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Thread: No Water coming out of hot water heater

  1. #1

    Default No Water coming out of hot water heater

    Guys, I have the strangest problem. First off, I am very technically inclined, and plumbing is not new to me at all.

    Here's my strange problem. I open the hot water tap anywhere in the house and no water comes out, not cold water, no water at all. Then suddenly, I will hear a loud bang from the pipes and there ya go, hot water. This may happen several times a day. On one occasion, I could not get the bang to happen and therefore could not get the water to run. This was a good thing in my view because it's easier to troubleshoot a problem if it just quits as apposed to intermittantly working. I went to the basement to tear into this.
    Opened the pressure relief on the heater, no water. Cut the line feeding the heater, lots of water pressure, reconnected. Cut the line out from the heater, no water. Attached a garden hose to the flush drain and fed in cold water from the sink, no water coming out! What the???? The heater is a rental, so I called Direct Energy where I rent it from and they say that it is not a problem with the heater, it's my plumbing! They say I have "gas in my pipes" and they will come and fix it for $99. This sounds to me like a load of BS. Anyway, after about 24 hours I got the bang and the water came back. This problem still happens everyday.

    Anybody have any suggestions or advise? What would the guy mean by "gas in my pipes"? As far as I am concerned, if you push water into the heater you should get water out of the heater.

    Any input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Do you have galvanized nipples going in and out of the WH? Not unusual for them to get clogged internally with rust.

  3. #3
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satman View Post
    Guys, I have the strangest problem. First off, I am very technically inclined, and plumbing is not new to me at all.

    Here's my strange problem. I open the hot water tap anywhere in the house and no water comes out, not cold water, no water at all. Then suddenly, I will hear a loud bang from the pipes and there ya go, hot water. This may happen several times a day. On one occasion, I could not get the bang to happen and therefore could not get the water to run. This was a good thing in my view because it's easier to troubleshoot a problem if it just quits as apposed to intermittantly working. I went to the basement to tear into this.
    Opened the pressure relief on the heater, no water. Cut the line feeding the heater, lots of water pressure, reconnected. Cut the line out from the heater, no water. Attached a garden hose to the flush drain and fed in cold water from the sink, no water coming out! What the???? The heater is a rental, so I called Direct Energy where I rent it from and they say that it is not a problem with the heater, it's my plumbing! They say I have "gas in my pipes" and they will come and fix it for $99. This sounds to me like a load of BS. Anyway, after about 24 hours I got the bang and the water came back. This problem still happens everyday.

    Anybody have any suggestions or advise? What would the guy mean by "gas in my pipes"? As far as I am concerned, if you push water into the heater you should get water out of the heater.

    Any input would be appreciated.
    Lol "gas" in the piping. Ridiculous. They don't have a CLUE what they are talking about so save yourself $99.

    It sounds to me like the internal check valve on the dip tube of the HWT is jammed closed.

    You can probably fix it yourself. What you need to do is....

    1. Obviously shut off water to the tank.
    2. Relieve the pressure in the tank (open drain cock)
    3. Do whatever you have to do to unthread the galvanized nipped coming out of the cold water supply into the tank (the factor male end sticking out of the tank).

    4. Pull it out. This is the dip tube. Near the top you'll notice a little thing (usually pop riveted) on the dip tube. You can usually gently pry on the rivets to get it off. Try to do as little damage to the dip tube as possible.

    5. Put it all back togeather and test it out!


    Let me know how it goes!

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    If you are renting, I would assume that any repairs you attempt yourself that involve removing anything on the WH will likely void the warranty. On the other hand, sounds like the rental company is not exactly on the up-and-up so perhaps you don't have much to lose.

  5. #5
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveW View Post
    If you are renting, I would assume that any repairs you attempt yourself that involve removing anything on the WH will likely void the warranty. On the other hand, sounds like the rental company is not exactly on the up-and-up so perhaps you don't have much to lose.
    Lol I was thinking the same thing! Although if he does it and doesn't mess up the tank then they'll never know he ever did anything.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Good point!

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doherty Plumbing View Post
    Lol "gas" in the piping. Ridiculous. They don't have a CLUE what they are talking about so save yourself $99.

    It sounds to me like the internal check valve on the dip tube of the HWT is jammed closed.

    You can probably fix it yourself. What you need to do is....

    1. Obviously shut off water to the tank.
    2. Relieve the pressure in the tank (open drain cock)
    3. Do whatever you have to do to unthread the galvanized nipped coming out of the cold water supply into the tank (the factor male end sticking out of the tank).

