Water heater leaks from 6 locations


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Old 09-22-15, 09:36 PM
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Water heater leaks from 6 locations

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Hi there! I've run into a leaking problem with my water heater. It leaks simultaneously from 6 different locations at the top of the unit IMMEDIATELY when the cold water is turned on. As you can see in the pics, it leaks from the center hood, from the 4 pea-sized indentations around the hood, and from the back of the pressure release valve. When I turn the cold water off, the leaking stops. The unit is a Kenmore, and it's gas.

Why is it leaking from all these locations? What do I do to stop this from happening when I turn the cold water on?

Thanks so much for your help!
 
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Old 09-23-15, 12:09 AM
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Is this a gas heater ?
If yes.... something doesn't look right with the flue. I don't see a flue vent hood.

You more than likely have one leak but it's coming out in several places.
How old is the heater ?

It may be time to consider a replacement.

Can you step back and post a wider angle picture of the top of the water heater.
 
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Old 09-23-15, 04:37 AM
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I don't like seeing "tape" holding the flue to the heater. That is a red flag and needs to be addressed.

A picture of a puddle doesn't tell us much. Does it appear to be coming from the fittings in the top of the tank? If it is coming from those fittings it's possible to un-sweat the fittings and try tightening them but generally I go ahead and replace them.

You should not use a torch on a fitting right at the heater as it may damage the plastic isolation fitting. You can de-solder or "break" a fitting higher up so you can try tightening the fitting tighter or to replace the male threaded fitting that screws into the tank.
 
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Old 09-23-15, 09:11 AM
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Hi Pete. Thanks for helping me again. You helped me get my old furnace operating again back in February...The water heater is gas, and it's old. Yes, replacement is likely necessary. Just trying to determine what is happening first. I would agree that there is likely one leak at the top interior of the heater coming out of several places immediately when the cold water enters. I thought cold water is directed to the bottom of the tank, though? As far as the top of the heater, that pipe that you see in pic#3 curves at a 90 degree turn and enters the chimney, which is what you see behind the heater. That's all that you don't see.

Hi Pilot Dane. I felt when I bought the house that the aluminum tape shown at the connection wasn't the textbook way to go. Thanks for confirming that. It may be just an extra precaution though, like putting electrical tape over wire connectors that are already plastic coated...It's not actually the puddles that I'm showing, but the locations that the water is coming out from, which is the base of the flue, the small pea-shaped black indentations on top of the tank a few inches from the flue, and the rear of the pressure release valve.
 

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Old 09-23-15, 09:40 AM
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Shut it down and replace ASAP.. That flue pipe is releasing CO and I am surprised no one is dead.

The unit is missing the draft hood period.........

There shall be no further discussion here and any fixes for that heater....
 
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Old 09-24-15, 09:10 AM
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So the water heater is shut down and about to be emptied. It seems that we've determined that it's one leak coming out of 6 places, and that replacement is necessary and the only option. 4 of those 6 leaking locations, the "pea-sized indentations around the flue", are actually where a draft hood should be screwed into.

I've now read the risks of having no hood. Inefficient function, overheating, reduced heater life, downdraft, pilot going out, and CO. In the 11 years that I've owned this heater, the pilot only went out once. And the heater was installed in 1988, so obviously it lived a long life. We're still alive, with no CO symptoms. The prior homeowner was alive. Can't speak for the 1988 homeowner, though. So I'll make certain that the new heater will be done right. But I think that, in this case, there was no harm...thank goodness!

I've never had to purchase a water heater before. This 1988 star performer is a Kenmore Power Miser. I'm thinking Kenmore must be a great brand. 27 years of dependable function, and with no draft hood! I see Rheem gets some high praise.

What are the best performing brands for the money that you guys have experienced? What do you guys purchase? Thanks so much...
 
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Old 09-25-15, 06:37 PM
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What are the best performing brands for the money that you guys have experienced? What do you guys purchase?
I think AO Smith and Bradford-White are considered the best in the industry. I buy Bradford-White because I have a good source for them. If I am not mistaken, AO Smith makes the Kenmore heaters.
 
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Old 09-25-15, 09:07 PM
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We're still alive, with no CO symptoms.
Alive OK... But also developmental issues arise in children,,,
 
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Old 09-26-15, 05:36 AM
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Casual Joe, that was very valuable information. Thanks so much. Anyone else have thoughts?

