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COLDIRON 12-27-2018 01:23 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Please when the problem is discovered and fixed. Don't forget to tell us what was found. I think most people following this would like to hear the ending to this story.

LawnGuyLandSparky 12-27-2018 02:10 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stripedbass (Post 5720341)
LawnGuy,

I have 2 shutoffs for my water heater. One is near the cold water pipe. The other is a little away from the heater. The plumber installed the latter because the shutoff for my condo unit in the basement does not work completely. It shuts the cold water off but not the hot water.

This is a separate plumbing issue. We had water shutoffs installed in each of the 4 basements in the building like 4 years ago. The idea was to avoid having to shut off the building's main shutoff whenever someone had to get some plumbing work done. Well, the shutoff in my basement shuts off the cold water but not the hot water. The plumber who installed the shutoffs for the whole building (different from the one who installed my water heater) must have missed something. We did not test his work when he completed the work so we only caught the problem later.

The photo on the left below is of the shutoff that the plumber installed for the hot water (the shutoff is green). The photo on the right, though it's quite dark, is supposed to show the cold water shutoff which is above the black knob (it's green like the other one). It too was installed by the same plumber because the previous one was very old, was the round kind and had began to leak.

In fact, it was because of the shutoff leak that I decided to replace my old water heater. The heater itself was working fine but very, very old. You probably cannot see the photo on the right clearly. It's funny, on my cell phone the photo is clear but when I transferred it to the computer it got really dark. Maybe your computer screen is clearer and I need to adjust my computer screen somehow.

So if I was to do you test, would I need to shut off both shutoffs for my water heater?


The test requires you shutoff the COLD water valve that supplies the water heater. Then turn on the hot kitchen tap. If you get a steady never ending flow of cold water, it indicates that somehow cold water is piped into your hot water supply line, or as suggested the washer mixing valve is allowing cold water to crossover into the hot and backfeeding your plumbing.


If you get no water it means your water isn't going cold because of a pipe mix-up or mixing valve, but the WH is actually passing cold water which is most likely due to a broken or missing dip tube.



The test also eliminates the possibility that the water heater in question isn't actually yours. Stranger things have happened.



Quote:

On second thoughts, maybe I shouldn't do this test. Let me explain: So far I've avoided doing anything that involves altering the water heater in any way. The reason for this is that I do not want the plumber to have an excuse that I did something to the heater which is why it's not working.

I can't understand why you think the plumber would think you're shutting off the supply to your water heater could damage it. If that is your stance there is really nothing anybody can do to help you diagnose the problem.

stripedbass 12-27-2018 05:00 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
The latest:

The plumber has not been able to swing by. Today I texted him. Then I left a message in his voice mail.

He texted me back. He's on vacation in Maine and won't get back till Jan. 2nd..

He doesn't really know what the problem is. He said not to worry and that the problem will be resolved. He also stated that he will pull a permit. I don't know what this means since he had never spoken of pulling a permit before.

He also said that I should try to turn the little black knob which controls the water temperature on the water heater. The idea is to increase the water temperature a bit and see what happens then text him. He cautioned that I don't want anything more than 130. I have not yet done anything with the knob.

He also said that he might want to get access to my neighbor's condo unit since my neighbor and I have connected plumbing. He said he thinks my neighbor may be causing the problem but did not explain.

In all honesty, I'm confused and beginning to get a bit anxious. Keep in mind that I've already paid this plumber $1650.00.

COLDIRON 12-27-2018 07:48 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stripedbass (Post 5721193)
The latest:

The plumber has not been able to swing by. Today I texted him. Then I left a message in his voice mail.

He texted me back. He's on vacation in Maine and won't get back till Jan. 2nd..

He doesn't really know what the problem is. He said not to worry and that the problem will be resolved. He also stated that he will pull a permit. I don't know what this means since he had never spoken of pulling a permit before.

He also said that I should try to turn the little black knob which controls the water temperature on the water heater. The idea is to increase the water temperature a bit and see what happens then text him. He cautioned that I don't want anything more than 130. I have not yet done anything with the knob.

He also said that he might want to get access to my neighbor's condo unit since my neighbor and I have connected plumbing. He said he thinks my neighbor may be causing the problem but did not explain.

