Easy way to remove the plastic drain valve on a Kenmore Power Miser 9 hot water heater, even if you cracked the flats…

Plastic drain valve on Kenmore Power Miser 9 hot water heater, how to remove...

Hot water heaters such as the Kenmore Power Miser 9, come with a plastic drain valve that is most likely going to start leaking soon. Mine started leaking a few months ago through the plug valve washer, but recently the valve sprung a second leak and was leaking right at the threads so it had to be removed. You will likely have to replace the valve in as little as 7 years, as was the case for me. It is extremely difficult to remove these little bastards without breaking the things right off at the threads. If you break the thing off at the threads you may need to resort to special tools for removing broken bolts, or even perhaps painstakingly using a hacksaw blade to slowly split the threaded end so you can pry it out. Anyway, there is an easy solution, don't break the valve off completely yet with anger! The trick to remove this bastard is to first remove the white/grey knob assembly (by twisting the white part) and valve plug washer... once that is removed, you can then find around your house a metal rod that you can insert into the open hole where the knob/plug assembly used to be... and now with your adjustable wrench and your rod together in each hand, it should turn! You should be able to remove the valve! Even if you cracked the plastic flats slightly trying to remove the valve with your adjustable wrench, this will likely still work like it did for me, I illustrate below.... once it's off I highly recommend replacing the valve with a standard 3/4" NPT brass nipple, full-port ball valve, and garden hose adapter as shown in the last image below. These water heaters all use standard 3/4" NPT fittings which are readily available in your local hardware store, likely even cheaper than the replacement value of the plastic valve from Kenmore, and the brass fittings are a million times better quality and will last much longer. Even if they cost more I still think it's completely worth the upgrade. In fact, if you buy a new water heater in the future, look for the stupid plastic drain valve and immediately replace it with brass fittings. It will make life easier years down the road. They drain faster too.
Plastic drain valve on Kenmore Power Miser 9 hot water heater, difficult to remove without breaking it.
With your adjustable wrench it is likely you will crack the plastic flats shown above. Do not continue to force it! Use the metal rod method together with the wrench and you'll be good to go...

Plastic drain valve on Kenmore Power Miser 9 hot water heater, how to remove...
Above is a steel threaded rod that came from a cheap C-clamp I bought at Walmart. I simply removed the C-clamp's little pressure cap from the ball joint, then unscrewed the rod right out of the clamp. Makes for a great rod.

Plastic drain valve on Kenmore Power Miser 9 hot water heater, how to remove...
Grab the metal rod with your left hand, wrench with right hand, and turn counter clockwise. Hopefully this will work for you.

Above is a 3/4" brass nipple that is 4 inches long (for my convenience), a full port brass ball valve, and a brass garden hose adapter fitting. Be sure to use a few wraps of Teflon tape on each of the 3/4" NPT threads prior to assembly. Tighten good and tight. This full port brass fittings arrangement also can drain the water tank much faster. Typically with the OEM valve it will take 30 minutes to drain your tank, with this, it will drain in just a couple of minutes or less, so it will flush debris better too.

* The white cover that went over the valve originally will likely not fit over top any more.  This is cosmetic, but also a child safety issue.  I recommend you install a some form of child proofing - perhaps a locking cap over the end, or something to lock the valve handle such as a child safety lock or valve lockout device to prevent scalding if a child plays with it.

20 thoughts on “Easy way to remove the plastic drain valve on a Kenmore Power Miser 9 hot water heater, even if you cracked the flats…”

  1. Exactly my problem! Mine is about 8 years old, and started leaking last week after I had the water heater off for 12 hours and then brought it back online. Thanks for the tip.!

  2. Thanks for the tip. Seems like Kenmore has a manufacturing defect with these plastic drain assemblies. My radiator is 9 years old and it just starting dripping from the thinnest part of the assembly where the square part meets the cylindrical part. They wanted $14 for a washer and $15 for the drain assembly and shipping would take 2 days minimum. I wanted it fixed before that and I really didn’t want to fix it again with plastic. I was worried about breaking the part during dis-assembly as well, but I took a slightly different approach. I happened to have a plumbing wrench (it’s usually always helpful for plumbing jobs), and I took a cheap rubber grip disk used to open jars, wrapped the grip around the inner-most portion of the plastic – the part of the cylinder that has threads. Then, I placed the wrench over the grip disk and around the cylinder just beyond the threads (it was basically touching the hot water heater cylinder, then I started to apply pressure. I had to use quite a bit of force to loosen it – seems like Kenmore might oversize their plastic threads a little as it was tight all the way out. I then cleaned everything up, and attached a 2.5″ brass nipple (using Teflon tape on all threads) to a ball valve and on the other side of the valve, a garden house adapter and finally a screw on cap in case the little ones ever decide to play with the valve handle. All in all, I think the parts were about $25 at home depot. And now it’s brass and hopefully it will never leak. Oh, and one other tip. My wife noticed the carpet was a little wet which is how everyone usually finds out about this sort of thing. After I put a large fan to work, I used some play-dough and two cylinders of caulk on the concrete floor in the utility closet to create a water-tight perimeter around the hot water heat and built it high enough to force water into the gap between the block all (where my french drains are). It would have been nice to have a pan under it, but I think that would have blocked the air intake. Anyway, with a single drip only every few seconds, my perimeter security lasted 24 hours and diverted the water into the french drain. That bought me a full day and I didn’t have to live without hot water.

