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Thread: Leaking Water Heater

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Leaking Water Heater

    This day has been a bit of a pain. Went into the back room in the basement this morning and found a large spreading puddle of water. Luckily it hadn't done any damage except to a box full of my son's old Legos. Got everything mopped up and determined that one of the heaters was dripping out the bottom. Of course, the plumber can't get here til tomorrow, and the heater is a discontinued gas model, but hopefully he'll be here in the morning with some kind of replacement. I've got the drip semi-contained (wicking it into a bucket with a old towel) and thankfully we can still have the water turned on. I think the drip is slow enough to be able to sleep without fear. What scares me more is the bill I'll be paying tomorrow. Well, time to go empty the bucket.

    Geoff

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    I'd turn the water off.
    Sounds like the inner baffle either rusted through or theres a coupling loose wither through electrolytic or galvanic corrosion. Slow leaks are always good to handle, now if the pilot lamp fires up the main burner and internal temperature exceeds the limits of your leaking tank...your asking for a steam explosion and in some cases people lose their houses that way

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    Mythbusters turned one into a rocket once.

    I sure wouldn't want to be sleeping above one if it did that!

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* matrixshaman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    TURN OFF THE GAS NOW to this water heater. There should be a one quarter turn - usually red or yellow - shutoff valve to turn off the gas. These can go in a big way. Replacing a water heater is really not that hard and a typical 40 gallon natural gas water heater can be had for about $375 from Lowes (don't forget to check USPS for 10% discount coupon in the movers kit - you just moved didn't you ). Either way I'd turn off the gas and the water to it also although there is not always an individual shutoff for the water. Good luck.
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  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* kramer5150's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    I just replaced mine 2 weeks ago. It was probably slow-leaking for quite a while... royal PITA in my case because the main water inlet valve was corroded open and could not be turned off.

    With all the solder + corrosion there was no easy way to replace the valve. Busted out the hacksaw, cut off the valve, re-soldered on a new one and continued to replace the heater with the new one I just picked up. Got everything all connected, turned back on the main water to the house, turn back on the gas. Piece of cake... simple afternoon job.

    Turn the knob to PILOT, let the gas prime... CLICK...CLICK....CLICK....CLICK...

    Hmm no ignition.

    try again... CLICK... CLICK... CLICK...

    DAM still no ignition and no blue flame... AAARGH.

    At this point its 8:00 PM, Home Depot closes in 60 minutes. So I rip it all apart, truck the dam thing back to HD by 8:45. Get the replacement heater.,, this time I have the guy cut the box open in the store to to check the piezo-electric igniter for a spark...

    Finally had hot water by around 10:00 that night. We were without hot water for ~30 hours.

    I dont mind cold showers, one night ain't gonna kill me. warmed some water on the stove and Gave the kids a warm sponge bath. But my wife was miserable.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    I found that it takes several tries to start a new water heater. I had the same problem, but the guys at Home Depot were right, and you need to be patient and prime it for 5 minutes, and keep clicking away.
    Quote Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
    I just replaced mine 2 weeks ago. It was probably slow-leaking for quite a while... royal PITA in my case because the main water inlet valve was corroded open and could not be turned off.

    With all the solder + corrosion there was no easy way to replace the valve. Busted out the hacksaw, cut off the valve, re-soldered on a new one and continued to replace the heater with the new one I just picked up. Got everything all connected, turned back on the main water to the house, turn back on the gas. Piece of cake... simple afternoon job.

    Turn the knob to PILOT, let the gas prime... CLICK...CLICK....CLICK....CLICK...

    Hmm no ignition.

    try again... CLICK... CLICK... CLICK...

    DAM still no ignition and no blue flame... AAARGH.

    At this point its 8:00 PM, Home Depot closes in 60 minutes. So I rip it all apart, truck the dam thing back to HD by 8:45. Get the replacement heater.,, this time I have the guy cut the box open in the store to to check the piezo-electric igniter for a spark...

    Finally had hot water by around 10:00 that night. We were without hot water for ~30 hours.

    I dont mind cold showers, one night ain't gonna kill me. warmed some water on the stove and Gave the kids a warm sponge bath. But my wife was miserable.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Tekno_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    Look on the bright side, even the cheapest new water heater should bring you big savings in the long run.

    My grandparents just replaced their 20+ year old water heater (electric) and they're saving $50-75 each month on their power bill
    Due to my current schedule being pretty darn hectic, I will not be accepting new modding projects until things settle down.

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    Thanks for the advice, all. Made it fine through the night (five hours). Bucket's about 3/4 full. I had thought to turn off the gas to that heater. Actually the pilot had gone out sometime. Maybe the leak did that. Seems like 8 years is way premature for this to start leaking.

    Geoff

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. LED View Post
    Mythbusters turned one into a rocket once.

    I sure wouldn't want to be sleeping above one if it did that!
    that was at 320psi...under the assumption that your pressure relieve valve isn't removed, you should never reach rocket level but it still may develop a tank breach and that can be messy.

    If it induced a gas leak and it accumulated in your home all it could take is a spark from the starter cap of your refrigerator/AC to

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    I knew it would be painful, but really. New 50 gal. direct vent gas water heater plus assorted pieces- $700, 4.5 hours labor @ $85/hr.- $382.50, plus this, that, and the other thing. Total- $1138.

    Give me a break. Or, I guess I should say, a happy wife- priceless.

    Geoff

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    Holy cow...that's expensive!
    The only light I need now is the "light at the end of the tunnel".....

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* Sgt. LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Leaking Water Heater

    WoW prices suck down your way! I did the same job for $480, I did put it in myself though and the tank was 40gal. Still, damn man $1138!
    Last edited by Sgt. LED; 05-08-2009 at 10:10 AM.

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