Heater works - but only warm water in bathrooms

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  #1  
Old 08-20-19, 07:56 PM
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Question Heater works - but only warm water in bathrooms

Hello all,

Hope someone can provide a hint for me to troubleshoot this further:

I have a 50Gal Rheem, model 42V50-40F, gas powered water heater.

About 4 weeks ago, abruptly one day we started getting only warm / luke-warm water; Got a plumber to flush the - and the water was quite clear (and hot) - no sediment. After the flush, the water is still warm in all bathrooms (not hot).

Subsequently the plumber said the heater has to be replaced.

When i tried to troubleshoot things myself - I noticed the following:

1. The pilot flame burns a steady blue; no problems.
2. After depleting a few gallons of hot-water, the heater turn on normally; after some time, turns off.
3. The outlet copper hose from the heater is HOT to touch - always (BUT bathrooms still get warm water! )
4. The inlet copper hose is hot initially (maybe because of some hot water backflow) and when I start running hot-water in one of the bathrooms, the cold-water hose goes back to cold-temperature (based simply on touch).
5. The family has a general observation, that since this behavior started, it's taking longer than previously, for the cold-water to turn warm in the bathrooms or kitchen.

So my question is - if the outlet hose is HOT, that means the heater seems to be doing its job. So what else could be wrong?
OR do I have to bite the bullet and replace the heater?

Thanks in advance!

-G
 
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  #2  
Old 08-21-19, 07:34 AM
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Not a real pro on this but if the output line from the water heater is remaining very hot while the bathrooms are getting just warm water them the water heater is filled with hot water and is fine. If that is the case then there is something mixing in cold water somewhere down the line.

You say the bathrooms but then mention the kitchen. Are all hot water locations delivering just warm water? Check all, showers, tub, everywhere you can. If some are remaining hot while others go warm then it points to those warm water areas. Could be a mixing valve on a single lever shower.

If you have shutoff valves that can turn off water to some areas try that to see if it restores hot water to a place that was warm

PS how old id that water heater?

Bud
 
  #3  
Old 08-21-19, 12:58 PM
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Thanks Bud. The unit was manufactured Nov 2004. Probably installed sometime in 2005. So ~14 years in service.

Yes all bathrooms (upstairs and down) and the kitchen - it's the exact same behavior observed.

I will look in / under the house for any shut-off valves for specific areas...but I doubt those exist...that would be a good check...

Thx!
-G
 
  #4  
Old 08-21-19, 01:26 PM
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Often times the plumbing will have those valves so different areas ho the house can be serviced without shutting down everything.

From many years ago and memory is sketchy I had a cold water line back feeding into the hot water line through my single lever shutoff at my washing machine. I can't remember the solution but when I shut off both hot and cold the back feed stopped.

Not sure if that tidbit helps but as you identify pipes in the basement or crawl space testing to see which ones get hot when they should and identifying any that only get warm.

Easy from where I'm sitting but see what you can do. BTW the plumber you had there should have been checking all of this.

Bud
 
  #5  
Old 09-05-19, 09:25 PM
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Issue resolved - heater replaced

Hello all,

Just to close on this - the plumber checked a few things and finally concluded that the heater did indeed need replacement.

Got a new 50-Gallon Bradford-White - and we are now enjoying hot water normally!

Thanks Bud for helping out...

-G
 
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