Water Heater debris?? what's the cause?


  #1  
Old 05-06-18, 10:24 PM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Water Heater debris?? what's the cause?

While working on a plumbing project, I turned off my water heater. After the plumbing was finished, I was unable to re-ignite the pilot light. I decided to pull the burner/igniter assembly out. This is what I found.. Several inches of debris in the burner area preventing the pilot lite from working. Of course, I vacumed all the debris out, checked the orifice, reassembled and it worked. BUT, what is all this debris and should I be worried? Looks to have fallen from the under side of the water tank.
Water heater is a Rheem ( GE ) , 50gal. Built in 2005. Model SG50T.....

What do you guys think????
 
Attached Images       
  #2  
Old 05-07-18, 05:11 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 25,556
Received 966 Votes on 887 Posts
How old is your heater? It may be a good time to start looking for a new one.

I bet a lot of that metal is what used to be the baffle in the center of the water heater. If it's not the baffle then it's the flue tube. Either way there probably isn't much of it left. At best I would say you've lost a good bit of efficiency and worst you may soon have a exhaust (carbon monoxide) leak or a water leak.
 
  #3  
Old 05-07-18, 12:27 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 62,628
Received 1,608 Votes on 1,480 Posts
I agree..... start looking. That is a lot of rust.

What kind of shape is the flue pipe in at the top ? Is it all rusted or showing signs of rust ?
You may have excessive condensation dripping into the water heater.
 
  #4  
Old 05-08-18, 08:07 AM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I did think it might be coming from the flue. What do you mean by the "top"? on the roof? or along its length from top of water heater to basement ceiling? But if that was the case, there would be debris on top of the water tank where there is a several inch air gap. There is none. i SHOULD place a screen, with large holes, over the flue opening on the water heater to see if any debris is coming down the flue. Else, I think it is rust from the bottom of the tank. We are now looking into getting a new water heater... tankless maybe.
 
  #5  
Old 05-08-18, 07:04 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 62,628
Received 1,608 Votes on 1,480 Posts
By top I meant at the top of of the tank where the hood sits.
Many times the vent pipe will be rusty where it connects to the hood.

Best bet.... stay with a standard tank.
 
  #6  
Old 05-09-18, 08:22 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,502
Received 137 Votes on 126 Posts
The burner flame plays over most of the surface of the underside of the tank. After the burner kicks off, some condensation can occur down there when someone uses hot water, new cold water comes into the tank and the burner has not restarted yet. Gradually the metal deteriorates and/or oxidizes from the outside in and flakes off to become the material that is piled up undeneath.

Failure to periodically drain sediment from inside the tank will cause the bottom surface to run at a higher temperature because the sediment inside insulates the burner heat from the water. This also accelerate the flame wear on the underside and the formation of the sediment outside you see.
 
  #7  
Old 05-11-18, 02:19 PM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Allen, I think you are right. In trying to determine if the flue was the source, I placed a paper over the waterheater vent and banged away on the flue. Banged high and low to dislodge some flacks All i got from the flue was more sand-like material. Whiteish and sandlike. So it looks as if the debris is, like you said, from the underside of the tank. I an ACTIVELY looking at new water heaters! I am liking the ...............

Rheem

Performance Platinum 50 Gal. Tall 12 Year 40,000 BTU High Efficiency Natural Gas Water Heater

Model # XG50T12HE40U0
Internet #204697785

Store SKU #1000034941


What ya think????
 
  #8  
Old 05-11-18, 03:55 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 62,628
Received 1,608 Votes on 1,480 Posts
Are you shouting from the mountaintop there.

Should be a good performer. Make sure it's the same height as the old one.
 
  #9  
Old 05-17-18, 07:54 PM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Same height.. I bought it a few days ago, and it is in the basement now and will be installing it tomorrow. I will report back, assuming I am still alive and not blown myself to kingdom come!!!
 
  #10  
Old 05-24-18, 02:30 PM
K
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Well I installed the new water heater! Of course the gas and water pipes didn't line up well, but after a few hours of sweatsoldering some new copper pipe, all is well.
 
  #11  
Old 05-24-18, 04:36 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 62,628
Received 1,608 Votes on 1,480 Posts
You know what..... the pipes never line up from one to another.
You turn it this way..... turn it that way.
That's just the way water heaters are.

Good job.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: