Water Heater Drain Valve Replacement East Lansing MI
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Home Plumbing and Remodeling
Water Heater Drain Valve Replacement
It takes about 5 to 10 years for your water heater drain valve to stop working efficiently, which is one of the reasons why most people forgo the replacement of the part and just replace the whole water heater instead. However, if you’re really short on the budget, and you think that the rest of the water heater is functioning well and only the drain is busted, then you can go ahead with this procedure. A word of caution, though, this can be very dangerous. Unless you’re extremely careful with the replacement, you can electrocute or scald yourself severely.
Make sure that you exercise utmost caution when you’re replacing your water heater drain valve. Other people also opt to go on with the replacement when they’re thinking of having a water heater drain valve upgrade. Upgrading the valve helps to prevent valve leaks in almost all types of water heaters. If your reason for this project is a water heater drain valve leak, then you can go on, but you have to be extra careful.
- To eliminate the risk of burning or electrocution, you should turn off the power source to your water heater. If you have an electric water heater, turn off the circuit breaker. If your water heater is a bit old fashioned and you’ve had a gas line installed, shut off the connection from the main gas line.
- Once you’re sure that the power sources have been cut off from your water heater, you will need a full length garden hose. Your water heater still has hot water stored in it, and you can’t replace the drain valve unless you drain out all of the hot water from the tank. You have to be very careful because the water in the tank is scalding, and you can get yourself or someone else burned severely if you’re not careful. Just attach one end of the garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater. Then, snake the other end out of the house to the nearest outdoor floor drain. Make sure that no one is standing near the floor drain while you’re draining the hot water from the tank. Notify your companions, and keep children out of the repair area.
- Next, you have to close the valve that shuts off the cold water inlet.
- Once this is done, you can then open the pressure relief and temperature valve located at the top of your water heater. Then, you can finally open the water drain valve and drain out all of the water from the tank of your heater. Don’t panic if you notice white sediments while you’re letting the water flow. Your water heater isn’t crumbling on you. This is absolutely normal.
- Again, a word of caution: the water flowing through the hose is scalding hot. Make sure that there is no one, children or adult, standing close to the floor drain. The pressure of the water can be stronger than you’ve estimated, and the water can flow or splash past the drain. You don’t want any injuries during this project.
- Once the water stops flowing, you can close the drain valve and remove the hose. Use a rag to do this because the hose and the valve will be very hot. You should leave the pressure relief and temperature valve on top of the heater open to release the heat. This will cool down the entire heater so it’s easier for you to remove and replace the drain valve.
- Once the drain valve has cooled down, you can then use a wrench to remove it from the water heater. If you think it’s still a bit hot, leave it alone, or you can remove with rags wrapped around your hands for protection.
- The spud of your water heater may have some hot water left in it. To remove this excess hot water, have some rags handy just in case some of the hot water spills out from the spud. Again, keep all open areas of your arm protected with rags.
- Once the old drain valve is removed, you can then replace it with a new one. Most drain valves are ¾ inch NPT (National Pipe Thread), but just to be sure, check the measurements of your old drain valve before embarking on the project. This measurement is pretty generic, and can be bought from most hardware stores. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, you can ask a plumber friend for help.
- When you’re installed the new drain valve in place, seal up the threads with a Teflon tape of a pipe sealer. Make sure that the newly installed drain valve is closed up.
- Open a hot water faucet anywhere in the home and open the valve that lets in the water from the cold water inlet as well. This should trigger the water heater to fill up.
- Wait for the tank to fill up enough so that you can have a steady supply of water from the pressure and temperature valve tube. The supply should be enough to close up the valve. Once you have enough stream of water, turn off the faucet.
- Once this is done, turn on the power of the water heater in the circuit breaker of the main gas line (depending on what type of water heater you have). If you have a gas water heater, you may have to relight the pilot for this step. Wait for the water heater to recover first, and then double check the drain valve to make sure that it’s been sealed tight.
Doing the water heater drain valve replacement can be very rewarding. Aside from the huge savings you’ll make from dodging labor expenses, you’ll also feel the sense of accomplishment that most DIY project enthusiasts experience. Of course, you should only attempt this project if you’re extremely adept in these manual tasks. If you’re the least bit clumsy, you should save yourself the trouble and have a professional do the job for you instead.