Author Topic: Water heater dying!  (Read 3530 times)

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4782
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Water heater dying!
« on: July 23, 2017, 03:18:55 PM »
So, water heater is dying. Things are in motion to replace it (home warranty included in contract is AWESOME btw), but in the meantime, can I take a shower?

Just a small amount of water around the base. Not expanding. Gas water heater.

What you you think?

LeRainDrop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1835
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2017, 03:30:15 PM »
Well, if your water heating is leaking, it's generally recommended to turn off the water to your tank using the dedicated shutoff valve.  In that case, you wouldn't be able to shower.  But I have no expertise in this area, so I dunno, maybe it's okay to run just one shower?

ETA:  Here's an idea.  Is there a second person in your household who could watch the drip pan while you are showering to monitor if the leak starts getting worse and to yell at you if you need to stop the shower?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 03:32:05 PM by LeRainDrop »

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4782
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2017, 03:45:57 PM »
Not yet, but my mom is coming for a few days. So she could. Good idea! If I can get a shower, then I'll be ok for a few days. Usually only wash my hair every other day, so I can manage for a couple days, and by then it should be taken care of.

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1650
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2017, 05:23:14 PM »
I'm not convinced it's the water heater.
How long has the water been there?  Is it growing in size?  Can you tell where it's dripping from?
It could be a leak on a pipe or fitting of water going to or from the water heater.
Turn on the hot water at a near faucet and inspect the heater, pipes and water...

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4782
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2017, 06:06:36 PM »
I'm not convinced it's the water heater.
How long has the water been there?  Is it growing in size?  Can you tell where it's dripping from?
It could be a leak on a pipe or fitting of water going to or from the water heater.
Turn on the hot water at a near faucet and inspect the heater, pipes and water...

Today. No, and it dried up actually. The rest of the area was dry, and no evidence on the pipes of leaking. It's either coming from the base of the water heater or the overflow pipe.

I did turn on the hot water, and got some water drops on the side where the overflow pipe is, but not right underneath it like it came from the pipe.

LeRainDrop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1835
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2017, 07:22:55 PM »
Hmm, I think that sounds more like it's leaking from the base of the water heater.  Still, make sure that when the plumber comes out, he snakes the drip line in case it's starting to get clogged.  In our condo building a couple weeks ago, one unit had BOTH a leak near the bottom of the tank AND a clog in the drip line.  That's the extent of my knowledge, LOL!

hankscorpio84

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2017, 09:07:42 PM »
If you want to learn about water heaters, check out this site.  Everything you need to know (and then some).

http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/Longevity/water-heater-basics.html

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4782
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2017, 07:18:06 AM »
To be clear, I actually want this thing to be dying - I have a home warranty from the purchase, and it would cost me $100 to replace it if it's dying! It's from 2009, so getting to that time frame I've heard water heaters tend to die.

I did take a shower, and aside from some drain oddities that are unrelated (I'll be calling a plumber soon to take care of a list of things that are beyond my capabilities/time constraints, including whatever's going on with the drain), the hot water worked fine. Still getting some water on the floor around the water heater, and it seems to be mostly when hot water has been running.

Hankscorpio, thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

Ricksun

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2017, 10:51:47 AM »
To be clear, I actually want this thing to be dying - I have a home warranty from the purchase, and it would cost me $100 to replace it if it's dying! It's from 2009, so getting to that time frame I've heard water heaters tend to die.

Good luck with that!  The insurer chooses the repairer who is incentivized to repair at all costs even if it only lasts as long as your warranty lasts.  An 8 year old water heater has a few more years to go IMO. 

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4782
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2017, 02:22:04 PM »
To be clear, I actually want this thing to be dying - I have a home warranty from the purchase, and it would cost me $100 to replace it if it's dying! It's from 2009, so getting to that time frame I've heard water heaters tend to die.

Good luck with that!  The insurer chooses the repairer who is incentivized to repair at all costs even if it only lasts as long as your warranty lasts.  An 8 year old water heater has a few more years to go IMO.

We will see what happens. I agree with you, but based on my experience of the rest of the house, the water heater has likely been abused by the previous owners and may be prematurely failing.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4782
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2017, 09:58:06 AM »
Update: it's the pressure relief valve. They're replacing that. But they're also talking about the expansion tank, ie there isn't one. It would be $250 to add one. Not adding that right now, it'll get done, if needed, when the water heater goes.

Here's my question. We've been using hot water heaters for 50+ years, without these new expansion tanks. Why are they suddenly needed? What changed? The physics of hot water certainly hasn't!

LeRainDrop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1835
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2017, 10:00:55 AM »
Here's my question. We've been using hot water heaters for 50+ years, without these new expansion tanks. Why are they suddenly needed? What changed? The physics of hot water certainly hasn't!

Here ya go! https://plumbertalk.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/expansion-tank-that-thing-on-top-of-your-water-heater/

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4782
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2017, 10:06:10 AM »
Here's my question. We've been using hot water heaters for 50+ years, without these new expansion tanks. Why are they suddenly needed? What changed? The physics of hot water certainly hasn't!

Here ya go! https://plumbertalk.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/expansion-tank-that-thing-on-top-of-your-water-heater/

Thank you. That is what no one could explain, the WHY. In other words, before I do anything, I need to find out if it's even applicable to my house, since if the water can go back into the city's system, no issue.

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1650
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2017, 12:24:14 PM »
How does someone 'abuse' a water heater??

bender

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 65
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2017, 01:12:08 PM »
Great info in this thread - thanks!

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4782
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2017, 06:24:31 PM »
First, I have no idea how you abuse a water heater. I also have no idea how they got rock solid calcium deposits all over the inside of the dishwasher when the water isn't hard or soft (and after chiseling the big stuff off, it's been gradually coming off with regular, normal use). And I similarly have no idea why they used a zip tie to attach the tub faucet to a pipe in the wall. I can continue with the weird/wrong stuff. So I wouldn't put anything past the previous owners, or their children.

Anyway, there is indeed a backflow preventer valve on the water line here, so I do need an expansion tank. Given that the water heater is 8 years old and it's cheaper to install an expansion tank at the same time as replacing the water heater, I think that will be the way to go. I'll go for the volume discount by asking them to take care of the rest of my plumbing list at the same time (I've done several items myself, but these ones I'm not touching). It'll be expensive, but not as bad as an emergency bill.

The Money Monk

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 619
  • Location: Nevada
Re: Water heater dying!
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2017, 11:54:45 PM »
How does someone 'abuse' a water heater??

By cheating on it with the air conditioner.