How to Fix a Leaking Hot Water Heater
If your hot water heater’s drain valve is leaking or doesn’t allow for good water flow, it’s time to replace the valve.
This is a relatively easy job you can do yourself in about 30 minutes.
You’ll need a
- replacement drain valve
- an adjustable wrench
- Teflon tape
- flat-blade screwdriver
- a garden hose
- and a couple of rags or towels.
Refer to the hot water heater manufacturers website for ordering the drain valve for your specific water heater or contact a staff member at Inline Plumbing for some friendly advice.
Caution: When Draining Your Hot Water Heater
Before we begin, a note of caution: draining your water heater may put you at risk of being scalded by hot water, so please, be careful.
First, turn off the power to your electric water heater at the circuit breaker. For gas heaters, you should also turn off the gas supply.
Next, fasten a length of garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater. Run the other end of the hose to the nearest floor drain or outside the home. Don’t try to use a bucket; there’s simply too much water in the tank. Close the shut-off valve at the cold water inlet line.
Open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house that will relieve the system pressure inside the tank.
Now, open the drain valve and allow the water to drain. You’ll probably notice some small, white particles of sediment as the flow gets started. Remember, the water will be hot. Be sure no one is near the drain hose so they don’t get scalded.
When all the water is drained out, close the drain valve and remove the hose. Remove the old drain valve with a wrench.
Some additional water may drain out during this step, so have a few rags handy.
Leaking Hot Water Heater Fix – Now you’re ready to install the new drain valve.
Use Teflon tape to seal the threads. Count out at least six wraps of tape. And once it’s tightened, make sure the new drain valve is in the closed position. Now you’re ready to fill the tank again. First, open a hot water faucet at a sink or tub somewhere in the house.
Then open the shut-off valve at the cold water inlet line. You’ll hear the heater start to fill. Check the new drain valve to make sure there are no leaks or drips. And when you have a steady stream of water from the open hot water faucet, turn the faucet off. Turn the power on to the water heater at the circuit breaker.
For gas heaters, turn the gas supply back on. You may need to relight your pilot per the instructions in your use and care manual. Finally, allow the water to heat back up. Recheck the new drain valve one more time to make sure it’s tight with no leaks or drips. And it’s a good idea to check again for leaks after 24 hours.
That’s it. You now have a water heater that will drain properly anytime you need to flush the tank or do a repair.