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Old 11-01-2008, 04:20 PM   #1
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Gas Water Heater Problem (photo)


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Hey everyone. I just stumbled across this forum in my search for a solution to cold showers. I have only been living in a house for a few months so I know almost nothing about maintaining it.


So it's a gas heater, and as you can see in the photo, it appears that water is leaking out of the flue vent. I'm not sure what is actually happening, but when I turn the out valve (on the right there) water begins to quickly trickle out as pictured. Right now both valves as well as the gas are turned off. We tried to relight the pilot earlier and everything seemed to be going okay before water trickled down and put it out. I'm not sure what to do, and any advice is appreciated.

Thanks

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Old 11-01-2008, 06:39 PM   #2
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Gas Water Heater Problem (photo)


Replace that water heater. Sorry. It is time for it.
Good Luck!
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:08 PM   #3
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if the water is coming down the flue vent, you have a leak up there somewheres and the WH is most likely not the problem.

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Old 11-01-2008, 07:44 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. Very different responses, though. I should ad that this house is a rental. Of course I know the landlord is responsible, but I think that it might be fixable sooner if I can figure it out. One of the rooms is right next to the heater and there is minor water damage along some of the walls there which makes me think this has happened before. Now, if it has it looks like they didn't replace the heater since it looks pretty old. Unless, of course, they replaced it with an old heater for some reason.

What is it that the flue vent does, and how could water get into it? As soon as I turn on the input water it leaks out of the flue vent within seconds.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:51 PM   #5
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Gas Water Heater Problem (photo)


You have a problem.

It looks like the water is coming from the flue. The pipes look dry.

Track down where the water is coming from. It could be from a leak in the pipes further down the line. Or it could be a leak from the vent getting rain water in that.

Also there is a date of manufacturer on the tank. Look for that to see just how old it is.

I'd call the landlord right away. You don't want to lose any deposit you have and delaying it will just cause more damage.
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Old 11-02-2008, 12:22 AM   #6
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Yeah, we've talked to the landlord. I'm just trying to figure anything out I can so I can get some hot water.

As for it being rain, I don't think it could be. It only leaks when I turn that right valve, and it does so seconds after I turn it. If the water was leaking from somewhere up the line of the pipe I don't think closing the valve would help, but I don't understand how water is getting into the flue.


EDIT: I found that draining the tank stops the leak from the flue vent temporarily. If I empty the tank, I can turn the water back on and it wont have any problems until it has filled a ways.

Last edited by Caerus; 11-02-2008 at 02:58 AM.
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:51 AM   #7
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of course! it seems to me it's leaking from a broken pipe above the flue, which carries NO water EVER, it's for venting gasses (air only) so if you turn on the water-out faucet, it starts the leaking and running down the flue pipe to the top of the tank, so you need to 'follow the wet' to see where it starts leaking onto the flue pipe and address that. i can guarantee that a 'bad' water heater in no way could leak down a flue vent. just ain't possible.... the pipe FROM the heater, easily... just trace the line till you find the wet spot. it's broken there somewheres.

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Old 11-02-2008, 09:59 AM   #8
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Gas Water Heater Problem (photo)


One thing to look at: Make sure the gas valve is set all the way low, or to 'pilot', turn the supply water valve off and dry up the area as best as possible. Turn the water on, and look under the draft vent hood. I'm suspecting a pin-hole leak in the inner flue pipe of the tank, that is spraying up inside the draft hood. Using a mirror (a cosmetic make-up mirror works well) might help see better, or removing the draft hood might be necessary.
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:14 AM   #9
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Gas Water Heater Problem (photo)


If the gas is off, and it leaks as soon as you turn on the water valve - after it fills up - it simply has to be a leak external to the tank, on the "out side" of the plumbing. All you can really do is see if there is a sink upstears that may be leaking at a connection - maybe you will get lucky and can turn only that off.
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:34 AM   #10
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??? With all of the faucets in the house shut off, or in the case of a htr that has the valves shut off on both the hot and cold sides, a water heater with an internal pin-hole leak will dribble at best. Introducing air will force the water out of the pin-hole...as will opening the cold water supply valve, which then puts pressure on the water. So the leak doesn't necessarily need to be 'external' to the tank.
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Old 11-02-2008, 02:56 PM   #11
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Hey everyone, thanks for all the input. I haven't solved it yet, but so far SD515's theory is making the most sense to me. It is the valve the puts cold water into the tank that causes the leaking, and it only happens if the tank is fairly full. So, I think that the leak must be somewhere in the tank. If the leak were in one of the pipes, I don't think closing the valve to the tank would help at all, since it would still have pressure to escape from any hole in the pipe. I have noticed that as the leaking is happening there is also water dripping down the flue and onto the pilot area. A leak that is spraying into the hood seems to fit all of this so far. One more complication now though, except for the first time I drained it, the tank has rust colored water.
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:08 PM   #12
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from the pic, it looks like there's clearance enough you should be able to see if it's squirting up into the flue, am i correct?
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:03 PM   #13
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I just checked that, and yes there is quiet a bit of water squirting up into the flue.

Thar she blows: http://img372.imageshack.us/img372/1...ture058bd0.jpg

Thanks for the help everyone, it looks like there is no way around replacing this heater.
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:12 PM   #14
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welp, like i said, no way it can leak DOWN a flue vent! good call Kyle.

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Old 11-02-2008, 07:10 PM   #15
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Hi there DM...Long time no chase around the barn yard...lol.

Wow..I was right?? Who'd a thunk it. Glad to hear ya found the source Caerus...a nice land lord will have ya hot water in no time.

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