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Old 03-20-2011, 08:56 AM   #16
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Strange leak - Water Heater?


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Ok, opened it up, let it run for about 1 minute or so. No increase in water outside or any heat to the water.

I am guessing this is ruling out the water heater as a culprit?
Try shutting the cold water supply off above the heater and see if it stops. It may take a couple minutes for it to drain to the level of the T&P if it sits below the top of the tank. If it doesn't stop, that rules out the T&P as being culprit

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Old 03-20-2011, 09:14 AM   #17
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Strange leak - Water Heater?


Every tankful that the hot water heater reheats will expand, hence the need for an expansion tank. In older homes the water backed up to the water main so the lack of an expansion tank was not noticed. Newer homes have a backflow preventer at the incoming water pipe so such expansion trips the P&T valve if there were no air pockets here and there in the plumbing system to be compressed.

With a properly calibrated expansion tank, no significant pressure rise should be measured if you put a meter somewhere for example on a garden hose bibb.

Do you have anything else such as a water softener that has its own pressure relief valve? If pressure increases anywhere in the plumbing system while nobody is using water, that (static) pressure will be the same at every point in the plumbing system. That valve might have been the first to trip thus giving cold water out the pipe leading outside. Now I would be surprised if a pressure or pressure & temperature relief valve would be open for more than a few seconds at a time unless sediment came out and lodged it open.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:15 AM   #18
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Strange leak - Water Heater?


do you have a washing machine in a drain pan?
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:22 AM   #19
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Try shutting the cold water supply off above the heater and see if it stops. It may take a couple minutes for it to drain to the level of the T&P if it sits below the top of the tank. If it doesn't stop, that rules out the T&P as being culprit
Closed the valve, opened the TP for a couple of seconds until it sounded like nothing was coming out. Waited a few minutes, and still the leak persists.

It really sounds like running water, like a faucet or something is running. I may have to rip open a wall to look at it, but I hate to do that since my sheet rock skills are kind of weak (and I havent painted down there in a while and matching paint might suck).
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:24 AM   #20
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do you have a washing machine in a drain pan?
Yes I do, and no water there. I also checked the attic pan for my AC and it was dry.

It is hard for me to imagine it being something like that with that much water coming out though.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:38 AM   #21
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Strange leak - Water Heater?


does your house have a sprinkler/fire system?
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:39 AM   #22
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does your house have a sprinkler/fire system?
Yes it has a sprinkler system
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:51 AM   #23
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you may have a leaking test pipe. you need a plumber to come look. I dont know where you are but if you have a monitoring company they should have called.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:53 AM   #24
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Strange leak - Water Heater?


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you may have a leaking test pipe. you need a plumber to come look. I dont know where you are but if you have a monitoring company they should have called.
I do not have a monitoring company (they have monitoring companies?).

I assume I can shut off water to the sprinkler system, and if that is the issue, the problem should stop?
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:58 AM   #25
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Strange leak - Water Heater?


monitoring companies call you/fire dept if flow is registered on the system, usually a security company. depending on your system set up turning off water may stop it but will probably void your house insurance if left off. you need a plumber
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:38 AM   #26
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Strange leak - Water Heater?


If your sprinkler system has a pressure guage attached to it, try turning off the isolated sprinkler system. The sprinkler system pressure quage will immediately start dropping if the water is coming from that system. If it doesn't drop in 10 minutes, then you've eliminated it as the cause and can just open it up again.

Last edited by how; 03-20-2011 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:23 AM   #27
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You probably have a valve that drains back the water from the outside spigot in the winter that is passing. Just a hunch.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:01 PM   #28
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Update if anyone cares.

Apparently there was a valve behind that wall that was bad. Luckily the guy who installed my water heater installed an expansion tank rendering that valve pointless, so he came in, cut a small-ish hole in the wall and capped the pipe. No more leak... $130 out the door though...

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:45 PM   #29
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Strange leak - Water Heater?


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Update if anyone cares.
Apparently there was a valve behind that wall that was bad. Luckily the guy who installed my water heater installed an expansion tank rendering that valve pointless, so he came in, cut a small-ish hole in the wall and capped the pipe. No more leak... $130 out the door though...
Thanks for all the help!
Thanks for the update. Just to verify, is there a pressure relief valve on the top or on the side of your water heater? If there is one, there will be a small flip type lever on it and the output side of the valve will have a pipe that goes down toward the floor.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:51 PM   #30
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Thanks for the update. Just to verify, is there a pressure relief valve on the top or on the side of your water heater? If there is one, there will be a small flip type lever on it and the output side of the valve will have a pipe that goes down toward the floor.
yes there is a pressure release valve

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