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Old 11-30-2008, 03:27 PM   #1
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Water Heater


This past summer water would come and go in the catch basin I have underneather my water heater. As noted on AO Smith's website, leaks do not come and go, so I know it's not a leak.

As far as I can tell the water is not coming from the pressure value either. I haven't really detected any water there. It "seems" to be condensation.

How do I solve this problem? It's an AO Smith Electric Water heater that is 6 years old. There is a drainpipe the water exits the basin, but some of the water was missing the exit pipe and must have run down the ouside of the pipe. I noticed a circle on the ceiling of my shower downstairs which led me to adjust the pipe.

The water heater is on the 2nd floor in a closet space with a gas furnace.

Any ideas?

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Old 11-30-2008, 03:39 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tsmith View Post
This past summer water would come and go in the catch basin I have underneather my water heater. As noted on AO Smith's website, leaks do not come and go, so I know it's not a leak.

As far as I can tell the water is not coming from the pressure value either. I haven't really detected any water there. It "seems" to be condensation.

How do I solve this problem? It's an AO Smith Electric Water heater that is 6 years old. There is a drainpipe the water exits the basin, but some of the water was missing the exit pipe and must have run down the ouside of the pipe. I noticed a circle on the ceiling of my shower downstairs which led me to adjust the pipe.

The water heater is on the 2nd floor in a closet space with a gas furnace.

Any ideas?
I have never seen a water heater codensate. I would double check your water connections for a drip leak, or the pressure relief valve. or the drain valve for the tank. any other pipes in the area that may be dripping? one way to check connections for leaks is to wrap paper towel around area and check for wetness.

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Old 11-30-2008, 03:49 PM   #3
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I just did the presure release value twice in the last couple of minutes and drained the pan as much as I could.

The water entry/exit points are at the top of the water heater and there is no evidence of a leak. There was no sign of water on the presure value pipe until I just released some water and there is no sign of water by the turn value at the bottom of the tank.

I did "flush" the tank this summer, although I did not turn off the water and electric as I probably should have. I just let the water run though a garden hose for about 15 minutes to see if there were any minerals in the water.

The water coming and going has been mostly gone until we got back from a 2-day vacation on the weekend.
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:21 PM   #4
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...as an update, the water that came from the pressure value release seemed to be cloudier than the other water already in the catch basin.

I did speak with a plumber here and he said if there is no obvious sign of a leak, then there probably isn't one. The water has to be coming from the bottom of the heater, but at least this past summer it would come and go and I noticed in the past couple of years the "rusty" residue left behind but all dried up. It bother mean only because now when the water drained it missed the exit pipe.
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Old 11-30-2008, 06:36 PM   #5
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Ok now im not a plumber, but you had a plumber tell u if there's no signs of a leak there probably isnt one????? Really??? In my experience i have spent hours searching for a leak. There not always easy to find.

By the way water heaters don't condensate. Have you ever seen a warm cup of coffee condensate? No. Items that contain cool water do, toilet tanks, etc.

If you fully examine any and all parts of the water heater and don't see any leaks, chances are it could be coming from the tank itself. (but after only 6 years? I don't know)
If the leaks come and go and you don't see any buildup anywhere on any pipes replace the pressure release valve. To check drain bib at bottom just go to depot and get a 59cent cap for it and see if it stops leaking.
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Old 11-30-2008, 06:51 PM   #6
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Ok now im not a plumber, but you had a plumber tell u if there's no signs of a leak there probably isnt one????? Really??? In my experience i have spent hours searching for a leak. There not always easy to find.

By the way water heaters don't condensate. Have you ever seen a warm cup of coffee condensate? No. Items that contain cool water do, toilet tanks, etc.

If you fully examine any and all parts of the water heater and don't see any leaks, chances are it could be coming from the tank itself. (but after only 6 years? I don't know)
If the leaks come and go and you don't see any buildup anywhere on any pipes replace the pressure release valve. To check drain bib at bottom just go to depot and get a 59cent cap for it and see if it stops leaking.
Is this something a non-plumber can replace? (PRV)

Sorry, drain bib? Do you mean the hose-like connector at the bottom of the heater?
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:50 PM   #7
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I just noticed an electrical humming noise. Perhaps I am being too sensitive now, but I don't recall hearing this before. I had just filled a tub (70% or so) with very hot water.

Is this just the normal sound of it heating up water and that perhaps I just hadn't noticed it until now?
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:49 AM   #8
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No i dont believe this is a normal sound. Did you hear this in your bathroom? Are u sure it wasn't coming from the water pipes? In winter, cold pipes when instantly hit with hot water, can expand and contract making a creaky sound inside the walls. Your water heater keeps the temp of the water inside itself at a set temp, and therefore you would hear this sound other times then only when you are calling for warm water.

Yes the drain bib is the hose fitting at the bottom of water heater. These commonly leak. And are a very quick easy fix. Again ask ur local hardware store for a cap for this and screw it on.

If pipes are leaking above the water heater, you will almost always see some sort of whiteish greenish build up. If you see nothing, check the tank. Feel around on the bottom for any water.

As far as the pressure release valve....Again I'm not a plumber, but you should be able to replace this pretty easily. Drain the tank by shutting of water on pipe leading into waterheater, open faucets and tubs, (good idea to remove little airator caps from faucets allow any debris to exit faucet when water is turned back on.) and run hose from drain at bottom of tank. Pull up release to release any extra pressure. If your faucets are open there should be very little. Unscrew old one with a pipe wrench removing the down pipes attached to it. And screw in the new one. Let me know what you come up with
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by timthetoolman View Post
No i dont believe this is a normal sound. Did you hear this in your bathroom? Are u sure it wasn't coming from the water pipes? In winter, cold pipes when instantly hit with hot water, can expand and contract making a creaky sound inside the walls. Your water heater keeps the temp of the water inside itself at a set temp, and therefore you would hear this sound other times then only when you are calling for warm water.

Yes the drain bib is the hose fitting at the bottom of water heater. These commonly leak. And are a very quick easy fix. Again ask ur local hardware store for a cap for this and screw it on.

If pipes are leaking above the water heater, you will almost always see some sort of whiteish greenish build up. If you see nothing, check the tank. Feel around on the bottom for any water.

As far as the pressure release valve....Again I'm not a plumber, but you should be able to replace this pretty easily. Drain the tank by shutting of water on pipe leading into waterheater, open faucets and tubs, (good idea to remove little airator caps from faucets allow any debris to exit faucet when water is turned back on.) and run hose from drain at bottom of tank. Pull up release to release any extra pressure. If your faucets are open there should be very little. Unscrew old one with a pipe wrench removing the down pipes attached to it. And screw in the new one. Let me know what you come up with
Turn off power to it first!

Gary
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:19 AM   #10
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thanks yes that is an important step Gary. lol I must be that guy who forgets to turn the water off before disconnecting something. lol I have
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:24 PM   #11
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Water Heater


As far as I know there is no problem havin it this close to the breaker box. It will not effect the amount of electricity flowing to it at all, and theres not really a fear of gettin water into the breaker box. At apartments I used to do maintenance at, almost every unit had the water heater and furnace right next to the breaker box. Don't worry bout it, not an issue

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