only warm water not hot,plumber says it the cartridges in the faucet

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Trisha Justice, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. Trisha Justice

    Trisha Justice New Member

    Messages:
    3


    For a month now I've only had warm water delivered at my faucets and showers and the pressure seems to be low. I've had 3 plumbers out to fix the problem. But it's not fixxed yet.

    Before I called anyone the first thing I did was flush the HW heater. It is 7 years old, and my water is very hard. The water flowed fine and didn't visually appear to have much in it. But that didn't seem to help anything at all.

    1st plumber said it was the pressure tank and replaced that. He also replaced the upper and lower elements in my hot water heater, both the upper and lower thermostats, AND changed the filter in the in line sediment filter.
    The pressure seemed to be better at first but the water in the faucets is only warm at full hot settings...in ALL faucets in the house. When the pressure dropped a week later I called him again. He came back and said that when he replaced the pressure tank and repressurized it that probably I got a lot of gunk forced through the lines and that clogged the cartridges in the faucets. (I have a well, not central water supply). He tried to pull one of the cartridges(all are moen faucets, single control) but my water is so hard and the house is 30 years old and he couldn't get the cartridge unit free) He told me he'd have to cut holes in the drywall and replace all the faucets anc controls.
    I didn't want a plumber ripping into my walls so I called for a 2nd opinion.

    2nd plumber got a special tool to pull cartridges but again they were corroded in and wouldn't budge. So that guy cut a small piece of tile out, replaced the cartridge from behind, sodered the pipes back together, & covered the hole with an oversized crome plate . But that didn't solve the hot water problem. (Thank goodness we just replaced one to see if that would work) Now he is telling me I need a new hot water heater. However, when I open the faucet on the bottom of the HW tank I get scalding hot water, but the water kind of sprays instead of flowing which seems to indicate corrosion or sediment in the valve (there is not screen) But only moderately warm water is delivered at the household faucets (all). Doesn't make any sense to me. If there is hot water at the tank, why isn't it getting through the lines. My water is very hard and there is no softener. (yes I should probably get one) so I'm thinking something must be clogging somewhere.

    Plumber 3 came out and assessed the situation and said the upper thermostat could be out, in which case since it was already replaced, I should probably replace the entire heater. But I showed him that the washing machine was getting scalding hot water (both thermostats are currently set on high). But when I demonstrated that I noticed the pressure in the washer was very low, and I'v also noticed presssure problems in the showers. He changed the in line sediment filter again and the pressure seemed to rebound. But the filters are supposed to be good for up to 3 months and it had only been 2 weeks since last change.

    As a sideline I looked at the thermostats again and I noticed the upper was replaced with a single control thermostat, while I know the old one that came out had some sort of limiter that shut off one or the other (upper or lower ) once the water heated properly. I'm thinking this incorrect thermostat might have something to do with it. I asked the 1st plumber about that and he said that all the supply house carried were single control ones and that should make no difference anyway, that is why he went ahead and put it in.

    In the meantime for a month now I've only had warm water, not hot, in my sinks and tub/showers, the water gets cooler after about 5 minutes and the pressure seems to still be lower than it was 6 months ago. I'm not convinced that the HW heater is the problem since the water is very hot at the tank lower faucet. Can anyone help me figure out what is going on?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,614
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    plumbers

    Well, if that is a sample of the quality plumbers you have in your area, tell me where you live and I might move there. Pressure problems have nothing to do with thermostats, elements, or tanks, (if it is an expansion tank, not the well's storage tank). There is only one proper upper thermostat, and if he used the wrong one, it could be any of several, and we would have to see a picture of it to tell which "wrong one" he used.
  3. how bout a new dip tube???

    only lukewarm water everywhere in the house correct???

    it could be something as simple as a dip tube....


    either the top of the water heater is corroded shut going out
    or the dip tub is broke of fin the heater , too...


    well you have already gone this far,
    the heater is 7 years old....its your choice..
    you might as well
    go for a new water heater too...


    in for a penny in for a pound
  4. Trisha Justice

    Trisha Justice New Member

    Messages:
    3
    dip tube

    Thanks Mark,
    I rather suspected it could be something corroded in the line. I've resigned myself to replacing the heater, and a plumber is coming Monday to do that. But tell me, please, where is the dip tube? Is it in the actuat hw heater itself or after the water exits?

