Leaky hot water heater

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  #1  
Old 04-17-02, 02:38 PM
mogulman
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Leaky hot water heater

We have a 50 Gallon Gas Hot Water heater. The heater is about 10 years old, and was put in when the house was built. We moved into the house about a year ago.

I noticed it was leaking a little bit out of the relief valve pipe (seems like once/day). Also, very intermittently it was leaking out of the hose hookup on the bottom of the heater.

In addition, the thermostat on it seems to be kind of flaky. I have to set it about 20 degrees higher then the temperature that I want (ie..I set it for 140, if I want 120).

Anyway, I tried draining the water heater. That didn't seem to help. To try and fix the leaking I tried replacing the relief valve on the top of the water heater and resoldered the pipe to it.

I also screwed an additional on-off hose valve (the type used in garden hoses) onto the hose outlet on the bottom of the heater, to try and fix the slight leak out of this outlet.

The hose outlet on the bottom doesn't leak anymore, but there is still some water that comes out of the relief valve every day or so. It seems like it come out when a lot of hot water is being used. It isn't a lot of water, probably less then a cup.

Is this normal? Do I need a new water heater? Anything else I can try?

Thanks,
Jeff
 
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  #2  
Old 04-17-02, 05:42 PM
toiletjockey
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I'm not going to say you have to replace it but it sounds like with its age and what its doing it may be time. It sounds like the gas valve is bad. This is also the controls for the temp. For no more than what a new one would cost you I wouldn't let it nickel and dime you.
 
  #3  
Old 04-17-02, 06:16 PM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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I agree with tj.
I would replace it.
Here's an article on how to replace a gas water heater from Reader's Digest "The Family Handyman" magazine that will help you:
http://www.familyhandyman.com/200009/fixit/main.html
If you need any more help, just come back on this same thread and ask.
We'll be glad to help you.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 04-17-02, 07:52 PM
mogulman
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Do you think this is something that needs to be replaced right away? Or is it something that I can wait on until something major happens?

Right now it just seems to be leaking out of the relief valve, and not continuously, just once in a while.
 
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Old 04-18-02, 01:55 PM
mogulman
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Anyone with an opinion. Again, just wondering if this can wait until there is a serious problem, if it really should be done now.

Things are kind of tight right now $$, but if I'm risking something by waiting to replace it, I'll do it now.

Jeff
 
  #6  
Old 04-18-02, 04:18 PM
jlbos83
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What is going to be destroyed if it really springs a leak? (In other words, where is it?)
What are you going to do if you wake up one day (most likely a holiday weekend) and you have no hot water?

I don't know a thing about the water heater, but I think that those are the questions to answer. It is obviously starting to fail in some way. I suspect that could mean complete failure anywhere from tomorrow to 2020. My judgement would be that if things would be better in a month, you could wait, a yesr maybe not. Let's see what the experts say.
 
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Old 04-19-02, 05:48 AM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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If the tank itself isn't leaking, you don't have to replace it.
It can be repaired.
Sounds like you may be able to get away with just replacing the heating control unit.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 04-19-02, 06:23 AM
mogulman
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Thanks, I don't think the tank is leaking anywhere. I looked around inside the burner area with a flash light and it all looks pretty clean, no drip marks.

I've read in other places that the occasional leak from the relief valve (T&P valve) could be water pressure related. I've measured the water temp, and it consistantly measures about 120. So I'm assuming it must be the water pressure that's causing the valve to leak. The is a new valve.

Is there something I can use to measure the pressure? If it is high, should I worry about it, or should I just let the relief valve drip a little water. This is in a basement, where it really isn't hurting anything, but there are some water stains on the cement.
 
  #9  
Old 04-19-02, 06:32 AM
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Jeff,
Yes, there is a water pressure gauge available at most hardware or plumbing centers for about $12 bucks or so.

Connect it to any hose spigot.
If you're on public water and your pressure is more than 60 psi, I would consider installing a Pressure Reducing Valve on your main water line.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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