Replacing That Leaky Drain Valve On Your Hot Water Heater

If the drain valve on your water heater is leaking, you can replace it. Here, you will learn how to drain the tank and replace the valve causing your problems. 

Supply List

  • Bucket
  • Pipe Wrench
  • Teflon Tape
  • Garden Hose
  • Replacement Valve – must be exactly the same – take the old one to the hardware store when you get it off to ensure you get the right one.

Shut off the Power

You don't want any power going to the water heater as you work on it. Failure to disconnect power on an electric hot water heater will result in burned up heating elements that will need to be replaced.  

Drain the Tank

Attach the hose to the drain valve and turn off the water inlet valve. Run the hose out of your house and place it in an area where the water drained from the tank will flow away from your house. Make sure that your pets and children are kept away from that area while the tank is draining and several minutes after to avoid accidental burns.

Note: If you have a floor drain near the tank, you can feed the hose into it to avoid the hassle of running the hose outside.

Replace the Valve

There will be a little water remaining in your tank, so place a bucket under the valve before you continue. Use the wrench to grip the valve and turn it counter-clockwise until it begins to turn. This can take some force and if the tank is old, it may prove to be impossible. In some cases, the valve may not come off cleanly – the threads on the tank could strip and cause all sorts of problems, but if the tank is that old, it is likely in your best interest to replace the entire unit.

After the old valve is removed, it is time to replace it. Clean the threads and wrap the threads on the new valve with Teflon tape making sure to go the same direction as the threads. Position the new valve in place and screw it on. Tighten it with the wrench and keep the bucket under the valve. Turn on the water inlet and let the tank fill. Watch to ensure the water doesn't leak. If the valve seems to be holding, restore power leaving the bucket in place for a few days to ensure that the valve holds the water.

If this isn't a project that you feel confident in doing yourself, contact your hot water heater specialist (such as one from for help.