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rivercliff 10-27-2011 08:24 AM

No hot water at any faucet, water heater working fine
Hang with me here. Remodeling. Moved in. Have hot water but not much. After week, it goes cold. No hot water at the tank. I replace both elements and thermo. Refill the water heater. I get air in the COLD water side. Finally purge it all out. I get no hot water at any faucet. There is a faucet right beside the water heater so easy to access and watch and listen. Does not seem that water is flowing through the tank.

The valve at the water heater is on. Here is real kicker, the cold water inlet pipe gets hot when running the hot water side at the faucet. No hot water ever comes out, but, if I turn it over to cold water, then I get a shot of hot water for about 5 seconds before it goes cold again. Has nothing to do with mixer as I have gone to at least 4 other faucets with exact same outcome. Even the non mixer two sided faucets - same thing.

More mystery - When I shut off the valve at the water heater to drain tank and replace elements, we still had water (cold of course) at both sides of the faucets with normal pressure. As if no valves were off. Problem is now, we have the same thing but not able to get the hot water through?

It is large two story home (old B&B actually) and nearly impossible to track all plumbing.

Any ideas? Hope it is something really stupid and obvious that I am missing.

Alan 10-27-2011 09:12 AM

Do you have any kind of a recirculating system on it?

rivercliff 10-27-2011 09:14 AM

Cold is Cold and Hot is Hot
Just read my post and realized that I had not pointed out the first obvious - Yes, the cold water valved pipe connects to the "cold" on the water heater, and the outlet side is connected to the "hot" on the water heater.

It's as if the water is trying to flow backwards though. The pipe connected to the cold side of the heater is very warm to the touch for a couple feet and gets hot for quite a ways when the water is turned on at a faucet. The hot side pipe is room temperature and stays that way if water is turned on at a faucet.

rivercliff 10-27-2011 09:21 AM

I do not have a recirculating system. Good question though.

Alan 10-27-2011 09:25 AM

Sounds to me then like you have a problem at one or more fixtures with a crossover problem inside the faucet or valve itself.

My first suspect is always the washing machine. The solenoid valves inside sometimes fail and then the cold can go into the hot, and vice versa depending on what the path of least resistance for the hot or cold is when you turn on each faucet.

Shut off the valves to the washing machine, and see if that fixes the problem. If not, continue doing so to each faucet in the house until your problem is solved. Once you know which one is the culprit, repair it or replace it as needed.

rivercliff 10-27-2011 09:47 AM

Just found the issue ! Thanks in part to Alan and his mention of the washing machine. We have a utility room with a separate water heater. My assumption, and that of the plumber that helped with some of the early remodeling was that water heater was only for the utility room.

Turns out that water heater also connects to the faucet RIGHT NEXT to the water heater with the problem and the kitchen and one bath. Those were the rooms that I was checking !

What are the odds that both water heaters with bad elements ?

THANKS for taking the time to solve this mystery. It is still confusing but at least I know now how to go about it.

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