Advice for draining water heater

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

zwiller

Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Nov 16, 2016
3,480
2,083
Sandusky, OH
Never did it before. Hot water pressure is low and I guess that is the classic sign it needs done. No doubt there is TON of experience here within the collective group and will take any advice or pointers. Thanks in advance.
 

912smoker

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Nov 29, 2020
3,250
2,461
Statesboro Ga
Should be a drain near the bottom with a hose fitting. Is the pressure low at all faucets ?
Have you tried cleaning the individual aerators on the faucets?

Keith
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller

BigW.

Smoking Fanatic
May 13, 2019
625
394
Nebraska
Gas or electric? Easy access to outside or at least a floor drain? I'd use a 5 gallon bucket to see how much sediment is collected. You'll may need to do it several times. Kill the heat before starting. The drain spigots are pretty cheaply made anymore. Not always the easiest to open or get back closed again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bill1

zwiller

Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Thread starter
Nov 16, 2016
3,480
2,083
Sandusky, OH
THANKS.

Yep, 3/4" spigot on the bottom. Pressure lower on all faucets but especially 2nd floor. Good idea on aerators but faucets relative new. I have a sump nearby and that's where I am gonna run the waste. I might be making this harder than necessary but recall my brother telling me stories of tanks imploding. Leaning on shutting off tank night before and do first am.

Gas. Get a backup drain or prepare for new tank?
 

mike243

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Feb 25, 2018
3,299
1,588
E Tn
If it has a check valve in the inlet at top I have seen those stopped up, if its lime you can pretty much throw it away and replace it. But is it low pressure on just the hot? The hot water is collect on the top of the tank, inlet is at the bottom. Good luck, my 50 gallon was over $400 to buy new, the 1 before was $250 or so
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller

mike243

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Feb 25, 2018
3,299
1,588
E Tn
Well water or city? If cold water is low pressure also it aint the water heater. Pressure regulator if city water and pressure switch or worse if your on a well
 
  • Like
Reactions: chopsaw and zwiller

noboundaries

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 7, 2013
9,607
4,307
Roseville, CA, a suburb of Sacramento
I watched a bunch of YouTube videos before draining my most recent gas water heater. You can usually find your exact model, or something close, on YouTube. Big help.

The drain spigots are pretty cheaply made anymore.
This is a real concern. The one on mine was plastic. I only have to drain mine every couple of years due to the low sediments in my area. After 2 or 3 drains, the faucet started leaking. Had to have it replaced with a brass one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller

Newglide

Smoking Fanatic
Jun 14, 2021
413
296
NC
How old is it? If it's pretty old you may be opening a can of worms.
Depending on the water it could be full of scale or other junk that will never flush out if it an older tank and you'll end up jacking up the cheap plastic drain valve.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller

Bearcarver

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Sep 12, 2009
45,246
17,973
Macungie, PA
The crap you drain out of the heater might not be something good for your home drain, or whatever you direct it into. Might want to put it in a bucket first. Then dump it in the woods outside. Just a thought.

Bear
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller

zwiller

Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Thread starter
Nov 16, 2016
3,480
2,083
Sandusky, OH
MANY THANKS GENTS! ALL GOOD STUFF!

Get you guys some pics later, @ work. I think tank is around 2000 so 20 years. Yes, low pressure ONLY on hot. Not opposed to replacing tank but seriously considering instant/tankless and would like to do wait a few more years before that. Water here is medium hard and muni supply. No water softener. Water is noticeably slow upstairs bath but functionally OK. Starting to see what I am up against. Getting the limescale out will require some effort.
 

chopsaw

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Dec 14, 2013
13,952
11,564
OFallon Mo.
Sam . Call the man . Have a cold drink while he works .
My house is 16 years old all original . AC puked Sunday night . Gonna get a price on a water heater when they come to fix the air .
I've replaced some water heaters that were so heavy we had to cut them open to get them out of the house because they were so full of crap .
 

912smoker

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Nov 29, 2020
3,250
2,461
Statesboro Ga
Yep Chop I've changed many bottom elements on electric WH that that failed due to sitting in slush. We would take a piece of 1/2" roll copper, flatten and bend one end to form an L and scrape the scale into a pan. Never had an issue with a gas unit.

Keith
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: chopsaw and zwiller

clifish

Master of the Pit
★ Lifetime Premier ★
May 25, 2019
2,565
2,563
Long Island, NY
yeah just did the central AC in the spring, my ceramic lined hot water heater tank that they said would never fail is leaking at 10 yo due to a metal valve that is failing inside and can't be replaced.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller and gmc2003

gmc2003

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 15, 2012
13,908
9,252
yeah just did the central AC in the spring, my ceramic lined hot water heater tank that they said would never fail is leaking at 10 yo due to a metal valve that is failing inside and can't be replaced.

Everybody knows that NYC water is only good for bagels and pizza. It's total HECK on plumbing fixtures. LOL

Chris
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller and clifish

SmokinEdge

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Jan 18, 2020
5,011
5,161
Western Colorado
Hard water is the worst, and best to have a stainless tank if money is there. A plumbed in drain and provision to flush is a good set up. Do that yearly just as maintenance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller

Hijack73

Meat Mopper
Aug 9, 2020
253
255
I had a 30 gallon in the crawl space at my old house. Getting that joker out like to killed me. The new one I could pick up by myself in the box, the old one had to have weighed a hundred lbs more. Getting it up over the lip of the foundation was agony.

Whoever built that house and put the water heater where they put it should have been kicked in the cojones. It was at least 15 feet from the crawl hole. I swore that I'd go tankless and leave the old one where it died if I ever had to replace it again. Sold that house before that happened.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller

pit 4 brains

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Dec 16, 2009
2,346
321
Summerville, SC
If you can, I would suggest baring it all and going tankless.
We went tankless 2 years ago and it is fantastic. Gas fired, it pumps out 120 degree water as long as it has supply. When hot water is not in use, it keeps a very small reservoir heated for instant delivery. They are a little pricey but, a 15 year warranty and the simple fact you are not maintaining 50 gallons of hot water without usage, is worth it to me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zwiller

Fueling Around

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Dec 10, 2018
3,132
1,877
FL winter, MN summer
Not a plumber, but have done quite a few WH repairs and replacements.
Usually when a gasser builds up sludge you don't get hot water. Flow yes, hot no.
My first look would be the dip tube on the cold water inlet. Dip tube directs the cold incoming water to the bottom of the tank. They are know to collapse which restricts water flow (pressure).

As long as we're on the subject of tankless water heaters.
Tankless are great if you're incoming water isn't too cold. Tankless have a temperature rise rating based on water flow. If you use an ultra low flow shower head (Navy type) a tankless will handle my very cold incoming water. Often a tempering tank is needed to allow your incoming water to warm to room temperature.

Electric WH is a whole different animal and requires a combination of a plumber and electrician to get them to survive.
This BS a unit only lasts 20 years is often due to a bad plumber and bad electrician.