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lenaitch 01-01-2019 08:23 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Strange plumbing indeed.



When you say you turned off the cold supply to the water heater, did you closed the gate valve (green handle quarter turn in your pic)?

stripedbass 01-01-2019 08:35 PM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
I turned the green valve.

Forgot to mention that I tried to turn the black knob but it just kept turning and turning. There must be another way to turn it off other than simply turning the black part. I didn't know and didn't want to try something stupid.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lenaitch (Post 5726247)
Strange plumbing indeed.



When you say you turned off the cold supply to the water heater, did you closed the gate valve (green handle quarter turn in your pic)?


stripedbass 01-01-2019 08:55 PM

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

Let me mention something else that might explain the plumbing.

I've stated before that the building has 4 vertical columns attached to each other.

Each column has 3 floors and one unit on each floor.

Each column has its own basement.

I'm on the top floor of my column. The neighbor who shares water shutoffs with me is on top floor of the column immediately adjacent to mine.

HOWEVER, the units on the first and second floor of my column and the units on the first and second floor of the my neighbor's column are the largest in the building.

This means they extend further back into the backyard than any of the units in the last 2 columns.

Another way of thinking about this is that my bathroom is not directly above the bathrooms on the first and second floor of my column.

My bathroom is like above my neighbor's living room while his bathroom is above the bathroom on the first floor. And this is the same situation with the neighbor on the 3rd floor in the immediately adjacent column (the one who shares shutoffs with me).

But my bathroom is directly on the other side of the wall from my neighbor's bathroom (the one who shares shutoffs with me).

Have I confused you enough? :smile:

Quote:

Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky (Post 5726229)
I understand completely, question is, why? Is your water metered? (unit by unit) Is your gas usage metered? This is all very odd.


lenaitch 01-01-2019 09:11 PM

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

Originally Posted by stripedbass (Post 5726261)
I turned the green valve.

Forgot to mention that I tried to turn the black knob but it just kept turning and turning. There must be another way to turn it off other than simply turning the black part. I didn't know and didn't want to try something stupid.


I'm not much of a plumber but the black knob might be a pressure regulator. If there is some kind of cross-supply with your set-up (which I can't quite follow), you might have turned the output pressure of your heater right down.

LawnGuyLandSparky 01-01-2019 10:33 PM

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

Originally Posted by stripedbass (Post 5726283)
LawnGuy,

Let me mention something else that might explain the plumbing.

I've stated before that the building has 4 vertical columns attached to each other.

Each column has 3 floors and one unit on each floor.

Each column has its own basement.

I'm on the top floor of my column. The neighbor who shares water shutoffs with me is on top floor of the column immediately adjacent to mine.

HOWEVER, the units on the first and second floor of my column and the units on the first and second floor of the my neighbor's column are the largest in the building.

This means they extend further back into the backyard than any of the units in the last 2 columns.

Another way of thinking about this is that my bathroom is not directly above the bathrooms on the first and second floor of my column.

My bathroom is like above my neighbor's living room while his bathroom is above the bathroom on the first floor. And this is the same situation with the neighbor on the 3rd floor in the immediately adjacent column (the one who shares shutoffs with me).

But my bathroom is directly on the other side of the wall from my neighbor's bathroom (the one who shares shutoffs with me).

Have I confused you enough? :smile:


There's no confusion whatsoever here. Everything you explained I get it - I can picture it. Nothing you've put out here explains why your next-unit neighbor's plumbing is connected to yours. If you have a gas meter, and every other unit has their own gas meters, nobody's hot water should be mixing in with another's regardless of the geographical layout of the units.


Nobody's hot water should be interconnected with someone else's hot or cold water. As a practical matter, if there is one common shared water meter then the cold doesn't matter. Maybe you don't have a separate gas meter? I don't know but i figured if you have your own heater units, and the lower 2 units have boilers, and there's 3 water heaters than I assumed each unit paid for their own gas usage. Maybe I'm wrong.

rjniles 01-02-2019 09:28 AM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
Until the poster made this statement I would have bet the clod/hot input/output were reversed:

"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."


I am now questing if he is looking at the right water heater. Apparently there are 3 in his section of the basement.

I would talk to the other 2 neighbors and cut the input to the 3 WHs and see if he still gets water out of the hot tap.

stripedbass 01-02-2019 09:52 AM

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

God bless you all for bearing with me and trying to figure out my problem.

LawnGuy:

As far as I know, I have my own gas meter. I've been in this condo since 2004 and have always gotten my gas bill. And I assume it's the same for my neighbor who shares shutoffs with me. :smile:

The only other thing I may not have mentioned is the possible theory the plumber came up with when he installed the water heater and the problem emerged.

He said that in some old buildings (mine was built in the 1920s) sometimes he has seen a few cases in which hot and cold water pipes are looped together in order to improve "circulation." He even drew me a rough diagram depicting a water heater and a pipe taking hot water or air up then it gets to a high point in the building and it's joined to another pipe that takes cold water or air down.

At least that's the best I can recall from his explanation. He said that if this is the case, the challenge is to find where the connection was made. He added that often it was done at the highest point in the building, like the attic. But sometimes it could be behind a wall which would be a nightmare.

