New Water heater, hot at heater, cold at tap... what gives?


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Old 02-06-13, 09:13 AM
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New Water heater, hot at heater, cold at tap... what gives?

So, We have had a bad plumbing week in our house. On Monday the bladder in our pressure tank (for the well) went out so I replaced that. Groovy. The next afternoon the water heater gave up the ghost. This was a long time coming, so why not!

We have a lot of sediment in our water. Knowing this, prior to installing the new water heater (scratch and dent special @ lowes, YAY!) I put a large sediment filter on the whole house, which has already done a lot of filtering.

Anyhow, We finally hooked up the water heater, got it all straight, and let it warm up. Seeing as i was in the crawl space all evening, I was really looking forward to that screaming hot shower, well it was not to be. After letting the tub faucet run full tilt hot (no cold at all, 2 knob system) for 5-7 minutes the water was only lukewarm and not terribly inviting. I went back to the new water heater, and felt the supply and discharge pipes. The supply pipe was predictably cold, the discharge line was so hot you couldn't hold it for more than 20 seconds or so.

So, my qunadry is, where is my hot water going?! What do I need to do to remedy this? Ive done all the things I can think of, and there have been no changes to the actual lines around the house. The flow is great, ect. The water's just not 'Hot'.

Help! any and all advice is, as always, greatly appreciated.

David
 
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Old 02-06-13, 09:28 AM
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How long did you wait for the water heater to come up to temp?

Do you have a no touch infra red thermometer? I like to use them for diagnosing odd problems. You can aim it at the hot water pipe leaving the water heater and get an actual number to compare with the water temp coming from the faucet. I've been fooled too many times. What feels hot when you've been crawling in a damp crawl space may not be hot for a shower.
 
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Old 02-06-13, 09:34 AM
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Dane,

Initially I waited 2 hours. Then, when that didn't work I put the spurs to her and set the temp to 130 and went to bed. Now we're at like 14 hours and still lukewarm water.

I just did the same test again. 10 minutes of water flow and got lukewarm water at the tap. The pipe at the heater (in the laundry room 6 feet away) was so hot I couldnt hold it for 6 seconds... Yes, I counted Mississippi's LOL

No IR thermometer, though perhaps this would be an excuse for the wife to let me get one...hmmmmmmmmm
 
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Old 02-06-13, 10:30 AM
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Are you getting hot water out of any other taps in the house? Does your system have a anti-scald valve on it?
 
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Old 02-06-13, 10:32 AM
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No, Its all lukewarm. Very odd. I cant think of a single reason that this would be the case.

Again, any help is greatly appreciated.

David
 
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Old 02-06-13, 10:42 AM
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As far as an anti scald valve, I doubt it. I've never seen one, wouldn't know what it was if it bit me, but this house was built in the 1980's and has very little in the way of upgrades or options, Its pretty basic, no frills. as far as the laundry room is concerned, where the water heater is, its just two pipes and a wire.

If the anti scald valve was in the crawl space I figure I would have seen it by now... At least I think I would have. perhaps I should pop back under there and follow the pipe from the water heater to the bathroom and see if theres anything down there.

My crawl space is 26 inches tall and Im 6'5" tall / 280 lbs. Ask my why I loathe spending another day in there!

David
 
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Old 02-06-13, 10:49 AM
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What about the anti-scald valve? This is a valve, where in my jurisdiction, it is plumbing code for any new hot water heater installations. I believe their design is to add cold water to the hot so that if your grandmother gets in the shower and turns on only the hot water by mistake, she will not be burned to death. Nice gesture I suppose.

If you have one, it would be a valve on the output of your water heater's piping. Should be fairly close to the hot water tank. I believe they have a knob and perhaps someone trying to shut off the water during this change, thought it was a shut off valve and turned it fully and didn't return it to its original position. This, by it's design is to make your hot water coming out of your tank, much colder when it comes out your taps.

