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Chowy 01-15-2012 09:18 PM

No hot water pressure
Not sure what is the issue with the plumbing in this house, but occasionally when the washing machine is on, we hear a huge clunking sound- guessing when the cycle is changing, and then no hot water from any tap in the house. To gain back the pressure, we can typically go to the kitchen sink and go back and forth between the hot and cold to which we are met with another large clunk and the hot water is restored. Obviously, this is not a weekly occurrence nor is it something that we want to fix by always going to play with the kitchen tap. Any suggestions? The house is 8 years old and we are not the original owners.

joecaption 01-15-2012 09:29 PM

How old is the water heater?
Have you ever attached a garden hose and drained off some of the sedamnet from the bottom of the tank?

Chowy 01-15-2012 09:36 PM

The hot water tank is 8 years old- same age as the house. We just recently replaced the thermal coupler but we have not had any other maintenance with the tank. Not sure what the previous owners might have done. We have been in the house for almost 3.5 years. Water in the city is very hard.

VIPlumber 01-15-2012 09:54 PM


Originally Posted by Chowy (Post 823919)
Water in the city is very hard.

Sounds like you have scale build-up on your elements then if water is that hard. Time to drain your tank, remove the elements & clean them. Have you ever considered a water softener?

Chowy 01-15-2012 10:03 PM

Funny that, my husband really wants to install one. I understand how build up could block pipes but I am trying to get a handle on why toggling the kitchen tap can bring the pressure back or why it goes in the first place. Is it a matter of a pressure change pushing the blockage out?

Is draining tank and scrubbing elements relatively straightforward or should we be calling in a plumber?

Can anyone comment on rates of plumbers called in on emergency? Not sure that no morning shower constitutes as an emergency, although it would be nice to have hot water in the house.


VIPlumber 01-15-2012 10:33 PM

Draining tank and cleaning elements is pretty straight forward. Question though, is your water tank electric of gas? If gas no elements to clean, just drain the tank and try to break up all the mineral build up that can't drain through drain plug.

Most manufacturers have recommendations on what steps to follow for this ANNUAL maintenance procedure, check their website. Otherwise there's some good videos out there.

As for a softener, I'd highly recommend one as not only is your water heater getting gummed up by the minerals but so is every other fixture in the house.


I understand how build up could block pipes but I am trying to get a handle on why toggling the kitchen tap can bring the pressure back or why it goes in the first place. Is it a matter of a pressure change pushing the blockage out?
By switching from hot to cold and back you're probably dislodging a chunk or two which will float back up and eventually block the hot water line again and again.

No comment on rates local to you, but since it's Sunday night expect to pay extra $$$. I'd wait till tomorrow morning, if you're not comfortable trying this yourself.

Chowy 01-15-2012 11:42 PM

Thanks for your advice. After what seemed like a thousand toggles on every tap in the house, the hot water is back so at least we save an immediate need for a fix.

Being from Alberta, the tank is in fact gas heated. We will attempt a drain and clean in the very near future.

In terms of a water softener, do you have recommendations? We had an HVAC guy in the other day to clean our ducts and we got talking about water softeners. His thought was that a decent one would cost upwards of $3000 which seems really steep given the ads of $500+. Your thoughts here would be appreciated.
Thanks again!

VIPlumber 01-16-2012 12:53 AM

Yes, a decent one will cost more than $500 but $3k might be a little steep. Unless he meant including install. A company I used to work for a few years back installed these softeners, , and they seemed to do the trick.

Since we moved, and are on a well, I installed one in our place as well. Works great, simple to operate and Canadian made.

I understand about being on gas if living in AB, something about being drawn & quartered at the Stampede if you don't, right?:jester:

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