Water heaters are a relief for many households for decades. It is when it stops working will you realize how much you need it. A good shower will never be the same.
Most of the water heaters in the market have huge holding tanks to make sure that there is enough supply of hot water anytime you would need inside the house. Over time, minerals and elements that makeup water would tend to settle beneath the tanks. Such build-up could contribute to the damage of your water heater, hence the need to drain the entire heater.
Although the water heater system has been there through the years and generations, it may not be avoided that glitches may happen along the way. It is always best to prepare for such incidents. Basic knowledge home repairs are a necessity these days — one of which is knowing how to drain a water heater without using a drain valve.
Before anything, let us break down the essential parts. Then I will show you how the system works and how possible it could be to drain a water heater without the use of a drain valve.
Essential Parts of a Water Heater
Knowing the fundamental parts is important to be able to figure out how the entire system works inside the water heaters.
- Flue Pipe. Its primary purpose is to release poisonous gases that have carbon monoxide during the combustion phase.
- Draft Diverter. At the end of the flue is a fitting called the draft diverter that is responsible for collecting the various gases to be taken out passing through the flue.
- Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve. This is also called as the T&P Valve. Excess heat or pressure are released from the water tank so as not to explode. It would be best to replace this part when this part keeps on discharging.
- Hot Water Outlet. This outlet lets the hot water be released from the water heater. It then enters the supply for potable water in the house.
- Cold Water Shut Off Valve. This part of the water heater closes the supply of cold water during replacement or draining of the heater itself.
- Overflow Pipe. This pipe is attached to the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve. When the T and P Valve releases the extra steam from the heater, this pipe will allow the safe draining of the water out of the heater.
- Anti-corrosion Anode Rod. This is also called as the Sacrificial Anode. For tank-type water heaters, this is the most important part. This rod is usually made from aluminum or magnesium with a strong core made of steel. This rod would normally corrode first before any other exposed metal parts. This rod shouldn’t be removed from the tank should you need to claim any warranty from the manufacturer.
- Dip Tube. This part is connected to the cold water inlet reaching to the tank’s bottom. With its self-circulating features, it allows solids not to settle at the bottom part of the container.
- Elements. These are usually found in electric water heaters. They are responsible for transferring heat to the water heater.
- Insulation. All tank types have this part which maintains the thermal heat in the tank.
- Control Valve or Thermostat. This is responsible for controlling the amount of heat inside the water heater.
- Burner. This ignites the propane or natural gas for the tank to make the water inside it hot.
- Gas Supply Valve. Functions as a stopped of the gas elements into the water heater.
- Thermocouple. This part helps in monitoring the pilot flame the draft. It also stops the gas valve from letting gas flow between the main burner and the pilot flame.
- Drain Valve. This valve is found in the bottom part of the water heaters in the tank type category. By the name itself, this helps in draining the entire tank down.
Now that you know the various parts of the water heater, you could see just how the system works perfectly fine with all of them functioning well. You are probably wondering how it is going to be possible to drain a water heater without a drain valve.
Let me now take you to the main topic, the drain valve, and how its system works.
The Drain Valve, Its System, and How Should You Drain Your Water Heater
Turn off the supply of cold water of your water heater.
Switch off the water heater itself by turning it from the breaker. This works for the electric tater while for the gas heater, you may switch to a pilot setting in the thermostat.
Check where the drain valve is and attach a hose to it. Position the other end to a floor drain during the entire process. You may also opt for a bucket whichever may be convenient.
Turn on the water tap on the hot side. This help in alleviating the pressure in the water heater system. The effect of this is having the water drain faster from the tank.
Now you may open the drain valve and let the water drain from the water heater tank. When opening the valve, you should be careful as the water could be hot. When the water has been removed, switched on the supply of cold water to fill in the tank. This process would clear the tank from unwanted sediments. Do this repeatedly until the water appears clear.
Finally, close the drain valve and refill your water heater tank. You may now then switch your the cold water supply on. Don’t forget to put away the hose. Now open the hot water switch. Switch off the cold water supply starts when it starts flowing. Now it’s time to switch the electricity back on to begin your water heater. Make sure no leakages from the valves.
How to Drain a Water Heater Without Drain Valve
When everything else fails, there will always a solution. Here are the things and the steps you need on how to drain a water heater without a drain valve.
Stuff You’ll Be Needing
- Self-Tapering Serrated Insert
- Drill (Manual)
- Drill Bit
- Hacksaw Blade
- Hose Pipe
- Big Bucket
Trying to empty heaters when the drain valve goes wrong could be your worst nightmare. However, this may depend on the quality as some may be made from plastic while others, from brass.
Turn off the main power supply. This could be your gas or electric power supply. If you think the water is still hot, wait for it to cool down before you do anything as you might get yourself burned.
Take out the damaged drain valve to make sure that this part of the heater taking the water into the heater is shut. Check and ensure the hot water taps are also closed. If you have a plastic drain valve, use a self-tapering serrated insert into the nipple. Then, unscrew.
One more way of doing this is by creating a hole using a drill on the hole of the drain valve. You should use the manual drill to avoid electric shocks which may be caused by the water dripping out while making the hole. You have a brass nipple, use the hacksaw blade to create a cross-shaped cut on it. Take out the piece by placing the screwdriver inside the cut. Then, turn clockwise. Take the hose and your bucket to prepare to drain. The rug will help spills on the floor.
While keeping the T and P valve on, empty the hot water tap to let the air clear the water from inside.
Now DIY methods are much easier! Let us know what you think about this household hack.
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