Re: Problem with hot water supply
Posted by apb on July 06, 2003 at 18:01:31:
In response to Re: Problem with hot water supply
: We recently had our oil burner replaced, as it was extremely old. Shortly afterwards (2 days or so) our hot water wasn't hot, so we placed an emergency call to the plumber, described the problem (We don't have hot water to take a bath in! HELP!) and he told us that our water heater was shot and needed to be replaced... we got a quote from him for $1500 to replace our "water heater" (had a clogged heat exchanger, he said), which we couldn't afford, as we'd just paid him $4200 for the new boiler. We called another plumber to see if we could get a better price, or a temporary fix, and he came out. He fiddled with the valves and such for a minute, drained about 3 gallons of water out of our system, and said to see what we had for hot water in 10 minutes... lo and behold, we had hot water again.. he said that he "re-established the vacuum" in our water system, and that the "water heater" was probably fine.
: ... ... ...
: A year later, our water isn't hot anymore, and I can't get ahold of our new plumber - he's moved to florida or something.. :-)

: I did a looking at our "water heater", and a little research on the web, found out that we don't actually have a conventional water heater, we've got an indirect water heater, an "Amtrol Boilermate - Model "WH-7" which gets rave reviews on every website I've visited. I get the impression that it's probably fine, there's just another problem somewhere in the system, maybe the thermostat is shot or something...

: The actual problem is kinda odd... I played with valves in the boiler-room, drained 3-4 gallons of HOT water out of the boiler(to be expected, I suppose) and we had hot water the next morning, and for about 3 days afterwards. Our hot water is again not hot, it's not even very warm, it's just not as cold as the water coming out of the cold water tap, and it doesn't last very long.. kinda makes me think that the water that is warm is just warm because it's near warm water somewhere in the system and is getting heated by proximity to other hot water, instead of on purpose.

: I'm grasping at straws here, but I'm outta ideas.. should I replace the thermostat on the Boilermate, check (and how to check?) for "vacuum in our system", or replace the Boilermate itself?

: Thanks for any help,
: Les Thompson

The boilermate unit works as follows
THe boilermate has a heat exchange inside the has very hot water from the furnace warming the domestic hot water you use. The furnace water does not come into direct contact with the domestic hot water. THis is why it is called an indirect water heater.

- Thermostat or thermocouple in boilermate decides water is cold
- sends signal to furnace
- furnace turns on a circulation pump and or valve
- hot water from furnace circulates through heat exchanger in bolermate and heats the water you get out of the tap.
- when water is hot enought the theromstat turns off, thereby shutting off circulation pump or valve.

Possible problems or cures
1) open relief valve on top of boilermate- be very careful as hotwater/steam may come out. Get a bucket. If steam or hot air comes out, let is continue until water comes out. You may have water with lots of air. (Not as hard as you would think)

2) adjust knob on the front of the boilermate located at the bottom. You should hear a click from the furnace when at some point telling the furnace to turn on. If you do not then the control may be bad.

3) Have another plummber check the plumbing to the boilermate. The circulation valve may not be working, or there may be trapped air in the furnace circulation system or the original plumber did not hook it up correctly. (This is also very easy to have). Be very careful when working around the furnace, water is very hot under pressure and will cause serious burns!

Some of the things he is looking for
- Boiler mate not wired to correct furnace circulator valve/pump. (With a new furnace this is possible)
- check valves backwords or not working
- Circulator valve bad or wires broken
- antisiphon vales not installed or bad.

4) The main furnace control may not be wired correctly. (You did say this was a new furnace and it worked before the change. IT is possible that the boilmate is wired to the wrong circulator pump circuit.

5) Seldom is the problem solved by large scale rewplacement of previously working parts.

6) The boilmate may need draining dur to sediment. It depends on what you supply water has in it. You may want a dirt filter on the incoming supply. Openning the top relief valve and letting it run for 10-15 minutes may help- check to see if your hot water is cloudy.

Good luck

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