    1. Great ideas, thanks! You have saved my family a LOT of money and time (which we have neither to waste), and problems! I think you have no idea what this advice means to most of us in this thread :)))))))))

  3. I most certainly will at once take your current rss because i can not to find your e-mail ongoing hyperlink or perhaps e-newsletter assistance. Have virtually any? Please i want to recognize so that I was able to join. Thanks a lot.

  4. I’d be either removing the lever from the valve or putting a cap on the outlet (or better yet – both). Too easy for someone to accidently hit the lever and scald themselves with the gush of hot water (or a curious child!)

    1. Good point. Also, you can get some valves with a “lock out” hole on the handle, so that you can put a lock on it (cable lock, or U-lock).

  5. Great advice on removing the plastic valve. We had our water heater for 6.5 years, then it started leaking the other day. Instead of going through Sears, I found this site and replaced the valve myself (which is highly unusual… I am not very handy with stuff like this). Thanks for the help!

    1. Thanks! Yeah I wish they would have just put a couple of extra dollars into the quality on such an important component…

  6. My 6.5yr old Kenmore Power Miser just started leaking. 90% sure it’s the drain valve connection to the tank.

    I came across this forum after about quitting and calling a plumber to replace it.

    Crap that was hard to remove, but would’ve definetly failed if it wasn’t for the metal rod tip.

    TANK YOU! (get it, “tank-you” hahah)

  7. Curtis!
    You are a life saver! Like Bob said “You are a $#%@ing genius!”
    Worked like a damn!
    Originally tried with an adjustable wrench then a large channel lock plier
    and no go jo! So thought before i break anything i will go online!
    Magically your thread appeared!
    I am so happy i did not bust the ever loving day lights out of the thing before checking her!……Thank you Thank you ! drkdrummer don !

  8. Ok. so turned it the WRONG way the first time then needed a giant pipe wrench. Literally took 2 minutes to replace (always have the right tools).

    What a life saver. No more wet under the tank. I just don’t understand WHY they gotta build em so cheap. Geeze

  9. Thanks! Mine started leaking at 7 years, and I new the warranty would be worthless, since they’d tell me it covers parts, not labor. How much would that plastic valve really cost? But how much hassle would it be to replace it?

    With this article, I had my wife stop by the hardware store while she was out, get all the parts, plus a cap, and I used a screwdriver in place of the steel threaded rod, and got the old one out. It took forever to drain the tank, and a long time to get the water to run clean again afterwards, but it’s looking great now.

    One aside, if you are obsessive compulsive about everything looking right, the cover that goes over the tank will not fit back on with the four inch nipple on there. Not an issue for me, but just in case you (or your spouse) would be concerned, you might want to look at something different for the replacement. I would definitely recommend going with copper, not plastic again, even though I know I’ll never get another seven years out of this unit.

    Thanks again for the great article!

  10. Was at an impasse in trying to replace drain spout and hopefully stop a misting type leak from drain area. I was trying not to be too aggressive once I realized that the flats were rounding.
    I stopped for a cool beverage and found your post and thread.
    Used your tip and everything went well from that point on.
    Another 1/2 inch added to the drain shaft would have overcome this obvious design flaw.
    Many Thanks,
    Tom C.

  11. Thank you!!! You have saved my family a LOT of money and time (neither of which we have to waste), and problems. You probably have no idea how much your advice means to many in this thread! Much appreciated! :)))))))

  12. Not just for plastic valves but any slow opening valve. about 1990 Rick from Canadian Gas Burner suggested using brass fittings to a Ball valve to me with a brass conversion to fit a garden hose after the valve. The idea being the rapid flush would keep the tank cleaner and its been a great idea. Initially the tank flushed chunks of debris but has cleaned out to just water.

    I keep a garden hose attached and aimed at the floor drain and simply give it a few seconds flush every time I replace the furnace filter. I have done for both home and at work. It is also great for getting a quick bucket of warm water as well. I haven’t found the water to be excessively hot however as it is coming from the bottom of the tank.

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