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-   -   Why did my water heater dump or spit out a bunch of water and now is fine? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f7/why-did-my-water-heater-dump-spit-out-bunch-water-now-fine-70518/)

Ptron 05-04-2010 11:23 AM

Why did my water heater dump or spit out a bunch of water and now is fine?
 
I lost hot water during a shower yesterday. Went down to the basement to find water everywhere and it looked to have come from under the water heater. My first assumption was that the tank gave out, which would have been a real pisser as it isn't very old. However, after cleaning up, and turning the water back on, and firing up the heater again, everything seems fine. Has been for 12 hours now. I now suspect the pressure relief valve opened. Do faulty pressure relief valves give out for no good reason and then work again? Or is it more likely that something else happened? Like maybe the thermostat failed temporarily and the water got too hot causing the valve to go? Seems less likely to me since it happened during a shower when there would have been some cold water coming in.

Scuba_Dave 05-04-2010 11:48 AM

Was a new pressure valve installed with the water heater ?
Gas or electric ?
Model ?

Ptron 05-04-2010 12:01 PM

The relief valve looks like it was probably new with the water heater but I just bought the house six months ago so I can't be sure.

It's gas. A.O. Smith. Don't know the model# offhand and I'm not at home to check. I think it's 40 gallons. Standing pilot with spark ignitor.

The Engineer 05-04-2010 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ptron (Post 437412)
I lost hot water during a shower yesterday. Went down to the basement to find water everywhere and it looked to have come from under the water heater. My first assumption was that the tank gave out, which would have been a real pisser as it isn't very old. However, after cleaning up, and turning the water back on, and firing up the heater again, everything seems fine. Has been for 12 hours now. I now suspect the pressure relief valve opened. Do faulty pressure relief valves give out for no good reason and then work again? Or is it more likely that something else happened? Like maybe the thermostat failed temporarily and the water got too hot causing the valve to go? Seems less likely to me since it happened during a shower when there would have been some cold water coming in.

Do you have a backflow preventer or water pressure regulator on your incoming service line? Do you have an expansion tank on the water heater? Relief valves do not just give out for no reason. There was some sort of over pressure event that allowed to relief valve to open, either from a pressure spike in the system, a condition where the water was over heated, or a failure in the expansion tank.

Thurman 05-04-2010 01:59 PM

I would have to agree with the probability of a sudden surge in water pressure and the relief valve "doing it's thing" properly. ME: If the relief valve dumps out and into nothing but the floor, I would plumb it to dump into a bucket at the water heater. That way it will not make the mess on the floor, and you can monitor if the relief valve has actually dumped vs. something else going on. David

Ptron 05-04-2010 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Engineer (Post 437453)
Do you have a backflow preventer or water pressure regulator on your incoming service line? Do you have an expansion tank on the water heater?

Nope, I don't have any of that stuff.
Quote:

Relief valves do not just give out for no reason. There was some sort of over pressure event that allowed to relief valve to open, either from a pressure spike in the system, a condition where the water was over heated, or a failure in the expansion tank.
Wouldn't that be the most likely suspect then? I guess I'll keep the area clear and see if it happens again. If it does I'll check the thermostat.

So what are the odds that this happens while I'm in the shower? Or is that when it's most likely to happen?

Ptron 05-04-2010 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thurman (Post 437475)
I would have to agree with the probability of a sudden surge in water pressure and the relief valve "doing it's thing" properly. ME: If the relief valve dumps out and into nothing but the floor, I would plumb it to dump into a bucket at the water heater. That way it will not make the mess on the floor, and you can monitor if the relief valve has actually dumped vs. something else going on. David

Didn't see this response before I started my last reply. Good idea, I'll put a bucket there so I can be sure that's where the water's coming from next time. The heater's only 8' or so from the floor drain. If I hadn't felt the hot water go out I might have just thought the floor drain had backed up.

Ptron 05-05-2010 02:39 PM

Huh.
 
Well this is sort of embarassing...and odd. I think my floor drain did back up, because it did a little bit again today. The only thing that made me go down in the basement and look in the first place was the rapid and total loss of hot water while showering. That had never happened before, I was the only one home that morning, and no other hot water using appliances were on. Strange.

...Maybe the sewer backup is coincidental and the water heater really did spit up a bunch of water. There was quite a bit of it down there when it happened and like I said there was a pattern that went up to and under the heater. ...Who knows? I'm just glad that my water heater does not appear to be toast.


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