Leaky Tank, Thermal Expansion or Pressure?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by ozarkobie, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. ozarkobie

    ozarkobie New Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    30 Gal Kenmore (this is another story) self installed April 07.
    Closed system, PRV in supply line near heater.
    No expansion tank installed (haven't had one for 20 years).
    Yesterday morning early, my tenant calls and tells me he heard water running through the lines and traced it to the Hot water heater. Water was in the closet, running into the garage as well as a hallway inside the house.
    My inspection indicated no leaks at any of the fittings, T&P valve, and no condensation on cold water supply lines.
    The leak was comming from the bottom of the tank in a trickling stream not a drip (enough for the tank to be calling for supply...could hear it re-filling).
    I tested the T&P valve and it opened fine, when I did this, the trickle at the bottom of the tank stopped.
    Opening a hot water tap also stopped the trickle.
    When I turned the supply off, the trickle stopped as well.
    Because there is so much water on the platform it is hard to tell if there is any dripping when supply is interrupted.
    My understanding of thermal expansion indicates that there might be a cup or two of water forced out but not a constant trickle and certainly not as much as I am seeing.
    What is your best guess as to what is causing this leak?
    If it is a leaky tank, how do I convince Sears that a 4 month old H2O heater is faulty (they can't get a "technician" out to check it out for another 8 days).
  2. Mike Swearingen

    Mike Swearingen New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Independent Real Estate Broker
    On Albemarle Sound In Northeastern NC
    You obviously have a ruptured water heater tank or lower welded fitting.
    Either way (A) you probably need an expansion tank with a PRV, and (B) Sears owes you a new water heater under warranty, unless they weasle out due to a DIY job.
    Good Luck!
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  4. BAPlumber

    BAPlumber Plumber

    Jul 18, 2007
    Journeyman Plumber, business owner
    Vashon, Washington
    does Sears know that there is property damage happening? If it is a warranty issue they would be liable for the damage, I would think. Everyday they wait the damage is greater.
  5. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    do it yourself

    I love it when I hear that Sears cant come out for a week on a warranty service issue.....
    it makes that low- low price you paid all worth-while , dont it??

    they should have offered you a thermal expansion tank
    ----unless you installed this yourself...

    they cant be liable for damages if you did not want a thermal expansion tank
    or did the work yourself.... .

    to save yourself a lot of time...
    just install another t+p valve on the heater yourself
    and see if that stops the leak....

    if that solves the problem, , this will happen again so

    get a thermal expansion tank,
    and have someone install it....

    and forget about sears, call and cancel or

    they will charge you about 95 bucks
    for the "look see" inspection on that heater...
    even though it is still "under warranty"

    becasue the service call is not free if its not leaking..

    and they usually
    will arrive somewhere between the hours of 8 am to 5 pm....
    so you usually get to sit around all day waiting on them........

    god I really do love those fellows..

    they make me look soooo good.

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2007
  6. ozarkobie

    ozarkobie New Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    That is part of the "another story"
    I hope I don't have to YouTube this puppy, but it is a possibility
  7. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    U-Tube for plumbing

    I have never cosidered U tube for plumbing concernss...

    everything else can be found on there

    from someone pulling out their nose hairs
    with needel nose pliers

    to great political debates in the senate....

    I suppose you could post your story too....
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Sounds like a seam split or something like that with the increased pressure caused by heating the water without an expansion tank. Normally, the weakest part is the T&P valve (by design). Any tank should hold and not be damaged at the pressure that is limited by the T&P. But, once you get that damaged one replaced, it is likely the T&P will open. Did you do some other maintenance like replace toilet fill valves, etc. in this apartment? If there was a valve that was leaking, and you fixed it, that will then create excessive pressure in the house without an expansion tank. With a working prv, you always need an expansion tank.
  9. ozarkobie

    ozarkobie New Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    I have not done any repair on any plumbing fixtures since installing the H2O heater. Everything was working fine for 4 months...that is what puzzles me and why I think it must be the tank. I lived in this house for 15 years and never had a problem with any leaking. In fact the H2O heater I replaced was the original heater that was installed when the house was built, it was 24 years old! I drained it several times over the years but never had to do any other maintenance. It was a RHUD.
    This Kenmore was not my first choice, even though some are rated higly, I pushed my luck too far and had to get one in a hurry and it had to be less than 18" in diameter...small closet. $299 ain't gonna break me but I don't appreciate the attitude and the false promise of satisfaction from a major company.
    If I can't get hot water maybe I can get someone into some.
    Thanks for the feed back everyone!
  10. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Aug 11, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    the warrenty states on the w/hs I installed in the past PRV on main and no
    exp tank,w/h tank ruptues,warrenty void.
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