Supply-line and hot water line questions


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Old 02-08-07, 08:11 PM
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Red face Supply-line and hot water line questions

This is a long one, but I thought the detail would help clarify what's happened here. Earlier this week, I noticed a small drip under my kitchen sink, which turned out to be caused by a cracked sprayer hose. When I tried to shut off the water under the sink, the hot water shutoff wasn't functioning properly and started leaking. I tried adjusting it, but there was no "setting" that would stop the water dripping.

I decided that I needed to replace that shutoff, but when I went to the basement to shut off the hot water to the kitchen, I realized that there is no shutoff to the kitchen. I traced the line back to the water heater and there was no shutoff on the outgoing side of the heater, either, so I had to shut off the cold water coming into the heater, then install a shutoff coming out of the heater, and then a shutoff up to the kitchen. Now I have enough shutoffs in place in the basement, but I still need to replace the kitchen shutoff and the sprayer hose.

When I turned the water heater back on, it started dripping from the pressure valve. I thought it might stop, but it's been dripping continuously since Tuesday. I flipped the switch a few times and that didn't help. I read that I might need a new pressure valve. Any thoughts on that?

Next, when I turned on the hot water to the bathroom, I had very low hot water pressure in the sink and in the tub. Nothing makes it up to the shower head. All cold side pressure is normal. I also checked the aerator on the sink even though both the tub and sink are slow -- aerator is not the problem. I read that I should try to backflush the hot side because some gunk probably broke loose from the water heater and is blocking the hot side line. I got a length of braided SS to connect the sink cold line to the hot line and do the backflush, but I couldn't unscrew the compression fitting nut off the hot side. Did some more research and decided that I should cut the fitting off and replace with a new compression fitting, so I've cut the pipe, but now I have no idea how to connect the cold side to the hot side for the backflush. The braided SS hose has what look like compression couplings on each end, the smaller coupling will connect to the cold side line, but I can't figure out how to attach the thing to the hot side. Any suggestions? Is there a certain kind of coupling I can attach to the copper that will allow me to connect the SS braid?

When I cut off the hot-side compression fitting, I made the mistake of looking inside. There is some sort of yellow-white gunk that I don't think is lime scale. Is this bad? I don't often drink the tap water, but I do brush my teeth and cook with it.

Also, I picked up a basin wrench to disconnect the sprayer hose that started this entire mess, and can't figure out for the life of me how to use it to unscrew the coupling. When I turn to the left, the little jaw just opens up. I tried flipping the jaw over and that didn't work, either.

I'm feeling pretty useless just now as I relive all this nonsense. Any help is greatly appreciated.


~erin
 
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Old 02-08-07, 09:34 PM
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erin, it sounds like you still have a valve on the hot side that isn't fully open - you might want to check again

hot sides are always nasty, that's why our mothers told us to always put cold water in a pot to boil... ;-)
 
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Old 02-09-07, 03:29 PM
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Did you happen to open the pressure relieve to the HW heater? if you did, they usually need replacement... it does sound like one of your shutoffs is not fully open... unless your having a lack of pressure TO the hot water tank...
 
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Old 02-09-07, 05:30 PM
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Thanks!

Thanks Who and gr40. I did check all the valves after I turned the hot side back on and the pressure was so low. Something else I thought of is that one of the valves in the hot line started dripping when I turned the water back on - so maybe that's causing the problem somehow? My plan at this point is to open up that joint tomorrow and replace it. While I have it open, I'll take a look and see what I can see. We have a lot of lime in the water here in Ohio, so I'm sure this whole lack of pressure is related to a chunk of limescale in one of the joints or corner bends - but I don't know why draining the lines would have triggered that. If that last 90-degree bend before the bath is like the fitting, though - it wouldn't take much to plug up the line, really. There was probably another 1/8" of gunk in there!

About the pressure valve -- I read that they often have to be replaced after they're opened. I didn't open it until after the leak started, so again -- no idea what triggered it, but I also read that just a little chunk of lime could mess up that valve. So, there's that -- and I guess that I'll be replacing that valve this weekend, too! :-)

Thanks again for the suggestions!
~erin
 
 

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