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Thread: Water not getting hot enough

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member newmex999's Avatar
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    Default Water not getting hot enough

    I have noticed lately that my hot water is only getting to about 105 degrees even though it is set to the max. The water heater is about 16 years old. Other then trying to flush it out is there anything else I should check?

    Also, if the flush doesn't work and I have to replace it, what do you guys think of the tankless heaters? Have you installed them and how have your customers liked them?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Without knowing what type of water heater you have, it would be pretty hard to comment on what might be wrong.

    IMO, tankless heaters are only advantageous if you need a constant supply of hot water, such as several people in a row taking showers.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Lots of discussions on tankless systems here. If your wintertime incoming cold water temps are quite low (in the mountains of NM?), you may be very disappointed, or need a much bigger unit, depending on usage. They tend to cost a lot more to install, and you may need to upgrade your services to enable them to work. In the right situation, they are good, but often, a basic tank ends up being less expensive to install and maintain unless you have unusual water needs.

    At 16-years old, your tank is beyond the average for being ready to replace. But, it might be something simple, and cheap to fix...hard to say without more info. You didn't indicate if it was gas or electric. It could be as simple as a $10 dip tube.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member newmex999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Lots of discussions on tankless systems here. If your wintertime incoming cold water temps are quite low (in the mountains of NM?), you may be very disappointed, or need a much bigger unit, depending on usage. They tend to cost a lot more to install, and you may need to upgrade your services to enable them to work. In the right situation, they are good, but often, a basic tank ends up being less expensive to install and maintain unless you have unusual water needs.

    At 16-years old, your tank is beyond the average for being ready to replace. But, it might be something simple, and cheap to fix...hard to say without more info. You didn't indicate if it was gas or electric. It could be as simple as a $10 dip tube.
    The water heater is 40 gallon natural gas.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    A friend of mine called, not getting as much hot water as they used to. Three bathrooms, and some shower were only minutes long. I asked her to check the pilot light over the phone, so she pulls the cover off and tells me there is flame. I find out the heater is over 10 years old, so working on it versus replacing it means she is better off with replacement. I run out the next day to measure tank height and start to drain the tank. The tank is setting in a drain pan, filled to the top of the drain with water. The moment I go into the furnace, water heater room, I hear the sound of rushing water like someone has a cold water tap on full. I put my fingers over the water heater pan drain, and you can hear water sucking around my fingers, it is absolutely dumping water. I'm amazed that showers could even be taken. I'm amazed that someone put their head near the floor, right where the water was leaking, rusty water dripping down, the sound of rushing water, and she's asking if I can fix it. When I look at the tank, it's leaning against the wall. Upon the removal of the tank, we can see that one of the legs has rusted off and is now bent. It had to have been leaking for months. I remember last Summer she was asking where she might look for water leaks, as she had high water bills. People, use your ears. Water makes sound when it runs. When you walk around the home hearing water running when everything is shut off, that's not a good or normal sound.

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    A water heater sitting in water. Look at the rust stains near the bottom

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    The feet or legs of the heater were rusting off; one had broken.
    The heater turned out to be 15 years old when the serial number was checked.
    Last edited by Terry; 02-06-2011 at 01:59 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member newmex999's Avatar
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    Thanks, however how does this apply to my post?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmex999 View Post
    Thanks, however how does this apply to my post?
    If the tank is leaking, that extra flow of water means even when it is firing full, it can't keep the water very hot. Nearly anything you try to do to a tank that old is counter-productive...as, most have long since died at that age. A dip tube is a cheap plastic tube that directs water to the bottom of the tank so it doesn't dilute the hot water that naturally rises to the top. There was a batch of bad ones. If yours is one, the cold incoming water means lukewarm water output. If that's the problem, it's cheap to remedy. If it is say the gas valve or thermostat, you'd be better off buying a new tank. No easy way to tell, unless you're there.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    What was my point?

    Maybe my point was that you have a fifteen year old heater, and why would you want to put more money into an old dog like that when it's due to spring a big leak.
    Can you imagine the damage to carpet and walls if the heater pictured below hadn't been installed with a drain pan?
    By the way, do you have a drain pan for yours? These things can cause thousands in damages when they go. And at fifteen years? It aint much longer you will have to wait.

    Last edited by Terry; 02-07-2011 at 02:35 PM.

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