Here is a picture of one.

Google Image Result for http://inspectapedia.com/heat/Tempering_Valve065-DFs.jpg
 
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Old 02-06-13, 10:58 AM
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Could be a few things. This is electric correct?

Electric heaters are set to 120f from the factory. You need to raise both t stats and not just one.

Second the dip tube could have been compromised by soldering with two hot a flame.

Next you may have filled the water heater with air still trapped inside. You may have burnt out a element. Most likely the top one.

Last did the in/out get reversed when installing?

Last, last would be some type of recirc line faulty check valve or a thermostatic shower valve being faulty.
 
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Old 02-06-13, 11:02 AM
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Yes, It is electric. It has a digital control for temp, thus when I cranked it to 130, it should have done it top and bottom, at least according to their instructions. The discharge tube is really hot, so Im fairly sure its making good hot water, and the in and out are aligned correctly as when Im flowing, the out side gets hot and the in side gets very cold.

I don't know about the anti scald valve. There is nothing even close to that by the heater, and the pipes go from the heater into the wall and down to the crawlspace. I could shinny in there again and take a looksy....

Fairly sure the heater itself is working correctly... given the hot pipe and all. But, heck, at this point, who knows.

thanks again,

David
 
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Old 02-06-13, 11:07 AM
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If you have the normal, good flow volume from the faucets I can't think what the problem is other than the water heater. It's the only thing that changed.

When weird things happen I like to take any subjective stuff out of the picture. Do you have a cooking, meat or other thermometer to check water temp? I'm thinking you go under the house and open the T&P valve on the water heater into a plastic cup or small bucket and check the water's temp. That will tell you the temp of the water in the heater. Then go to your faucet in the house and let the water run until it does not get any warmer. Then fill a cup with the water and take it's temp. That will tell you what's coming out of the faucet.

Once you know what the temperatures are I think you can track down the problem. You will know if the water heater is actually getting up to temp. Even though it's new it could have a bad thermostat. If the water heater is 130f and you are only getting 90f at the fixture I'd next go underneath a sink and disconnect the hot water supply line at the fixture and aim it into a bucket and open the valve and take that water's temperature. That would bypass any anti scald or temp limiting in the fixture.
 
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Old 02-06-13, 11:09 AM
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Post the make and model of the unit.

Can you take pics of the unit?

How many baths in the home and what type of faucets do the tub and showers have?


You did not have an issue with the old heater correct? And this just started when this one was installed?

Did you install it?
 
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Old 02-06-13, 12:01 PM
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I took a bbq thermometer and pulled a sample out of the T&P valve. It shows 133 degrees (YEAH BABY). I took a sample out of the bathtub valve. It shows 78 degrees. this sample was taken after 4 minutes of water run and the bath tub is about six feet from the heater. Should not take that long.

I suppose I'm going to have to go under the house and find whats happening.

Any other ideas?
 
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Old 02-06-13, 12:32 PM
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This sounds like an interesting issue for sure.
Your plumbing going to the tank, PEX or copper?
Make and model of the hot water tank would be great.

Inlet at the top or bottom of the tank?
Outlet at the top or bottom?

Can you post some pictures of the tank (over all would be great) and the plumbing to it?
 
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Old 02-06-13, 01:22 PM
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Hey Guys,

All the pipe in the house is copper. I crawled into the crawlspace again. The copper comes out of the heater, down to the crawl and then T's going in either direction (left and right) under the house. It runs over to the area under the bathroom, where it runs up. Maybe 12 feet total run under the house (zig and zag). All of this copper is uninsulated and there are 2 crawlspace vents right adjacent to the copper.

I have a hypothesis, let me know if Im crazy.

The old water heater was turned up ALL the way to MAX. Perhaps it was putting out water at a temp greater than the 133 Im getting now (this would explain the hellacious power bills...) and as a result it would over come the thermal loss which takes place under the house.