Iawrosa, no children have lived here under my ownership. I appreciate your dire warnings, but do you have anything to contribute that's on topic?
 
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Old 09-26-15, 05:49 AM
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I've now read the risks of having no hood. Inefficient function, overheating, reduced heater life, downdraft, pilot going out, and CO

but do you have anything to contribute that's on topic?


We're still alive, with no CO symptoms.

Alive.. OK... But also developmental issues arise in children,,,

I think I am on topic.. Whats the issue?? You did not like my answer?

Children Are at Greater Risk For CO Poisoning
 
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Old 09-26-15, 07:32 AM
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I appreciate your dire warnings, but do you have anything to contribute that's on topic?
Other people will view this thread, seeking advice or getting an idea on what's involved in fixing or replacing a water heater.
Once there is an indication of possible CO poisoning, that is the topic and the rest is secondary.
 
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Old 09-26-15, 07:50 AM
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Modern water heaters have molded foam or foamed in place insulation. Should a leak develop in the tank under the foam, the water will find the path(s) of least resistance to the outside, emerging from such paces as the anode rod access or the bottom burner access hatch area or the draft diverter area.

The "low information voter" approach, which may well be the best approach if you are under a time constraint such as accommodating a rental tenant, is to just go ahead and replace the water heater. Short time to remedy is much more important than thorough investigation.

I agree that, after both finding parts such as the draft diverter missing and learning that such parts missing could result in a carbon monoxide or similar hazard, that situation needed to be fixed ASAP which might well have involved replacing the water heater before the leak happened. Again, short time to remedy is much more important than identifying, obtaining, and installing desired parts.
 
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Old 09-28-15, 10:04 PM
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Thanks, guys.

Iawrosa...Your info is very good info. But it's moot at this point. There have been no children present under my ownership. The heater is shut down. It needs replacement. A better contribution at this point would be what you have found to be the best performing brands for the money.

Handyone...CO is THE topic if it was still running. But it's shut down. Therefore it is just A topic. An important one, yes, that another reader can use, but also moot at this point for me. All that's left is to decide on a brand, and the installer. What brand is your favorite for the money?

Thanks, AllenJ, for shedding more light on what happened. Turns out the draft diverter area was the path of least resistance. As to the "short time to remedy"...good thoughts! This isn't a rental, and I have a bit of time. The cold water is still warm. But it will be "short time to remedy" soon enough, lol. What is your choice in a water heater?
 
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Old 09-29-15, 07:32 AM
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Long ago I installed machinery in a water heater factory. They made a dozen or so brands. In general price seemed to be an indicator of quality. Cheaper models had thinner steel and thinner insulation while more expensive models had thicker steel and insulation. Cheap models had small, plastic drain valves while better models had brass ones.

Cheap was easy and expensive seemed easy but the middle ground was not so clear. Some manufacturers did put thicker steel and coatings on higher level models while others simply sold the cheap heater with a longer warranty period.

I put cheap big box store water heaters in my rental houses and they live about 10 years. I've had some leak in as little as 7 years and some are over 15 and still OK but 10 years is the number in my head. There is the rare T&P valve that leaks or thermostat that fails but for the most part they do well for about 10 years when leaks in the tank start to appear. I think you have to consider if a more expensive model is worth it for you. You can pay two or three times as much and get one that may last 20 or more years but if you're only going to be in the house another few years it might not make sense to spend the extra money.
 
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Old 09-29-15, 04:04 PM
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AO smith is all I install and use.. A 40 gal can be had at your local furgusson dealer for anot 360$$

https://www.ferguson.com/searchBranch
 
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Old 09-30-15, 08:38 PM
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Thanks, guys!

Pilot Dane, good stuff! Yes, cheap is always cheap. But, indeed, we always have to wonder what we're getting for the extra money when we decide to splurge. Thanks for the clues! I will factor in the length of time we expect to continue living here.

Iawrosa, thanks for the lead! An A.O. Smith for 360 sounds like a great deal. Someone recently told me that A.O Smith is likely the manufacturer of this 1987 Kenmore that finally leaked. I'll be visiting Furgusson to check it out. Thanks!
 
 

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