Fun with water

by Michael Alderete on 2/4/2003

So this week I drained our water heater. My mother tells me you’re supposed to do it every month, but our last plumber — who was there to fix the water heater — said twice a year. The concept seemed simple, so I went for it. Turn off the water feed, hook a hose up, and open the valve. Trickle of water.

OK, need a way for air to go in, or the water won’t drain. Nothing obvious on the water tank itself, so I just opened a faucet in the house, which worked great. (Later I discovered the bleed valve on top.) An easy DHI.

But, then the drain spigot keeps dripping after I’ve put things back to normal. And dripping. Drip. Drip. Drip. Not good. Dan won’t appreciate that it only happened a drop at a time, if I still manage to flood his basement office. So I go to the hardware store to get a replacement, or at least a plug. Except they have no idea what it is I’m trying to do or fix (language barrier, really). I come home with a couple of PVC pipe caps, which of course don’t fit.

So I drain the tank a second time, so I can remove the entire valve and take it to the hardware store. This time I use the bleed valve to let the air in (and bleed the air off at the end). And try to take the drain spigot off. And it won’t come off.

At this point I had put way too much time into the project. So I MacGyver it. I stuck a wine cork in the spigot, which worked until water started seeping through the hole drilled by the cork screw. Slower than the valve dripping, but still a drip. So I got another cork and caulked it on both ends, ran the hairdryer on it for 20 minutes, and swapped it into place.

So far, no dripping.

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