[N/A] Water Heater Rant... [N/A]

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by ARFlyer, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    WHO MAKES A HEATING ELEMENT WITH ONLY A 1/16" LIP?????

    I've been trying to replace a burned out top element for two hours, and I can't get the blasted thing lose. The element only has a very small lip for the element wrench. Even with a 4' cheater bar I just end up rotating the whole heater or the wrench comes flying loose across the garage.

    I'm about ready to yank the whole thing and throw it into yard and buy a new water heater.
     
  2. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    I wouldn't bother, nothing worse than a hot water tank leak. Put a new one in, write the date the warranty ends on it, when that date happens repeat. Don't buy the extended warranty.
     
  3. SoonerAviator

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    Lol, I just opened the WH closet last night to try and find a date on the unit. Have no idea how old it is, just know it hasn't been replaced in the 6 years I've had the home. I do know that it doesn't have the capacity to fill the whirlpool tub in the master. I'll have to move up to the 50 gallon size I'm sure.
     
  4. azblackbird

    azblackbird Cleared for Takeoff

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    Spray the crap out of it with CLR and see if that won't loosen things up.
     
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  5. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    What's crazy is this heater is only a few years old. However, the bathroom water heater is 36 years old and still chugging along with the original elements...
     
  6. Barneyfife

    Barneyfife Pre-Flight

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    righty tighty, lefty loosey? heat tank around it with torch maybe?
     
  7. wrbix

    wrbix Cleared for Takeoff

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    Instead of those cheap POS stamped-from-a-pipe element wrench, try a real 1 1/2inch socket instead for better purchase on the hex flange.
     
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  8. hankrausch

    hankrausch Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I ran into that problem swapping out an element once. Had bought the “premium” element which is much heavier and it was impossible for me to seat as the weight kept it from mating: went back to the cheap element and it threads fine.
     
  9. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    That's what I was thinking. I'm just worried that the flange is too small to get any purchase. My issue right now is I can't the wrench to stay on the element while I jimmy the cheater bar. If I do get lucky and it sticks I just end up rotating the tank.
     
  10. wrbix

    wrbix Cleared for Takeoff

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    Real socket and tap bar with hammer.
     
  11. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    I'm also worried all this banging around will cause the lower element to break free. It still had some resistance so I'm hoping to keep it.
     
  12. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    You would have been done now putting a new one in and probably not much more cost than the element if you do it yourself. Had bad experiences with them in past.
     
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  13. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    It’s gonna leak. Dump the whole thing. :)
     
  14. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This lawn supervisor was out on a sprinkler maintenance job and he started working on a Findlay sprinkler head with a Langstrom 7″ gangly wrench. Just then, this little apprentice leaned over and said, “You can’t work on a Findlay sprinkler head with a Langstrom 7″ wrench.” Well this infuriated the supervisor, so he went and got Volume 14 of the Kinsley manual, and he reads to him and says, “The Langstrom 7″ wrench can be used with the Findlay sprocket.” Just then, the little apprentice leaned over and said, “It says sprocket not socket!"
     
  15. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    Well F$&$! I got the element replaced. However, now it's blowing the pressure relief valve every 30 minutes or so and flooding my garage. The water is insanely hot. I'm wondering if it's boiling off inside..
     
  16. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Check the control it's stuck on or wired wrong. Probably what burned out the original.
     
  17. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    I pulled the thermostat and checked the wiring. Everything looked to be in order. It's still blowing the relief. This last time it sounded like a firecracker and won't go back closed. Even with the water cold, the house taps open, and the drain line fully open it's going out the relief tube. My father came over after work and said it's ****ed and to replace it with a tankless.
     
  18. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Lol. Yer screwed.
     
  19. wrbix

    wrbix Cleared for Takeoff

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    Be prepared, based on my experience, to have a significant decrease in water pressure with a tankless unit.
    Ever considered a gas powered water heater?
    Oh, the joys of home ownership!
     
  20. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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  21. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My tanks have not leaked in 26 years, so I persist in servicing them on a regular basis instead of buying new ones.
    Our water is very alkaline, the aquifer being in a caliche formation so mine plug up every 2-5 years. I have 8 to take care of right now.
    Once they silt up to the lower element, that element blows and its time to swap (I keep spares ready to go at all times).
    I swap and we have hot water restored within 30 minutes. (they are all fitted with flex hoses and the lower drain is fitted with a 3/4" short nipple to accommodate a garden hose)
    Then I go to work on the silted one at my leisure. I haul it out on the grass after draining the water, pull off the elements, in/out risers, PRV, remove the dip tube, sometimes the thermostats, the Mg rod, the drain valve.
    Then with a high tech tool of bent wire I start scooping the mung out of the bottom while a garden hose is running in the upper element hole. Once it is pristine inside, it is time to reassemble.
    Cleaned up female threads, new elements, cleaned up PRV, usually new Mg rod(not convinced this is necessary), new heat trap risers, lube all threads with vaseline (using a thread compound means you will taste it for the first 2 months of installation).

    Tips.
    -Elements must only be put on tight enough to ensure no leaks, then watch for a few days before closing in. Vaseline here too. Removing them; the socket must periodically be ground flat so that you are into new socket engaging the hex. Occasionally I have put it into the truck, driven to the garage and had the air impact wrench loosen them. Many times I have had to remove elements with a chisel and mallet, making ugly grooves in the hex as you work your way around it.
    I don't recall not being able to get one out. I do recall cursing, being concerned that I was making it impossible to remove, and taking an hour to get them out.
    Sometimes the element explodes and cannot be twisted out so it is forcefully removed with whatever is available to grab it. Then pieces are left in the tank and teased out later. The double folded elements can be miserable to remove pieces larger than the opening.
    The lower drain - most tanks come with a nylon or plastic valve assy which is so designed that if you mess with it, it busts so you buy a new tank. And a small orifice so that you think its toast and go buy a new water heater*, or it plugs so you have to mess with it. As soon as I buy a new tank (its rare) I pull this stupid valve out and install a 3/4", 90° full port ball valve on the end of a 3" nipple in the tank. Vaseline, no need to crank any of these crazy tight. Oh, and to get out a busted off nylon valve...I have a trick. :D
    If it is in storage I put in a small amount of bleach and I seal all the openings.

