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Thread: Water heater problem

  1. #16
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyPlumber
    He offers you the best advice I've seen on this thread...
    Quote Originally Posted by hj
    Maybe you will be lucky and it will start leaking tomorrow ...
    Did I miss something?

  2. #17
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking just let him beat his braines out

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyPlumber
    15 years old.
    a Mustang you restore.
    A yacht sure.
    a 15 year old water heater you xcome home one day wondering why you didn't get a new one 6 months ago when the basement is flooded.
    He offers you the best advice I've seen on this thread...you insult him.
    Maybe you should just request a refund.


    This man is having a fight wth the water heater and he wants to win.........man vs 15 yr old heater......

    its a guy thing....
    so logic and common sense does not come into play here....

    I hear it every day, why wont you come out (for free)
    and look at the leak on my 15 year old water heater....
    how do you claim you jsut KNOW I need a new one...

    then they call someone else and pay through the nose for a diagnostic evaluation...($125)
    and then cry like babies when they hear the same conclusion they got from me...
    and the other fellow is 400 bucks higher too...

    some call me back, and I install anew one for them
    and some have too much pride to admit I was
    telling them the straight truth over the phone......

    I had one fellow that actually had to burn the hair off both
    hands and fore-arms fooling with a Smith 92 power vent heater
    before I got to change it out...



    but on the bright side ---I am sure he will get a good education on the
    workings of a defunct model Smith Power vent heater..







  3. #18

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    I got a gas fired draft induced unit from sears. Had a similar problem except this doesn't have a spark to light the gas but what appears to be a glow rod. It ran fine for about two years and then started having the same problem. (Intermittent and all.) I called the 800 number and they said to try using a light abrasive like a fine steel wool to clean off the temperature sensor. I thought they were nuts becuase it looked fine to me. What the heck, I'll clean it!! I said. 6 months later not one problem.

  4. #19
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Default I'm a chicken

    so I just farm out any calls relating to PowerVents. I'm not going to put $1000's of dollars of inventory on the truck taking up space for 50 calls a year.

    I fear the repair in the cost of $100's, followed by the tank eventually leaking which in turn makes the customer look at me like I'm the bad guy "even though" I tried to convince them to replace, not repair.

    I send these calls to someone who is the authorized rep for the 3 mfgs. of heaters and his truck is loaded down with everything he needs. That's all he does day in and day out.

    Customer satisfaction is top notch after he's been there and the referral chain links back to my recommendation.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  5. #20
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RUGGED
    ..... I fear the repair in the cost of $100's, followed by the tank eventually leaking which in turn makes the customer look at me like I'm the bad guy "even though" I tried to convince them to replace, not repair. .....

    Thats exactly what I'm saying.
    It's 15 years old, likey had a ten yr warranty at best.
    Why put hour after hour into it, pay out for parts and come home 6 months later to a basement flood?
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  6. #21
    General Contractor dx's Avatar
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    Guys,

    I understand the age issues. I didn't need help with that. If/when it fails and leaks, it will be no different than if it worked perfectly up to that point. As I already said, I wouldn't fix it if I had to pay someone else to do it.

    This thread is (or at least was) about diagnosing an intermittent problem. I simply want to diagnose it and hopefully correct the problem and learn something.

    VTLANDLORD, that's one of the things I did several days ago when I started this thread. I took some fine steel wool and emery board nail files and cleaned up the spark electrodes. They weren't heavily corroded or gunked up, but I figured there may have been just enough oxidation to throw off the microamp detector once in a while. So far it hasn't stopped working. Time will tell.

    dg

  7. #22
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    This man is having a fight wth the water heater and he wants to win.........man vs 15 yr old heater......

    its a guy thing....
    so logic and common sense does not come into play here....
    Now, if you could just explain that to my sweety regarding my basement store of 50 gazzilion fittings and outdated tools, I'd be all set.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  8. #23
    General Contractor dx's Avatar
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    Problem solved.