    Also, if you will indulge me, since I'm going to replace the heater, what about these instant hw heaters? Will they suffice for a 3 bath house with dw, and washing machine? Do you know anthing about the energy usage compared to regular 40 or 50 gal heater? What size would be adequate? I've seen them in 6 gal, 10 gal and 20 gal at Home Depot, but the clerk didn't seem to know anything helpful.

    I've been advised to add a water softener too. Is there some kind of system flush I could do prior to installing one to get all the old crud out of the lines? Any recommendations on a good brand softener?

    Thanks again.
    Trisha
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,614
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    water heater

    I've resigned myself to replacing the heater, and a plumber is coming Monday to do that.

    Unless you find out for sure that the heater is the problem, you may still have it after spending the money on a new one.

    Also, if you will indulge me, since I'm going to replace the heater, what about these instant hw heaters? Will they suffice for a 3 bath house with dw, and washing machine? Do you know anthing about the energy usage compared to regular 40 or 50 gal heater? What size would be adequate? I've seen them in 6 gal, 10 gal and 20 gal at Home Depot,

    An "instant water heater" does not have any storage. It heats the water as it flows through the unit. You would have to insure that the existing gas supply and "chimney" are adequate for the new tankless unit.

    I've been advised to add a water softener too. Is there some kind of system flush I could do prior to installing one to get all the old crud out of the lines? Any recommendations on a good brand softener?

    Any "crud" in the pipes will either flush out when water is used, or stay there. The softener will not make any difference about that.
  6. Trisha Justice

    Trisha Justice New Member

    Messages:
    3
    what is a dip tube?

    I still don't know where the dip tube is located? Is it in the hw heater or external?
  7. Kristi

    Kristi Tradesman Plumber

    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Trisha, it's inside the hot water heater.
  8. the dip tube is located here

    they just wont answer a simple question , without
    a long winded lecture...can they>>>??

    here is a picture of one in action



    http://www.stemdoctor.com/gas_hot_water_heaters.htm

    their are tons of good softeners out there,

    everyone has their own opinions.....

    here is a link to one I use a lot

    http://www.puritec.com/residential/water/home/autotrol.htm

    this will probably stir up some opinions...

    others feel this one is sub-standard to other brands ,
    they could be right but it works good for me
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2005
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,614
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    dip tube

    Now that they know what a dip tube is and where it is located, what has been accomplished. They still do not know if that is the problem, if the heater itself is the problem, or where the actual problem is.
  10. process of elimination

    Hi, you said yourself that they dont have very
    smart plumbers in her area ---(like me and you)--

    thats a shame, because it looks like its just going to be
    a process of elimation before those dummmies finally
    get her problem fixed....
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,614
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    dip tube

    Knowing where the dip tube is located and what it does is not the same as diagnosing whether it is the problem, but since the problem is temperate water, not a very short supply of hot water that is not likely to be the problem. If the heater itself was only heating to the temperate level, that should be discernable by feeling the outlet pipe on the heater. The plumbers in that area do not seem to be overly knowledgable, but replacing what they "think" is the problem can get expensive.
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    "I've seen them in 6 gal, 10 gal and 20 gal at Home Depot, but the clerk didn't seem to know anything helpful."

    These are not 'instant heaters'. They are just small point of use water heaters, and being electric cost a lot to run. Their recovery rate is very slow. I can't imagine why anyone in the store would recommend one.

    Instant heaters, know more correctly as TANKLESS heaters, provide hot water on an unlimited basis time-wise, but very limited on a gallons per minute basis. You would need a very large unit for 3 bathrooms + busy laundry room and kitchen, or you would often get only warm water, not hot.

    Since you are on electric, you would need to have a new VERY LARGE circuit installed. A large tankless could need as much as THREE DOUBLE POLE 60 amp circuits. It is very likely your main panel could not support such a load. So the installation would be costly.
  13. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    water heater

    The plumber that was there should have taken the nipple on the cold side of the heater out. If the dip tube was gone or shredded, then you would know for sure. Could remove the hot side nipple and fitting to see if there is a restriction there. I've had enough calls like yours and that's the first place I would look. While he doing that he could remove and drain the heater. But what ever has accumulated on the bottom isn't your drop in pressure. If he thinks the w/h needs replacing, any more, if you asked, I'd say that you should get 8 to 10 years out of a new w/h and he could have said that it may take me about this many dollars to do these things to your water heater or it will cost you this much to replace it.
    Next time ask around and get a good plumber.
  14. it the way some stay in business

    some plumbers make thier living

    by doing things this way......not good


    usually they dont last very long ,


    you can also complain to the guy and

    attempt to make him do the workat a discount

    to cover his previous mistakes.
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