Follow all manufacturers instructions.
Draining Requires Turning Off The Appliance First.
Be aware that HOT water can cause personal injuries and damage to surrounding areas.

Spring has almost arrived in many parts of the country. With the arrival of spring, it's a good practice to do the recommended yearly water heater maintenance procedure.

Within this forum on gas appliances and within the plumbing forum, there are often questions asked, references made to and replies posted regarding either FLUSHING of a water heater tank or the DRAINING a water heater tank.

There are differences between draining and flushing and often the terms are accidentally interchanged and or used incorrectly. Draining refers to emptying the tank while flushing refers to removing debris from within the tank.

At times it may become necessary to drain {empty} the water heater tank for various reasons. Replacing the tank with a new tank, moving the tanks current location to another location, installing replacement parts to the current tank, etc.

If you have a need to do so, the very first step is to turn OFF the gas or electric supply to the tank! Without water in the tank, the temperature sensing element or elements will cool off, do to the lack of hot water.

Without water in the tank, it is essential to turn off the energy source prior to draining the tank. Failure to do so will cause permanent damage to the control, burner, electrical elements, tank and any other parts.

Second step in the draining process's to turn OFF the incoming water supply. The COLD water inlet supply valve will be on the inlet water pipe located on the right side of the tank at the top.

The valve may be one of two commonly used varieties. A gate valve, which has a round knob that is turned in wards {clockwise} until fully seated in the closed position.

The other type is the newer ball valve variety. This valve will have a lever that is turned so the lever handle is no longer parallel to the pipe. Instead, the lever handle will be across the pipe.

Third step is to OPEN at least one HOT water faucet within the house. By doing so, internal water pressure within the tank will be relieved.

Air will than be allowed to enter through the opened faucet to help displace the water in the tank. Failure to execute this step will result in the tank not completely emptying.

Fourth step is to locate the faucet {Spigot} on the tank. These faucets are always located near the bottom of the tank next to the thermostat temperature control dial or lower thermostat on electric water heater tanks.

On to this spigot, attach a common garden hose and place the other end of the hose where the exiting hot water will be safe to flow and the hot water will not cause damages to the surrounding areas.

Once the garden hose is attached to the spigot or faucet on the tank, OPEN the valve and allow the entire tank to DRAIN until fully emptied. This process may take several minutes. Be patient.

It is often recommended and also a good idea to FLUSH a water heater tank yearly. The reasoning behind this maintenance procedure is to flush out accumulated sediment and rust particles that will naturally settle and on the bottom of the tank.

Sediment is found within all supplies of water more or less to some degree. Rust comes from the tanks interior, do to normal tank aging, the iron pipes within the houses piping system, those of the main supply, the streets piping system and other sources, depending on the water supply.

To successfully accomplish the tank flushing task, simply attach a common garden hose to the water heaters faucet. To flush the tank, there is NO need to turn off the gas or electrical supply nor open any hot water faucet within the house.

Leave the inlet water supply valve ON. Just attach the garden hose to the tanks faucet, place the other end in a location where HOT water will do no damage and then simply OPEN the tanks faucet valve.

Allow the existing HOT water to flow out until it does so cleanly and clearly. Depending upon the amount of rust and debris inside the tank, this step may take less than one minute or several minutes to completely and fully accomplish.

Be patient. Depending upon the amount of sediment and rust contained within the tank and how often this process is done, will determine the amount of time required to fully complete the tank flushing process.

Once this process is accomplished, CLOSE the tanks faucet valve.

Remove the garden hose from the faucet.

PRESTO! The FLUSHING is completed.

DIY'S Water Heating Pages:

Water Heater Help Information:

Helpful Links Below:

Hot Water Circulatory Systems:

Information About Anodes:

How To Determine Water Leakage In Piping Exists:

The information above is offered to provide basic information and instructional methods and procedures only.

Methods and procedures apply only to tank type water heaters. Results and methods may vary slightly by tank manufacturer or design.

Always read your owners manual and closely follow the advice and procedures given in the booklet or on the label instructions attached to the tank. Always follow all safety warnings!

Tank less Water Heater Information & Links:
Water Heater Help and Information Pages On Do-It-Yourself.

