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mske390
odd hot water problem

I am at my wits end on this one so would VERY appreciative if someone can figure this one out.

We have a two story house with basement with one shower and 40 gallon gas hot water heater (domestic) that has given us problems from day one in the 14 years we've lived here. The problem has been that first thing in the morning we get luke warm showers and have never been able to take two consecutive hot showers. The latest problem is that we have intermittent water pressures along with the normal hot water issue. This is the third (maybe fourth) water in the 14 years and currently have a GE 12 year heater. I have had every component of this checked out (t-stat, burner controls, flue, etc.) all check out. So please don't say check these, not being unappreciative but I know not the problem.

I recently replaced the mixing valve in the shower and now we have a new issue on top of the other, some mornings the water pressure is ridiculous low with next to no hot water.

My heater is located in the basement if I can figure out how to post a pic of lines I will but the hot water comes off htr to the house then there's a 90 off it that feeds our washine machine in basement (closest fixture to htr), dishwaser and sink both on first floor. The line continues after the 90 to feed the bathroom on second floor, sink is first with shower being furthest from htr.

My wife recently found that if we have the pressure hot water issue if she runs washing machine problem immediately goes away.

Anyone have any ideas????

thanks in advance

dj1
Re: odd hot water problem

Let's review what you are saying:

1. Luke warm water, enough for one shower only: Raise the temperature on the thermostat. Doesn't work? maybe you have a gas supply issue or a thermostat issue. Is the pilot staying on?

2. Low water pressure: Could be an issue with your pipes, not the WH. Old pipes? corroded pipes? pipes too narrow? plugged nipple where the hot water comes out the WH?

3. Washing machine is the closest to the WH - Do you have good pressure and hot water at the washing machine?

Have you had a plumber over? Who installed the current WH?

MLB Construction
Re: odd hot water problem

do you know if you have galvanized pipes running up in the wall to the shower?

are you on city water supply or a well?

you can have a pressure test or flow test done on your house to see how much water pressure or gpm you have coming in at the main. many times people have to install a pressure reducer on the incoming main. you could very well have the opposite problem with low water pressure. showers/tubs usually use the most water which could make the pressure drop if you have low water pressure yet you wouldn't notice it at other fixtures in the house.

could also be a galvanized main coming into the house

mske390
Re: odd hot water problem
mske390 wrote:

I am at my wits end on this one so would VERY appreciative if someone can figure this one out.

We have a two story house with basement with one shower and 40 gallon gas hot water heater (domestic) that has given us problems from day one in the 14 years we've lived here. The problem has been that first thing in the morning we get luke warm showers and have never been able to take two consecutive hot showers. The latest problem is that we have intermittent water pressures along with the normal hot water issue. This is the third (maybe fourth) water in the 14 years and currently have a GE 12 year heater. I have had every component of this checked out (t-stat, burner controls, flue, etc.) all check out. So please don't say check these, not being unappreciative but I know not the problem.

I recently replaced the mixing valve in the shower and now we have a new issue on top of the other, some mornings the water pressure is ridiculous low with next to no hot water.

My heater is located in the basement if I can figure out how to post a pic of lines I will but the hot water comes off htr to the house then there's a 90 off it that feeds our washine machine in basement (closest fixture to htr), dishwaser and sink both on first floor. The line continues after the 90 to feed the bathroom on second floor, sink is first with shower being furthest from htr.

My wife recently found that if we have the pressure hot water issue if she runs washing machine problem immediately goes away.

Anyone have any ideas????

thanks in advance

Thank you for responses

dj1:

1) been playing with temperature settings over years and it currently a little higher than suggested that seems to work best, didn't make that much of difference

2) possible but I think unlikely, every pipe I've checked so far has been good shape and I've taken thermographs of the pipes not in walls, consistent heat profiles. When I replaced mixing valves it was clean for eye to see

3) excellent water pressure at machine, honestly never checked water temperature at it (personally don't care) but all sinks have nice hot water it just appears to be shower

all work has been done by licensed plumber last water heater (and other plumbing) was performed by Rich Thretheway's company

MLB Construction:

copper water pipes throughout the house

city water..not the greatest but not the worst by any means

phenomenal water pressure through out the house and on outside facuets, pressure drop only appears at shower and sink in same bathroom ONLY in morning

from what I can see of the main coming into the house it's cast iron pipe, no idea what's beyond my foundation to street

dj1
Re: odd hot water problem

You have cast iron as main water supply?

MLB Construction
Re: odd hot water problem

dj is right....cast iron main? i assume you mean galvanized.

all i can recommend is a pressure and flow rate test. if you have a galvanized main it's very possible that when the hot and cold are both running together in the shower that there's not enough water to keep the pressure up high enough. chances are that you wouldn't notice it at a sink because it doesn't use as much water as a shower and you wouldn't notice it at the sillcock because you're only running cold water and not both hot and cold.

just out of curiosity, what happens to the water pressure at the kitchen sink if you turn on the shower, bathroom sink and outside water all at the same time?

mske390
Re: odd hot water problem

Let me take a look at the pipes but in thinking of this further cast iron underground makes no sense. I do know that on my side of water meter its copper throughout the house.

Quote:

it's very possible that when the hot and cold are both running together in the shower that there's not enough water to keep the pressure up high enough.

just out of curiosity, what happens to the water pressure at the kitchen sink if you turn on the shower, bathroom sink and outside water all at the same time?

The pressure problem just started within the last few months, prior 13 1/2 years we've never had an pressure issue. Always have had the temperature problem though. When the pressure is low the sound is different than out of blue while showering the pressure will come back. We've turned on the bathroom sink on when pressure was low and it is low then turned kitchen sink on and no pressure problems there only with bathroom fixtures where shower is.

I appreciate all the help with this, every plumber who has looked or listened to the problem has scratched their heads over this too.

Retroloco-LJ
Re: odd hot water problem
Quote:

We have a two story house with basement with one shower and 40 gallon gas hot water heater (domestic) that has given us problems from day one in the 14 years we've lived here.

I stopped reading when I read 14 years... Just an idea, but the average life span of a water heater is 11-15 years and most homes are purchased with a used water heater. I would say that it's been long overdue to change your water heater. Perhaps that simply could be your problem? Storage tank water heaters are pretty inexpensive and if you really want to get bang for your buck and save overall and have energy efficiency you can even check into what the cost would be for a tankless water heating unit.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: odd hot water problem
Retroloco-LJ wrote:

I stopped reading when I read 14 years... Just an idea, but the average life span of a water heater is 11-15 years and most homes are purchased with a used water heater. I would say that it's been long overdue to change your water heater. Perhaps that simply could be your problem? Storage tank water heaters are pretty inexpensive and if you really want to get bang for your buck and save overall and have energy efficiency you can even check into what the cost would be for a tankless water heating unit.

You shoulda kept reading...
He said he's replaced the wh 3 or 4 times already.
Casey

MSSP
Re: odd hot water problem

Do you have a recirc line in the system?

mske390
Re: odd hot water problem

sorry been away for work but back now and I think that I found the water pressure problem but know that the hot water problem won't go away since it's been a problem from day one.

I went to take a shower the other day and very low pressure so decided to check out everything, turned on faucet near shower low pressure, went downstairs turned on faucet in kitchen low pressure, went down stairs to washing machine turned that on low pressure then heard a gurgling noise in water heater pressure went back to normal. It has to be the water heater.

So leads me to believe that there is something wrong the water heater, I need to check warranty but it's either 9 or 12 year warranty so seeing that it's about five years old I'll look into having some check it.

I think at this point I'm going to install a point of use electric on demand heater for the shower so we can finally take consecutive hot showers.

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