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Thread: Gas water heater problem

  1. #1

    Question Gas water heater problem

    My natural gas hot water heater (State Select - model pr650NBRT) has been inconsistent for a couple of years now - but adequate. Today it is now providing almost no hot water. What can I check?

    The temerature control setting is on high.
    The flame is working. It comes on after running the hot water. However, the water coming out of all facets in the house is only luke warm.

    Please help.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Without more information, one thing comes to mind and that is a deteriorated or broken dip tube. When this happens, cold water mixes right in at the top as soon as you turn on a faucet.

    If your heater dates from the mid 90's, there was a known problem, but it could happen with any unit. Look at the label and check the date of manufacture. Often the month and year is the first 4 digits of the serial.

  3. #3

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    It looks like it says 1998. After reading some more about this, it does sound like a dip tube issue.

    Thanks for your reply.

  4. #4
    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Default one thing to check

    take apart faucet strainers [unscrew] If you find white flakes,It is probably a dip tube failure.

  5. #5
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I think jimbo has it right.

    If you find flakes in the strainers put it in vinegar and if it doesn't dissolve it's the dip tube.

  6. #6

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    In order to test for a dip tube flaw State Industries says to
    -Turn off the heat (to pilot)
    -Run a hot water faucet for 5 minutes.
    -Get a bucket of water from the drain valve

    The bucket of water should be cool (because a properly working dip tube should put cold water at the bottom of the tank)
    If it is hot, the dip tube has a problem.

    Does this sound correct?

    Also, I looked up my serial number on the State website. It says that the manufacture date is 5/2002. However the rating place has a number with 1998 as a suffix. Can anyone explain this? I understand the manufacture year is on the rating plate. 1998 is the only number that looks like a year.

    This is relavant because a dip tube manufacturer produced bad tubes from 1994 - 1997... class action suite resulted.

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Yes but you run the risk of having a problem with something getting caught in the drain valve ( crud from the bottom of the heater) and ending up with a constant drip.

  8. #8
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    The rating plate will reference certain specs like AGA, GAMA, or ASME and may reference a spec date. This is not the date of manufacture. I believe all manufacturers use the serial number, and the date is in the first few characters. It is either a direct month/date, or a letter code sequence which the company can decode for you.

    Any heater can have a dip tube failure, but I believe it is quite rare except for those units involved with the bad batches.

  9. #9

    Question

    OK. No debris from the faucets.
    I'm begining to think the lines were installed reversed. Here a symtoms:

    - House was built new in 5/2002
    - Gas water heater fed by well.
    - Upon move-in, the hot water temp was not hot enough. I set the temp
    close to max. Where it is now.
    - When I first changed the filter just after the pressure tank back in 2002,
    I did not turn
    off the valve that is installed on the cold side just before the hot water
    heater. So, hot water began to drain from the filter opening that I had
    partially unscrewed. I couldnt understand this but I shut off the valve
    at the water heater anyway. This worked. So from then on,
    in order to change
    the filter I have always turn off the valve at the water heater as well
    as the valve between the pressure tank and the filter.
    - Yesterday I emailed State Inc (water heater company). They suggested
    to drain the water heater.
    - Instructions said to turn off valve on cold side that is input to the water
    heater. Turn on a hot valve faucet in the house. Turn temerature to
    Pilot. Then connect hose to drain valve and open the drain valve.
    - I did this up to the point of connecting hose to drain valve (not a garden
    hose fitting). So the tank did not drain.
    - However, the water continued to run out of the faucet for 30 minutes with
    no loss of pressure.
    It was completely cold upon closing the cold input valve.
    - After 30 minutes, I opened the cold input valve back up and I get hot
    water.

    Now, there is no visible bridge between hot and cold other than the tank itself.

    What do you think?

  10. #10
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Default call the manufacturer

    what di the tech support people say when you called them? Can you find a drawing on their web site? To know whether the lines are reversed, the manufacturer will help you to identify / diagnose for sure. My opinion.

    david

  11. #11

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    Well, I dont think the pipes are reversed. The hot feels hot and the cold feels cold when a faucet is running. However at times, the cold pipe into the water heater is warm. Again, it runs with no loss of pressure when the water heater intake valve is turned off.

    Any clues??

  12. #12
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Call a plumber and have him pull the dip tube and inspect it and the whole system.

    You mentioned a well. Is your water hard and if it is do you have a softner on it. If it is hard do you know the hardness?

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