(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Low hotwater pressure, plumber wants $$ to fix, i think i can do it myself

  1. #1

    Default Low hotwater pressure, plumber wants $$ to fix, i think i can do it myself

    I'm fairly handy but the whole gas/hot water thing intimidates me. I have a 10-12 year old Rheeem Ruud hotwater tank and my hot water be it hot - has horrible pressure.

    The plumber wants at least $100 dollars to come fix it and said they know exactly what it is - and made reference to some sort of nipple/spout being clogged or something.

    I'm fairly handy when it comes to tools but its mostly with cars. Can anyone help me out? I can post a picture of my tank if that would help....

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,412

    Default

    Well, I'm not a pro, but I have some ideas. First, a hot water tank that old is just asking for other problems once you start working on it, so my preference would be to replace it. But, if what they suspect is wrong is in fact the only thing, you might be able to buy some time by replacing it. There are, or at least should be, a dielectric coupling that bridges the connection between the copper house piping and the steel hot water tank. This coupling basically has an insulator in it to prevent the two different metals from touching. If they do, a small current is generated between them (actually like a battery), and one side corrodes, usually the steel. Eventually, this will become weak and leak. In the process, the iron in the union can create nasty rust and block the pipe somewhat or nearly completely, as in apparantly your case. So, depending on how the connection is made (rigid pipe or a flexible metal hose), it may be fairly easy to disconnect the existing one and replace it with a new one. This could all be just unscrew the old one, and replace with new parts, or it could require some soldering. It could come apart in pieces as you take it apart, too. But, my guess is that you may end up with a leak. The parts aren't expensive, and you might get a little more time out of the tank, but replacement is in your near future. My unprofessional opinion.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Marin Co. Ca.
    Posts
    829

    Default my 2 cents

    most w. h. come with heat traps. this is a plastic inside the nipple.

    my guess ,it,s blocked up. it's probably time for a new one.

    GOT FLOOD INSURANCE!

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    9,001

    Default

    A clogged or rusted nipple would certainly be on the top of the suspect list.

    Replacement is easy in principle, but due to it being rusted in place, you will need at least an 18" pipe wrench to turn it, and a gorilla to hold the water heater from turning while you do the nipple.

    If your plumber will even answer the phone for a hundred dollars, he sounds like a keeper!

  5. #5
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Posts
    4,244
    Blog Entries
    1

    Talking the simple fix

    we run into this all the time

    just dont make a project out of this cause

    your heater is too old anyway

    you can expect to do this about every two years
    from now on till you decide to cough up the dough
    for a new heater.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    what you do is if you got copper going into the

    top of the heater

    you simply go buy a 3/4 brass
    compression union for about 5 bucks


    then you cut the hot side of the heater outlet pipie
    about 3 -5 inches up from the tank....


    then you get yourself a large screwdriver
    and basically beat it down through the
    calcium obstruction in the nipple....

    slowly turn the screwdriver reeming out the pipie as you are
    beating it through the spot and it will
    open up and you will have pressure again....



    then all you got to do is put
    that brass union on the pipe with a little pipie
    dope and crank it down tight....


    this should solve your problem for a while

    its usually always on the hot side


    ps...

    be careful not to get your screwdriver stuck
    or the plumber will laugh at you when he comes out
    to get you out of your mess

  6. #6
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,423

    Default heater

    Maybe you can get some plumber to work cheap. Why should he?

    Remember, cheaper is not usually better.....

    I would replace the old heater.

  7. #7
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    3,307

    Default

    If your hot water heater is plugged as described it is probably because you have hard water. The calcium sulfate precipitates when the water gets hot, which is the reverse of most soluble salts. That is also why tankless coils get plugged up.

    If you are getting that kind of plugging then you almost certainly have the same stuff on the heat exchange surfaces inside the heater. With an electric heater, you eventually burn out the element. With a gas heater, you are sending more heat up the pipe because heat transfer effectiveness is diminished.

    In any case, replace the heater. Then get your water checked for hardness and solve that problem before it messes up your new water heater.

  8. #8

    Default

    The city I live in (Calgary) is noted for having hard water so this is definitely a factor. You have to filter your tap water before drinking etc.

  9. #9
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,423

    Default w/h

    You are getting good advice from the other folks, but you do what you think is best for you.
    Most places have a lot of something in the well water, but that doesn't sound, from your first post that that is what is the problem with your heater.

  10. #10
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    5,984

    Default

    I have done this repair many times. If you have dialetric unions with a large nut that will disconnect the top of the union from the bottom turn off the water main and relieve the water pressure then unscrew both unions and if there is enough play in the pipe pull it to 1 side. Take a peice of 1/2 copper pipe about 8" long and a hammer and pound it through the bottom 1/2 of union into the water heater. This will ream out the bottom of the union where the problem is. Be carefull not to drop the copper pipe into the water heater. Do this to both sides. Then recouple the unions. If the gasget breaks then you will need to replace the union. I have taken old gasgets that were cracked and wrapped them well with teflon tape and replaced them with no problems but replacement is recomended. If you don't have the unions call the plumber and let him do it.
    Last edited by Cass; 11-12-2005 at 08:12 PM.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,655

    Default cass

    If the unions or pipes next to them are rusting, what good will it do to "hammer" the rust out of them? It will just regenerate if the galvanized or plastic lining has already failed. Replace the rusted items, even if the rusting item is the tank itself.

  12. #12
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    5,984

    Default

    Hammering out the rust is just a quick cure( less than 30 min.) for the problem and the the rust will take a while to cause the problem again. There is no need to replace the unions in my NSHO. Replaceing the unions is a much more labor intensive job that hammering out the rust, involving sweating on the new unions. I was mearly giving a quick cure that could be performed by almost anyone without going to the store as long as you have a wrench and a peice of 1/2" copper.

  13. #13
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Posts
    4,244
    Blog Entries
    1

    Talking read my oroginal post again

    the unit is 12 years old fellas..!!!!

    jsut open the top of the heater . however you have to
    do it and ram a large screwdriver down through the clogged up inlet

    its going to last a while, between 1-5 years...

    then you will have to do it again when the unit is pushing

    17 YEARS OLD!!!

    what more do you want??

  14. #14
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    5,984

    Default

    Mark, with all due respect a screwdriver will open up the hole but only to the diameter of the driver head. A peice of 1/2' copper is round and will do a better job as it reams the hole and is easier than the driver, 1 time through and your done, about 5-10 seconds/ hole depending on the amount of corrosion. Try it once and you won't go back to the driver I also used drivers once.

  15. #15
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
    Posts
    4,244
    Blog Entries
    1

    Talking copper ??

    copper is not hard enough

    it will most likely get stuck in the hole...

    I myself have gotten a hard steel craftsmen stuck before


    so I dont know how you expect to ram copper through

    please be careful , or you are gonna have some trouble


    you make your hole bigger after you get your initial hole
    pounded through the spot, you simply reem it out as
    best possible, scrapeing the sides of the pipe...

    copper wont do that too well.

    a smaller screwdriver will ...


    again its only good for a few years and we are talking
    about a 12 year old heater here.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •