How to Replace a Leaking Hot Water Heater Drain Valve

The drain valve on your hot water heater allows you to remove the water from the heater when necessary to make repairs or to clean out built up sediment.

Replace a Leaking Hot Water Heater Drain ValveReplace a Leaking Hot Water Heater Drain Valve
Drain valves are made from either plastic or brass, brass being preferable since it is sturdier and longer lasting. A drain valve needs replacing if it is leaking or is clogged and cannot be unclogged. While some people prefer to drain the hot water heater before replacing the valve, it is not necessary to do so.

Turn of the breaker that controls the electric current to the hot water heater. The breaker is located in the main fuse box, which is generally outside near your electric meter. Be sure to let anyone else in the house know not to turn the breaker back on while you are working.

Turn off the water supply to the hot water heater. The water supply knob is located near the floor at the back of the water heater on a pipe that is running into the heater.

Apply pipe sealer or teflon tape to the threads of the new drain valve to prepare it to be installed. Set it to the side.

Place a bucket under the faulty drain valve and open it to let water flow out. There will be a vacuum created by turning off the water supply and only a small amount of water should come out.

Remove the faulty drain valve with large pliers by grabbing it at the base and twisting hard to loosen it. Once it is loose, continue twisting with your hand until you pull it all the way out.

Push the new drain valve into place and turn it clockwise until it is screwed tightly into place. Turn the water supply knob back on and return power to the water heater.

Things You Will Need

  • Replacement valve
  • Pipe glue or teflon tape
  • Large pliers
  • Bucket