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How To Replace the Drain Valve

Your water heater has a drain valve near the bottom of the tank. It is there to allow you to drain the tank, which doesn't happen very often. Because of the infrequent use, manufacturers often use a low quality, plastic valve. The problem that typically arises is that once you open the valve it is difficult to completely close it again. If your drain valve is leaking or was somehow damaged, it should be replaced. Replacing the drain valve is very easy to do.

Caution: Please read our safety information before attempting any maintenance, installation or repair. When draining water from a water heater, the water is hot, possibly hot enough to scald and burn. Do not touch the water as it comes out and take appropriate measures to protect yourself from burns. Wearing heavy gloves and eye protection is recommended. Turn off your water heater before draining to prevent damage to the appliance.

A typical water heater has two valves on it. One is a safety valve that relieves pressure and is located near the top. The other is for draining water and is located near the bottom. In order to replace the valve, it will be necessary to first drain the tank.

Start by turning off the cold water supply and turn off the thermostat so that the heater will not be damaged by heating an empty tank. Either turn off the circuit breaker for an electric model or turn the gas control to "Pilot" for gas models. To turn off the water supply, turn off the valve on the pipe where it enters the water heater. If there is no valve then you will have to turn of the water at the water main. Open a hot water tap in a shower or sink to prevent a vacuum when draining the tank.

Connect a garden hose to the valve to drain the water to a sink or to the outside. Remember, the water will be very hot, so be careful. Turn the valve counter-clockwise to open it. Make certain that children and pets are kept away from the hose as the water drains out.

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