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Old 11-06-2015, 04:23 PM   #1
gpt
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hot water heater drain plug

so i just finished the winterizing. as a part of this, i pulled the hot water drain plug, nylon in a metal housing. it was bedded in plumbers putty which over time gets quite hard. so i cleaned things up and promptly cross threaded the plug. down to the local RV place where they just laughed and sold me a couple of replacements.

so i got it started, finger tight without too much trouble. but when i start to tighten it up, i get it in about half way and it stops. i am afraid to use too much wrench pressure for fear of breaking the plug.

got any suggestions??
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Old 11-06-2015, 04:57 PM   #2
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I would dump the plastic plug and consider switching to a valve. We made the swap a few years ago and the process is much easier. See the linked post for details on our swap.

Hot Water Heater Plug Replacement - Airstream Forums
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:16 PM   #3
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Maybe someone used a hardening pipe-thread compound (should have used the non-hardening variety) that is gumming up the threads. Try cleaning them with a piece of bent wire (dental picks work great for this) or carefully threading in and removing a properly sized brass fitting.
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:22 PM   #4
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I have a brass plug on mine. Goes a couple of turns and then I have to use a wrench. About another 1/2 turn. I use Teflon tape on the plug. When I pressurize the water system, I check the plug and if it is dripping I give it another 1/4 turn. Has always worked for me.
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:28 PM   #5
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I don't think the plastic plug needs to go in all the way to make a water tight fitting. Just tighten till it gets snug. I prefer to use Teflon tape instead of the putty as its much neater and aids with threading in.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
I don't think the plastic plug needs to go in all the way to make a water tight fitting. Just tighten till it gets snug. I prefer to use Teflon tape instead of the putty as its much neater and aids with threading in.
well i used a round wire brush on the threads and came up with nothing. then i used a sort of dental pick but i could do this again, i guess, again without seeing anything rejected.

the plug has a single turn of teflon tape and it easily goes in a bit more than half way. i have no idea how much torque this plastic plug can withstand so i am hesitant to apply too much pressure. anyone have a torque number to suggest??

i suspect that nothing is going to leak with the tape in place, but it would be nice and tidy to get the plug in all the way.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:07 PM   #7
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The T&P valve is brass, replace the plug with a brass valve.
Since the advent of teflon tape, I've never met a plumber who uses anything else on threads.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:10 PM   #8
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If you are winterizing why are you putting the plug back in ? You should by pass the hot water heater . I leave the plug out and push in a piece of window screen to keep the bugs out until spring .
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Old 11-06-2015, 07:05 PM   #9
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If it doesn't leak, it is in tight enough and far enough.
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nrgtrakr View Post
The T&P valve is brass, replace the plug with a brass valve.
Since the advent of teflon tape, I've never met a plumber who uses anything else on threads.
While searching for advice on a professional plumbers forum I learned that many like to apply teflon tape, then pipe thread compound over that. Never leaks, they say.
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Old 11-06-2015, 09:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodfox45 View Post
If you are winterizing why are you putting the plug back in ? You should by pass the hot water heater . I leave the plug out and push in a piece of window screen to keep the bugs out until spring .
1. to keep the threads from rusting

2. to keep bugs out (you are doing this)

3. to keep from losing the plug
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:22 PM   #12
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I installed a boiler cock made of brass. The pressure relief valve is brass. Why not a brass boiler cock. Turn the handle and the job is done. No wrenches required.


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Old 11-06-2015, 10:36 PM   #13
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I've never put my plastic plug in all the way and don't think you should try. Just tighten till snug. Pipe threads are made so they get larger further in. Tighten and forget. It it leaks tighten next spring another quarter turn.
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Old 11-06-2015, 10:54 PM   #14
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I find the plastic plug is so soft it seals well without even using any tape. I think that is why they use if from the Atwood factory. Just screw it in until it feels right and does not turn anymore easily.

I have used miles of teflon tape over the years, but find that a can of Rector Seal is sometimes easier and it always seals, I mean always, every time. So, if I have a difficult joint to make it is my first choice. And I have never found Rector Seal to harden over time. But again on the plastic drain plug, I use nothing at all.
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