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Thread: Water Heater Leak - Help!!!

  1. #1
    Engineer jk60's Avatar
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    Default Water Heater Leak - Help!!!

    I have a 50 gallon Rheem Guardian water heater installed about 4 years ago. Just walked into the basement and saw a substantial amount of water leaking from the top of the heater. I originally thought that it was coming through the threads of the anode rod but since then confirmed that it is coming through the top of the tank where the draft hood "leg" joins the top cover. So it seems to me as if the tank is cracked. The tank is still under warranty, but I don't know what Rheem will want me to do to verify this problem. Anyway can't contact them until Monday. Any suggestions as to what I can do in the interim. Would appreciate any help on this problem. It's hard being without hot water!!!

    Thank you,
    Last edited by jk60; 02-22-2008 at 08:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    In most cases when water is flowing from the top like that is is a ruptured tank. It is possible that it is a leaking connection but it is highly unlikely.
    About all you can do is close the valve and when you need hot water open and use the water then turn it off again.

    If the heater is gas turn it off when not using it or if it is electric flip the breaker off while it is not in use.

  3. #3
    Engineer jk60's Avatar
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    Thank you Cass. I edited my post without paying attention to the fact that you've responded, and then saw your response. It certainly does seem as if the tank is ruptured. Thanks again!!!

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A couple of things you can do while waiting for Monday...
    - pick up an inexpensive water pressure gage from one of the big box stores, or a plumbing store and use it to monitor your pressure.
    - check if you have a pressure reduction valve in the house
    - check if you have an expansion tank in the house
    - if you do, verify it is not full of water (a sign that it is shot)

    If your pressure is high, your expansion tank is shot, or you have a PRV and no expansion tank, that can produce some very high pressures in the water lines. The WH tank's T&P valve should trip if it gets above 150#, but plumbing doesn't really like it above a nominal 80# or so, so that is like nearly double what things are designed for. The T&P valve should trip before the tank ruptures, unless it was defective.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    Engineer jk60's Avatar
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    Thank you for your advice. A few years ago, I installed a pressure gauge and an expansion tank next to the cold water line of the water heater. I also have a pressure reducing valve at the entrance to the house. The outside pressure is about 116 psi, and it's reduced for in-house use to 60 psi. I frequently check the gauge and the pressure never exceeds 62 psi, even during the water heater heat cycles. The only other thing I should mention is that I also have a Grundfos Comfort System - Hot Water Recirculation System attached next to the water heater. I wonder if that could have expedited the untimely "death" of the water heater. If not, then perhaps I got a unit that may have developed a weak spot during the manufacturing process.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A recirculation system does put more stress on the system since it can end up causing it to run more. Still, 6-years is a little short.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    Engineer jk60's Avatar
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    Actually 4 year life for this water heater. The recirculation pump was installed about 2 years ago, so it does seems strange that it would cause a rupture within such a short time span.

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    What did you set the pressure at in your expansion tank?

  9. #9
    Engineer jk60's Avatar
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    I've set the expansion tank pressure to match that of the pressure regulator - 60 psi.

  10. #10
    Engineer jk60's Avatar
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    Installed my replacement water heater today. Rheem Tech Support and Claims Departments were great. I've explained the problem, and they immediately authorized a replacement. Did not have to make an appointment and wait for an authorized representative to check and confirm the problem. Everything was resolved on the phone. Thanks to all who have given me advice on this issue.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    A plumber would have been able to expedite the replacement without contacting Rheem.

  12. #12
    Engineer jk60's Avatar
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    I didn't know that a plumber would have been able to expedite a replacement without contacting Rheem. That's good information for the future. However the "lifeblood" of a DIYer is to do the work himself. Where is the fun in subcontracting the job to somebody else...

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