water heater bypass

The Tank water heater bypass

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    I am living on Navarre Beach, and after hurricaine Ivan, we are without sewer and water for at least 3-4 more months. We have electricity and water can be carried by tank from the water tower to our homes via my truck and 3 55 gallon drums. I have running water from the drums to a shower and faucet by garden hose. But now with the cold weather, the black wrapping over the 55 gallon drums doesn’t keep the water warm for a comfortable shower at 50 F and 20 mph wind at 800 pm.

    I dedided to try to pump water from my drum to my water heater about 18 feet up from the ground. I was successful in pumping 80 gallons to my 80 gallon water heater after splicing into my cold water inlet line. I can drain the water out of the drain at the bottom of the water heater tank inot a line to a shower by gravity feed or place my pump on the outflow line. This seems to work and I have tried it.

    However, now after I put the 80 gallons in the water heater, I no longer can get the water heater to heat water at all? I opened the pressure relief value to pump the water into the water heater, I closed it after I did it. I don’t understand what is keeping my water heater from not working. I have a 4 year old water heater in good condition without sediment. I am wondering if it is related to a reset button on the water heater that I can’t find or something related to water pressure, or the frip tube?

    Randy Schuyler

    My colleague, Larry Weingarten, is out of town today, but will probably add his opinion when he returns.

    Getting the tank to turn on is probably just a question of hitting the reset switch. Look for a red button in the upper element port.

    But I think what you’re doing is kind of dangerous. If you accidentally leave the tank on while you’re using the water, there is a likelihood that you’ll burn out the electric element(s) when the water falls below their level and some chance the tank itself might explode if the safety devices built into it fail. You wouldn’t like that!

    Randy Schuyler

    Larry Weingarten

    Hello: (I’m back) I wonder if in using your tank you drained it down at all. Both electric and gas heaters must stay full of water when operating. If electrics don’t, the upper element is certain to burn out. Once it is gone, the heater will not heat at all. Operating a gas heater while only partly full can ruin it. You need a pressure pump or some way to hook up the heater normally so, in use it cannot be drained down at all. Hot water needs to come off the top of the tank, not the bottom, and coldmust be fed in through the cold inlet on top. I’d have a look at the upper element. Be sure to get help if you need it as 240 volts is deadly.

    Yours, Larry

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Water Heater Rescue

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