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Old 08-27-2012, 10:39 AM   #1
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Home leak.


My city main water meter shows the triangle moving (which indicates water is moving in my home). Its not a cold water leak. I have narrow
it down to hot water. This is where i am confused. Let me explain.
When i close the ball valve on the pipe that enters into my water heater
the triangle stops. This tells me i have a leak somewhere in the hot water
line. But wait...when i close the ball valve on the line that exits the water
heater leaving the enter ball valve open, the triangle still runs. This tells
me that the leak is not in the house part. Just confused.
And yes my water heater has 2 ball valves. One on the enter line and one
on the exit line. Just how the plumber did it. Here is a pic of my water heater for better explaining.
Question...where is the leak?
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:46 AM   #2
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Home leak.


it's against code and dangerous to have a shutoff installed on the hot line of a water heater. shutting both valves off with the water heater still heating can cause it to explode.
i am assuming that the line from above is the incoming cold water to the water heater? is there another valve above the water heater that isn't visible in the photo? if there is when you shut it off it also shuts off the cold water feeding the rest of the house from the looks of the piping in the photo. try shutting off the valve behind the water heater on the cold line.


Last edited by DannyT; 08-27-2012 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:57 AM   #3
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Home leak.


That was fast...thanks. The ball valve on the right is where the cold water enters. The ball valve on the left is where the hot water enters
into the house to the hot water faucets.
Now for the picture....on the cold side line...that line going straight up
is to a pressure relief ball that is required by code now down here. Its
just a metal ball with no valves. So the 2 ball valves in the pic are the
only valve to turn off.
When i shut the ball valve on the right ( where water enters into the water heater) i can use cold water
in the house. But as for hot water...there is none due to the valve is closed.
So cold water only in house now at this time and the triangle stops on the city meter when i am not using cold
water. But when i reopen that ball valve on the right side the triangle starts to move and i am not running any
water in the house.

Last edited by need 101; 08-27-2012 at 11:08 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:21 PM   #4
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Home leak.


Where does that center pipe go? Just a drain? It's not wet down there, is it? It shouldn't be.

If you close the valve into the heater and the meter stops then you know the problem is after that point. Go step-by-step. It's either leaking from the heater itself or somewhere further along on your hot water lines.

When you close the left valve, do you still have hot water at your faucets? If not then there's a leak at the tank. Check and make sure the bottom shut off is closed too.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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Home leak.


Is your P/T (presssure/temperature ) valve leaking?
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:54 PM   #6
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Home leak.


rjniles...no, p/t valve not leaking. Thanks.

wkearney99...center pipe is a drain from the water heater. Its goes to the
side of the house to drain. No, it is dry in that area and i have kept my
eye on that so its not leaking there.
When i close the left valve (bringing hot water into the house) i do not
have hot water at any faucet which is expected. The bottem valve on the
tank (for draining it) is closed and dry. The area all around the tank is dry.
When i do close the left valve (which brings in hot water) the triangle spins a little
at the main meter outside in the yard. Not using hot water in the
house, because i now have no access to it. So how can it spin?..
This tells me that no leak is past the water heater in the home hot lines.
So it must be in the line that travels from the main meter to the water
heater....because it is spinning very slowly. Remember, meanwhile the left
side is still closed.
Now if i shut off the right valve (water coming into the water heater) the
triangle stops. So at this point both valves are closed.
This now tells me that there is no leak from the main meter up to the
right side valve on the pipe that enters the water heater.
I'm at a lost...its not where it is leaking that bothers me (for now), but
the logic of my test contradict each other.
Hope i have not confused u or others. But u did make sense in your reply
but my trouble shooting i have done boggles me.
Thanks for replying.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:07 PM   #7
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Home leak.


The pipe on the right, do you mean it goes to a expansion tank?



Sounds like you have it isolated to the tank. As a test: I would turn of the water with the right valve, open a faucet to relieve pressure.Uunscrew that tank and replace with a 3/4" threaded plug. Turn the water back on and retest. If all is well, you have a bad bladder in the tank and it needs to be replaced. (the tank, the bladder is not replaceable).
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:15 PM   #8
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Home leak.