Does any of this sound familiar at all?

Quote:

Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky (Post 5726371)
There's no confusion whatsoever here. Everything you explained I get it - I can picture it. Nothing you've put out here explains why your next-unit neighbor's plumbing is connected to yours. If you have a gas meter, and every other unit has their own gas meters, nobody's hot water should be mixing in with another's regardless of the geographical layout of the units.


Nobody's hot water should be interconnected with someone else's hot or cold water. As a practical matter, if there is one common shared water meter then the cold doesn't matter. Maybe you don't have a separate gas meter? I don't know but i figured if you have your own heater units, and the lower 2 units have boilers, and there's 3 water heaters than I assumed each unit paid for their own gas usage. Maybe I'm wrong.


stripedbass 01-02-2019 09:57 AM

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

I am certain I'm looking at my water heater because mine has always been at a different end of the basement from my two neighbors. Remember, their bathrooms and kitchens line up vertically while my bathroom and kitchen is in a different position from theirs.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rjniles (Post 5726641)
Until the poster made this statement I would have bet the clod/hot input/output were reversed:

"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."


I am now questing if he is looking at the right water heater. Apparently there are 3 in his section of the basement.

I would talk to the other 2 neighbors and cut the input to the 3 WHs and see if he still gets water out of the hot tap.


LawnGuyLandSparky 01-02-2019 10:40 AM

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

Originally Posted by stripedbass (Post 5726657)
Folks,

God bless you all for bearing with me and trying to figure out my problem.

LawnGuy:

As far as I know, I have my own gas meter. I've been in this condo since 2004 and have always gotten my gas bill. And I assume it's the same for my neighbor who shares shutoffs with me. :smile:

The only other thing I may not have mentioned is the possible theory the plumber came up with when he installed the water heater and the problem emerged.

He said that in some old buildings (mine was built in the 1920s) sometimes he has seen a few cases in which hot and cold water pipes are looped together in order to improve "circulation." He even drew me a rough diagram depicting a water heater and a pipe taking hot water or air up then it gets to a high point in the building and it's joined to another pipe that takes cold water or air down.

At least that's the best I can recall from his explanation. He said that if this is the case, the challenge is to find where the connection was made. He added that often it was done at the highest point in the building, like the attic. But sometimes it could be behind a wall which would be a nightmare.

Does any of this sound familiar at all?


I'm not a plumber by trade, but no I never heard of "looping" hot with cold, and I can't imagine what problem this could solve or what benefit it could provide. Perhaps someone more plumbing savvy has better insight.


What puzzles me is if your hot water pipe is plumbed into your cold water pipe or your neighbors, how did you ever get hot water before you replaced your water heater? I would think you could only get lukewarm at best. Further, if connected to the neighbors, your hot water supply would mix with their cold.

Colbyt 01-02-2019 11:02 AM

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

"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."

I've been wondering for about the last 30 posts and I sure hate to ask, but:


Are you 100% positive they plumber changed out the right water heater.

SeniorSitizen 01-02-2019 11:03 AM

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

Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky (Post 5726703)


What puzzles me is if your hot water pipe is plumbed into your cold water pipe or your neighbors, how did you ever get hot water before you replaced your water heater?

I suspect that's a puzzle to everyone here, including me.

rjniles 01-02-2019 11:59 AM

Re: New water heater only sending hot water for a short while
 
If it was working before he replaced the water heater and not after, he did something to cause it.

COLDIRON 01-02-2019 01:54 PM

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

Originally Posted by rjniles (Post 5726741)
if it was working before he replaced the water heater and not after, he did something to cause it.

"ditto"

stripedbass 01-02-2019 01:54 PM

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

With my old water heater I got hot water with no problem. The only thing was that when I turned on the shower faucet for the first time in the day (especially in the winter) I sometimes had to wait a little before the hot water arrived.

When I told all this to my plumber he said that, well, maybe I had the old heater on the highest temperature setting. But this was never the case. I cannot recall for sure but my old water heater may have had 9 temperature settings. I almost always had it at 3 during spring, summer and fall and 4 in the winter. The water at these settings was hot enough for me. Anything higher would have scalded me.

Now, when I look back, I think I probably should have just replaced the shutoff which was leaking and continued to use the old heater.

The problem I'm having is really scaring me because it has the possibility of becoming a much more expensive project than I planned! I don't have more money to spend on this project!

Quote:

Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky (Post 5726703)
I'm not a plumber by trade, but no I never heard of "looping" hot with cold, and I can't imagine what problem this could solve or what benefit it could provide. Perhaps someone more plumbing savvy has better insight.


What puzzles me is if your hot water pipe is plumbed into your cold water pipe or your neighbors, how did you ever get hot water before you replaced your water heater? I would think you could only get lukewarm at best. Further, if connected to the neighbors, your hot water supply would mix with their cold.


stripedbass 01-02-2019 02:17 PM

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

Today I sent a text message to my plumber, informing him that nothing changed after I adjusted the small black knob, on the water heater, to the highest setting.

He just texted me back. He says:

"It's not the water heater. You have back pressure. You're getting the City pressure on your hot."

I really don't know what this means. I figured I'd first throw it out here and see what you folks think before I get back to him.


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