Replacing A Leaky Drain Valve On Hot Water Heaters

The hot water heater in your home has two valves on it. One valve is located near the top and the other is located near the bottom. The top valve releases pressure that builds up inside the tank. The bottom valve is used to drain and flush the tank. If you have noticed the drain valve leaking, it may need to be replaced. Here, you will learn how to do just that.

To complete this project you will need the following:

  • Bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Pipe wrench
  • Teflon tape
  • New valve – Take the old one to the hardware store after you remove it to ensure an exact fit.

Step 1: Shut off the Power

You don't want to leave the power on to the hot water heater while you drain and repair your hot water heater. If you do, you could cause the heating element to burn itself out and find yourself replacing the heating element as well as the drain valve.

Step 2: Drain the Tank

Turn off the inlet valve to stop fresh water from filling into the tank as it drains. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve and place a bucket or bin underneath to catch any water that leaks while it is being drained. Stick the open end of the garden hose in a floor drain or utility sink or drag it outside.

Note: If you are draining it outside, be sure that you pull the hose far enough away from the house to prevent the water from running back into the house. Also, be sure that your children and pets are nowhere near where the hot water will be draining to avoid scalding injuries.

Step 3: Replace the Drain Valve

Keep the catch bucket or bin under the valve to catch any water that leaks out of the tank while you work on the valve.

Use a pipe wrench to grip the valve and turn it counter-clockwise until it is loose enough to turn by hand. At that point, grip it and continue turning it until it comes off.

Now, use the Teflon tape to wrap the threads of the new valve. This helps ensure that the valve doesn't leak. Put the valve in place and begin turning it clockwise until you can no longer turn it by hand. At that point, use the pipe wrench to tighten the fixture into place. Don't over-tighten the valve or you could damage the new valve or the hot water heater.

Restore the water flow into the tank to fill it just above the valve and let it sit for a half hour or so, watching for leaks. Place a dry towel on the floor below the valve so that you can easily determine if it leaks. If it does, tighten the valve a bit more. If tightening the valve doesn't fix the issue, drain the tank, remove the new valve and use plumber's dope on the threads before putting it back in place.

Now, open the water valve to fill the tank, restore power to the tank and you are good to go. Monitor things for the next few days to ensure that there are no further leaks that need to be repaired.

For more information, contact companies like Wright Total Indoor Comfort.