In all honesty, I'm confused and beginning to get a bit anxious. Keep in mind that I've already paid this plumber $1650.00.

"I don't like the sound of this last post at all, I don't know your plumber and I don't like him either"

ront02769 12-27-2018 08:45 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Dear lord, turn up the “little black knob”.....like someone on this forum already told you to do.....and run the hot and see if the burner comes on. Plus, your plumber is crap. I would cancel my check.

stripedbass 12-27-2018 09:39 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
I wrote the check a week ago (on the 18th). I'm sure it's cleared by now.

The only thing that's making me not to totally panic is that I googled the plumber's business and the BBB gives him an A+ rating.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ront02769 (Post 5721421)
Dear lord, turn up the “little black knob”.....like someone on this forum already told you to do.....and run the hot and see if the burner comes on. Plus, your plumber is crap. I would cancel my check.


stripedbass 12-27-2018 11:13 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
LawnGuy,

Just got home.

I will try your test tomorrow. It's too late and dark in the basement now.

This whole thing has been a major learning lesson for me and I've just been afraid to do anything wrong. So please bear with me when I sometimes seem stubborn or just dumb.

Quote:

Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky (Post 5721085)
The test requires you shutoff the COLD water valve that supplies the water heater. Then turn on the hot kitchen tap. If you get a steady never ending flow of cold water, it indicates that somehow cold water is piped into your hot water supply line, or as suggested the washer mixing valve is allowing cold water to crossover into the hot and backfeeding your plumbing.

If you get no water it means your water isn't going cold because of a pipe mix-up or mixing valve, but the WH is actually passing cold water which is most likely due to a broken or missing dip tube.

The test also eliminates the possibility that the water heater in question isn't actually yours. Stranger things have happened.

I can't understand why you think the plumber would think you're shutting off the supply to your water heater could damage it. If that is your stance there is really nothing anybody can do to help you diagnose the problem.


stripedbass 12-27-2018 11:21 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Ront,

I will try your test as well tomorrow.

Your test involves simply turning up the black knob, and turning my kitchen or shower faucet to hot, and then going back to the basement to see whether the burner is on?

If the burner is on will I hear a particular sound or should I look for a particular visual sign?

Quote:

Originally Posted by ront02769 (Post 5721421)
Dear lord, turn up the “little black knob”.....like someone on this forum already told you to do.....and run the hot and see if the burner comes on. Plus, your plumber is crap. I would cancel my check.


deamer1 12-28-2018 11:28 AM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Hi,

a suggestion for you. Having just went through the same problem over Christmas.


Follow the hot water line out of the heater and look for any kind of mixing valve and/or a possible swing gate valve, with a connection tying the cold and hot water lines together through the valve.



A swing gate valve is a one way valve which allows the flow one way only

and not both ways.

your problem appears to be a valve which is stuck open or partially open allowing only cold water to pass through and not hot water.



A build up of rust/calcium whatever kind of gunk may be in the line over that many years and all it takes is a small amount of build up to keep the valve from completely closing.



With no water usage, and the water heater having fired up and heated the tank to the desired temperature...the output water line will feel hot like it should. BUT only to any installed valve which may be in the line.
If the valve is stuck open the results would be, that you would get a small amount of hot water which is in the hot water line between the tank and the valve...Then only the cold water would flow through the valve giving you exactly what you have described. Finding this can be difficult because we don't all recognize these valves and what the purpose is. Water flows one way only (with the arrow) with a gate valve at a low pressure (1/2 psi to 2psi) completely closed in opposite direction.


From your photos I could not tell if you had valves in the water lines as they were taken at a distance, not close enough to see the lines well.


Something for you to look at. Good luck and Enjoy your week!


Deamer1

ront02769 12-28-2018 05:27 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stripedbass (Post 5721535)
Ront,

I will try your test as well tomorrow.

Your test involves simply turning up the black knob, and turning my kitchen or shower faucet to hot, and then going back to the basement to see whether the burner is on?

If the burner is on will I hear a particular sound or should I look for a particular visual sign?

