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besjml 08-17-2012 11:15 AM

Hot water issues
 
I have warm water throughout my house. My 40 gal hot water heater is 12 years old. I just drained it to see if that improves the temperature of my water. But while draining the heater, the water out of all my hot water faucets, continues to flow (mildly warmer than the cold side). My thought was once the hot water heater was emptied, all water out of the hot water faucets should stop as well, is this correct? Since all are on and flowing fully (again mildly warmer than the cold faucets) I am concerned I may have a bigger issue than a faulty water heater. Please advise where to start troubleshooting.

Daniel Holzman 08-17-2012 11:37 AM

Typically the water in the entire house is pressurized off the cold water side only. Even if you drain hot water out of the water heater, unless you shut off the cold water inflow to the heater, which you did not say you did, the heater will fill with cold water. The cold water mixes with the residual hot water in the heater to leave lukewarm water, which is what it sounds like you have.

You did not say if you have a gas or electric water heater. If electric, 12 years is a long time, you may have deposits on the electrodes, and the electrodes may have corroded. 12 years is a long time for a gas heater as well. Likely your water heater is beyond worthwhile repair, may be time to consider a replacement.

besjml 08-17-2012 12:56 PM

hot water
 
Dan,

Thanks. I did turn off the cold water supply to the (natural gas) hot water heater, before opening the drain valve. I opened a hot water faucet above the level of the heater. That is what is troubling me, when the water flow from the drain of the hot water heater stops (I assume the volume of water in the heater is gone) water continues to run from my open hot water valves. The water was lukewarm and is now cold.

I suspect:
1-the whole system being pressurized from the cold water supply continues and exits via the open hot water faucets
2-The cold water supply valve does not shut off the water supply completely
3-I have no clue
Could there be another reason?

I do agree I probably need to replace the heater as the sediment I see is probably no greater than 1-2 cups and every flush yields less and less. I just wanted to drain the water heater one more time to see if my hot water supply is more consistent.

DexterII 08-17-2012 01:01 PM

Just to clarify, and maybe I am reading your post wrong, but it sounds like you are attempting to drain the water heat through the faucets? To drain the water heater, which you would do to flush out possible debris in the tank, you would shut off the heat source by switching OFF the breaker for an electric model or turn the gas to PILOT for a gas model, turn off the valve on the COLD or INLET line, connect a water hose to the valve at the base of the water heater, route the hose to a floor drain or outside, and open the valve. Once it has emptied, you can open the valve on the inlet side for a bit, to flush out debris that can negatively affect the operation of your heater. Beyond that, on an electric heater, with the power OFF, you can check the elements with an ohmmeter, or, on a gas model, you would want to make sure that your burner ignites when the thermostat calls for heat. So, there are some things that you can check. And, of course, for at least initial troubleshooting, there is seldom a better place to start than the owner's manual, which, if you do not have, should be available on the manufacturer's website. However, as Daniel mentioned, at 12 years old, you would not be out much to replace it, as it is more than likely nearing the end of its' life. Our original water heater, an electric model, was 32 years old when I replaced it, and only then because I knew that I had been running on borrowed time for a while, but water heaters are one of those things that they don't build like they used to, so, again, 12 years is not bad, and probably not worth spending much time or effort on.

DexterII 08-17-2012 01:06 PM

Sorry, but was typing while you were posting, so didn't see your reply to Daniel. Yeah, my first guess would be that you have a gate valve in the cold water side, which is bypassing a bit, and if so, I would install ball valves while you are at it.

LeakyMike 08-17-2012 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DexterII (Post 991049)
Sorry, but was typing while you were posting, so didn't see your reply to Daniel. Yeah, my first guess would be that you have a gate valve in the cold water side, which is bypassing a bit, and if so, I would install ball valves while you are at it.

Agree but also check this. Sometimes with cartridge type faucets you can get

some "bleed"over mix when you think its' only on hot or cold only. If you have

valve under sinks (service valves) close them and see if the flow stops. Old

valves that are closed or open a long time don't like to be touched I've found.

Gate valves are especially vulnerable to this. I agree ball valves are the way

to go.

besjml 08-17-2012 01:51 PM

hot water
 
Thanks. That makes sense to me. I will bite the bullet and replace the old water heater, and begin replacing the gate valves with ball valves. I was just avoiding paying home depot the same amount of money for installation. I pretty sure I can replace the heater myself, stay tuned for new questions when that begins in a day.

AllanJ 08-18-2012 12:04 PM

No need to replace the water heater while you are trying to find the answer to your question regarding the warm water.

After you turn off the cold water supply to the water heater, you may get a hot water flow out of an upstairs faucet for a minute or two until the pressure tank above the water heater equalizes itself.

aybe the cold water shutoff to the water heater is not closing completely.


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