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Old 04-27-2009, 05:10 PM   #1
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Water tank problems


The hot water from my faucet went from normal to a slow flow, to a drip. I was told that most likely my problem is that there is sediment built up in my hot water tank (i'm on city water). So I was advised to drain the tank and change the head where my water tank meets the hot water line. I have two questions:

1. How do I remove the head connecting the hot water line and the tank? It has sealent in the threads and I'm not sure of the best way to remove the head without damaging everything.

2. How do I clean the inside of the tank prior to refilling it. I've been told that if I refill prior to cleaning, I may have just made my problems worse, by now forcing the sediment into my pipes.

Please help.

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Old 04-27-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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Water tank problems


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Originally Posted by chapmanm02 View Post
The hot water from my faucet went from normal to a slow flow, to a drip. I was told that most likely my problem is that there is sediment built up in my hot water tank (i'm on city water). So I was advised to drain the tank and change the head where my water tank meets the hot water line. I have two questions:

1. How do I remove the head connecting the hot water line and the tank? It has sealent in the threads and I'm not sure of the best way to remove the head without damaging everything.

2. How do I clean the inside of the tank prior to refilling it. I've been told that if I refill prior to cleaning, I may have just made my problems worse, by now forcing the sediment into my pipes.

Please help.
First, make sure it's really the hot water heater. Are all the hot water outlets reduced to a slow drip, including the bathtub? But the cold water flows fine?

If so, it probably does point to the water heater, and you may be better off simply replacing it, which would probably be much faster and easier. Cleaning it would require removing the elements and flushing it all out, and even then you might be reinstalling a rusted out tank.

Do yourself a favor and call a good plumber or have a friend over who knows a little about such things. Given the questions you're asking, I don't think you should undertake this on your own. No offense intended, but this could get complicated. There's power or gas to turn off and unhook, water to drain, pipes to disconnect and reconnect.....

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Old 04-28-2009, 07:01 AM   #3
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Water tank problems


You probably do not need to touch the head where the hot water line comes out of the tank.

See if you can drain the tank just a little by using the valve at the bottom of the tank. But do not use force. Most of the sediment should come out this way. Once you get a flow going, draw one bucketful after another until the water runs clear. If your first tries were with the water on, turn off the heater and do not use hot water for several hours to let any remaining sediment settle down, and then draw off a few more bucketfuls.

Some experts suggest sticking a coat hanger wire up the drain valve to stir up the sediment, or even taking off the drain valve if nothing drains out at first. But I am hesitant to do that because the valve could be damaged and a torrent of hot water could be released.

Always, always! Turn off the water heater's gas or electric supply before turning the water off. Make sure water is running from a hot water faucet before turning the heater back on.

Many modern bathtub faucets have small channels that get blocked by sediment or tiny pebbles easily. You may need to dismantle these for cleaning after messing with the water heater or other plumbing.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-28-2009 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:10 PM   #4
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Water tank problems


So I drained the hot water tank and flushed the tank until the water was clear. The only difference I have now is that there is air in my pipes, which I'm sure will work its way out soon.Any other suggestions as to why the hot water is only dripping from my faucets?
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:27 PM   #5
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Water tank problems


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So I drained the hot water tank and flushed the tank until the water was clear. The only difference I have now is that there is air in my pipes, which I'm sure will work its way out soon.Any other suggestions as to why the hot water is only dripping from my faucets?
Well, now that you know your way around the thing, here are a couple of things you can do.

Remove the incoming cold water connection from the tank and then have someone briefly turn on the water while you see how strong the flow is coming into the tank.

If the flow is good, hook it back up.

Next, remove the "hot" line coming out of the tank and perform the same exercise. This will show if the obstruction is in a pipe in your tank or in the pipe after the tank.

Hopefully, with the help of tubes and hoses, you can do this without getting water everywhere you don't want it.
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:11 AM   #6
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Water tank problems


Is the house more than 40 years old? The pipes could have "arteriosclerosis", particularly if they were steel as opposed to copper or brass. Loose sediment stirred up during flushing of the water heater could have finally sealed the pipes' fate. The only solution is to replace the affected pipes.

Another quick way to test the water heater incoming cold water flow, after succeeding in getting sediment out of the tank: Close all faucets. Close the house main water valve. Open the tank drain valve. Re-open the main water valve for a moment. Do you get a good flow in response?

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