It is gas. As on all water heaters, there is a temperature knob. Check to see that it is turned up and not on vacation setting. Turn on your hot water. Go into the basement. You should hear stuff burning.....like a gas flame....and maybe even an exhaust fan. At the least, at the bottom of the heater there will be a little door that yuo can remove and look into....and SEE whether the main burner is on. Have fun.

stripedbass 01-01-2019 03:57 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
4 Attachment(s)
Hi Folks,

Thanks for your patience. Like I've said before, I really appreciate the feedback you have all given me. I actually had to make out a list of your suggestions then print it out. This was the only way I could proceed, given that this is all new to me. I have today tried to do the tests that you've suggested as a group. The only one I've not done is the one suggested by deamer1 even though I'm really grateful to him for it (I will save it for later since it's of a different nature than the others).

Now I want to report my findings:

1) When I turn the small black knob on my water heater a little higher: I hear the burner go on. Please see one of the photos below to the see the setting that my heater is on at the moment.

2) When I turn off the cold water supply valve to the water heater then:

a) I turn the kitchen faucet to hot: I get a steady stream of cold water.

b) I close the hot water valve under my kitchen sink: No water comes out of the faucet.

c) I close the hot & cold valves of my washer (after I turn on the hot water valve under the kitchen sink: I get a steady stream of cold water.

d) I turn off the cold water valve under my kitchen sink and turn on the hot water on the kitchen faucet (while the hot & cold water on the washer are off): I get a steady stream of cold water.

Please let me know what you think about any of my answers above.

I'm attaching better photos of my water heater and its plumbing.

rjniles 01-01-2019 05:19 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
"2) When I turn off the cold water supply valve to the water heater then:

a) I turn the kitchen faucet to hot: I get a steady stream of cold water."

You have a cross connection between hot and cold piping.

Sent from my RCT6213W22 using Tapatalk

LawnGuyLandSparky 01-01-2019 06:54 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rjniles (Post 5726085)
"2) When I turn off the cold water supply valve to the water heater then:

a) I turn the kitchen faucet to hot: I get a steady stream of cold water."

You have a cross connection between hot and cold piping.

Sent from my RCT6213W22 using Tapatalk


Which begs the questions:
-Why didn't this cross connection affect the hot water supply before the water heater was replaced?


-If the plumber installed new valves how did he sweat them if the hot water pipe had a cold water backflow? The OP stated the plumber said "
He also said that he might want to get access to my neighbor's condo unit since my neighbor and I have connected plumbing. He said he thinks my neighbor may be causing the problem but did not explain."



Meaning the plumber discovered the backflow because he had to shut off another unit's water and didn't tell the OP. In addition:


-If another unit's cold is connected to the OP's hot, wouldn't the other unit experience the inability to draw pure cold water as well?

stripedbass 01-01-2019 07:18 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
LawnGuy,

I had told the plumber that my neighbor and I share the same water shutoffs. But we are not in the same building column (remember, my building is made up of 4 vertical columns that are attached to each other. Each column has 3 condo units, one unit per floor. So each column has 3 floors). However, my neighbor and I are both on the 3rd floor of our respective columns. In other words, I'm in my column and she's in the adjacent column. Our units are side by side.

The other water heaters in my basement are for the 2 neighbors below me (not the neighbor with whom I share shutoffs with). The neighbor who shares shutoffs with me has her water heater in her column's basement which is different from my basement.

I don't know whether you can visualize what I'm trying to say.

Quote:

Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky (Post 5726167)
Which begs the questions:

Meaning the plumber discovered the backflow because he had to shut off another unit's water and didn't tell the OP. In addition:


-If another unit's cold is connected to the OP's hot, wouldn't the other unit experience the inability to draw pure cold water as well?


LawnGuyLandSparky 01-01-2019 08:02 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stripedbass (Post 5726193)
LawnGuy,

I had told the plumber that my neighbor and I share the same water shutoffs. But we are not in the same building column (remember, my building is made up of 4 vertical columns that are attached to each other. Each column has 3 condo units, one unit per floor. So each column has 3 floors). However, my neighbor and I are both on the 3rd floor of our respective columns. In other words, I'm in my column and she's in the adjacent column. Our units are side by side.

The other water heaters in my basement are for the 2 neighbors below me (not the neighbor with whom I share shutoffs with). The neighbor who shares shutoffs with me has her water heater in her column's basement which is different from my basement.

I don't know whether you can visualize what I'm trying to say.


I understand completely, question is, why? Is your water metered? (unit by unit) Is your gas usage metered? This is all very odd.


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