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Water Heater Draining, Flushing Information, Water Leak Detection, Help Pages & Links


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02-21-04, 07:13 AM   #1 (permalink)  
Water Heater Draining & Flushing Information, Leak Detection, Help Pages & Links

Below is basic help information pertaining to tank type water heaters. The information is rewritten in easy to understand language. Taken from multiple sources and based upon basic appliance diagnostic services.

It is highly suggested checking the basics before assuming there is a mechanical problem or part failure before attempting any repairs. Read your owners manual for additional brand specific information and instructions.

Safety Concerns:

If you smell gas, do not try to light the water heater or any appliances in that area. Do not turn on or turn off any electrical switch. Immediately contact your gas supplier. If you cannot contact the gas supplier, call the local fire department.

Do not use or store gasoline, use flammable liquids or any products which produce flammable vapors near any gas appliance.

Tank Type Water Heater Safety Awareness:

Water heaters are one of the gas appliances that are all to often overlooked on the maintenance issue. They are almost always installed in a location obstructed from plain view by intent. We forget they are there, as they provide thousands of gallons of hot water over the life of the tank.

By design, tank type units draw in large amounts of combustion air from the underside of the tank. In doing so, lint and dust become collected in the area around the base of the tank and inside the burner compartment. Lint, dust, pet hairs, etc. being well aerated and dry, makes it a highly flammable material.

Part of every spring cleaning activity, water heaters should be inspected for proper operation and cleanliness around the area. Failure to do so, the problems associated with the units can become potentially hazardous to both a persons property and health.

Many city, county and state codes require a water heater to be raised 18 inches or more above the floor level, when installed inside areas of the home. Such areas can be but are not limited to basements and garages.

Often times a noise is associated with one of the early warning signs of troubles. A sputtering or popping noise. The sputtering or popping type noise is most likely caused by restricted burner ports on the round burner head.

Simple cleaning to remove accumulated lint and dust cures this problem. The remainder of the time a popping or sputtering noise isn't a good sign.

Normal dust and lint have restricted the burner ports and or secondary air shutter. Many times some or all of the flames that should be burning around the burner head are actually burning within the air shutter opening beneath the burner head. Visual signs of this condition can be verified. Corrective actions then need to be taken immediately.

The secondary air shutter opening is located directly beneath the burner head. There should never be flames there. If there are flames there while the burner is on, the burner head is restricted and must be cleared.

Removal of the entire burner assembly is required, cleaning the burner head and reinstalling it cures the problem. Unless it is already to late and SOOT has formed.

Formation of soot and or carbon deposits in the firebox. Lack of air. Clogged flue. Orifice too large. Defective thermostat control or defective internal gas regulator. Lack of air. Heater installed in a confined space. Burner flame yellowed and burning improperly.

Problems which cause flame distortion, complete gas combustion will not take place and black soot and carbon will form. These are not a conditions the DoItYourself person should attempt to correct. If soot is present inside the firebox, get professional help from your gas utility or a licensed plumber.

Complete combustion is not solely dependent upon a clean burner and burner compartment. Other factors can cause soot to form. Inside the flue of the tank is a spiral baffle. It's purpose is to accurately control the escape of the heat produced by the gas combustion process. These internal baffles sometimes deteriorate and may partially or fully collapse.

A collapsed or restrictive baffle will drastically restrict the up wards flow of flue gas and fumes. In doing so, it distorts the natural flame design and up wards flow of hot fumes. Which causes incomplete combustion which in turn causes toxic fumes {CO} and soot.

Another factor that can and does cause soot, is restricted primary air. The enclosure the water heater is in must be properly ventilated. A restricted air enclosure around the tank or any gas appliance, can cause incomplete combustion and smothering flames leading to soot formations. Refer to combustion air below.

Water inside the firebox. If this condition exists, the tank has a water leak either in the firebox itself or the vent flue within the tank. Tank replacement is suggested.

>>>CAUTIONS:<<<
Hydrogen gas can be produced in any hot water heating system that is not used for several weeks. Hydrogen gas is highly flammable and can ignite when exposed to a spark or a flame.

To prevent the possibility of of injury under this condition, run a hot water faucet for several minutes. The sound of hydrogen gas presence in the water will produce a sound of air escaping through the faucet as water begins to flow out. Allow all air to flow out before turning off the faucet.

Soot indicates there is a major problem with the appliance.Evidence of soot on any gas appliance needs to be evaluated to determine the exact cause. The corrective actions and procedures necessary to correct the problem should only be done by a licensed professional.

