Weak Hot Water Flow/Pressure


  #1  
Old 08-28-04, 09:57 PM
uhmyshirtfellof
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Question Weak Hot Water Flow/Pressure

Hey all, I'm not sure what the problem is... I just bought this house about a month ago and the water pressure has never been all that spectacular (it's a well pump). I mean, it's sufficient, but it could always be better.

Anyhoo, within the past 2-3 days the hot water pressure has almost dropped down to zero. The water is still plenty hot, it's just that there's minimal pressure (I'm talking the water just dribbles out of the faucet in the tub and it's really really weak everywhere else).

I poked around in the basement and as far as I know, no one's messed with any of the valves within the plumbing system. The water heater is a 50g tank that was purchased in '99 (according to the receipt the previous owner left). Also, there's been no change in the cold water pressure - it's fine.

Anyone have any ideas? I searched the forums and couldn't find any similar problems.
 
  #2  
Old 08-28-04, 11:34 PM
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Normally, the hot water pressure out of the water heater = the cold water pressure going into it.
What type of supply pipes do you have? Galvanized? If so, that could be the problem. Replacement is the only solution for old galvanized pipes.
Is the cold water supply valve to the water heater open all the way?
Have you flushed the water heater? If not, attach a hose to the drain spigot on the bottom of the tank and see how the pressure is there and what comes out. Run it until it runs clear of mineral and rust build-up.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 08-29-04, 08:43 AM
uhmyshirtfellof
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Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen
Normally, the hot water pressure out of the water heater = the cold water pressure going into it.
What type of supply pipes do you have? Galvanized? If so, that could be the problem. Replacement is the only solution for old galvanized pipes.
Is the cold water supply valve to the water heater open all the way?
Have you flushed the water heater? If not, attach a hose to the drain spigot on the bottom of the tank and see how the pressure is there and what comes out. Run it until it runs clear of mineral and rust build-up.
Good Luck!
Mike
First off, thanks for the quick reply.

Secondly... We have copper pipes running through the basement and the cold water supply valve is on all the way.

The water heater has not been flushed. Just to make sure we're on the same page... I see the spigot at the bottom, but there's no knob or handle or anything. I think I can work around that with a pair of vice grips or something. Do I need to cut the power to the hot water heater at the circuit breaker? I'm guessing I do so I don't burn up the elements, right?

Where should I drain this to? Into the sump-pump drain? Into the back yard? It sounds like a little more than just water is going to come outta this thing, eh?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 08-29-04, 12:54 PM
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Good. That rules out the pipes.
I suspect that there is a heavy build-up in the bottom of the water heater tank. The cold water supply dip tube sticks down in the tank to near the bottom.
If the rust and mineral particles have built up without the heater being flushed, especially after five years on a well, it may be restricting the water flow from the dip tube, which will restrict the pressure of the hot water, of course.
Turn the electrical breaker off to the water heater, but leave the cold water supply on.
Run the hose into a floor drain or the sump pump.
Open the bottom drain spigot. If the handle is missing, open it all the way counter-clockwise with a pair of pliers or vice grips.
There should be more water than particles coming out.
If it is really badly clogged and won't drain out out until it runs clear, you may have to turn off the cold water, remove the spigot (you can replace it with a new one while it's out, if you want), and break up the debris with a wire or rod.
(Use 2-3 flat wraps of teflon tape on the male threads of the spigot clockwise only as the threaded end faces you if you remove or replace it.)
Replace the spigot and re-attach the hose.
Turn the water back on to flush it.
I've never done it, but I've heard of people using a rigged 1/2" pipe on the end of a wet-dry shop vac to clean out really bad debris build up, if necessary.
Good luck!
Mike
 
  #5  
Old 08-29-04, 07:26 PM
uhmyshirtfellof
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OK, I hooked up a hose to the spigot and started to drain the water heater. The water coming out was crystal clear and fairly cool (which surprised me since I figured it'd be hot). I let it run like this for probably 5 minutes and didn't notice any mineral deposits or anything of the nature come out. At one point during the draining I shut off the cold-water valve to the tank and the water quit coming out of the spigot/hose. I thought that was weird too.


After all this I gave the hot-water valve a few turns either way and I suspect this may be the problem. It's not a ball valve like the cold-water, but instead it has a round knob (like you'd find on a spigot outside). Anyhoo, I gave that about 10 turns in either direction and it didn't seem like it did anything which would lead me to believe this could be the culprit.

Either that or maybe I didn't let the water heater drain long enough.
 