    -I can't wait to try my new electric impact wrench on the Mg rod.

    *NB there is no such thing as a hot water heater. ***

    ***EXCEPT I have one. Well, I installed a water heater under a counter where the time for hot water to reach it was excessive. So that small water heater sometimes heats hot water and thus is one of the rare instances where you can say "Hot water heater".
     
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  22. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Is it over heating or is the relief valve gone? If it's overheating then the thermo is probably gone but not sure I'd spend any more money on it. Seriously I'd just get a new tank, if you go tankless make sure it's big enough.
     
  23. ARFlyer

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    I think now the valve is gone. It starts to pour out the valve after only a few minutes. The water is only luke warm.

    I've looked at the tankless, and I can't find one that is a one for one swap on the circuits I have available in the garage. So I'm going to swap out the tank with a new one the same size and call it done.
     
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  24. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Good call to go conventional. I've heard installing the newer ones is a tankless job.
     
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  25. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Well that took too many posts... :)
     
  26. jsstevens

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    Since you're replacing and not going tankless, this is moot I suppose. Tankless are pretty nice with one caveat: If you have or will have teenagers living in the house. They never run out of hot water for the shower...
     
  27. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Not only that, it'll get you into hot water.
     
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  28. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My rant?

    I can't possibly flush my water heater, and when it does go kaput I don't know how I'll drain it, because they installed a very nice brass spigot WITH A PLASTIC SCREW TO THE VALVE. Of course it broke the first time it was operated. Now it's a ticking time bomb.

    The last two broke, probably corrosion, and made a horrid mess. The douche tards that installed it in the original house placed it on a sheetrock framed wooden box. (Hint: Sheetrock framed wooden boxes don't handle water damage well, particularly repeatedly.)

    If I ever build my own house, the water heater will be in a separate concrete structure with positive drainage away from the house.
     
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  29. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I urge you to rethink that. Earlier you said your heater won't fill your spa. I used to have that same problem so I replaced the 40 gallon with an 80 gallon. That made a world of difference and my wife was happy, so it was worth every penny.
     
  30. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    That wasn't me that said I have a spa. Haha

    This water heater only supplies the kitchen sink, 1/2 bath sink, dishwasher, and laundry. S. I reduced the size to a 30. I wanted just to do a 20, but I would have to re work the copper.
     
  31. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oh. In that case you have my permission to carry on.
     
  32. SoonerAviator

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    I think I was the one you were referring to.

    I’ll be going up to a 50gal when we replace ours. It’s a 40gal currently, and the wife has to boil a couple gallons of water on the stove in order to get the spa filled up with hot water above the jets. To be fair, it is a huge tub, but I suspect the water heater has never been drained/cleaned so it’s likely lost a lot of capacity.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  33. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just remember, a water heater only raises temps to about 120-140 whereas boiled water is ~200 by time you get it to the spa. You will need more hot water from the WH than you need boiled water from the stove to get you to the same point. You may be fine with a 50. Worst case you will still be better off, especially with a new 50 vs an old 40. But if you can fit a larger tank, I suggest you look into it.

    Or, if you are mathematically inclined, you may be able to calculate whether or not a 50 is enough. I opted for the larger one because I knew that as the water in the spa cooled off, I still had sufficient hot water to add more if we lingered a while.
     
  34. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    You could add a mixer valve to the system you have now and raise the water temperature in the tank as high as possible, using the mixing valve to get it down to a safe temperature. This would give you more hot water from the tank for the 300 or so bucks you would have to spend to have one installed. Not sure 10 more gallons would help that much if it's a big spa which could hold hundreds of gallons.
     
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  35. SoonerAviator

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    Correct, the higher temp of the 3 gallons of water will have a greater affect than the same quantity of water from the WH. I'd have to do some math to see what the required volume of water would be. I'm not really too limited on size as the closet is fairly large with plenty of space around it and ceiling being 12'+ above it. The main issue would be the venting, as it shares a vent with the HVAC unit next to it.

    I think it's already at 90% of available temp on the thermostat. I think there's one more notch it can go, but it's certainly not scalding anyone as-is. It provides plenty of water when the wife and I do regular showers in the morning, but if one of us lingers too long it'll cause the second person to run out of hot water sooner than desired.
     
  36. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Yeah that thing is toast. Ours is at 1/4 of its total range (installed about three years ago) and it would scald at about 1/2.
     
  37. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    It lives! Only took about 45 minutes to pull and install the new one. I ran cold water through it for about 15 minutes till all the air was out and fired her up. She purrs like a brand
    new kitten!

    29495894_3469275203728_2663074607661056000_n.png
     
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  38. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Write the install date on it in magic marker along with the warranty expiration date, when that date arrives, replace it. You may leave a little of its life on the table, but will save yourself a lot of aggravation.
     
  39. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    And if that’s the wiring in the foreground did you put some sort of connector to keep it off the sharp metal edges? It only takes a little vibration over time to wear through the insulation. Best case it kicks the breaker. Next worse it sparks. Worst case it electrifies your plumbing. :eek: