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 Drain valve opening (post) notch broken
Author: plumbdumb123 (UT)

I attempted to open the drain valve on my water heater, which doesn't have a handle only a brass slot for a large flat head screwdriver. The post that is slotted (flat heat) broke on one side, leaving only the other slotted side. I applied too much pressure trying to loosen (turn) it and the pressure of the screw driver busted off one of the sides. I removed the nut to expose the entire knob and attempted to grasp the side with a pair of pliers. I cannot get the valve to open, the post simply splinters as I cannot get enough bite on it.

I've tried to apply Lime-Away to remove any buildup which might be preventing the valve to open. I haven't attempted to open it with pliers since.

My question before I force this issue to hard, can a water heater be drained from the hot water egress? In other words, if I disconnect the hot water exit pipe, can I place a hose into the water heater to siphon out the water?

I know the entire drain valve assembly can be replaced, however, I don't want to unscrew the entire valve assembly with a full water heater as I was to control the flow of the water in an effort not to damage any carpet in nearby areas.

Thanks in advance for any advice.



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 Re: Drain valve opening (post) notch broken
Author: North Carolina Plumber (NC)

I'm surprised that you can't turn the stem after removing the packing nut. It should be fairly easy to turn now, maybe a pair of needle nose vise grips would grip the stem ? There's probably heat trap nipples on the heater that would block any attempt at feeding a hose down into the heater.

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 Re: Drain valve opening (post) notch broken
Author: dickr (NY)

depending on location, i have taken out the pressure relief valve and used a piece of plastic tubing to siphon out a hot water heater. sounds like you have a brass valve, probably as easy or easier to remove the whole valve.

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 Re: Drain valve opening (post) notch broken
Author: PlumberLoren (CA)

While DickR's solution may be easier, here is my take, you take your choice.

The cold inlet side of the water heater (WH) has a plastic drop tube inside approx. 4 ft long that forces the cold water to the bottom of the WH.

1. Start by closing the WH inlet ball valve, then open the nearest hot water faucet, a bath tub if nearby to relieve the house pressure.

2.Now on top of the WH, remove the cold flex connector and install a 3/4" nipple with a 3/4" female iron pipe size X garden Hose connection to the WH, attach a garden hose and syphon the water to lower part of your lot. This will drain all but a couple of gallons of the water. By draining this water, the head pressure will be reduced and you should be able to Unscrew, with a pipe wrench, the hose bib that is in the bottom of the WH and QUICKLY REPLACE it with a 3/4" nipple with a Ball Valve and the adaptor you used on top to syphon with. Be sure the valve is closed. You will probably make a small mess onto the floor so have 3 or 4 bath towels and a bucket to absorb this water. Continued on to the next post.



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 Re: Drain valve opening (post) notch broken
Author: PlumberLoren (CA)

Continued from former page: (Hope I am not violating any rules by posting on a second page just trying to help the guy)

3.Now remove the hose from the top of the WH and install it on the newly installed gate valve at the bottom. Before you begin to drain you see that debris has plugged the problem valve you are replacing. You can open the gate valve and insert a long screw driver inside to break up the calcium or use a #9 wire about 18" long so you can insert it into the tank through the ball valve to break up the debris. Draining will take a couple of hours because pieces of debris inside will clog up the opening and you will have to use the screw driver or wire again to dislodge the debris. Notice the size of debris chips when you 1st start to drain at the end of your hose.

4.Take your time and understand that WH’s should be drained annually, in many places every 6 months depending on your water quality. Some water heaters can last 12 years or more. Some don't. Good luck



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 Thanks for the response :thumb:
Author: plumbdumb123 (UT)

Thanks for the response. I was able to get the valve open via the post (utilizing a pair of needle nose vice grips).



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