Open a drain cock: guide & tips

Need to open a drain cock? Whether you’re draining a hot water cylinder or a radiator, here are a few handy tips which may make the process a little bit easier.

How to open a drain cock

Ensure the discharge point is lower than the drain-off point

Water won’t flow uphill on its own accord (unless it’s siphoned). When draining a hot water cylinder or radiator, make sure that the hose’s exit point is lower than the base of the cylinder. Ideally it should be a downstairs sink, drain or toilet. Remember that any bends or loops in the hose which are higher than the given water level in a cylinder or radiator will prevent the water below that point from draining. This could come as an unwelcome surprise when removing the hose from the drain cock.

Place an old towel or a piece of cloth underneath the drain cock

In some cases, especially on older drain cocks, water may seep out of the valve via the spindle. It is always a good idea to place an old towel or a piece of cloth underneath the drain cock to catch any drips. You can also use this piece of fabric to catch any drips when you disconnect the hose.

Use a jubilee clip to secure the hose to the drain cock

Using a jubilee clip to secure the hose to the drain cock will ensure that it doesn’t slip off or be yanked free accidentally, causing to water to leak out all over the floor.

Don’t use a pair of pliers to open the drain cock

Use a small adjustable spanner instead, or a drain cock key. Pliers are liable to damage the edges of the spindle.

Mind the hose

It sounds like an obvious one, but most accidents happen in the home. Be careful not to trip over the hose running through the house and potentially down the stairs, and don’t forget to remind others in the household of the potential trip hazard.

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