CLOUDY WATER:
Chances are the tank needs to be flushed. The method and procedures are already posted within this forum. Try flushing the tank and note the results.

Another possibility is the faucet heads. Remove them and clean them. While each is off the faucet, run the hot water to flush the piping system. Allow the hot water to run until it comes out clear. Then reinstall the aerators back onto the faucets.

It's always possible the tank is internally rusted out beyond the ability of flushing the tank & flushing piping lines out to correct the problem. A new tank would then be required.

Other possibilities may be the water supply, which is out of your control. Heating often does slightly change the molecule structure of the water based on the mineral contents within the water.

The piping system and lines within your structure may also be all or part of the problem. Only your licensed plumber would know if the piping system was the direct cause of the problem and or if the tank is the problem.

PERCOLATING - Noises or Noisy Tanks:
Water heaters that make noises or sounds like they are percolating is caused by excessive sediment deposits on the bottom of the tank. The noise is commonly referred to as "percolating."

Which means the heat transfer to the water must pass through a layer of sediment, which causes the water to actually boil close to the bottom of the tank.

Thus the boiling is the method and means used to pass the heat through the sediment to heat the water inside the tank. This also causes a very high concentration of heat at the base of the tank.

To help resolve the problem, tank flushing is required. See the posted topic at the topic of the forums list of questions. Read the tank flushing instructions and flush the tank.

Tank flushing usually but not always resolves the problem. Tanks that have not been flushed yearly may have an excessive amount of sediment which has already baked onto the bottom of the tank.

Older tanks also acquire this problem despite frequent flushing and tanks used in high sediment water supplies. If flushing does not resolve the problem, tank replacement is the only solution.

TANK FLUSHING REASONS:
It is often recommended and also a good idea to FLUSH a water heater tank yearly. The reasoning behind this maintenance procedure is to flush out sediment and rust particles that will naturally settle and accumulate on the bottom of the tank.

Sediment is found within almost all supplies of water more to some degree. Rust comes from the tanks interior, do to normal tank aging, iron pipes within the houses own water piping system, those of the main water supply from the streets piping system and other sources, depending on the water supply.

TANK FLUSHING METHOD:
To successfully accomplish this task, simply attach a common garden hose to the water heaters faucet. To flush the tank, there is no need to turn off the gas. Leave the inlet water supply valve on.

Simply attach the garden hose to the faucet or spigot, place the other end in a location where hot water will not cause damage and simply open the tanks faucet valve.

Allow the existing hot water to flow out of the hoses end until it does so cleanly and clearly. Depending upon the amount of rust, sediment and debris inside the tank, this process may take less than one minute or several minutes to accomplish.

Once this is accomplished and your satisfied the exiting water is flowing cleanly, close the tanks faucet valve. Remove the garden hose from the faucet or spigot.

SIZZLING SOUNDS:
That sizzling sound may be an early indication of a pin hole leak in the tank. To determine if that is so, turn the thermostat down to it's lowest temperature setting for now.

Remove the decorative outer cover first. Than remove the inner firebox cover. Use caution. The metal may be hot but not likely if the outlet water is cold.

Look inside the firebox from a distance. You are looking for rust spots, rust scales or any such indications of such. If any are present, water is entering the firebox via a pin hole in the tank.

Depending upon the age of the tank, more than 10 years, likely there is an internal water leak in the tank. If the tank is less than 10 years old and you have the warranty to prove such, contact the mfg or a plumbing agent whom does warranty services for the brand.

If no warranty is available or the tank is out of warranty, etc, and rust, scale is evident, time for tank replacement. If no evidence is present, you can move back at arms length, turn up the T Stat to it's highest setting and allow the burner to fire up.

Shortly there after water droplets should be visible dropping down onto the burner. If so, the tank will need to be replaced. If no water droplets are present after 10 minutes, tanks okay.

COMBUSTION AIR:
The formula for calculating the required amount of intake air is a minimum of 1 square inch of intake air per 1,000 BTU's of appliance rating. Which means there must be 1 square inch of combustion air for each 1,000 BTU's. Check the appliance rating plate.

Half of the total square inches must be in the ceiling or from 12 inches below the ceiling. The other half down at the base of the wall or 12 inches above the floor level. None of this air can come from within the living area of the home.

Each half of the half has to be equally spaced on either side. This rule applies to appliance in closets and inclosure's. Attics, basements and sheds may have slightly different variations.

