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Thread: Water Heater Problem ( New Forum Member)

  1. #1

    Question Water Heater Problem ( New Forum Member)

    Have a Kenmore Power Miser, ( it is almost 18 years old ), electric , not gas powered.

    Hot water just cuts out and then returns randomly. Sometimes the hot water will cut out after 5 minuntes, sometimes after 1 minute, it can return a minute later and then cut out again.

    I don't have any problems with pressure.

    Any input would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Try a hot water faucet near the hot water heater, something other than a shower control. Maybe a laundry tub. Does that have the same problem?

    Do you have a tempering valve? That will be a little valve with hot and cold water coming in, and an outlet to your hot water line going out. It will usually have an adjusting feature on it. You will find it, if there is one, by following the hot water line from your water heater for a short distance.

    If you have the same problem with a separate faucet, then maybe the dip tube in the hot water heater has failed. That is the the device in the heater that puts the cold water at the bottom of the heater.

    It could be a temperature control in the shower valve sticking, or responding slowly to variations in pressure or temperature.

  3. #3

    Default Reply to BOb NH

    I do not have a tempering valve. THe problem exists throughout the entire house.

    Thanks for the response. Now all I have to do is hope that Sears Parts dept has the tub for an 18 yr old unit!!!!







    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH
    Try a hot water faucet near the hot water heater, something other than a shower control. Maybe a laundry tub. Does that have the same problem?

    Do you have a tempering valve? That will be a little valve with hot and cold water coming in, and an outlet to your hot water line going out. It will usually have an adjusting feature on it. You will find it, if there is one, by following the hot water line from your water heater for a short distance.

    If you have the same problem with a separate faucet, then maybe the dip tube in the hot water heater has failed. That is the the device in the heater that puts the cold water at the bottom of the heater.

    It could be a temperature control in the shower valve sticking, or responding slowly to variations in pressure or temperature.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    A water heater that has lasted 18 years is indeed a unusual creature. It has served you well, but it is not worth spending any money to repair it even if you can find parts.

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    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Replace itttttttt.......

  6. #6
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Default Does it give you cold water or no water at all?

    You said it cuts out. The hot water cuts out. What does cut out mean? Either, that it gives you cold or lukewarm water, or that it stops feeding any water at all.

    Sounds like you have something blocking the flow. May be easy to figure this one out.

    David

  7. #7

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    It cuts out = hot water cuts out. For a few minutes cold water will flow, then the hot water returns.

    Hopefully new tubes will do the trick.

    QUOTE=geniescience]You said it cuts out. The hot water cuts out. What does cut out mean? Either, that it gives you cold or lukewarm water, or that it stops feeding any water at all.

    Sounds like you have something blocking the flow. May be easy to figure this one out.

    David[/QUOTE]

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Do you have a recirculating pump? Is there anyone doing anything in the house when this happens? Sounds sort of like a valve cross-feed?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  9. #9
    Plumber/Gasfitter dubldare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart
    A water heater that has lasted 18 years is indeed a unusual creature. It has served you well, but it is not worth spending any money to repair it even if you can find parts.

    I'm gonna go out on a limb, but I'd put my money on an 18 year old heater before I'd put it on a 4 year old heater (under warranty or not).
    --Customers of plumbers: Never be afraid to ask for proof of licensure of the plumber servicing your equipment. A licensed plumber will be proud to show you his personal license.--

  10. #10
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    No problem here, it's you're money.

  11. #11
    Plumber/Gasfitter dubldare's Avatar
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    The shop I work at averages 15 wh's per week (changeouts). At least sixty (60) percent are under warranty, 6 years or less old.

    I really can't see how the company with the grey (or the older brown and tan) heaters stays in business.



    I'm sure I'm not the only one here who can see that wh's aren't made like they used to be.
    --Customers of plumbers: Never be afraid to ask for proof of licensure of the plumber servicing your equipment. A licensed plumber will be proud to show you his personal license.--

  12. #12
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Default The good old days

    In 1975 or so my mother sold her house, which was still served by the GE water heater she and Dad bought when they first set up housekeeping in 1939. It was first used in an apartment until they built the house and moved in in 1950. The house had a deep well in limestone, God knows how many grains of hardness. As far as I know it's still there and still working.

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default hot water

    The tank is full of hot water so any change in temperature is not likely to be a tank problem. If you do not find out the real cause and change the water heater, you will probably still have the same problem afterwards. You probably have a piping or pressure issue even though you don't think you do.

  14. #14
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Default When's the last time you drained the WH?

    I'm wondering if some crud in the WH might be blocking the outflow now and then. If a piece of crud drifts up and blocks the outflow, once the flow stops, the crud might fall back and allow the flow to resume? (This is a stretch, but WTH.) Could be a lot of crud in an 18 year old WH. If this is a repeatable thing, you might have an assistant stand at the WH and feel the outflow pipe. If it goes from really hot to less hot (won't get cold because of the thermal mass of the pipe) shortly before the screams from the shower are heard, it's definitely a tank problem of some kind; may be curable by flushing the tank and replacing the dip tube and anode rod. In spite of my regard for old WHs, I'd be inclined to replace it, particularly if the interior turns out to be really nasty.

  15. #15
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I had this problem once on a heater that would be about the same age now.
    The heater came with a marble type heat trap nipple. A marble sized ball on the hot nipple would fall and trap the water in the heater. When you turned on the water the pressure would force the ball up to where the water would flow around it.

    This home owner had the same problem and what had happened was the "cage" that prevented the marble from going anywhere broke or dissolved and the marble went down the piping until it came to a T where it would block the HW from flowing correctly.

    Possibly you have the same problem. If you do change the heater it may not do anything/solve the problem. I would have to see the heater set up.

    Where is the heater located and is the piping exposed so it can be cut and checked or hidden in a wall.
    Does the hot water leaving the heater go directly into a wall?

    To check the heater you could install a hose bib on the hot side just above the nipple and run it through a hose and see if you get any restriction. That would tell you if the problem was B4 or after the heater.
    Last edited by Cass; 04-26-2006 at 07:42 AM.

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