Luke warm water - Is it safe to try flushing if I haven't in 6 years?


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Old 12-12-10, 09:26 AM
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Luke warm water - Is it safe to try flushing if I haven't in 6 years?

My hot water has recently become luke warm all the time. Reading up on hot water heaters it appears that I have not been doing the necessary maintenance. I have owned the house for 6 years and never drained it. I can't speak for the previous owner. It's a GE gas water heater Model 153.330451 serial M99128628. There is a 1-1998 date on the sticker as well. I have read through most of the related posts here and can't get a clear indication if I should drain my heater knowing it hasn't been drained in 6+ years. I also noticed rust spots down near where the thermocouple tube is going into the tank. I'm worried I'll make matters worse. Any advice.
 
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Old 12-12-10, 10:03 AM
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Your water heater could be on it's last legs so draining it shouldn't be a problem, if it will drain. There is a good possibility the deposits could be built up to the point where little water will drain out when the valve is opened. In this case, I'd try a forced flushing. Set the thermostat to pilot and leave the water supply on and then open the drain valve, with hose attached and running outside if possible. If not possible try running into a bucket and see what comes out. If the depoits are heavy though, deposits may get caught in the valve and keep you from completely shutting the valve off when the bucket is full. The solution is to install a 1" brass nipple and ball valve in place of the drain valve and flushhhhh! Good luck.
 
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Old 12-12-10, 10:21 AM
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The ser # seems off somehow. Doesn't match up with this...Determine Water Heater Age .

Regardless...I'd say you either have some sort of leakage or condensation from the flue pipe dripping down.

As to the lukewarm water, could have a lot of sediment in the bottom of the tank..or a bad diptube that mixes the cold incoming water with the hot water drawn out the top of the tank...thus lowering overall output temps. Your's is right at the edge of the bad diptube timeframe.

You can try what was mentioned...but quite possibly you are looking at a new one.
 
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Old 12-12-10, 10:21 AM
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The rust is not a problem. Natural gas produces a lot of water vapor when it burns, and you've had condensation on those steel surfaces which have caused the rust.

Don't "drain" the tank. Turn the gas control to the "pilot" position so the main burner doesn't turn on and connect a hose to the drain valve to the outdoors or a sink.

Turn on the drain valve all the way. The idea is that the turbulance of the water flowing through the bottom of the tank will entrain debris and carry it out the valve and the tank.

Turn the hose into a bucket. When it flows clear, turn off the water and turn the water heat back to the "On" position.


But neither of those are going to deal with your water temperature problem.
 
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Old 12-12-10, 10:33 AM
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You can try what was mentioned...but quite possibly you are looking at a new one.
Yep, it's worth a try and you might get a couple more years out of it. But, as was mentioned, you may be looking at a new water heater.
 
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Old 12-12-10, 12:11 PM
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Ok so I started doing a power flush and have not seen any brown water come out. It is all clear. All I did was turned the temp to pilot and then opened the water drain with hose attached. How long should I let this run or should it start as brown?
 
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Old 12-12-10, 01:08 PM
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Since you have clear water, stop.


As far as the water temperature is concerned, where is the thermostat on the gas valve set?
 
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Old 12-12-10, 02:05 PM
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Before I started the flush it was set to just under the hottest temp. So two hash marks under the highest temp on the dial.
 
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Old 12-13-10, 08:34 AM
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You may have sediment which has built up to the extent it will no longer drain

We replaced one a few years ago which we cut apart afterward to find it more than half filled with sediment
 
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Old 12-13-10, 10:52 AM
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So this morning was the first time I used hot water since the flush attempt yesterday and it appears to be back to normal levels that I am used to. It has never been the hottest setup but the last few weeks before I did the flush i had the shower all the way to hot and stood under it with no issue. Not sure what part of what I did would have changed the situation. Either way I'll start saving up for a new one
 
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Old 12-13-10, 10:56 AM
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I take it from your opening post that you NEVER get any hot water from ANY hot water tap --- never anything more than lukewarm water? Is that right?

Run the hot water for a bit an put your hand on the hot water piping at the water heater to gauge the temperature of water at the hot water outlet. Do you get lukewarm or hot water there?
 
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Old 12-13-10, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer
I take it from your opening post that you NEVER get any hot water from ANY hot water tap --- never anything more than lukewarm water? Is that right?
Before I did the flush that was correct. Nothing but luke warm water at any tap no matter time of day or how long it was run for.
 
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Old 12-13-10, 11:53 AM
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Also, check to be sure that the gas control on the water heater is turned to the "on" position.

Another thing you can do is to hold open the pressure-temperature relief valve on the water heater and run some water out there. Is the water from that coming out hot or lukewarm?
 
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Old 12-13-10, 12:30 PM
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Like I said everything now seems to be back to normal. After the flush i am back to what I knew as normal hot water levels. The gas is on and set to A on the heat meter. Which is two notches below the hottest temp. I'm more curious why it happened and if it is a sign that the hot water heater is on it's last legs. We'll see if it stays at this level for the next few days. Could it have been some element stuck and the reset of everything yesterday cleared it? Not sure.
 
 

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