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Old 12-09-2017, 04:02 PM   #1
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Water heater drain plug rusted

I need to drain and clean my water heater but the plug that has the anode rod is extremely rusted. I put a penetrating solution on it but I doubt it will be able to go far enough to help much.

Any suggestions as to how I might be able to break this loose without causing damage to the tank?
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:16 PM   #2
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Tap on end of plug with hammer

Then using a 6 point socket and breaker bar slightly 'tighten' plug

THEN loosen it
When you get it out get a 3/4" NPT steel pipe nipple and use it to clean/chase threads....screw it in/out repeat until threads are cleaned up
(Cheap mans pipe tap)

Next time use a couple wraps of telfon tape or pipe dope so it doesn't rust in place.
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:17 PM   #3
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Is it in a location where you can use a torch?
It would not take too much to loosen it.
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:18 PM   #4
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Don't underestimate the penetrating oil. Continue to apply it, and wire brush around the plug as well as you can, with repeated applications of the penetrating oil. Periodically, take a wrench and apply force back and forth in an effort to break it loose, then apply more PO. You might be able to use heat (very carefully) to facilitate movement and PO penetration.

Good Luck, it will probably come if you're patient!
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Old 12-09-2017, 05:18 PM   #5
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The best “penetrating” oil to use is called “Free All” it will work and is available on the internet!

I am in no way connected or a salesman for this product... I just know it works from past experience with it compared to PB Blaster and others that I experimented with on equally rusted bolts on a slope mower blade assembly
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:06 AM   #6
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Old-Biscuit gave you good advice! Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 12-11-2017, 05:40 PM   #7
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I went through this a week or two ago. First I used a little penetrating oil and a breaker bar. I was putting too much pressure on the fitting. Tried a 1/4 inch impact wrench with a socket. Still to tight. Re-sprayed the plug and left it alone for 24 hours. Came back with a 1/2 inch electric impact and it spun it out after a couple of seconds. Golden!

I then ordered a new anode rod that had a drain built into it with a petcock on the end. Put Teflon tape around the threads and coated the upper threads with anti seize. Hopefully this one will come out easier in the future.
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Old 12-11-2017, 05:41 PM   #8
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Water heater drain plug rusted

You didn't say what you are using when attempting to loosen the drain plug. I remove our anode yearly to flush residue from the water heater tank, and it always requires considerable force. I use a 3/8 drive 6-point socket, a 3/8 drive extension, and a long breaker bar for leverage. So far, no apparent damage to the water heater when using this technique on all past and present motorhomes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexAg View Post
I need to drain and clean my water heater but the plug that has the anode rod is extremely rusted. I put a penetrating solution on it but I doubt it will be able to go far enough to help much.

Any suggestions as to how I might be able to break this loose without causing damage to the tank?
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Old 12-11-2017, 06:24 PM   #9
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Old Biscuit has the correct answer in my opinion
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:58 AM   #10
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Good advice for freeing the rod. But I wonder if using Teflon tape wouldn't isolate the rod and not let it work. If this is the case, why not just put a plastic plug in?

LEN
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Old 12-12-2017, 12:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLYLEN View Post
Good advice for freeing the rod. But I wonder if using Teflon tape wouldn't isolate the rod and not let it work. If this is the case, why not just put a plastic plug in?

LEN
Teflon tape will NOT stop the cathodic protection because the peaks of the threads will cut the tape and have metal to metal contact.
Teflon tape seals between the valleys

Plastic plug........
First off PVC/CPVC is not rated high enough for pressures/temperatures that water heaters COULD experience (Reason Atwood uses NYLON---Pressure/Temp Ratings)

Secondly a Suburban Water Heater requires the use of an anode rod -----glass lined steel tank (Atwood Aluminum with alum/zinc cladding doesn't require an anode rod)
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:34 PM   #12
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CPVC is rated to 200 degrees and north of 300PSI. Most water heaters operate around 50PSI and the over temp limit is usually around 140 degrees. I've never had a problem using a CPVC plug. If you need the anode then that's a whole nuther problem.
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Old 12-12-2017, 06:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexAg View Post
I need to drain and clean my water heater but the plug that has the anode rod is extremely rusted. I put a penetrating solution on it but I doubt it will be able to go far enough to help much.

Any suggestions as to how I might be able to break this loose without causing damage to the tank?
I had that problem ... tried all the things mentioned here.

Go to Home Depot and get a pipe that fits on the handle of your ratchet wrench - about 4' in length.

You need the leverage to get the rod off.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:00 PM   #14
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Yep, had that challenge yesterday.

I use a 3/8 drive, 6-point, 1 1/16 socket , a 3/8 drive extension and a 2 foot breaker bar for leverage.

Applied a bit of pressure slowly and it popped right loose.

Was worried about damaging the tank, but all things are good.
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