    It has now gone 8 days without hanging up. Previously had to reset it once every 3 days on average.

    The only thing I have done (other than testing various components) was to clean/polish the spark electrodes, one of which is the fan-shaped end of the pilot pipe.

    They weren't corroded, but apparently had just enough oxidation to (once in a while) throw off the microamp reading used by the control box to decide if there is flame.

    Note to self: clean spark electrodes every 15 years or so

    Thanks to all who helped.

    dx

  9. #24
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking winning is temporary

    Congrads to you dx.....


    you have won the battle....the thrill of victory.

    of man vs water heater ......for now.



    but wait untill you have your family
    staying over night at your house next X-mas morning......
    and that 15 year old heater takes out its just revenge on you


    then feel the sting and agony of bitter defeat......



    mmmuuuuuwwwwhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  10. #25
    General Contractor dx's Avatar
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    Aaah, yes, about age...

    Replacing a device based on age is a poor substitute for the real McCoy, replacing based ON CONDITION.

    If you own one of these: http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/SeeSnake-micro
    you can inspect the heater tank for corrosion quite easily. The rest of the heater components are even easier to inspect.

    The family does stay overnight once in a while, when they have a long power outage at their house. So we have collected quite a few credits and we're loking for a good excuse to stay at their house for a while

    dx

  11. #26
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking you found the answer--great idea

    thats certainly the tool you need to keep an
    eye on that 15 yr old water heater.....
    .I am sure its only a few hundred dollars

    now all you got to do is make a inlet on the hot side
    of the water heater and then snake it down into
    the heater.......looking at all the inner welds......

    then somehow you got to burrow through any lime
    and sediment that has collected on the bottom over
    the last 15 years and inspect the seams for micro-cracks.......


    this could be the next new money maker for plumbers,
    just Like installing Tankless water heaters


    space-schuttle technology has saved the day again......

  12. #27
    General Contractor dx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    then somehow you got to burrow through any lime
    and sediment that has collected on the bottom over
    the last 15 years
    Lime? What lime? The manufacturer recommends de-liming every six months or so:
    http://www.hotwater.com/lit/training/4800r9.pdf

    You DO de-lime your tank religiously every 6 months, don't you?

    dg

  13. #28
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking delimeing your tank.....

    I bet you get a good warm colonic every 3 months too....
    it feels real good , dont it??


    the average person might drain a little water off the
    heater every so often, but that is about as far as I
    can honestly say I have seen anyone ever wanting to mess with one..

    to really de-lime one it involves draining the heater,
    then pouring a special vinegar type solution into the tank ---5 gallons worth
    and letting it sit for an hour or two, then draining that out and
    rinseing the tank .......

    that is waaay too labor intensive for the average home-owner to do...

    I have never done it for anyone, because it would cost them too much
    to fool with one .......and you run the risk of starting a leak by
    dissolving some sediment that had plugged up a crack in the tank.

    ....


    usually when I take them out sometimes they are over
    knee deep in sediment and they weigh a ton


    If you really do de-lime your water heater, then
    you are one in about a million.



  14. #29
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    I have no question DX will come straight here to let us know when the heater dies.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  15. #30
    General Contractor dx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    If you really do de-lime your water heater, then
    you are one in about a million.

    Mark, I think you missed the at the end of my post. No, I don't de-lime. One in a million? Not even. With 300M people in this country, that would be 300 people de-liming. No way!

    I was, however, very amused at the manufacturer's recommendation to de-lime every 6 months.

    dx

    Edit: But I do something few people do: I always have a hot water filter after the tank. I've had in the past heaters that occasionally let through small chunks of sediment and other crud. After taking apart a couple faucets to get out the chunks lodged in, I learned it's cheap insurance. If you get the flushable ones with the clear glass bowl, you'd be surprised at the amount of crud that comes out of the tank.
    Last edited by dx; 07-21-2007 at 08:19 PM.

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