tank will not shut off

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Kuba83, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. Kuba83

    Kuba83 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Arlington, Texas
    I searched and can't believe i couldn't find anything, must just be a bad searcher.

    What would cause the hot water heater to run constantly. I can hear what sounds like water running and when I go into the garage I hear the heater running always. I have no known leaks in the house, all the faucets, toilets, shower etc. as well as outside faucets are not leaking. I can't find any puddles or wet spots in or out.... Don't see any water leaks near heater tank. Bathtub faucet had been leaking for quite a while but that's been fixed.
    Its an electric. Heater is probably at least 10 years old.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,055
    Location:
    New England
    First, look at the water meter to verify that the water is actually running. If it is, and you aren't using any, you have a leak. Also, check to verify that the house doesn't have a hot water recirculation system installed; if it does, that water sound may be normal when the pump is running. Older tanks are likely to have deposits in the bottom, and both normal operation and recirculation might sound louder than when new.

    Many houses in Texas are built on a slab, and the pipes may run underneath the slab. See if you can find any spots that seem warmer than others, or are damp (may be hard to see or feel because of floor coverings). Also look outside to see if the grass is greener for unknown reasons anywhere along the foundation.

    If you can't find the leak point(s), the next path is either just rerun the hot water through the house (maybe in the attic), or find a leak detector service to pinpoint the leak location, dig up the slab and repair. Note, if you have one leak now, there may be more later, so this can get very disruptive and expensive.
  3. Kuba83

    Kuba83 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Arlington, Texas
    Thanks for the reply. I checked and the water meter is running, the spinner wheel is going faster now than when I fixed my tub faucet leak. But I can't find any water or signs of water anywhere inside or out.
    What do you mean "rerun the hot water through the house"?

    sinlge story house, concrete slab, electric WH.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,055
    Location:
    New England
    Abandon the water line that runs from the WH that goes under the slab, and run new lines to everything. The alternative is finding the leak after tearing up the slab, but you are likely to find other leaks. It is often much cheaper to run new pipe. Find a leak detector company if you want to do that. Water can be expensive in TX (and elsewhere, too!) plus you are probably paying sewer charges for that AND heating it. Don't wait too long...the next water/sewer bill could be a surprise as could the electric bill.
  5. Kuba83

    Kuba83 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Arlington, Texas
    I've started hearing a noise when turning on the sprinkler system, then tonight I turned it on and heard a definite pop. Could this be something?
    I'm not sure where the valve box is, may have to dig around in some bushes.
    I may be shutting off the water when I go to work for the next few days until I figure out what I need to do, is this a good idea, should I shut off the heater too?

    edit: this morining I still see no water, puddles, damp spots, extra grass growth, etc. anywhere, inside or out.......I would think if the water has been leaking for a few days I would see signs somewhere???
    turned water off for now.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
  6. Kuba83

    Kuba83 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Arlington, Texas
    Leak found, spare bathroom had water on the floor tonight, wasn't there yesterday or this morning. Sure seemed to take a long time to show up....??? Doesn't seem to be from any lines to the toilet or sink, probably behind the wall or in foundation..........:mad:
    Anyway, will be calling the plumber monday to get the scoop.
    The ony good news is that I got my water bill today and it was normal, so hopefully the leak was only going for a day or two before I started turning off the water. Next bill may not be too bad, maybe.......
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,055
    Location:
    New England
    If the leak is in or under the slab and if there are any cracks and their size, depending on the soil, it could take awhile before things got saturated enough to show up.

    If you shut the water off, you should also turn the WH off, otherwise, if it were to drain, you might either ruin the electric elements if they got uncovered, or overheat the burner if gas.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  8. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    The first thing I do with a leak of that nature is to close the valve supplying your HWT to see if it is indeed a hot water leak. If it is we would use a digital thermometer to find the hot spot in the slab then get out the jackhammer. Depending on the flooring and location of the leak it may be a good idea to run new lines as once you've had one leak there could be more in the future.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Depending on the flooring and location of the leak it may be a good idea to run new lines as once you've had one leak there could be more in the future.

    My experience has been that the majority of hot water underslab leaks are caused by poor installation practices, and I have seldom had more than one in any given building, therefore, I repair the line rather than reroute it. If for no other reason than that the insurance companies usually cover a repair, but seldom a rerouting.
  10. Kuba83

    Kuba83 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Arlington, Texas
    leak fixed, had a couple holes in pipes under the foundation. Looked like something just wore on them over time and finally caused a hole...... Insurance paid for all but the actual pipe repair, then of course my deductible......

    Lot a jack hammerin........
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