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Whirlpool electric water heater wont drain

We are trying to get the waterheater to drain so we can replace the element but it wont drain help

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I had a message from the smart energy controller on my Whirlpool Water Heater that my lower element was failing. I turned off the power and hooked a garden hose to the valve on the bottom and opened the valve with a 1/4 inch screw driver.Nothing happened! I thought the valve was plugged with settling hard water particles. The water heater was in a closet and I couldn't just let it run out onto the floor.
I was out in the garage looking around when I spotted the bicycle pump and found a female jet hose end that could work. Using a small piece of plastic tubing to connect the bicycle pump to the hose end with clamps( I had to remove the bicycle pump hose) and the other end of the hose to the water heater about five pumps and I could hear the gurgling of the air inside the water heater. I disconnected the hose end and put the hose outside to drain. Voila!

Posted on Dec 21, 2008

  • James Goodge Feb 04, 2012

    I had the exact same problem with no flow through the drain valve. Thought I was doing something wrong with the child proof valve. Read your comment and tried something similar but utilized an air compressor with trigger nozzel taped to a cut section of garden hose . Took a little longer to clear the blockage than yours, but it worked. Thanks for the help.

  • Paulie
    Paulie Aug 02, 2014

    Had a little trouble but the pump method eventually worked. What worked for me was turning the water back on to pressureize the tank so it would flow. If you do this, once you shut the water back off, after the pressure bleeds off, you'll then want to open the pressure valve on the water heater so air can get in to allow it to drain. Otherwise it's kind of corked in there with no way for air to easily enter,


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I was getting the alert about the lower element and the drain was clogged so I couldn't drain the tank.

What I did was a mess but it worked. This is something you don't want to mess up on and want to make sure the water isn't hot and the electric is turned off and the supply water to the heater is turned off because water will be everywhere and stuff will be all over you. You don't want to get electrocuted or burned. My water heater is in an old basement where I didn't mind having water everywhere to get this resolved. You also do not want to damage the drain.

I turned off the water going to the tank and released a little pressure with the pressure valve. I took the drain apart by removing the white plastic piece that keeps the black part of the drain in. The black part is the part you turn to open or close the drain. Once you remove the white piece you can pull out the black part of the drain. This is where it gets messy as you will have NO control over the water though you did turn off the cold water going to the tank right? Ok, so I pull the black part of the drain straight out and used a wire or something and basically poked it in there and it just left loose. When it's done, put the drain back together. I did turn on the water supply to the heater for a little before putting the drain back together just to make sure the particles were cleared.

Posted on Sep 12, 2009

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  • Water Heaters Master
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Most electric water heaters are of an exchange heat system
this is where the element is in a separate tank to the hot water being used in the house (tank in a tank)
Unfortunately when an element fails the water will run out the element fitting hole and there will be a mess as that tank has no drain available
removing the element slowly may allow you to control where the water flows
I would be inclined to get an electrician to do a continuity and resistance test on the element before any thing else as the unit may have nothing wrong with it if it is still heating the water as it should.

Posted on Apr 08, 2015

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Hot water heater will not drain

Posted on Jan 05, 2010

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1) Will the valve turn?
2) If yes, does any water come out?
3) Is it in a basement or where water won't cause a problem.
I have drained many heaters through the element hole which helps clean out the lime that has built up.
But it must be where water will not cause a problem.
If the drain turns and some water trickles out, it is plugged with lime or calcium build up. (Typical of water heaters and hard water).

Posted on Nov 20, 2008

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SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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Heating coils were replaced last december and today no hot water for a shower after 5 minutes in the shower. The electric is flying on the meter. Have shut off the circuit breaker for this hot water

Copy following link for tank-type electric water heater troubleshoot:

Press reset button located on upper thermostat.
Test elements for short to ground against steel tank.
Clean sediment out of tank. Check for water leak running hot water out of tank.
Replace both thermostats.

If you need further help, I’m available over the phone at

Nov 25, 2012 | Rheem Water Heaters

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How to replace water heater element will water cme out when you remove element does tank have to be drained

Safest method:
Shut off electricity to heater.
Shut the water valve.
Drain heater to below the level of the element, open hot water valve in house to vent heater to speed draining.
If the element is on top, you don't have to empty the heater.
Remove old element, install new element.
Leave hot water valve open somewhere in the house.
Turn water on.
Once air is removed at hot water valve, turn electric on.
Shut water valve.


Aug 13, 2011 | Reliance /State Ind. 9002450 Element For...

1 Answer

I have a 50 gallon electric water heater..trying to fix a leak elsewhere in the house we had to shut off main valve,turned back on no hot water,,reset breaker and reset button worked fine,but no today no...

If you're having to reset the breaker, then most likely you have a bad heating element. Usually the bottom element burns out first, however if you had the water off, and the level dropped in the tank, the heater might have come on without water in it. This will cause it to overheat and burn out. Now when you turn the breaker on, the current is going to ground, tripping the breaker. If you are handy you can replace them, but be sure water heater electric is off or disconnected, and then drain water below the element level. While you're replacing one element replace them both.

Oct 13, 2010 | Whirlpool Water Heaters

1 Answer

Waterheater barely heating

If it is old, it may have sediment build up at the bottom. This can be drained. The heater element may have burned out also. We would need more information as to the age, model, etc. in order to provide any more information. Good luck!

Mar 03, 2010 | Jason Natural Cosmetics Jason Forma...

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could be faulty thermostat/reset button, or shorted element. Breaker to water heater off,
Check elements for continuity to ground. should be no continuity to ground. If elements OK replace reset button. If you have noticed very hot water and elements checked OK then replace both thermostats along with reset button

Feb 17, 2010 | Reliance & 50gal Electric Water Heater

1 Answer

My reliance electric waterheater wont shut off.i replaced both upper and lower themostats. it runs till it trips the reset switch.sounds like the upper element still running after lower shuts off

Test elements for short to ground.
Element that is shorted in center might not trip breaker.
Because thermostat only turns off one leg of 240V circuit, the element will continue heating using 120v to ground:

Add a comment for more free help.
Also take advantage of fixya phone service.
For a price, expert speaks with you over phone while you work on water heater or any do-it-yourself project.
Fixya is always less expensive than a service call.


3 Answers

I tried to drain my electric water heater. After about 30 or so gallons drained out of a 50 gallon tank, the drain clogged from the inside. Turning the cold supply back on didn't help, and now my water... name is can try to blow air into the drain valve to unclog the debris and see if it will drain..but if it has that much debris i think i would replace the hot water heater..also it has a sacrificial rod inside of it..and if it is melted away then the water will eat at your heaters liner and will eventually eat a hole in it...i hope this has helped


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