Draining the water heater


Old 09-24-19, 10:04 AM
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Draining the water heater

I have a 5 year old Rheem 33 gal. water heater I want to properly maintain. I have tried to drain the tank, done everything imaginable and it will not drain. Does anyone have any idea why? And what I should do?
Old 09-24-19, 10:29 AM
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Not a plumber

I think you mean to flush the tank. Draining should only be required for something like replacing the drain valve or moving the tank.

To flush the tank, you would leave the cold water feed valve open and then open the drain valve at the bottom. If nothing is coming out then the sediment may be blocking the valve. You could try poking a coat hanger through the valve and into the tank to break up the blockage. That is why they ask you to flush the tank periodically. If it is that heavily blocked, flushing may not do anything for the sediment stuck in the tank. If that is the case, maybe just let it be.

- Peter
Old 09-24-19, 10:13 PM
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Assuming you did mean flush and not drain, when was the last time you flushed it? I agree that it sounds like it could already be too filled with sediment for a flush to be of any benefit - you have to flush them before the minerals form the sediment; while they're still suspended in the water.
Old 09-25-19, 05:29 AM
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To flush the water heater leave the water turned on. Attach a hose to the drain fitting and open the drain valve. You should have water coming out. If not, you've waited too long and the drain has become clogged with sediment.

If your heater's drain is clogged and it's in an area that can get wet you can do two things. The best is to turn off the water and relieve the pressure in the system and replace your water heaters drain valve with a quarter turn ball valve. The second option is to leave the water turned on, remove the hose from the drain valve, open the valve all the way. Then with some poking devices like a zip tie or piece of wire shove them up into the valve to break up the obstruction. When done right you will get sprayed with warm water and nasty chunks.

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