The main reasons why you may not be able to drain your water heater include negative pressure, clogged valve and faulty valve. If there is an iron, calcium or lime buildup, chunks of it can block the opening at the valve so that it won’t drain at all. With a clogged water heat, you can try the following steps to unclog it.
Steps to Drain Your Water Heater
- Shut off the water heater at the breaker panel.
- Turn the gas valve until it sits perpendicular with the pipe.
- Attach a drain hose; you can find one at your local hardware store.
- Open the pressure-relief valve to eliminate negative pressure.
If the drain begins to run clear, you’ve fixed the problem. However, if the water only trickles out, the valve itself is clogged. If the valve is faulty, it will need to be replaced by a licensed plumber.
You also can try stepping firmly on the drain hose to fix the clogged water heater. This will force an air bubble that will temporarily unclog the valve if debris is the cause. If the tank is full of debris, the clog will likely return after a few minutes. Repeatedly stepping on the drain hose may drain the tank, but it will take a long time. Instead, back flush the water heater.
How to Back Flush a Water Heater
Use a female coupling hose and thread it onto the end of the drain hose. Once attached, turn the faucet on to allow pressure to build. Then, turn the drain valve on. This will allow the pressure to flow into the water tank and unclog debris in the valve. Once you turn the valve off and detach the hose, turn the valve back on. With these steps, the water should be able to drain. If it doesn’t it may be that the buildup of debris is too severe or you have a defective valve.
It may be necessary to remove the drain valve. You can use a wrench and turn the valve slowly. When the valve is completely off, you can expect the water to leak profusely. This may allow the water tank to drain successfully.
Water Heater Services in Lincolnwood, IL
Keep in mind that if the deposits are too severe, the above steps may not solve the problem, and you may need a water heater repair. Water heaters are often out of sight and out of mind. The best way to prevent water heater problems is to annually drain the tank and remove any buildup of sediment.
At Gartner HVAC, we offer maintenance service and repairs for water heaters. During a maintenance service visit, our technician will check the high limit controls, joint seal and pressure-relief valve for proper operation and do an inspection for blockages, leaks and sediment. Customers can also take advantage of our Internet coupons for savings.