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Thread: yikes! water all over the utility room floor!

  1. #1

    Default yikes! water all over the utility room floor!

    we have a 50 gallon hi recovery gas hot water heater originally installed in 1999. We have a little thermal expansion tank too - about 1.5 gallons. Our 4 BR, 3 1/2BA house was built in 1976 and does NOT have a pressure reducing valve. The city utility company told me the incoming water pressure in our area is 84 PSI. I have noticed our utility room floor is wet - water leaking out the Temp/Pressure Valve pipe into the hot water pan and then leaking out onto the floor - because the pan leaks and there is no drain in the floor. Yikes!

    I've noticed the wet floors twice - both times after using 2 shower heads simultaneously for 5-10 minutes. (normally we only use one for about 5-10 minutes). The concrete floor looked like about 1-3 gallons of water had been spilled on it. To be honest, we don't go down in the utility room very often, so this problem may have been happening before too.

    After reading several threads, I'm not sure how to narrow down the problem/fix.

    1) new homes are required to put a pressure reducing valve in. Should we go ahead and do that? can a very competent DIYer do that job?

    2) should we increase the size of our thermal expansion tank to something like 4 gallons? I tried that chart, but couldn't figure out what we really needed.

    3) could it just be the TPV is broken? it stops dripping after a few minutes of turning down the hot water temperature and turning off the water intake to the heater.

    4) could it be the temperature gague is broken? it does sound like it goes on and off when it "should".

    5) the anode tube has never been replaced (7 years old). could that be causing the problem or adding to it?

    6) should we just bite the bullet and replace the whole hot water heater? with what size expansion tank? I hate to dump something that big into the landfill unless it is really necessary.

    7) there is no drain in the utility room (basement) floor. should we bite the bullet and dig up the concrete and install a drain to the outside? It would have to go about 20' through concrete. how much should I expect to pay for that? again, could a DIYer do it? (we used a jackhammer once!)

    8) what about these new tankless units? how do I do a cost/benefit analysis of them?

    thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience with me! diane bellevue, WA
    Last edited by dianelouise; 05-01-2006 at 12:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Your expansion tank may have failed or all of the air bled out over the years. To check it, first just take the air cap off. See if it is wet. If it is, then double-check by tapping on the tank. It should sound basically hollow. If it is full of water, either the bladder is shot or the air is gone. Shut off the main water supply before the tank. Open a faucet until the pressure drops. Then, using a tire pressure gauge, check the air pressure in the tank. According to Watts, you should have a 40 pound precharge. That will potentially change depending on the size of the water heater and the final pressure you end up with if you put in a prv.

    84# is fairly high, you may want to consider a prv. Putting one in is fairly straightforward if you know how to solder and your shutoff valve works. You might want to consider putting in a T and a pressure gauge while you are doing this since they are fairly inexpensive. If you want to get fancy, put one in before and another one after the prv.

    Your expansion tank is too small for this application. Check out this link http://www.watts.com/pro/divisions/w..._DETsizing.htm
    Last edited by jadnashua; 05-01-2006 at 12:56 PM.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    1) If you can sweat a copper joint, this is an easy DIY job.

    2) Could be you expansion tank is not properly charged. It should have the same PSI as the water supply.

    3) TP valves cost $10 and a quick and easy to change. May not fix the problem, but would not hurt anything.

    4) If you are referring to the water heater thermostat, it is not likely broken.

    5) NO

    6) Don't replace the heater. The expansion tank should be larger, and as Jim susggests, with a pressure gauge.

    7) This is a fairly big job DIY job, not impossible, but there could be some problems connecting to the sewer line.

    8) Mixed opinions on these, mostly negative. One thing is certain, they are very expensive and maintance can be a problem.

    Final thought. Why not call Terry to come to you home and analyze your situtation. He's next door in Redmond.

  4. #4

    Default thanks for your input...

    Our expansion tank does need to be replaced - so I got a bigger one to fit our high water pressure. Hopefully, this will solve my problems.

    Now, assuming that is fixed, how do I dry soggy very damp carpeting and padding? is it possible to do so without pulling it all back and having to restretch it? thanks again, diane

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A dehumidifier and a fan...
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I'd use a good wet/dry vacuum to get as much water out as possible. To dry it, you need air circulation. Open any windows or doors and put a fan blowing air across it. You might find a good fan for this purpose at a rental store. While I wouldn't recommend flooding carpet, it really shouldn't hurt it so long as you dry it before it molds.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart
    I'd use a good wet/dry vacuum to get as much water out as possible. To dry it, you need air circulation. Open any windows or doors and put a fan blowing air across it. You might find a good fan for this purpose at a rental store. While I wouldn't recommend flooding carpet, it really shouldn't hurt it so long as you dry it before it molds.
    I agree with this, as well as a dehumidifier. A small, cheap one in my area still cost $125, but the rental center here will rent one for $30 for three days, or $12.50 for each day. Have been through this myself over a busted washing machine hose. Vent the room as much as possible, and use a fan for a couple of days, then close the room off, and use a dehumidifier for 3 days. If you vent and use the dehumidifier at the same time, you will only be dehumidifying the fresh air, and not your carpet. Spray the carpet down with a good freshener, such as Freebreeze for upholstery, after it is dry. Best of luck, and dont write off your carpet just because it was wet.
    Rob

  8. #8

    Default oh rats! replacing the expansion tank didn't work!

    replaced the expansion tank last night. went downstairs to get the fans going and found more water on the floor. I will replace the temp/pressure valve next. question for you...
    since we do not have a basement drain in the floor, can we plumb the temp/pressure valve release copper pipe outside? instead of the copper pipe going down, it would have to go DOWN and then UP and through the ceiling joist and then outside. Sort of like a "J" we could put a check valve in there to prevent water from backing up. does code allow piping like that? Will that work??? thanks for your input... diane

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Don't think that is legal (not sure). I think you could run it into a condensate pump but if it ended up being open fully, it might overpower one. The idea is that you are supposed to be able to see if it is venting...nice if it can go to a drain, though.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    Don't think that is legal (not sure). I think you could run it into a condensate pump but if it ended up being open fully, it might overpower one. The idea is that you are supposed to be able to see if it is venting...nice if it can go to a drain, though.
    Not sure if a condensate pump can handle that high of a temperature. Would need to check specs.

    Jason

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