I turned this water heater up to 150 in an attempt to see if that helps. Im going to run to the homeless depots in a day or so and get materials to insulate the Hot water pipes under the house, because perhaps this might alleviate the problem.

I checked the entire area under there, followed the entire run of pipes and I located nothing that looked like a anti scald valve. No manifold things at all, it was all very vanilla.... which makes me believe that it must be thermal loss... They do use copper in radiators for their thermal transfer abilities, after all.

A side note. My wife has complained for the last 2 months that the hot water wasnt "as hot"... perhaps because these are the coldest months of the year?

I guess we'll see what we see.

As always, any advice is greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 02-06-13, 04:03 PM
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It sounds very plausible since the problem may have existed before the new water heater. Any un-insulated pipes in the crawl space are basically radiators heating the space.

Since you will be removing that heat from the crawl space you may also want to insulate the cold water pipes. It will help prevent them from freezing since it's probably going to be a bit colder once you insulate the hot pipes.
 
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Old 02-06-13, 04:12 PM
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IMO no way is that pipe in the crawl going to reduce the temp of the water 60f.....

You have another issue IMO.....
 
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Old 02-06-13, 05:52 PM
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Im starting to believe you!! I jacked the temp to 150 and still luke warm.

A buddy called a buddy and he thinks that the hot water line has too much trash in it from the sediment. He suggested cutting the pipe where it goes from warm to cold and seeing what gives.

I dont understand how back cycling works. If I only turned on the hot valve I don't know how the cold could come over but I suppose I will just chalk that up to voodoo.
 
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Old 02-07-13, 05:12 AM
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Looking at the numbers and info....
~133'F exit heat, and ~78'F temp at the tap. That's a 55'F drop.
What diameter pipe is the copper?
How long of a pipe run do you estimate it to be between the hot water tank and the tap?

I have to agree with lawrosa. I can not get even get close to that much of a drop on my hotwater boiler, and that is passing the water through slantfin baseboards which are suppose to drop the water temp.

I do agree that insulating the pipes area good idea. Make sure to tape all seams in the insulation.
 
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Old 02-07-13, 05:15 AM
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Have you tried removing the hot water line under a sink and checked the temp before the faucet?
 
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Old 02-07-13, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane
Have you tried removing the hot water line under a sink and checked the temp before the faucet?
Even easier, has he tried another faucet?
Preferable the closest to the hot water tank.
 
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Old 09-27-13, 08:27 AM
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What was the outcome? I am having the exact same issue and I believe I have the same water heater from lowes (whirlpool 50gal energy smart). I know its an old thread but its the only place online asking the same question.
 
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Old 09-30-13, 08:51 AM
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Unhappy Hey Guys! Where's the answer? What happened?

You guys left us hanging. Did you figured out what the problems was? No one posted after the comment about disconnecting a line to the faucet. I've been doing home repairs for years and can't think of what would cause this and I'm real curious to know what the remedy was.
 
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Old 09-30-13, 04:28 PM
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Sold water heaters for 30 yrs.

Electric water heaters don't have that many functioning parts. There are only the upper thermostat, lower thermostat, and upper/lower element. If you take a diode electrical tester, and check to make sure you have power to both hot terminals on the upper thermostat; from the breaker; then to the upper element. Then check the power to the lower thermostat, and the lower element.
If you don't have power to the lower thermostat or upper element than press the little red button on the upper element( this is a little breaker). If this doesn't work you have a bad upper thermostat. Basically chase the power. The last thing with power is the best place to start.
Check the elements by disconnecting the two leads from the thermostat to the elements(THIS MUST BE DONE WITH THE POWER OFF!), and check the elements with an ohmmeter. If there is a closed circuit(the meter goes all the way to the right), the element is good. If it doesn't move the element is bad.
These are the only parts of an electric water heater. If the elements are dry powered they are dead, no ifs ands or buts, for any amount of time. hope this helps.
 
 

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