Hot Water Heater problem

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by ConsiderThis, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. ConsiderThis

    ConsiderThis New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Hi,
    a couple years ago I got Solar. I live in Santa Fe, but I'm off grid. I don't use public utilities, neither gas nor electric.

    Periodically I've wondered about what's going on inside my hot water heater now that there's never hot water in it.

    Recently it seems as if the water from my cold water tap smells a bit of algae, so I was going to have my hot water heater taken out... but, my shut off valve for the water for my whole house is on top of the water heater... so is the water heater a part of the plumbing of my whole house?

    I don't want to hire someone to come over and do this only to find out it can't be done... or, have it done and find it makes for big problems...

    I'm really looking forward to some direction here.

    www.health-boundaries-bite.com
    Your fingernails reflect your health--
    Learn some warning signs--
    Karen Kline
  2. ConsiderThis

    ConsiderThis New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I asked the question on **** Soapbox, too, and after I took a picture of the pipes:

    http://www.health-boundaries-bite.com/Eek-Leaks.html

    I could see that the water from the mains goes to a T and from there to either the hot water heater or the rest of the house.

    It's amazing to me that I couldn't "see" that pipe clearly until I'd taken a picture of it...

    Thank you for looking at this thread. I appreciate it. (I wonder if the question seemed extremely silly to you.)
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Is the question answered?

    Where does the solar heated water tie in. If the output of that tank is connected to the hot supply main ( unlikely, as you would be mixing cold water with your hot) , or not....in either case, it is very likely that little or no circulation takes place in the tank, and that could be your problem. Simply turning off the supply valve ( red handle) should solve that, but I would drain it.
  4. ConsiderThis

    ConsiderThis New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Wow, thank you SO much.

    I don't have solar hot water. I have a really small system: just 4 panels and 4 quite large batteries that got a bit ruined when the battery monitor was installed wrong.

    I heat my hot water during the summer, and now, in a drinking water safe 100' hose (the sun in New Mexico is quite reliable). During the winter I have pots on top of candles, which works really quite well. Except it's fiddly.

    My gosh, I am so happy to have learned this. I was SO worried. (turning off supply and draining is much easier than taking out the heater... thank you!!!!)

    Thank you!

    If you want to see my candle heating as it developed, I have it on this page:
    http://www.health-boundaries-bite.com/Avocado-Compost-and-Tinfoil.html

    I was mainly trying to keep my avocado alive. But, now I have a handle on candle heating and I think the "system" I'll be using this winter will be really good.

    I'm pretty old, so instead of playing a lot of solitaire and the like, I mess around with alternative approaches in my home. It's awfully fun!
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  5. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,054
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    On an unrelated note - looking at the link you provided, I take it you heat your home with candles. Sorry to give unsolicited advice, but since there may be others who read this thread, I do feel the need to jump in with a caution about this. Many house fires are started each year by candles being left to burn unattended. I think this means any time an adult is not awake and monitoring them. I would not recommend leaving candles burning when sleeping.

    I also hope you have working smoke detectors and a CO detector.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well I hope you are enjoying your candles. Personally, I think you are cookoo!

    I did not fight the cold war under water for 22 years and work my ass off for all of my 65 years, so I could sleep in a tent using candles to keep warm.

    Green is over-rated and largely a hoax perpertrated by algore.
  7. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    Green makes some sense unless you really love the nations producing and financially supporting most of the terrorists. Spent some time in my youth working on remote bases supporting the effort to find the enemy boomers.

    As to CO2, the science is completely at odds with your thinking. I'll do my part so that my kids and grandkids can enjoy a better planet than the desicated husk that some would bequeath them in return for short term gain.

    No need to go to candles, but intelligent use of energy is really a money saver, and I'm laughing all the way to the bank. Saving several grand a year is pretty good incentive to be smart rather than short sighted. One can be energy efficient without really sacrificing anything and without living like the Amish. It's Economics 101.

    Believing that science (and common sense) is a hoax has resulted in a "lost decade" with respect to the economic condition and leadership of our nation and markets. I didn't fall for it myself...my nest egg is intact through the meltdown, actually it is up 15% from 2006 (excluding contributions which would put me up 40+%.) ;) The Big Lie has come from the other end, where they've convinced folks that inefficient use of resources was a competitive advantage/American Way of Life. They couldn't have been more wrong.

    I'm not fond of Al Gore, but he's a lot closer to being right than Dick Cheney or Dubya ever have been or ever will be when it comes to energy/CO2. If I was looking for a hoax, it would be on their end of the spectrum...the side that had to backtrack in the past few years as everything they did turned out horribly wrong.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You and ed begley are certainly entitled to bake your brownies in a solar oven in the back yard.

    But millions of folks live in the city and don't HAVE a back yard. Green that up!

    I chuckle about the effort to replace regular light bulbs with mercury laden fluorescents. No one is really talking about the impact the landfills will see from that over the next decades. And the morons here in California outlawed 60 watt bulbs. They want you to use 57 watt bulb. Of course, you are free to replace your 60 watt bulb with a 72 watt model!!!!

    Cap and trade is a communist/socialist plot which will have ABSOLUTEL NO EFFECT on emissions, but will transfer a lot of money from working americans to the government and the international socialist interests.


    Now can we talk about your plumbing!
  9. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    Many uninformed folks chuckle about that. But there is more mercury coming from the coal they are burning for the extra electricity in their incandescents than is in the CFL's. And long tube fluorescents have been around a long time. Mercury levels in CFL's are coming down, the ones I use have about 1/3 the mercury level of the earlier designs.

