Here are some pictures of the damage.

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If I could just get it out, I could replaced the valve easy peasy.

Lefty loosey with a pipe wrench and whammo. Maybe I shouldn't have been so sure that counterclockwise was the absolute?

Tools, techniques, ideas for further extraction?

I'd really appreciate it.

  • Either carefully cut across the threads in two or three places and remove the cut pieces with needle-nosed pliers twisting them out, or use a pipe extractor or an inside pipe wrench. – Chris Taylor Feb 18 '19 at 0:49

If all else fails, you can take a hack saw blade or a 1 hand hack saw and carefully slit the broken piece in 2 places about 1/2" apart. be very careful not to cut into the threads in the tank. then remove the small piece that is between the 2 cuts with a small chisel or a scratch awl. At this point you can collapse the remaining piece of valve threaded piece and remove it. If you feel you can't do this there are people out there that do this everyday.


A photo would be helpfully but your correct the pipe fittings are left loose right tight. I know a lot of these are plastic and they are easy to break. I have removed broken plastic pipes with a large "easy out" a reverse tapered spiral that digs in and breaks the stuck pipe section loose. On 1 occasion it was to far to go get my easy out set and I cut a piece of steel made a tapered chisel out of a piece of flat bar with the with at the tip being slightly less than 1/2" to about 9/16 over ~2" long I pushed this into the broken pipe and tapped it a few times put a cresent wrench on it and turned left or ccw it took a couple Fry's but it did back out and I put a nipple on it and a new faucet it worked and may be cheaper than the large easy out set I have for pipes.


Heat it up with a hot air gun and tap in a chisel. Once in use pliers or something on the chisel to lefty loosen it out.


So I did it. All by myself after almost resigning to a whole new water heater and plumber and oh what have I done.

Always good in those situations to take a break/walk/meal and think.

Pictures of the project: https://imgur.com/a/mxfBh0c

I ended up taking a better look at the situation with light on my stomach and discerning that the valve was screwed into the heavy metal tank. The valve threading was made of a somewhat plastic cermamic. For a minute I thought there was another interface between the valve and the threaded hole, but it was just sediment/grime. I was able to take a flat screwdriver and hammer and chisel out the remaining valve. Be careful! Do not screw up the threads by chiseling them out with the metal screw driver. I have one small gouge. It would probably be better to use something a little less hard for the chiseling. Harder than the plastic but softer than the metal (I don't know what that would be). Thankfully it came out in 3 or 4 large pieces and the threads cleaned out fine!!!!!! Awesome. I was able to discern how much valve I had left in there with my finger.

I also heated up the area with a space heater and then a blow dryer. A heat gun would have also possibly been helpful. However, I didn't have one. I don't know how much the heat helped. A little bit. I was working on this pretty cold which was another mistake.

Teflon tapped the new all plastic :( valve and rotated it in there. Didn't tighten it like crazy. Maybe a quarter turn past hand with a wrench. No leaks. Holds pressure fine.

Ultimate upshot. The slow draining I was trying to fix was NOT the drain and this was all completely not needed. It was what seemed like pounds of heavy water sediment in the bottom of the tank. There is a pic in the link. So next step is to dissolve all of that crap. I was able to get alot out with my figer as I was messing around. A good way to maybe check for this is listen to the tank as it fills. I can hear the sediment swirling in there as it fills, yet upon emptying I never once! saw any sediment!

Hopefully this finds someone in a similar situation one day. You can do it. I gotta learn how to fit/solder pipe! I also now am gonna find what dissolves this crud the best and get rid of all that sediment. I saved a bunch for experiments.

I greatly appreciate the help everyone. In the end, it was what everyone suggested. I was just too busy fixing.

  • Sounds like my answer was yesterday . prior to the photos or I did not see any at that time., sediment is very normal and the reason annual tank draining is recommended on this site. – Ed Beal Feb 18 '19 at 2:04

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