How to Repair a Leaking Drain Valve on a Hot Water Heater

Written by kenneth crawford
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Water that is leaking around the drain valve of your water heater indicates a faulty drain valve. You can replace the drain valve yourself with a few tools. Drain valves are available at home improvement centres and plumbing supply houses, however you will need to take the old one with you. Drain valves come in many sizes and you will want to ensure the valve you purchase matches the old valve. It is a good idea to use plumbers dope instead of plumbers tape around the drain valve; plumbers dope withstands the pressure better than tape.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Garden hose
  • Wrench set
  • Stiff brush
  • Replacement drain valve
  • Plumbers dope

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  1. 1

    Turn off the circuit breaker to the hot water heater. The circuit breaker is inside your home's electrical panel box. You may have two circuit breakers together that you will need to switch to the off position.

  2. 2

    Turn off the cold water supply valve from the hot water heater. Turn the valve clockwise to shut the water supply off to the water heater. Place the end of a garden hose on the drain valve of your water heater and place the opposite end of the hose outside or in a nearby tub.

  3. 3

    Turn the drain valve knob to open the drain and allow the water to drain from the hose. Go to the closest faucet and turn on the hot water handle. This will help drain the tank quicker.

  4. 4

    Remove the garden hose from the drain valve. Place a wrench over the hex nut between the drain valve and the hot water heater. Turn the drain valve nut counter-clockwise with the wrench to loosen and remove the drain valve. Brush the threads on the inside of the water heater hole with a stiff brush to remove any rust or plumbers putty.

  5. 5

    Brush plumbers dope around the threads on the new drain valve. Plumbers dope has a brush under the can lid for application to the threads.

  6. 6

    Thread the new drain valve into the hot water heater until it is tight. Turn the drain valve body one more full turn with the wrench and ensure that the valve handle is pointing to the top of the hot water heater.

  7. 7

    Turn the cold water supply valve on top of the water heater counter-clockwise to fill the water heater. Turn off the hot water faucet when water begins to flow without interruption. This bleeds the air out of the hot water heater tank. Turn the circuit breaker on to the hot water heater when the tank is full.

Tips and warnings

  • Always disconnect power when draining the water tank. Failure to turn the power off can result in prematurely burning out the heating elements.

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