Hot water just stops flowing to outlets

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  #1  
Old 07-04-20, 12:33 PM
K
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Hot water just stops flowing to outlets

Ok, here's my water heater setup.

my water heater (natural gas, 50 gallon tank) is in the attic, easily accessible. The original owner also installed an insulated storage tank after the heater. Valves are used to direct water flow on whether to use the storage tank or just bypass it. The valves are currently set to bypass the storage tank and have been that way since we purchased the house. As far as I know, nobody has touched those valves. The house also has a recirculating pump (actually 2 but the other one looks to be only in use when the storage tank is in use). There are pipes that connect the storage tank back to the inlet of the water heater controlled by a valve that is currently set to stop any flow from the storage tank back to the water heater. The return pipe for the recirculation is below the outlet level of the water heater.

The issue: when using hot water, sometimes, the hot water will stop flowing to a faucet (most of the time we have more than 1 faucet going but the other day, my wife said only 1 faucet was going). It used to be that to resolve the issue, we would stop the recirculating pump, turn it back on and hot water would flow to the faucet again but recently, this stopped working and only cold water flowed to all the faucets that were using hot water. We stopped everything for a bit of time, restarted the pump and hot water flowed again but I'd like to resolve the issue more permanently. I have checked the recirculating pump in this situation and it at least sounds like it's still working.

other possibly important information:
- currently have a bit of mild pipe knocking when faucets are turned off
- we have greenish residue on a shower wall and floor which I've read is an indicator that a copper pipe may be a corroding somewhere. We have a Polaris PG10 50-199-3nv water heater that I've read says has no anode rod to replace
- I replaced the recirculating pump myself about 5 months ago and thought it a good time to drain the pipes as we heard some very noisy pipe knocking when the pump failed and my wife said she heard some pipes mildly knocking before the fail. I thought there may have been some air bubbles. I've read that I should have slowly brought the water pressure up slowly but at the time, I just turned the main water valve completely on and first did the cold water lines and then water into the hot water lines. I didn't do anything special for the return line for the recirculating pump, figuring that it would fill those pipes first before going through the water heater as the level is below the outlet level of the heater
- the pressure relief valve on the water heater is releasing water every so often
- when replacing some faucet cartridges, I've never been able to shut the water off completely with the valves on the lines ( multiple locations in the house and not just 1 valve)
- I believe the cold water and hot water lines may be connected through a temperature controlled valve as the house inspector indicated that we were getting hot water in a toilet tank and the response from the previous home owner was that it was from the recirculation.

Thanks to those who are reading this long post. How do I go about diagnosing what the issue may be? I'm thinking cold water may be flowing through the return pipe or the valve between the cold water and hot water lines is broken. Could this just be air bubbles and a simple drain and refill may fix a lot of my issues? I would have called a plumber but my financial situation isn't the best right now and I couldn't believe the quote I got to replace the recirculating pump (close to 1000), especially considering it's installed in the pipeline with flanges and gaskets, rather than any soldering. I had to pay for the visit and estimate from a supposedly reputable company. I don't know where the connection between the cold water and hot water lines may be but I'm guessing somewhere above the toilet that had the hot water

thanks in advance.
 
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Old 07-04-20, 12:42 PM
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The check valve, valves are most likely faulty... sticking open.. Should be near the pumps...
 
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Old 07-05-20, 08:17 PM
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Thanks lawrosa, I didn't know there was such a thing as a check valve and its definitely bad as I know water flowed through the return pipe in the wrong direction. It just makes sense that there would be one.

Do I need a hammer arrestor to stop this banging noise in my pipes? Where in the line is this usually installed?

I was told hot water in a toilet tank was water due to the recirculation. Does it make sense that there's also another temperature sensitive valve that feeds the cold water line when the water is cold in the hot water line? I've been searching for it. The were some issues with one of our showers not getting hot water when we first moved in that we had to get covered under insurance. I was thinking to replace it as well since I'll have to drain the pipes anyways. I was just wondering if the hot water was an excuse somehow.

thanks in advance.
 

Last edited by Keenez; 07-05-20 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 07-16-20, 11:38 AM
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Update

So I replaced check valves and while I was reading up about other things on the water hammer, I discovered the water expansion tank was water logged. I also installed some water hammer arrestor and the knocking noise is gone.

Alas, my cold water issue is still present but I think it's too do with my water heater that intermittently seems to work. I will post that issue in the correct forums.

Thanks for all the help.
 
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