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Old 12-10-2018, 07:03 AM   #1
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To drain hot water heater or not

Sitting here with 24 inches of snow has given me lots of time to think. I知 in the NC mountains and the 99 Chieftain is in central SC. We gutted and totally refirbished the interior this past summer. And if I do say so myself we did a fine job. We have enjoyed tailgating in her and are ready to put her down for a long winters nap. We have not totally winterized her yet but it痴 only gotten down below freezing twice and the daytime temperatures go up to the mid 40s or 50s in SC.

My quandary is this; when were testing the plumbing the water heater plastic drain plug was out. Upon further inspection I noticed the threads were bunged up and when I tried to replace the plug it cross threaded. When having work done at a repair facility their solution was to replace the plastic plug with a brass one. They may have even cleaned the threads up. It worked great all season holding water pressure without a leak.

So I I知 going this weekend (if I can dig out today) to winterize until the spring. I plan on blowing the lines out with compressed air.

My question is this. Can I leave the brass plug in and try to drain as much water as possible from the relief valve and the lines? I知 afraid if I remove the plug I値l never get it in tight enough to seal again. I really don稚 want to pump antifreeze through the lines either.

Any advise or guidance is appreciated.
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocarternc View Post
Sitting here with 24 inches of snow has given me lots of time to think. I知 in the NC mountains and the 99 Chieftain is in central SC. We gutted and totally refirbished the interior this past summer. And if I do say so myself we did a fine job. We have enjoyed tailgating in her and are ready to put her down for a long winters nap. We have not totally winterized her yet but it痴 only gotten down below freezing twice and the daytime temperatures go up to the mid 40s or 50s in SC.

My quandary is this; when were testing the plumbing the water heater plastic drain plug was out. Upon further inspection I noticed the threads were bunged up and when I tried to replace the plug it cross threaded. When having work done at a repair facility their solution was to replace the plastic plug with a brass one. They may have even cleaned the threads up. It worked great all season holding water pressure without a leak.

So I I知 going this weekend (if I can dig out today) to winterize until the spring. I plan on blowing the lines out with compressed air.

My question is this. Can I leave the brass plug in and try to drain as much water as possible from the relief valve and the lines? I知 afraid if I remove the plug I値l never get it in tight enough to seal again. I really don稚 want to pump antifreeze through the lines either.

Any advise or guidance is appreciated.

Relief line is on the top. It will not drain. The plastic plug did not affect the threads in the tank so I don't know why the replaced it with a brass one. You need to get that out because Brass and SS don't play nice. That's why the plastic one was in there in the first place. Remove it and open the relief valve so air goes in and water comes out. You'll have all winter to find a plastic plug.

I don't know why people don't want to use antifreeze. Just don't put it in the FW tank. It does not leave anything harmful in your lines. New water in the spring pushes all of the antifreeze out.
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:25 AM   #3
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I have 5 drain valves, 1 on tank, 2 on shower, and 2 on sinks. I open all drains then open all faucets. Leave all valves open and the last thing I open the bypass on hot water heater for a minute then close it
After 7 years never had a problem.
I am in eastern NC and we had 22 the other night.
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:48 AM   #4
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Your Atwood water heater is ALUMINUM
Atwood uses a NYLON drain plug for several reasons
*NYLON temp/pressure ratings (PVC/CPVC not high enough)
*NYLON will NOT damage the aluminum threads
*NYLON plug is hollowed so if water heater is left full and freezes it will provide some relief.....hollowed area will break but not a guarantee that tank will not split


replacement plugs come 2 to the package.
they are tapered so they self seal when installed
if tank threads are a little damaged then 'chase' them using a brass 1/2" NPT nipple (that brass plug probably already straightened/cleaned the threads)


Get rid of that brass plug and replace with the proper OEM NYLON plug
hand-tighten then SNUG up with 6 point socket (15/16" or 7/8"......hex head sizes have changed depending on supplier)
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:46 PM   #5
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The brass plug is not a good idea in your aluminum tank. Brass and aluminum are sufficiently far apart in the galvanic series, that galvanic corrosion will occur.


See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_series


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Old 12-10-2018, 04:54 PM   #6
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The plastic plug is plastic for a reason: it is sacrificial. If you cross thread a plastic plug into a metal hole, the plastic plug gets ruined by the metal threads. Get a new plastic plug -- or 2.
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:32 PM   #7
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You sure got a lot of advice about brass vs plastic plugs - but not much discussion on your question in thread title.

I vote yes drain the tank!
I too usually just blow out my lines.
I知 not afraid of antifreeze, but I知 deep south so we often get warm weekends and are able to camp during winter.

By just blowing out my lines I知 back in business right away. No need to flush out antifreeze for a weekend getaway.

My drain and blowdown process is usually less than 30 min after my tanks have drained.

BTW - I too agree with ditching the brass and finding a plastic replacement plug for your water heater.
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