Hot Water Heater Leaking


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Old 03-04-14, 10:59 AM
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Exclamation Hot Water Heater Leaking

Hi All,

Here is my dilemma - I have a rental water heater and I am on city water (Hard water)

3 years ago we received a new one from the rental company - within a few months the tank started leaking from the Temperature Relief Valve. I called the company - they would send someone and they would replace the valve - after a little while it would leak again and they would send someone *repeat* until this past December when the guy came and said I am going to replace the whole computer gizmo, burner etc and the valve.

While underneath the tank he said the whole bottom was punched out something in 26 years he'd only seen 2 times. So he disconnected the gas and said a new tank would be installed the following day.

So the next day they installed a new tank, and within a day or so it started leaking as well! So I called - they sent a guy, this guy claimed he had 10 years experience but I know how to use a pair of pilers better than this guy... He drained some water - replaced the valve. He then set out to replace the ignition gizmo - he asked me for a bucket, he began to unscrew it and BLAMO water started pouring from the tank like Niagara Falls.. The guy freaked out - finally got the part screwed back in to the tank to stop the water and said that shouldn't have happened - the water to the house was off and the valve to the tank closed so there should be no pressure in the tank?

He finally drained the tank and switched the part after I mopped for 30 minutes..

Next day - guess what?? It's leaking again!

I read maybe it's my water pressure - but it seems low enough - in fact were furthest away from the water tower?

Looking for opinions on what may be causing these tanks to leak - right now I'm losing a gallon of heated water / day.

It's a bit extreme and I have the tank set to 120F.

Thanks for the time in advance,

~J.
 
  #2  
Old 03-04-14, 11:24 AM
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Was that Moe, Larry, or Curly that they sent?



Seriously... they need to send someone that knows what they are doing. You need to call someone and tell them that you will be sending them a bill for cleaning up the water and the mold remediation caused by the water leak.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 01:03 PM
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...this guy claimed he had 10 years experience...
Or more likely he had one week of experience 520 times over.

The FIRST thing to do is to check the water pressure. The SECOND thing to do is to check the air cushion in the expansion tank. If these "plumbers" didn't do either of these things then they are NOT plumbers but merely hacks.


I read maybe it's my water pressure - but it seems low enough - in fact were furthest away from the water tower?
That is a declarative sentence and should NOT have a question mark but a period. Grammar lesson over, the distance from the water tower that matters is the vertical distance or how much lower are you than the tower. The lower you are the higher the pressure. Also note that pressure is NOT the same as flow rate and how fast the water runs from the tap is no measure whatsoever of the pressure when no water is flowing. You need a pressure gauge to measure the pressure. Static pressure is measured when no water is flowing and dynamic pressure is when water IS flowing. These can be significantly different for several different reasons.

Do you have a "pressure reducing valve" (PRV) in your incoming water piping? Most likely it will be close to the main water shutoff or less likely near the meter if the meter is located outside in a pit. It will look similar to this:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]27749[/ATTACH]

If you have the PRV it could be sticking and that would give the impression of low dynamic water pressure but it would allow the full city main pressure to act upon the water heater and safety valve when no water was flowing. You need to measure the water pressure with a gauge similar to this, available at most mega-mart homecenters.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]27750[/ATTACH]

Here is a YouTube video that shows how to use it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNAAzs4C-lQ You can attach the gauge to an outside faucet or to a laundry faucet connection or even the drain valve on the water heater.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 04:39 PM
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Hot Water

I am not a plumber. I don't seem to have any valve between where the water pipe comes through the cement and the water meter and anywhere after that it seems.

I have never seen an expansion tank installed in anyones home that is on town/city water. I have seen lots in houses that are on wells in rural areas or cottages etc.

I have the town coming tomorrow to check the pressure on their side. I will post results. I will also grab a pressure tester and let you know about that, thanks for your advice.

Thanks for the english lesson, seems I was lacking in punctuation.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 06:46 PM
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If these "plumbers" didn't do either of these things then they are NOT plumbers but merely hacks.
I seriously doubt any of these were real plumbers. Most likely you need a PRV or a thermal expansion tank, but you'll never know till you take some basic pressure readings like has been suggested. I am leaning toward the thermal expansion tank.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 01:01 AM
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I don't seem to have any valve between where the water pipe comes through the cement and the water meter and anywhere after that it seems.
Are you telling us that you have no means of turning off all the water at your house? That needs to be fixed ASAP.