DIY'S Water Heating Pages:

Water Heater Help Information:

Tank & Tank-Less Water Heater Informational Links:














Any additional links to be added or any which do not work, etc. kindly advise the forums moderators via a PM. Thanks.

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Last edited by Sharp Advice; 12-22-07 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Updating. 12-22-07
Old 11-05-05, 07:02 AM
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Arrow Tankless Hot Water Heater Information

Facts, Opinions, Suggestions and Experiences.
Original Posting Dated: 11-05-2000

Tank less Hot Water Heaters:
Used for Residential hot water.
Items to consider before making any purchase.

Several questions have been posted on the topic of tank less water heaters. With that thought in mind, to the best of my knowledge and experiences, I hope to more fully explain the origins, applications, benefits and drawbacks to this product.

The name 'tank less' is the commonly used generic term for what is known in the trade industry as an 'instantaneous' water heater. Tank less water heaters are not new. They've been around for many years.

Initially designed and equipped for industries where storage space is limited but vast quantities of endless hot water is needed. These units are also used at large multi-unit residential complexes and mid-sized businesses for the same reasons. Instantaneous water heaters are also used as residential pool and spa water heaters.

Over the years, the design and applications have been modified and changed to became much smaller in size. The benefit to the instantaneous Tank Less Instantaneous water heaters smaller size was to appeal to the broader residential retail sales market.

During my many plus years working in the gas appliance industry, about the only real problem found with tank less instantaneous was parts availability and qualified repair services.

A combination of problems and unplanned events in years past, caused an otherwise fine product to almost totally fail in the retail residential market place. There is always exceptions to every rule. Therefore, in some parts of the country, this type of water heating unit used in homes may be more common than in other areas.

The major problem was the lack of infrastructure network of distributors, retail outlets, parts availability. Couple that with lack of localized, well trained, qualified, knowledgeable and experienced plumbing companies and independent local repair persons and or service agencies, and failure became assured.

Although the tank less units worked well, have several benefits over the tank type units, the above conditions and several other factors, including meeting city, state and local plumbing codes, etc, made the residential ownership of these types of water heaters doubtful.

Such may not be the case in every region of the country. However, prior to purchasing this type of unit, regardless of brand name, I would suggest and recommend you inquire into the potential problem possibilities mentioned above.

This is especially true, in my opinion, if your area's local larger retail plumbing companies do not advertise nor display these units in their stores. Keep in mind here, I am not referring to the nationwide large retail chain hardware stores. These stores are perfectly fine for their intended purposes. However, keep in mind their objective is selling and not after sales service.

In the case of the large retail chain stores, the installations may only be handled by subcontractors. Which may not be in your best interests when it comes time for service, several years later. That's when your local plumbing company is the major benefit over cost savings offered by the chain hardware stores.

Should you still be determined to save a few cents and purchase one of these units at a nationwide discount chain hardware store, attempt to obtain a list of installing contractors from that retailer with references of prior residential installations in your area.

If your wondering why I recommend all this preliminary ground work be done prior to making a purchase is necessary, consider this fact. When your unit fails to operate and you find yourself totally without HOT water, you could still be in HOT water.

You'll find yourself scrambling around to locate a plumbing company or service agent that services these units and or find a replacement parts dealer, when none is to be found! That's really being in HOT water!

The condition mentioned above, is when a "Tank less" water heater quickly becomes a "Thank-less" water heater. In my many years of service, I have found many such cases.

Based on the above information and in my opinion, my best suggestion is to buy any brand named unit sold exclusively by your local authorized and licensed plumbing contractor, company or dealer. In this way, your most likely to get better product, installation and service information and be assured all of your future needs will be met.

If you do purchase a tank less advertise several tank less water heater without thinking about future parts availability and local service needs, is to scroll up to the top of this forum. Print this article and post it next to your newly installed "Tank-less" water heater. When the day arrives and your "Thank-less" water heater fails to operate, don't say "Sharp Advice" didn't warn me.

Refer to the google advertisement sites in this topic.
Also those listed in the related links to the right>>>

Always consider the warranties and future service needs for any major appliances you may be considering purchasing. Price isn't always the best guide for the long term.