The supplied air must be supplied from outside or from either under the house on a raised foundation flooring or from the attic, if there is an attic. At no time should the air be taken from inside the living area. Codes vary. Check those in your area. Contact the local building and safety department in you city, town or local area.

Usually the gas utility company has service persons whom may provide insight and determinations. At other times it will take a plumbing professional, local inspector or building contractor.

CONTROL REPLACEMENT:
To replace the entire control, turn off the incoming water valve. Open any hot water faucet to relieve the water pressure. Turn of the gas supply at the isolation valve where the flex connector is attached to the supply pipe.

Than remove the flex gas inlet line from the control valve. Remove the three lines under the control valve. No need to remove the parts from inside the firebox.

Using a mechanics strap wrench, wrap it around the outside diameter of the control and unscrew it out of the tank. Apply any type of common household oil, motor oil of any type or any type of automotive grease to the threads of the new part and screw it into the same place the old control was removed from.

Reinstall the three lines removed prior. Reconnect the gas flex line. Turn the water inlet valve back on. Open any hot water faucet to bleed out any air from the tank. Close sink faucet when done bleeding out air.

Turn on the gas supply shut off isolation valve on the supply pipe. Check for leaks with soapy water or leak detection soap. Light up the pilot. Turn on the burner. Recheck for leaks under the temperature control unit.

TEMPERATURE - PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE LEAKS:
If the water is coming out of the pressure-temperature valve, chances are that valve has rust and or sediment under the seat of the valves shut off.

Lifting the lever slightly will allow water to come out faster. Doing so may or may not flush out the sediment or rust. Lift the lever only part way not all the way. Just enough to allow water to forcefully flush out and just enough till the water appears clean.

Doing so might clean out the valves seat & washer. Not always but sometimes. If it seems to work, check it several times or the next few days. May or may not totally solve the problem.

If at anytime flushing the valve does not work, valve replacement is the only know solution. Tanking flushing is also recommended. The instructions for tank flushing can be found in a topic above.

The relief valve could be defective. Replacing it could solve the problem. Too much inlet water pressure and or the thermostats water temperature is set too high or there is sediment under the seat of the valve or in the tank.

VENT TESTING:
A venting system not functioning correctly can be highly dangerous. Fumes can & will contain carbon monoxides. The amounts vary. None is acceptable in the living environment once the vent pipe heats up.

If there is suspicions of fumes entering the living area as a result of a blocked and or restricted venting system, it is highly suggested to have a professional test the system.

Most gas companies, natural or propane, do this simple test to ensure public safety. As well as plumbers & installers of water heaters and room/house heating agents, etc.

In order for drafting to take place, the venting system has to have hot gases attempting to escape up the vent pipe. The roof top vent cap does not allow much outside air to enter down the vent pipe.

If the roof top vent cap on the outside rooftop vent pipe is installed correctly, by this I mean not pushed down too much on the exposed pipe end, the cap will do it's job.

Allow hot fumes and gases to escape out to the outside but not allow outside air forced by winds to back flow down the vent pipe.

The down draft deverter cap installed correctly on the top of the water heater will set up on it's legs. The vent pipe onto it. The open space just beneath the cap and that above the water heaters built in flue pipe, is the space where inside air enters to the vent pipe to help dilute the hot escaping gases and fumes.

Once the water heater, a non power vented type, is warmed up after being on for 5 minutes max time, that space should be drawing in and up wards air very close to it.

The test to verify if inside air is being drawn up wards into the space between the water heaters flue and the down drafters cap, is to strike a stick match. Once a flame is established on the match, put the flame close to that open space.

The down draft diver tor cap installed correctly on the top of the water heater will set up on it's legs. The vent pipe onto it. The open space just beneath the cap and that above the water heaters built in flue pipe, is the space where inside air enters to the vent pipe to help dilute the hot escaping gases and fumes.

Once the water heater, a non power vented type, is warmed up after being on for 5 minutes max time, that space should be drawing in and up wards air very close to it.

The test to verify if inside air is being drawn up wards into the space between the water heaters flue and the down drafters cap, the method is to use a stick match. Once a flame is established on the match, put the flame close to that open space.

Allow the flames to from the match to be drawn to wards the flow of air without being so close the air snuffs the match. The match flames should tilt in wards toward the cap.

This simple test shows the air flow direction. The flames can be allowed to burn down the match stick without going out until the flame gets close to your fingers.

If the reverse happens in the test, the flames snuff out, the match may be too close and or too far. If the match is held in the close to area but not inside the area space and the flames snuff out or point away from the space, the venting system is defective.