I have never seen an expansion tank installed in anyones home that is on town/city water.
It used to be rare to see an expansion tank but then the water utilities started installing meters that would not allow a backflow into the municipal system and THAT would change the house's system to a closed system and the thermal expansion which comes from heating water would cause the pressure in the house to rise. The same thing happens if a PRV is installed to lower the municipal pressure to a lower pressure inside the house. In the US the federal Environmental Protection Agency has mandated that non-back flow water meters be installed on all municipal water systems to protect the system from contamination by means of backflow from any customer's premises. (I do not off hand know the required implementation date allowed for compliance.)

My incoming water pressure is about 55-60 psi. When the water utility changed the meter I would then see pressure excursions that would often bring the pressure up to 90 psi and sometimes higher. Installation of the expansion tank solved that problem. My utility did NOT notify me that the expansion tank was necessary.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 06:49 AM
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My utility did NOT notify me that the expansion tank was necessary.
My experience was similar. In addition, the water utility does not tell you the new meter has a built-in check valve to prevent backflow from the house and that the water pressure within your house will increase from a normal cycle of the water heater. Most people realize there is a problem when water starts seeping from the pressure reducing valve on their water heater, but they don't know exactly what is causing the probem.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 10:01 AM
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Hi Again,

So guy from the city came - said water pressure was normal and that I need to install an expansion tank. I am not sure what the pressure was (My wife was home).

Installing a tank isn't a big deal but which one do I buy? Size, Manufacturer? Etc.

Thanks again for all your help.

And yes I have a shut off for the water main - I meant any sort of valve other than that one!
 
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Old 03-05-14, 10:16 AM
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Find out what the exact pressures were... Or/allso buy a gauge and post back the results..

said water pressure was normal and that I need to install an expansion tank.
If no PRV then an expansion tank is not needed.

Do you have a PRV?????

See post #3.....................
 
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Old 03-05-14, 10:41 AM
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No PRV - and I will post PSI's tonight.

Thanks
 
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Old 03-05-14, 02:01 PM
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Psi

Ok - The PSI at the bottom of the tank is 65PSI.

Thanks again for all the help!

~J.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 04:33 PM
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If no PRV then an expansion tank is not needed.
If your water utility has installed meters with check valves then an expansion tank most certainly IS required.


Ok - The PSI at the bottom of the tank is 65PSI.
Now run a significant amount of hot water, say a long shower or a bath and after the burner shuts off and without having used any other water see what the pressure reads. If it is significantly higher you need an expansion tank. The air cushion on the expansion tank needs to be set at, or just slightly higher than the nominal pressure (65 psi) of the incoming water.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 04:54 PM
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The water meter has a check valve *guy from town told me*..

Why do none of my neighbours have this problem, why hasn't the town told me that I need a tank? Thanks again.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 05:12 PM
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As stated earlier the water utility often "forgets" to notify people of the need for an expansion tank. Why your neighbors do not currently have a problem could be due to several reasons.
 
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Old 03-06-14, 04:43 PM
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Each time a new tankful of water is heated, the water expands a bit and the plumbing system needs some way to accommodate the expansion.

Water itself does not compress.

There might have been a leaking faucet that lets water escape at least as fast as the water in the tank expands.

There might have been an air pocket somewhere in the plumbing that compresses sufficiently.

The expanding water might have been able to back up into the city water system.

If the water has nowhere to expand to then the temperature and pressure relief valve on the water heater should trip. This may be why you get water all over the floor nearly every night.

The correct way to solve this problem is to have an expansion tank, which is usually mounted on the cold water line above the water heater.

I don't know what you mean by punched out but if the hot water tank is bulged out and deformed that is another consequence of the water expanding and having nowhere to go. The relief valve should have tripped before this point. This is a form of damage to the tank.

If the rental company has simply replaced the tank again and again and the same problem happened again, chances are they don't know what they are doing. They should have told you to install an expansion tank (or installed one for you). As it turns out, the result is that the resources they have thrown at the problem will take many years of rent to recoup.

>>> He then set out to replace the ignition gizmo - he asked me for a bucket, he began to unscrew it and BLAMO water started pouring from the tank like Niagara Falls..

If a faucet (hot or cold) was open upstairs and you unscrew something from the hot water tank, then water will gush out.

A water system with a private well can get away without an expansion tank for the water heater. The pressure tank that goes with the well doubles as the expansion tank, provided you don't have a valve or check valve in the pipe in between.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 03-06-14 at 05:54 PM.
 

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