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Last edited by Sharp Advice; 08-27-06 at 06:54 AM.
Old 08-24-06, 09:57 AM
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Arrow Basic Tank Type Water Heater Help & Information

Below is basic help information pertaining to tank type water heaters. The information is rewritten in easy to understand language. Taken from multiple sources and based upon basic appliance diagnostic services.

It is highly suggested checking the basics before assuming there is a mechanical problem or part failure before attempting any repairs. Read your owners manual for additional brand specific information and instructions.

Safety Concerns:

If you smell gas, do not try to light the water heater or any appliances in that area. Do not turn on or turn off any electrical switch. Immediately contact your gas supplier. If you cannot contact the gas supplier, call the local fire department.

Do not use or store gasoline, use flammable liquids or any products which produce flammable vapors near any gas appliance.

Tank Type Water Heater Safety Awareness:

Water heaters are one of the gas appliances that are all to often overlooked on the maintenance issue. They are almost always installed in a location obstructed from plain view by intent. We forget they are there, as they provide thousands of gallons of hot water over the life of the tank.

By design, tank type units draw in large amounts of combustion air from the underside of the tank. In doing so, lint and dust become collected in the area around the base of the tank and inside the burner compartment. Lint, dust, pet hairs, etc. being well aerated and dry, makes it a highly flammable material.

Part of every spring cleaning activity, water heaters should be inspected for proper operation and cleanliness around the area. Failure to do so, the problems associated with the units can become potentially hazardous to both a persons property and health.

Many city, county and state codes require a water heater to be raised 18 inches or more above the floor level, when installed inside areas of the home. Such areas can be but are not limited to basements and garages.

Often times a noise is associated with one of the early warning signs of troubles. A sputtering or popping noise. The sputtering or popping type noise is most likely caused by restricted burner ports on the round burner head.

Simple cleaning to remove accumulated lint and dust cures this problem. The remainder of the time a popping or sputtering noise isn't a good sign.

Normal dust and lint have restricted the burner ports and or secondary air shutter. Many times some or all of the flames that should be burning around the burner head are actually burning within the air shutter opening beneath the burner head. Visual signs of this condition can be verified. Corrective actions then need to be taken immediately.

The secondary air shutter opening is located directly beneath the burner head. There should never be flames there. If there are flames there while the burner is on, the burner head is restricted and must be cleared.

Removal of the entire burner assembly is required, cleaning the burner head and reinstalling it cures the problem. Unless it is already to late and SOOT has formed.

Formation of soot and or carbon deposits in the firebox. Lack of air. Clogged flue. Orifice too large. Defective thermostat control or defective internal gas regulator. Lack of air. Heater installed in a confined space. Burner flame yellowed and burning improperly.

Problems which cause flame distortion, complete gas combustion will not take place and black soot and carbon will form. These are not a conditions the DoItYourself person should attempt to correct. If soot is present inside the firebox, get professional help from your gas utility or a licensed plumber.

Complete combustion is not solely dependent upon a clean burner and burner compartment. Other factors can cause soot to form. Inside the flue of the tank is a spiral baffle. It's purpose is to accurately control the escape of the heat produced by the gas combustion process. These internal baffles sometimes deteriorate and may partially or fully collapse.

A collapsed or restrictive baffle will drastically restrict the up wards flow of flue gas and fumes. In doing so, it distorts the natural flame design and up wards flow of hot fumes. Which causes incomplete combustion which in turn causes toxic fumes carbon monoxides and soot.

Another factor that can and does cause soot, is restricted primary air. The enclosure the water heater is in must be properly ventilated. A restricted air enclosure around the tank or any gas appliance, can cause incomplete combustion and smothering flames leading to soot formations. Refer to combustion air below.

Water inside the firebox. If this condition exists, the tank has a water leak either in the firebox itself or the vent flue within the tank. Tank replacement is suggested.


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Personal Driving Safety Reminder:
Buckle Up & Drive Safely.
"The Life You Save, May Be Your Own."

Last edited by Sharp Advice; 12-22-07 at 11:30 AM.

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