    4. Pull it out. This is the dip tube. Near the top you'll notice a little thing (usually pop riveted) on the dip tube. You can usually gently pry on the rivets to get it off. Try to do as little damage to the dip tube as possible.

    5. Put it all back togeather and test it out!


    Let me know how it goes!
    What kind of WH are you working on...I have never seen pop rivits on a dip tube...

    I have seen heat traps on nipples but never on dip tubes...
    Last edited by Cass; 06-30-2009 at 04:33 AM.

  8. #8
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post
    What kind of WH are you working on...I have never seen pop rivits on a dip tube...

    I have seen heat traps on nipples but never on dip tubes...
    I can't remember the brand I am thinking of but I have seen it a few times where the dip tubes have built in check valves.

  9. #9
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Only one and it was a dip tube and nipple combined but it had no rivet...

  10. #10
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Maybe we get slightly different tanks up here then.

    I'm not crazy I swear.

    I believe they are found on John wood tanks and I have seen them on another brand too but I'm drawing a blank.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doherty Plumbing View Post
    Lol "gas" in the piping. Ridiculous. They don't have a CLUE what they are talking about so save yourself $99.

    It sounds to me like the internal check valve on the dip tube of the HWT is jammed closed.

    You can probably fix it yourself. What you need to do is....

    1. Obviously shut off water to the tank.
    2. Relieve the pressure in the tank (open drain cock)
    3. Do whatever you have to do to unthread the galvanized nipped coming out of the cold water supply into the tank (the factor male end sticking out of the tank).

    4. Pull it out. This is the dip tube. Near the top you'll notice a little thing (usually pop riveted) on the dip tube. You can usually gently pry on the rivets to get it off. Try to do as little damage to the dip tube as possible.

    5. Put it all back togeather and test it out!


    Let me know how it goes!
    Thanks to you and everyone for the replys. I was thinking the same thing, but I went online to a "how it works" website to see what the inside of a HWT looks like, but it did not show a check valve. I would think that if there was not one, hot water could be pulled out through the "cold in" when a sudden pressure drop occurs in the cold line. Do all HWT have one? And more specifically, the unit in question here is a "Rheem, Guardian System, Fury Gas Water Heater, Model RP50-45FV. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satman View Post
    Thanks to you and everyone for the replys. I was thinking the same thing, but I went online to a "how it works" website to see what the inside of a HWT looks like, but it did not show a check valve. I would think that if there was not one, hot water could be pulled out through the "cold in" when a sudden pressure drop occurs in the cold line. Do all HWT have one? And more specifically, the unit in question here is a "Rheem, Guardian System, Fury Gas Water Heater, Model RP50-45FV. Thanks.
    Honestly I can't say for all HWT if they come with them or not. I don't pull the new ones I install apart to see what's in them. Most customers don't wanna pay for this heh!

    The only way to find out is to pull the dip tube and look.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doherty Plumbing View Post
    Honestly I can't say for all HWT if they come with them or not. I don't pull the new ones I install apart to see what's in them. Most customers don't wanna pay for this heh!

    The only way to find out is to pull the dip tube and look.
    Just looked up my model online and found that it has heat traps (aka check valve!) installed on the input and output. I am going to call Direct Energy again and let them have it for transfering me from the HWT rental department (where by the way I was told that it is not possible for a HWT to deliver no water at all) to the plumbing department where all they did is feed me a load of BS about "gas in my pipes" and offered to fix it for $99 and also tried to sell me a plumbing service plan for $15 a month!!!!! Like I'm dumb enough to fall for that!

  14. #14
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satman View Post
    Just looked up my model online and found that it has heat traps (aka check valve!) installed on the input and output. I am going to call Direct Energy again and let them have it for transfering me from the HWT rental department (where by the way I was told that it is not possible for a HWT to deliver no water at all) to the plumbing department where all they did is feed me a load of BS about "gas in my pipes" and offered to fix it for $99 and also tried to sell me a plumbing service plan for $15 a month!!!!! Like I'm dumb enough to fall for that!
    There ya go!

  15. #15
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    "gas in my pipes"
    What about "muffler bearings"?

    They didn't try to sell you muffler bearings to go with your gas in your pipes?

    I've had problems with heat trap nipples before too.
    They can create some pretty erratic problems with your water.

    I'm glad you found out about the check valve "heat trap" nipples.

    Good job Doherty Plumbing for nailing this on the first answer.

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