Hot water sputters

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  #1  
Old 05-11-02, 07:14 AM
daleEfan
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Hot water sputters

My neighbor recently had a new electic hot water heater installed. She is on a well and the well pressure is fine and doesn't vary. Her hot water spits and sputters when turned on in the morning. Only the hot, never the cold. Scares her to death. The more she uses it, the less it sputters. We tried turning off the pump and draining all of the water in the house. (Opened all the faucets, drained the hot water heater, and let it drain until nothing came out - took over an hour.) Everything was fine for a week, then the spitting and sputtering came back.
She insists this didn't happen before the new hot water heater. I think it has to do with the well, but again, the pressure in the tank doesn't change and its only the hot water. I would expect the cold to have problems too if its the pump. She has had a plumber in - the one who sold and installed the new heater, who couldn't find anything wrong with the house plumbing..
She is on a fixed budget so doesn't want to spend a lot of money on a wild goose chase. Any help is appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 05-11-02, 09:35 AM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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Sounds like there is some air left in water heater tank.
Make sure that the cold water supply valve to the water heater is wide open, and open all hot water faucets in the house and just let them run until she has a solid flow of water out of each of them with no spitting and sputtering.
Should solve the problem. If it doesn't, come back on this same thread, and we'll go to plan B.
I agree with you. If it were happening at the well or pump, the cold should be indicating air also from a connection leak on the suction (well) side, or a bladder leak in the pressure tank.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
  #3  
Old 05-11-02, 10:07 AM
daleEfan
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We did that when we drained the pipes. We left the water flowing until all of the faucets-both hot and cold- had good flow at the same time for several minutes. Then we closed faucets from the basement up. I just checked and the valve is as open as it wil go, it takes a week for the symptoms to appear though so can I get Plan B now?
 
  #4  
Old 05-11-02, 11:03 AM
davenk
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Sputters

I have the same problem. I moved to this house 6 months ago. The electric heater is not new, but the hot water often sputters in the morning. It never happens with cold water.
Is it possible that some sort of chemical reaction releases air from the water in the heating process ?
Please include me if you have a solution. Thanks ....Daven
 
  #5  
Old 05-11-02, 11:34 AM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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Plan B:
The smell test. Does the well water seem to have naturally-occuring hydrogen sulphide gas in it? If it does, you should be able to smell a very faint or (when it's really bad) strong rotten egg odor?
When it builds up and is heated overnight, that might cause sputtering.
Hydrogen suphide gas can be eliminated with an oxidizing filter followed by a carbon filter before the water heater.
Also, when the plumber installed the new water heater, he may have set the tstats higher than on the old one. Check the settings on both, and turn them back down, if necessary, to see if that stops it.
If that doesn't seem to be it, Plan C (although this should cause sputter on both cold and hot):
Check for an air leak on the suction side of the pump at all connections. Spritz a little shaving cream around the connections. If it dimples anywhere while the pump is running, there's the air leak.
Check the pressure tank to see if the bladder has developed a pinhole air leak.
The how-to for this can be found in a search of archives here.
Maybe one of the pro plumbers (I'm not one) who stop by in here will have other thoughts. A puzzler.
It's just going to be a process of elimination of possible causes. In my opiinion, it's either going to be hydrogen sulphide gas (most likely) or air in the lines (least likely).
Good luck!
Mike
 
  #6  
Old 05-12-02, 10:43 AM
davenk
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Hi,
We have not noticed any smell at all.
Thanks, Daven
 
 

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