  #6  
Old 08-31-04, 01:30 AM
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The water coming out of the bottom of the heater is cool because that's where the cold water supply is directed by the dip tube...to the bottom.
Shutting off the cold water supply without opening a hot water faucet or the T&P valve on the water heater for air is like trying to drain a straw with your thumb over the end of it...it won't drain like that.
Both of those things are normal.
I think that you found the culprit, however...the sloppy valve. Most heaters don't have a water valve on the hot side, but if your's does and it isn't working right, that must be it.
Turn the power off to the heater, cut off the main water supply, and replace it with a ball valve. Should solve your problem. (If you need any help with that, just come back on this same thread and ask.)
Good luck!
Mike
 
  #7  
Old 08-31-04, 08:17 PM
uhmyshirtfellof
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We replaced the valve and everything is working A-OK now. Thanks for the help. Looking at the old one I'm not sure how any water got through... the thing was closed off completely.
 
  #8  
Old 09-12-04, 06:29 PM
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I wonder why you experienced such a sudden drop then? Someone playing with the valve maybe?
 
  #9  
Old 09-23-04, 02:18 PM
eaadams
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me 2

I wonder why such a quick drop too. I am having a simmilar problem but have galvanized pipes. However I think it might in my case be a crimp in the cold water input into the water heater. The cold water flex pipe looks to be too short and thus there is a crimp in the line. Any recomondations for re-doing the copper flexible pipe into and out of the water heater? Just get longer ones from home depot and some plumbers tape? Try to make them loops and not hard angles?
 
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Old 09-23-04, 04:47 PM
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You answered your own questions. Install a longer copper flex line with no kinks.
Also, sooner or later, you're going to have to replace those obsolete galvanized pipes. They will keep scaling up inside, restricting the water flow, until eventually they plug up completely. That could be part of your problem now.
The galvanized plug-ups usually start nearest the fixtures, so you can start there and work your way back out, if you don't replace them all at once. If it's allowed by local code, I would go with PEX.
Check with your Building Inspection Department for local codes, permit and inspection requirements.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 06-18-09, 12:46 PM
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Ok, I have similar problem. However, my water stays hot the entire time, but my pressure comes and goes. For the most part my pressure seems strong, but from time to time it reduces to half the pressure. It always returns to normal, just not sure why it does this. Recently, a new shut off valve from the main was installed, along with a new hot water heater.

I appreciate any insight.
 
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Old 06-18-09, 01:09 PM
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garlanka...always better to start a new thread..this one is pretty old.

Anyway...well or city water? Do you have a Pressure Regulating valve? They look like this...
 
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Old 06-18-09, 02:39 PM
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[QUOTE=Gunguy45;1582619]garlanka...always better to start a new thread..this one is pretty old.

Sorry about that. I should have paid attention to that age of the post.

We have well water. As for the valve, it was recently adjusted when the main shut-off valve was added. Both the hot water heater and main shut-off valve were added at the same time. Since that time the water pressure has been much better, compared to when we moved in the house 4 years ago. However, the hot side continues to go from normal pressure to low, but the cold side is always normal.

I appreciate any insight you can send my way.

Thanks
 
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Old 06-18-09, 02:41 PM
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Sorry, my post should have stated city water.


Thanks
 
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Old 06-18-09, 02:44 PM
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I can't give you much help..been 35 yrs since I dealt with a well...but the Plumbers and well guys may be able to help.

You may want to post in the Plumbing forum or the well forum..(not both) and see what you get. Be sure to post all the info about changes or repairs...more info is just barely enough sometimes.

No prob with the old post..happens all the time. btw Welcome to the best DIY forum around!

EDIT
Ack..well vs city......ok..you might be ok here. Give the working folks time to get home and relax.

lemme look back and see if there are any ?'s I can ask....
 
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Old 06-18-09, 02:48 PM
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Thanks for your help. Glad to be a member.
 
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Old 06-19-09, 08:48 AM
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Gar...
Does it do this at all the hot faucets? Or just the shower/tub?
 
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Old 06-20-09, 09:20 AM
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It happens at all faucets. It is so strange, it does not happen all the time. I am slowly losing my mind trying to figure this out.

I appreciate any help.


Does it do this at all the hot faucets? Or just the shower/tub?[/QUOTE]
 
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Old 06-20-09, 10:03 AM
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I'm thinking you may have a problem either with the flow out of the WH or into it. (Boy aren't I a genius? LOL)

First, I would probably try flushing the WH. (Just Google the term...easier than explaining it all). Watch the outflow and see what you get out.

Then I would suspect the cutoff valve leading into the WH....try cycling it closed and open while watching the water flow at a faucet or while flushing (you'll need to close it anyway while flushing).

Since its happening at all faucets...it has to be something related directly to the WH.

You may need to consider a new WH, yours being 10 y/o, it could have problems soon. Oh..Gas or elec?
 
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Old 06-21-09, 11:31 AM
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Funny thing, the hot water heater is only 2 months old. By the way, it is electric. I have checked all lines, minus those I can't see in the wall. Everything looks good. Also, the shut off to the water heater does not seal tight, found that out when I was trying to sweat the pipes, water still getting in. Any other thoughts?
 
 

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