Draining a mobile home hot water heater.

I wanted to replace the element in a hot water heater that is located within a closet that is not much bigger than the heater itself. I shut off the water, opened a nearby hot water faucet, then put a hose on the drain spigot and turned it on. The problem is that I cannot get water out. There is water in the tank, but it will not drain through the spigot on the bottom.

Add to this, when I unscrewed the bottom wire on the thermostat the wire dropped off because evidently it was not attached at the other end. The problem here is that the heater is turned so far to the right within the closet that I cannot even get my head in there to see where the wire was attached on the other end. Also, where the wire is attached is not within the access panel, but down in the heater where it is difficult to reach. I had hoped that if I was able to get the heater drained that I could rotate it enough to see inside. Perhaps the problem with the water not heating was simply that the thermostat was not properly connected and not a failure of the element.

Am I at call a plumber time? It sucks that this heater has so little access to it since it is in a closet. Thanks in advance for any help or ideas.


Cut an access hole and later cover it with a panel…an idea.

I always pop open the TPR valve to get them to drain.

Also, the drain COULD be plugged with garbage from the bottom of the tank…

I was afraid of that since I cannot even see where that wire from the thermostat was attached. My abilities are only average so I might have succeeded if everything had gone well. It just goes to show–it’s always something.

I tried that, and that valve drains directly into a drain in the floor of the mobile home. It didn’t get the water moving out of the tank which is what I wanted because the way the tank is situated I cannot even get my head into position to look and see where the disconnected thermostat wire goes to.

And quite likely a good idea since it would certainly give a better view of exactly where the other end of that thermostat wire was attached. The problem is that is getting a little beyond my everyday average guy’s plumbing ability. I am afraid if I did that I might end up regretting it and wondering why I didn’t leave well enough alone.

Is it possible if I did get it drained that I might be able to then rotate the heater enough to see where the other end of that thermostat wire that came loose goes to and to reconnect it?

If the valve is open I don’t see why some water wouldn’t drain out, how old is the WH? maybe get a piece of wire and a bucket and shove the wire up the drain valve to see if it is clogged. maybe you can see where that wire goes with a bright flashlight and a mirror. good luck

If you’ve already got hot water, why do you even need the heater? :-k

I don’t drain water heaters to change elements. If you keep the spiggots closed, and just turn off the supply valve to the water heater, you’ll only lose a little splash of water. No big deal. Sorta the ‘finger on top of the drinking straw’ effect.

Drain valves on water heaters are bad about getting plugged up.
I’ve found it’s best not to turn off the water first but open the drain valve and flush it out with full pressure first, then shut off the water supply and open some hot side faucets.

Many times a T-P valve will not close once you mess with it so it’s best not to touch those.

I think I would disconnect the water heater and rotate it so the heating elements are accessible.
Usually when a heating element is bad there will be a lot of lime/calcium to flush out anyway.