The Tank › At my wit's end!
- April 17, 2006 at 11:27 am #4831
Wehad a 13 yr old hot water heater in an area of the country with very hard well water. So we have 2 strikes against it already right? Just FYI it was 50 gal with 36,000 btu’s. The main problem with it was there was not enough hot water to do more than 1 thing at a time. Either bathe,wash dishes or do clothes but not at the same time, and not even consecutively…like 30 min apart. So I decide to get a new one. 50 gal tank 38,000 btu’s. The plumber tells me my main problem was the age not the btu’s or size. Makes sense. But here we are with the brand spanking new hot water heater and still same problem. My husband is ready to strangle someone. I can not figure it out. I dont think that it is one bit better than the old one.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
Is there a hot water heater out there that will let someone wash a small amount of dishes while someone takes a shower. Or will allow me to wash a load of clothes in warm water and expect to take a shower either during or right after?
Am I asking to much from a hot water heater? thankyou d.April 17, 2006 at 11:54 am #4832Larry WeingartenParticipant
Hello: I suspect the water heater would very much like to give you better service, but the plumbing is preventing it. Plumbing is probably hiding both a cross connection and flow restriction. Let’s break up the problem into seperate pieces.
Cross connection is water leaking from the cold into the hot or visa versa. To test for it, turn off the cold inlet to your heater and open a hot tap. A little water should come out, then stop within about five seconds. If it keeps running, either the shut off at the heater is bad or there is a cross connection which you get to hunt down.
The other problem, flow restriction, involves taking a pressure gauge and testing both static pressure and pressure under flow where water enters the house and on downstream. For instance, if you put a gauge on the drain valve of the water heater and measure 50 pounds static pressure, run hor water and still get about 50 pounds, but have little flow at the hot taps, you know the restriction is downstream of the heater. It the gauge does fall, you know the restriction is upstream of the heater.
You might want to get a plumber’s help, but following these guidelines will help prove the heater innocent :cool:.
ps. a pressure balanced shower valve might be a good idea for keeping your husband happy.April 17, 2006 at 12:34 pm #4833
Larry Thankyou so much for taking time to brainstorm this.
We did the first test you sugessted and my husband says thats not it. The hot water went off within 3 sec.
The second test I guess we will have to find a plumber because we do not have any of those gauges. Does the fact that we have great water pressure both hot and cold seperately and together answer the second question or are you talking about something altogether different. We dont think we fully understand . Is the pressure you are talking about not at the tap but somewhere else?. d.April 17, 2006 at 4:54 pm #4834Larry WeingartenParticipant
Hello: The sort of gauge I’m talking about costs $10 to $15 at a hardware store. It comes with a hose adaptor so it can be screwed onto any hose bibb. What you are looking for is static pressure, that is with no water running and pressure drop when fixtures are turned on. Where you find a big drop in pressure, you know there must be a flow restriction in the pipe serving that fixture.
One other thing to check is that hot water is actually coming from the heater and coming from the hot side. To check, run hot water for about ten seconds. Go back to the heater and feel the pipes. The hot side should be quite hot and the cold side, cold. If they are reversed, that is a big, but easy to fix problem. If the hot side is only warm, that’s easy to fix too.
Let us know what you find.
Yours, LarryApril 17, 2006 at 8:20 pm #4835
Larry Your hangin with us. I am so pleased maybe we will get to the bottom of this mystery.
Ok We did the test where we feel pipes on water heater. No problem there. Hot pipe got very hot after on for 10 sec but not too hot to touch. It was warm before test then went to very hot after 10 sec but not scalding. Guess thats fine
So we now have to move on to the pressure test. Husband wants to know what do we screw the hose bib end onto? Could you give us a little more direction? We will go tonight to home depot and get one and test when we receive furtuer instructions. many thanks doloresApril 17, 2006 at 8:22 pm #4836
Larry I will say that the wacked out plumber that plumbed this house got at least 3 of our faucets reversed…the hot is on cold side and cold is on hot side. So who knows what else he screwed up that we can not see. dApril 18, 2006 at 1:52 pm #4838Randy SchuylerKeymaster
Larry’s out of town, although he might be back tonight. You can screw the pressure gauge on the water heater drain valve or any hose bibb, such as an outdoor faucet.
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