    The spent CFL's can be returned to the big box stores for recycling.

    Actually quite a few dittoheads go on an on about it and don't seem to have any idea what they are talking about. They aren't exactly the types that are worried about their waste, they just pretend to get worked up about. They don't seem to have any problem with dumping 10 incandescents in the landfill for every CFL they would buy. I'm burning through 1 CFL/yr so it will be awhile before I have enough old one's collected to bother disposing of them.

    You gotta quit watching that FauX News propaganda. :rolleyes: The smartest thing we could do is to tax fossil fuels heavily to pay for upgrading our systems to ones that are more energy efficient and more sustainable. It's called investing in one's own future and lifting oneself up by the bootstraps, something business conservatives clearly don't understand as they focus only on short term pillaging of our economy.

    Even Krauthammer understands some of this (at least on the oil side of things.) He's pointed out that if we taxed gasoline/petroleum products more heavily it would cut into the price of oil...keeping the money at home rather than shipping it to other nations. Want to reduce the strength of Russia, Iran, the Saudis, and Venzuela? Reduce petroleum consumption. That's how you win strategically.

    Want a non-competitive economy (like the model of this past decade?) Just continue with the Bush/Cheney energy policy. If we want to maintain our standard of living, then we need to plan for tomorrow's realities, not for some 1950's fantasy.
  10. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Has anything changed under Obama\Biden? When are you liberal types ever going to stop blaming everyone else and actually do something besides talk talk talk?

    Just remember this. In government there is NOBODY that gives a crap about the environment regardless of what they say. What they care about is money and political power and not necessarily in that order. If they really gave a damn would they be flying around in Gulfstream's and own a half dozen mansions or show up at a conference in a Chevy Suburban?
  11. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    A few things have changed for the better, but you don't turn an economy this large around on a dime. When you've got a bunch of whackjobs (Glenn Beck and anyone else stupid enough to listen to him) teabagging themselves it makes it challenging to have any rational discussion.

    I'm not a liberal, tend to vote split ticket and am more of a Teddy Roosevelt type. Like TR I've become fairly anti-conservative though. Of course, conservatives would probably call TR a liberal/socialist/communist now too, even though he was relatively moderate. I take an engineering approach to things, which makes it easier to shift through the BS, particularly with conservation subjects like those Jimbo wandered into.

    As for doing something, I have. I've cut my electrical consumption by over 50%, nat. gas by about 20% so far, and gasoline by nearly 50%. The spate of droughts I had while living in the South have prompted me to target 50% water reduction...hope to hit that soon. And I haven't changed my lifestyle noticeably to do any of this. It makes good economic sense whether one is independent, liberal, libertarian, moderate, conservative, or whatnot. It's too bad that conservatives can't figure the easy stuff out. Efficiency is a competitive advantage, NOT a disadvantage.

    What I've noticed over the last decade was the conservatives blaming everyone else for their inability to govern responsibly or intelligently, calling independents and everyone not the to the right of Cheney, "socialists/communists/liberals." They still won't suck it up and admit their mistakes. No, it's all FDR, Johnson, Clinton, Lincoln, Gore's fault. :rolleyes: Sometimes they try to lay their failures at Dubya's feet and disown him, never mind that they fully supported him for 8 years and he did their bidding the whole time. Two wars the conservative Chickenhawks screwed up, we still don't have Osama (Clinton came closer to getting him than they have), and they wrecked the economy and the Federal budget with clueless supply siding. Their energy policy and approach to healthcare were twin disasters that helped finish off the domestic automakers. We narrowly avoided a Great Depression...and then only by doing the opposite of what conservatives suggested. If McCain had won and followed Gramm's "mental recession" economic advice we would be in a full blown depression.

    The irritating thing about the Democrats to me is that they are way too timid about fixing the things that haven't worked and need to be remedied. Their main mistake is listening to the business/banking/fossil fuel/conservative interests that have created this mess with short term thinking. Until I see some real reform and regulation as well as actual transparency in our markets, I'll keep my money out of them. If conservatives get their way it'll never happen and the markets will remain as broken as they have been for the past decade.

    But, hey, I encourage conservatives to stop talking and actually walk-the-walk. Voluntarily give up your Medicare and Soc. Security, accept no veterans benefits, no unemployment. You don't want to participate in any of those socialist programs, do you? It's only fair, your conservative paragons spent the funds from them on other adventures, so you should foot the bill of the folk you selected. If the 20-25% core conservatives did that we could begin erasing their accumulated budget deficits. ;)
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego

    Well, I hope this is all taken as good natured bantering! We could go on and on, point and counterpoint. For example:
    Mercury is still mercury. 1/3 is still a lot of mercury. For once, I do applaud HD for their recycling program. I also understand human nature, and I expect that most still go right in the dumpper.
    Although in theory, fluorescents do have a much longer life, there has been a lot of publicity about the fact that in the rush of many importers to meet the demand, quality control takes a back seat, and there is a noticeable percentage of DOA or dead-in-a-week bulbs! By the way, have you noticed that NONE of these bulbs, of any brand, are made in the USA? Lots of economic reasons, not the least of which is you could not ever get EPA/OSHA approval of a factory turning out these bulbs. The enviromental controls would make the bulbs cost $30 each. Best to let the chinese children do all the assembly.
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