The defect may be caused by several conditions. Most commonly is an incorrectly installed vent cap on the outside vent pipe. As noted in detail above. The other may be a clogged, bent, damaged and or somehow restricted venting pipe.

In rare but possible instances, an interior inside the room and or closet space the appliance is in can cause a reverse venting effect. Professional help is highly suggested.

T-STAT TEST:
A quick test of the thermostat may be to remove the temp knob. Rotate the key point the knob is attached to. Use your fingers. Turn it clockwise to it's max amount. The burner should fire up. If not, the thermostat may have already heated the water to it's maximum or recently turned off.

If the pilot light is not on or goes out repeatedly or occasionally, the information provided below may help to determine the problem and help to resolve it.

REPLACING A THERMOCOUPLE:
Usually the pilot will go out if a thermocouple is defective. Usually but not always. Replacing the thermocouple may correct the problem of pilot outages.

If the pilot is present on, allow time for the T-Couple to cool. About 15 minutes. You should hear a click shortly after the pilot flame goes out. The click is a tiny sound so you must listen carefully.

After 15 minutes attempt to relight the pilot. Rotate the top selection knob to PILOT. Depress the "RED" button and hold it down while lighting the pilot. Continue to hold that red button down for 1 full minute.

After that 1 minute time has passed, release the red button. The pilot flame should remain on. If not, the T-Couple is defective and must be replaced.

If replacing the T-Couple does not resolve the pilot outage problem, the part is installed correctly and being heated correctly and fully, (all BLUE pilot flame) replacing the magneto may be required. Replacing the mag and the T-couple does not correct the problem, the thermostat is defective.

MAGNETO REPLACEMENT:
Replacing this part is not difficult. The magneto is the part the threaded end of the thermocouple screws into. It's located on the control valve. Left side under the temp adjustment dial.

The magneto is the part the threaded end of the thermocouple screws into. It's located on the control valve. Left side under the temp adjustment dial. Should have a red cap on it.

The part threads out of the control. Replacement is easy. Use a light amount of tension when tightening in the new part. Do not apply any thread compound to the threads. They must be grounded to the control. Thread compound will reduce metal to metal contact.

PILOT LIGHTING INSTRUCTIONS:
The correct procedure is to always use EXTREME caution at all times. For personal safety, turn the selector knob to the "OFF" position and wait 5 minutes.

The pilot assembly will be at the end of the aluminum pilot tube exiting the gas control valve. The correct place to light the pilot, will be at the very top of the assembly up inside the firebox.

After the pilot lights, continue to hold that reset button down for about 45 to 60 seconds or so, then release it. The pilot flame should remain "ON." If the pilot flame remains on, stand back at arms length. Rotate the selector knob to the "ON" position.

The control knob on the top of the thermostat control will have a "Pilot" position. Turning that round control knob to this position will allow you to lite the pilot while depressing the "Red" button.

The "Red" reset button must be held down in the depressed position for at least 60 seconds before releasing it. If the pilot remains ON, turn the control knob to the "ON" position and the main burner should fire up.

If the main burner does not light up, raise the thermostats temperature to maximum to allow the burner to light up and then lower it to your desired temperature.

NO PILOT GAS PROBLEMS:
The most common reason why pilot gas will not come out of the pilot orifice in the burner assembly has rust and corrosion.

Gas appliances left unused in vacation homes etc will buildup rust and corrosion in the pilot assembly. To correct this type of problem, first remove the pilot tube from the control.

The tube is the thin aluminum tube on the right hand side under the control. Once it is removed, turn the control to the pilot position and depress the red reset button for only 1 or 2 seconds.

Doing this is to insure that pilot gas is in fact coming out of the control and is turned on at the inlet supply pipe. If gas does come out, the pilot assembly is clogged up. If gas does not come out, the gas is off at the isolation valve on the gas supply pipe or the control is defective, etc.

The entire burner assembly will then have to be removed, the pilot assembly disassembled and cleaned out, reassembled and the entire burner assembly reinstalled back into the firebox.

Be sure to reinstall the burner assembly exactly as it current is. Burner assembly must be level and the leading edge at the front of the burner installed into the flange in the lower pan in the firebox.

Once all this is accomplished, soap test for minor gas leaks all the connection points you disassembled. The pilot must be on to leak test the pilot tubing connection and the burner must be on to test the burner tube.

If any of the repairs, methods, procedures is or appears to be more difficult than you care to attempt, some gas supply companies provide these services. Basic maintenance procedures are given in the manufacturers provided owners manual and on the labels attached to the appliance.

