Hot Water Mystery - Even Plumber Can't Solve


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Old 11-19-08, 06:39 AM
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Hot Water Mystery - Even Plumber Can't Solve

We get hot water in our shower only if we have turned the dishwasher on late the night before or have done a few loads of laundry. If those things do not happen, we get very mildly lukewarm water anywhere in the house. It's maddening, our greatly experienced plumber has no answers. We replaced the hot water tank to no avail. It is propane gas by the way. We live in the country and our water source is a drilled well. I would like to rememdy this situation before my wife forces me to sell the house because she can't take a warm, much less hot, shower in the morning. Anyone have any ideas what the issue is here? Thank you.
 
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Old 11-20-08, 03:43 PM
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Pressure balanced shower valve???? I guess yes. There is likely a flow problem in one pipe, at a valve, in the shower valve, etc., slowing the flow to one side, which automatically cuts back the other side. Well systems tend have more calcium deposts built up at critical flow points. Sometimes just removing the shower valves and cycling the shutoff valves will clear the problem. maybe a tap at each restriction with a hammer is needed, then flush thru an open valve.
 
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Old 11-20-08, 07:45 PM
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Some houses have extremely cold water (near freezing) so are equipped with valves at the toilet. This valve allows some hot water to mix with the cold in the toilet. If this valve is messed up, hot water can be flowing to cold. Running something in a different part of the house that uses hot water can cause the valve to function normally for a little bit. Extremely experienced does not necessarily mean he is good. I've been new to jobs (not plumbing) and have had to straighten out people who have been doing the job for years.
 
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Old 11-21-08, 03:59 AM
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Never thought of that one, we rarely see those mixing valves here, too warm.
 
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Old 11-21-08, 07:46 PM
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Not just the shower

Bill,
It happens in every faucet in the house, no hot water unless we use hot water hours beforehand. Also, I had the shower gutted, all new plumbing put in with separate faucets for hot and cold. But as I said, if there's no hot water in the shower, there is no hot water coming from any faucet in the house. Any other ideas however?
Thanks,
T

Originally Posted by Just Bill
Pressure balanced shower valve???? I guess yes. There is likely a flow problem in one pipe, at a valve, in the shower valve, etc., slowing the flow to one side, which automatically cuts back the other side. Well systems tend have more calcium deposts built up at critical flow points. Sometimes just removing the shower valves and cycling the shutoff valves will clear the problem. maybe a tap at each restriction with a hammer is needed, then flush thru an open valve.
 
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Old 11-21-08, 07:52 PM
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Toilet Valve

Reuel,
We have one of those valves to the toilet that was turned off when we moved here, 11 years ago. Are you saying if you run hot water in a different part of the house while trying to take a shower we may get hot water?
I am not sure what you are saying. Also, what did you mean when you said -"hot water can be flowing to the cold"? Where is is flowing?
I have felt the tubing coming out of the hot water heater to see if it is hot when turning on hot water and it is not even coming out of the hot water heater hot unless we use hot water several hours beforehand, as stated before. So I don't think it comes out of the hot water tank during those times that we are not getting hot water.
Thanks,
T

Originally Posted by Reuel
Some houses have extremely cold water (near freezing) so are equipped with valves at the toilet. This valve allows some hot water to mix with the cold in the toilet. If this valve is messed up, hot water can be flowing to cold. Running something in a different part of the house that uses hot water can cause the valve to function normally for a little bit. Extremely experienced does not necessarily mean he is good. I've been new to jobs (not plumbing) and have had to straighten out people who have been doing the job for years.
 
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Old 11-21-08, 07:56 PM
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What is the temp of the water directly out of the Water heater? Is this new construction? Was it normal at any previous time? Did any plumbing changes occur around the time this began? Do you have a circ pump inline?
 
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Old 11-22-08, 06:12 PM
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Does your house have a tempering valve? If so, it could be acting up.
 
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Old 11-25-08, 07:34 PM
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Response

The house was built in 1959. I don't know what the temperature is out of the heater, I don't know device to use to measure it? This problem has existed for the 11 years we have owned the house. We added a dishwasher. We drilled a new well and put in a new water pump. The plumber allegedly turned off the valve to the toilet that allows warm water into the toilet to prevent sweating. What is a circ pump inline?
Thanks,
Tim

Originally Posted by dhamblet
What is the temp of the water directly out of the Water heater? Is this new construction? Was it normal at any previous time? Did any plumbing changes occur around the time this began? Do you have a circ pump inline?
 
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Old 12-15-08, 10:22 AM
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I thought the toilet mixing valve would admit some hot water to prevent sweating in the summer.... Cold water in the tank on a hot humid day would make the outside of the tank sweat.


Anyway, when you do you evening loads of dishes or laundry, is the tap water hot then? Put your hand on the hot water pipe and see if it is hot. Maybe your water heater thermostat is acting up and only turning on the burner when it sees very cold water, like after a load of dishes. Then it heats the water up so tomarrow morning it is still pretty hot. After a shower or dishes is the water heater firing?

If you take a cold morning shower can the next person take a hot shower an hour later?
 
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Old 12-19-08, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by notinhotwater
The house was built in 1959. I don't know what the temperature is out of the heater, I don't know device to use to measure it? This problem has existed for the 11 years we have owned the house. We added a dishwasher. We drilled a new well and put in a new water pump. The plumber allegedly turned off the valve to the toilet that allows warm water into the toilet to prevent sweating. What is a circ pump inline?
Thanks,
Tim
Device to measure water temp = thermometer or you could get one of those new fangled guns you point at something that will tell you the temp. Don't know the name but they are fairly inexpensive.

A circ pump would be a circulating pump so you always have hot water to the extremes of your house. Some of these return the circulated hot water back thru the cold water line. I thought if u had one of these it might cause the problem.

Pretty wierd. Keep on it and let us know what u figure out.
 
 

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