The left valve is where the hot water goes OUT from the tank.

Ok, so if you close the exit valve on the heater are you SURE all the hot water stops at your faucets? I ask this because we'd want to make sure that valve actually closes. It might not be closing entirely. It should but you want to confirm this by making sure no hot is coming out of the taps (check more than one). So if you close the exit valve and no taps have any hot water and the meter still spins then you have a leak at the tank.

You say the line going from the center exits the house and is dry. ARE YOU SURE? When a line goes into a wall you don't always know exactly where it's going. Unless you can really tell it's a straight-shot to the outside. You never know what someone else might have done in the past. This isn't usually a problem with water heaters, but ask folks what they've run into with air conditioning condensation drains...

So by your troubleshooting you've narrowed it down to the plumbing at the heater. Either that exit valve does leak and there IS a leak elsewhere in the hot water lines, or you've got a leak at the tank. At this point you might want to call a plumber and have them do some pressure tests. It's entirely possible there's something you've missed.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:43 PM   #9
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Home leak.


Ok did some test and took some pictures....

wkearney99....did what u said. Closed the exit valve ( hot water
running into home line) and i had no water coming out of any
taps. So i do know that the ball valve closes properly.
As for your point on the drain pipe. Your right...it could be leaking
somewhere in the wall rather then to the exit point on the side of
the house...good point. Pressure tests sound like a good idea to
do...thanks for the reply.

rjniles....took some pic's of the water heater for you. Yes, u are
right...it is a expansion tank. As for your idea can i replace it with
a 3/4" threaded plug in your opinion by u looking at the close up
picture i took of where the expansion tank screws into the copper
pipe?
If not...i can always have the plumber do it since it is all under
warranty. Your help is much appreciated.

Thanks guys for your 2 cents...much appreciation from me. When all
is done i will definitly let u know what the problem was when i fix
it.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:04 PM   #10
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Home leak.


Tell me that expansion tank is not just mounted on top of that pipe. It's secured to the the wall, right? If not then you're asking for a disaster if anything happens to cause it to move.... it'd snap that water line right off and you'd have a HELL OF A FOUNTAIN on your hands.

I'd also wonder whether or not there's a leak in it that might be causing your confusion about the meter. It might be possible what you're seeing is the water filling up that tank. I've not worked with many of them so I don't know the specifics of how to deal with them. Removing it and putting in a plug would definitely be a good way to eliminate it from the puzzle.

But, wait, you've got a warranty for all of this? Call them and let them solve it.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:18 PM   #11
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Home leak.


No, its not sercure to the wall. Just mounted, well screwed into the pipe.
But good food for thought on the water fountain diaster if it did move. Will
look into that issue.
I thought the same thing too about maybe it was filling up. But it seems
to me that it would stop filling up at one point. With the exit valve close
it just shows water moving at the meter. I'm like how long does this thing
take to fill up? Its 40 gallons. I don't know much about water heaters
but i always thought they maintain a constant water level. What one
uses in hot water gets replished with new cold water at the same time.
A even flow maintaining a full level. With this i just thought it could not
be filling up all the time. Eventually it would stop...but it did not.
Clocked the main meter at 1 gallon every 8 ish per minute. And besides my
water bill was higher then it should be....this i really feel is true.
Thanks for the comments.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:50 PM   #12
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Home leak.


Yeah, you've pretty much done most of the debugging that's possible without getting into connecting pressure gauges. Time to call that plumber...
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:20 PM   #13
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Home leak.


Well theres a few places you could check for hot water leaks that you wouldn't neccesarily see.......dishwasher and wash machine to name two....
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:11 PM   #14
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Home leak.


i had 2 dishwashers leak from the plastic inlet valve and the water stayed under the cabinets for a while. the vinyl was curled up where it was cut around the cabinets cause it wasn't glued down good. are the waterlines under a slab? i take it the water heater installation wasn't inspected. no inspector would pass it with a valve on the outlet side.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:39 AM   #15
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Home leak.


I'm not sure if I missed it, but how exactly did you determine that it was a hot water leak and not a cold water leak?



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