Drip from gas water heater drain valve after first flush


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Old 12-30-17, 03:05 PM
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Drip from gas water heater drain valve after first flush

I've got an AO Smith gas water heater that's just about 4 years old. (This is my first house and the old water heater died just after escrow closed but right before I moved in and it was replaced at that time.) I flushed it for the first time this morning. The flushing went fine and the water flowed freely and there's a nice bunch of white crystals on the sidewalk now. However there is a very slight drip from the drain spigot. Like about a drop every 3 or 4 seconds.

My question is: should I try opening the valve back up and running more water through it and then closing it again in the hope that it seals? Or is it more likely that, because I waited too long for this first flushing that the valve should just be replaced? It's a nice brass valve with a slot for a screwdriver. Is it only going to leak for a certain period of time after being used, or is something else going on?
 
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Old 12-30-17, 04:20 PM
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Try that and if it does work just put a cheap cap on the drain.
Any hardware store, Lowe's, HD will have them.
 
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Old 12-30-17, 04:39 PM
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I went and got a brass hose cap. But is that normal? Is that a common long term solution or should I work on replacing it? I know its my fault for waiting so long to flush the tank but Id have thought a brass valve would have worked more than once.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 04:56 AM
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That is why I don't do the flushing thing. The cure is worse than the symptoms.
 
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Old 12-31-17, 06:01 AM
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Yes, it is normal for the cheap drain valves to leak. Simply put the cap on and forget it until next time.

OR, drain the tank, remove the cheap drain valve and install a brass/bronze nipple with a quality (Watts or Apollo) ball valve with a garden hose adapter in the outlet. I still use a cap.
 
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Old 01-02-18, 10:04 AM
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You know I don't disagree with that. Does anyone have any data on how much life it extends? It seems easier to just say "I'll replace every 10 years" if you can afford it.
 
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Old 01-02-18, 07:14 PM
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You can have a water heater last 15-25 years with proper maintenance or replace it every 6-10 years. It's up to you

1- Flush the water heater and check the anode rod on a yearly basis.

2- Change the anode rod every 3-5 years (depends on the quality of the anode rod in the tank)

if you have a slight drip at the drain spigot i would use this method

-while draining (when there's 1/5 water left in the tank) i would turn on the cold water supply for about 3 seconds and then turn off --- to spray more water into the tank and stir up the all the sediments that might be stuck at the bottom.

Do the on and off cycle for about 3-4 times. It will also help dislodge any sediments stuck at the bottom or the drain valve.
 
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Old 01-02-18, 07:39 PM
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The quality of the water along with the difference between gas and electric heaters makes a big difference. After that it is mostly just luck as to how long a water heater will last.

I know of one electric heater that lasted forty years without ever being flushed. Other heaters of the same manufacturer on the same city water and with the same "maintenance" didn't last for twenty. The electric heater I installed in my first home lasted eighteen years with no maintenance. The gas-fired heater in my present home lasted fourteen years before popping a hole in the internal flue. I did occasionally flush the previous heater and maybe that is the reason it lasted as long as it did.

The average life of a gas-fired water heater is eight years and for electric it is ten years. Some last longer (in my case) some don't last to the average. Changing anode rods MAY help, I think it has more to do with the quality of the water than anything.
 
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Old 01-03-18, 12:12 AM
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I would check the anode rod on the yearly basis and replace when needed. It will extend the life of your water heater. Once the anode rod is gone, the water is coming after the lining of your water heater and leak will follow. The burner can't stay on for long if water keep dripping on it. The reason why my 10 1/2 year old heater died on Christmas Day 2017. I didn't change the anode rod fast enough.

I would not wait until the anode rod is like this (picture below) before changing. It's already too late at this point.

The anode rod will cost around $16-$45. The segmented ones will cost about $40-$50. Even at $50 it's still cheaper than buying a new water heater + labor costs


I installed a water heater on my own a few days ago

$600 50 gal gas water heater + tax = $645.45
supply lines, gas line, fittings, tools, etc.. + tax = $150.62

total DIY = $796.07-ish

I'm replacing the water heater for the first time so i had to spend money on new tools for the job. The 2nd time on will be cheaper for sure ($700-ish)

How much do you think it will cost having someone do it for you? The cheapest quote I got was from Costco's contractor $1300 for the same size heater (AO Smith brand). The saleman become defensive for no reason when i asked for more details about the water heater they will install, year manufacture, coefficient rating, 2015 regulation, etc..

You don't have to worry about getting rid of the old water heater. Put it on Craiglist for $10-$20 and i'm sure you will have a buyer, if not, call your local bulk pick up service and request a pickup for appliance. Most cities will have some sort of Appliance Recycling Program. It's free.
 
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Last edited by CluelessOwner; 01-03-18 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 01-03-18, 03:15 AM
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All that draining and parts replacing is all well and good, but in the end I have to agree with Furd, water quality and luck will determine the longevity of a tank. I also believe that the less fooling with the temp setting the better. In the 18 years I've had my heater (and it still works I might add, though due for replacement) I never touched the temp setting once installed. And I might add, all those bells and whistles such as WiFi is just one more thing to cause problems. Don't need that junk. And a pilot lite is the more reliable as opposed to those electronic on and off flame starters. At least that's my take on it.
 
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Old 01-06-18, 08:03 PM
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I got around to take apart my old water heater. The new anode rod i installed 5/2016 ended up like this just after 19-ish months.

I confirmed it. You will have to replace the anode rod more frequent if you have a water softener installed. I think it might help if you adjust the softener settings so the system will put less salt in the water supply.

It's best to use thicker Magnesium anode rod instead of Aluminum.
 
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Last edited by CluelessOwner; 01-06-18 at 08:48 PM.
 

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