Additional Information:
Water Heater Forum:
http://forum.doityourself.com/forumdisplay.php?forumid=139

Tank less Water Heater Information:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=147262

Plumbing Forum:
http://forum.doityourself.com/forumdisplay.php?forumid=31

Anodes:
http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pa...ter-anodes.html
http://www.waterheaterrescue.com

DIY'S Water Heating Pages:
http://doityourself.com/waterheater/index.shtml

How To Determine Water Leakage Exists In House Piping Exists:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?threadid=164130

DIY'S Water Heating Pages:
http://doityourself.com/waterheater/index.shtml

Water Heater Help Information:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showt...6740#post556740

Water Heaters:
http://links.doityourself.com/links/water_heaters/

Water Heater Help Information:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?postid=556740#post556740

Water Heaters:
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DIY Help Links:
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Tank less Water Heater Information & Links:
Water Heater Help and Information Pages On Do-It-Yourself.

DIY'S Water Heating Pages:
http://doityourself.com/waterheater/index.shtml

Water Heater Help Information:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showt...6740#post556740

Water Heaters:
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DIY Help Link:
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The above helpful information will be edited and or updated as needed. Check back often.

Additional information and links are provided in the google ads and the "Related Links" to the right. >>>

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Edited & Updated October 3, 2006


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Last edited by Sharp Advice; 10-03-06 at 08:15 AM. Reason: Information Updating
 
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04-03-04, 09:01 AM   #2 (permalink)  
>How To Determine Hot Water Leakage Exists.<

When hot water seems to run out too quickly and no cause for it is determined to exist with the water heater, a hot water leak may be the direct cause. How to determine if a leak is present is than the objective. Below is the method used.

Determine water leakage exists is basically a simple process of eliminating one possibility at a time to determine which appliance has the leaking pipes, etc.

Be sure no water is running in the entire house. (Includes all water using devices and appliances) Access water meter.

Look at the dials. One dial (usually in upper left hand corner but not always) is marked "half foot." That dial (called a test dial) should not move over a two minute time period. Watch it closely.

If dial indicator does move, water is running somewhere and someplace. Determining where is the objective. How is next process.

Turn off water inlet to water heater and retest by watching half foot dial again for two full minutes or longer. If test dial pointer moves you found the problem, hot water leakage through the hot water heater.

If the hot water unit is a hot water boiler, turn off it's inlet valve. Same procedure and principle than applies. Dial movement means water leakage. In this instance it's a hot water leak in the boilers hot water line somewhere unseen.

If the two units, hot water tank and boiler are not interconnected in any way, water leakage can be determined to exist in one or the other of the two or both of the two individual appliances.

If the two units (boiler and tank water heater) are interconnected, turn off one inlet valve at one of the units will than effect the water meters half foot dial. If dial still moves, turn off the other appliances inlet water valve. One will effect the half foot dial if a leak exists.

The appliance which does stop the water meters dial movement is the appliance which has the water leakage. Simple process of elimination determines which appliance has the water leakage. But does not indicate where the water leakage is located.

Water leakage determining may be a simple process or one that requires the expertise of a professional. Simple process below:

A slab leak may be indicated by a hot or warm, moist, dampened or wet area, if surface is bare or covered with vinyl or tiles. Wet may apply if floor covered with carpeting and may also be warm to the touch. Bare feet are often a good sensing method for the layman to use....

Raised foundations simply make the location finding slightly easier. Crawling under house to locate wet area(s). Basements are usually very easy in most cases but not all. Volume water leakage aids in location finding.

In some cases, slab and or underground water leakage requires the expertise of a trained professional using high tech leakage testing equipment.

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Edited & Updated October 3, 2006


Regards and Good Luck.
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Buckle Up & Drive Safely.
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Last edited by Sharp Advice; 10-03-06 at 08:15 AM.
 
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12-11-05, 10:57 AM   #3 (permalink)  
Water Heater Information & Help

Cleaning Out Tank Type Water Heaters:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=244744

Links To Existing Threads. Information & Advice Offered:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?p=877893#post877893

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=239300

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=244148

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=241215

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?threadid=161631

Gas or Electric Water Heater?
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=238306

TANKLESS WATER HEATER HELP LINK:
Tankless Water Heater Help & Informational Link:
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?threadid=147262

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Personal Driving Safety Reminder: Buckle Up & Drive Safely.
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Edited & Updated October 3, 2006


Last edited by Sharp Advice; 10-03-06 at 08:14 AM.
 
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