Gas Water Heater: What is proper flame?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Ponchojuan, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. Ponchojuan

    Ponchojuan New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I have a 75 Gal. WB gas heater. Vintage 1996. I've flushed the tank, but runs out of hot water after a couple of showers. I checked the fame, and it seems to be low and wonder if the issue is the control ( it's a White Rogers and there is no manifold pressure adjustment). The flame is blue, but only about a half an inch high. Seems to be on a lot too. Is this incorrect? Should I replace the contol ( $75.00)?



    Poncho
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    You would have to check the gas pressure to be 100% sure...It may also be the thermostat not reading the water temp correctly...this would be a more likely reason...is the water coming out of the sink faucets seem cooler than it used to be?
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Location:
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    hot water

    You might have a GOOD plumber check your system. There are several things that could cause that problem and a bad flame would be one of the last possibilities. It could range from a broken hot water line under the floor which is where all the hot water is going (and would turn the burner on VERY frequently if not all the time), to a broken dip tube (but that would turn the burner on less often not more frequently), to a bad thermostat, and finally that small flame.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    With a 1996 water heater failing to supply an adequate volume of hot water the first place I would look would be the dip tube. Check the following link to see if your water heater serial number is on the list of affected units.

    Defective Diptube Information
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    If you do NOT have the dip tube problem, the size of the flame would not be suspect in your symtoms. You could heat with a match, and eventually the tank would be heated all the way up; just would take longer. A 40 gallon tank will give you 28 gallons of water heated to within 20º of the setpoint, so depending on how long you shower, that is how many showers you should get. If it used to give a longer shower, then suspect the dip tube.
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    Location:
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    Check the dip tube first. The symptoms sound very much like the dip tube has broken off. If I have the story correct, dip tubes for many water heater manufacturers were produced by one manufacturer and there were defective. I experienced this with my 1996 heater, and I know it was a problem. The dip tube hangs by its flange just under the water inlet. Remove the nipple on top of the tank and you can pull the tube out. If the tube is broken, all you'll get out is the flange and maybe a few inches of tube. New tubes are cheap and available at most any plumbing shop. You may have to trim the bottom end to fit your tank, but just drop it in the hole, replace the nipple. If it's not the tube, then you'll have to go to plan B, C, or D.
  7. Ponchojuan

    Ponchojuan New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thanks for the quick replies. Based on the messages, I'll check the dip tube.

    The heater does bring the water to temp. The problem is recovery. My wife used our BIG double bath tub and it took over 8 hours to recover. The question is really, how large should that flame be at a normal 4.0WC? Seems like it needs to be larger. Thanks guys for the help.

    Poncho
  8. Ponchojuan

    Ponchojuan New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Hydrojet System

    The BW heater I have is a Hydrojet System. Were they effected by the disintegrating dip tube problem?

    Poncho
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    Yes Bradford White was affected. The link I provided above lists the affected serial numbers as...

    KH******* to KM*******


    LA******** to LM*******


    MA******* to MM*******


    NA******* to NM*******


    and OA, PA, or PB
  10. Ponchojuan

    Ponchojuan New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Seems mine is NQ, but I plan to check it anyway.
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would! It falls pretty close to the affected numbers.
    I'm not 100% sure that the numbers are 100% accurate and it could definitely cause your problem
  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If by recovery you mean that it took 8 hrs. for the tank to reheat...the flame was on for 8 hours...then it is not a dip tube problem...
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