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Thread: Water heater, What's wrong with it?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Tree's Avatar
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    Default Water heater, What's wrong with it?

    Problems with my hot water heater

    1) Air in pipes. No air in cold pipes.

    2) starts hot but gets to only warm real fast

    3) stays warm for quite a while

    4) tried draining silt out of bottom but it only improved performance slightly

    5) was having to be reset every month or so (temp was set to low but is now set to medium. temp was set to medium after all this started.)


    Is it possible to fix this easily?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Are you on a well? That could be adding air into the system.

    The other thing that can add air is if you're getting a reaction between the anode rod in the tank with the water. A change in anode type may solve that. Air gets purged when you draw water out of the system...something has to be putting it there if it persists.

    What brand and model WH is it? Electric, gas, etc. Sounds like it may be electric, and it may be a bad element or thermostat. Both are easy to check with the right tools and knowledge. Depending on how old the thing is, it may be time to consider a replacement. Often, though, as long as it isn't leaking, repairing is a viable option. Depends on the age and condition.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Tree's Avatar
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    It's electric and about 4 years old. It's a reliance 606.

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    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Going from hot to warm quickly, followed by sustained long warm output is a symptom of a failed dip tube. The dip tube is between the cold input and the bottom of the tank to inject the incoming water to the bottom first, so that it's stratified with all-hot a the tank. If that has corroded to a stub or fallen off the cold comes in at the top and mixes quickly with the stored hot water, making the top of the tank tepid even if the rest of the tank is still hot, which is exactly what you DON'T want. The turbulence and convection keep mixing in hot water from the lower part of the tank, so it can run warm for quite awhile.

    If air has been getting in that would accelerate issues like that. But most dip-tubes can be replaces at low DIY-cost, and it's probably still worth pulling the old one (and the sacrificial anode too), to restore function, and try to chase down how that air/gas is getting in.

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    DIY Junior Member Tree's Avatar
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    Just a bit ago the was a very loud THUD!!! under the floor boards and it stopped making hot water. The thud could be felt. We checked the breaker and it had flipped.

  6. #6
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You never did say if you are on a well or not, which could be part of the problem.

    That heater sells in the farm store here for about 2 bills.
    The thermostat is $14 and the elements are $9.

    I guess the question is how much is it worth to you?

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Tree's Avatar
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    Sorry, no it's city water.

  8. #8
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    And now it's started making "THACK!!!" sounds. Two so far.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    When it makes noise, is it dumping water out of the T&P safety valve? Is the water excessively hot when that happens?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Without being there to make my own tests, there is no way to tell you what is wrong or how to cure it, but one thing is certain, if you start replacing parts without knowing what is wrong, you WILL waste time and money, and will probably still have the problem. "Thud" and "thunk" are NOT descriptions of the most common problems.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member Tree's Avatar
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    There's no extra hot water coming out any sort of pressure release. The plumbers were over and removed a whole bunch of scale from the bottom of it and replaced the bottom element. The water get's hotter now, but I still haven't gotten to test if it will stay hot. At first it would get cool again (this just after they fixed it.).

    There was still some knocking in the pipes.

  12. #12
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If the elements are encased in mineral deposits, when off, a little bit of water will migrate in. Then, when the element turns on, that trapped water will heat up, turn to steam, then burst out of that little mineral pocket, potentially making some audible noise. The scale on the sides can get hot enough to do this, too, depending on where they are in relation to the element.
    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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