Water heater, What's wrong with it?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Tree, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Tree

    Tree New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Texas
    Problems with my hot water heater

    1) Air in pipes. No air in cold pipes.

    2) starts hot but gets to only warm real fast

    3) stays warm for quite a while

    4) tried draining silt out of bottom but it only improved performance slightly

    5) was having to be reset every month or so (temp was set to low but is now set to medium. temp was set to medium after all this started.)


    Is it possible to fix this easily?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,005
    Location:
    New England
    Are you on a well? That could be adding air into the system.

    The other thing that can add air is if you're getting a reaction between the anode rod in the tank with the water. A change in anode type may solve that. Air gets purged when you draw water out of the system...something has to be putting it there if it persists.

    What brand and model WH is it? Electric, gas, etc. Sounds like it may be electric, and it may be a bad element or thermostat. Both are easy to check with the right tools and knowledge. Depending on how old the thing is, it may be time to consider a replacement. Often, though, as long as it isn't leaking, repairing is a viable option. Depends on the age and condition.
  3. Tree

    Tree New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Texas
    It's electric and about 4 years old. It's a reliance 606.
  4. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,840
    Location:
    01609
    Going from hot to warm quickly, followed by sustained long warm output is a symptom of a failed dip tube. The dip tube is between the cold input and the bottom of the tank to inject the incoming water to the bottom first, so that it's stratified with all-hot a the tank. If that has corroded to a stub or fallen off the cold comes in at the top and mixes quickly with the stored hot water, making the top of the tank tepid even if the rest of the tank is still hot, which is exactly what you DON'T want. The turbulence and convection keep mixing in hot water from the lower part of the tank, so it can run warm for quite awhile.

    If air has been getting in that would accelerate issues like that. But most dip-tubes can be replaces at low DIY-cost, and it's probably still worth pulling the old one (and the sacrificial anode too), to restore function, and try to chase down how that air/gas is getting in.
  5. Tree

    Tree New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Texas
    Just a bit ago the was a very loud THUD!!! under the floor boards and it stopped making hot water. The thud could be felt. We checked the breaker and it had flipped.
  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,246
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    You never did say if you are on a well or not, which could be part of the problem.

    That heater sells in the farm store here for about 2 bills.
    The thermostat is $14 and the elements are $9.

    I guess the question is how much is it worth to you?
  7. Tree

    Tree New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Texas
    Sorry, no it's city water.
  8. Tree

    Tree New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Texas
    And now it's started making "THACK!!!" sounds. Two so far.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,005
    Location:
    New England
    When it makes noise, is it dumping water out of the T&P safety valve? Is the water excessively hot when that happens?
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,631
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Without being there to make my own tests, there is no way to tell you what is wrong or how to cure it, but one thing is certain, if you start replacing parts without knowing what is wrong, you WILL waste time and money, and will probably still have the problem. "Thud" and "thunk" are NOT descriptions of the most common problems.
  11. Tree

    Tree New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Texas
    There's no extra hot water coming out any sort of pressure release. The plumbers were over and removed a whole bunch of scale from the bottom of it and replaced the bottom element. The water get's hotter now, but I still haven't gotten to test if it will stay hot. At first it would get cool again (this just after they fixed it.).

    There was still some knocking in the pipes.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,005
    Location:
    New England
    If the elements are encased in mineral deposits, when off, a little bit of water will migrate in. Then, when the element turns on, that trapped water will heat up, turn to steam, then burst out of that little mineral pocket, potentially making some audible noise. The scale on the sides can get hot enough to do this, too, depending on where they are in relation to the element.
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