Gas Hot Water Heater overflow

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  #1  
Old 02-24-2015, 09:16 AM
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Default Gas Hot Water Heater overflow

I have a gas hot water heater that AT TIMES overflows water when heated into the catch pan. The heater is 8 years old. Should I have the release valve replaced or the whole unit? I would prefer an electric hot water heater, but so much trouble to change. Is there someone that could do the complete change from electric to gas? Thanks
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:03 AM
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Default Water heater

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I have a gas hot water heater that AT TIMES overflows water when heated into the catch pan. The heater is 8 years old. Should I have the release valve replaced or the whole unit? I would prefer an electric hot water heater, but so much trouble to change. Is there someone that could do the complete change from electric to gas? Thanks
Keep your gas water heater it is faster and runs cheeper then the electric heater. Has anything changed recently in your plumbing? Thermal expansion can cause a valve to open. It is sometimes caused when a backflow preventer or pressure reducer is installed on the cold-water line. The tank fires, the water expands and has nowhere to go, so pressure builds and forces the valve to open (it's partly what it's for). However, if nothing like that is going on, it may just be a bad valve. I suggest you have a plumber replace it. It is possible to do it yourself, but it's also possible any number of things could go wrong.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:14 AM
rhood rhood is offline
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I agree with bobbym. And, it might not be the valve. We had the same problem and the bladder in the expansion tank was flat and the only time it leaked was when the water flow to the washing machine or dish washer cut off. That created water hammer and opened the safety valve and it leaked a little.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:16 AM
ken747pilot ken747pilot is offline
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I am a bit of a handyman and do (or try to) most of my own appliance repair. In my experience you are lucky to get more than 6 or 7 years out of a water heater. that being said I would try replacing the overpressure reliefe valve if there were no other leaks/problems. Go to youtube and search for hot water heater overpressure valve replacement.
There is an anaroid rod inside the heater that I replace at about 3 years thet is supposed to help extend the life of the heater. there was an article a few years ago in Handyman magazine that explains the benefits and shows how to do the project.
The newer electric heaters have two anaroid rods and are much more energy effecient.
If you do not want to try any of these projects you may want to try one of the "Handymen" listed on TOTV. I have used and recommend Don Cunningham (Village resident) 352.391.2564
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:35 AM
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Another possibility. Was the temperature turned up recently? If so try turning is back down if it will result in water that is hot enough. Higher temperature results in more pressure on the whole system.
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Old 02-24-2015, 05:24 PM
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Check your expansion tank, as stated above, if the expansion tank becomes full of water, there is no place for the heated water to go when expanded, and it will open the pressure relief valve. One other item, if you have hard water, the mineral deposits will eventually stop the pressure relief valve from properly closing, resulting in a slow continuous drip.
Hope this helps, and let us know what you find.
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Old 02-25-2015, 08:47 AM
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Thanks for the advice for repairs. I don't think I want to mess with this myself. Now plumber or handyman? Repair or replace? Cost difference?
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Old 02-25-2015, 11:53 PM
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If you decide to switch to electric, take a look at the Marathon water heaters. I have had one in the past - they last a long time. Might be able to get an incentive from SECO. They do cost more than big box store water heaters.

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Thanks for the advice for repairs. I don't think I want to mess with this myself. Now plumber or handyman? Repair or replace? Cost difference?
  #9  
Old 02-26-2015, 07:51 AM
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New gas heater coming Monday. Gas company has rebates for new so my cost will only be a couple hundred dollars for new. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:24 AM
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For those reading this thread, the expansion tank looks like a small propane tank mounted on the top of the water tank. It should have a hollow air filled sound. As it deteriorates water no longer drains from the expansion tank and the tank when tapped with a screwdriver sounds solid. You should when healthy detect a solid sound at the bottom and an empty sound at the top. Had mine replaced but it looked like a do it yourself would have been easy.

Last edited by blueash; 02-28-2015 at 10:01 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:34 AM
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Thank you for sharing!

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Originally Posted by blueash View Post
For those reading this thread, the expansion tank looks like a small propane tank mounted on the top of the water tank. It should have a hallow air filled sound. As it deteriorates water no longer drains from the expansion tank and the tank when tapped with a screwdriver sounds solid. You should when healthy detect a solid sound at the bottom and an empty sound at the top. Had mine replaced but it looked like a do it yourself would have been easy.
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Old 02-27-2015, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by villagetinker View Post
Check your expansion tank, as stated above, if the expansion tank becomes full of water, there is no place for the heated water to go when expanded, and it will open the pressure relief valve. One other item, if you have hard water, the mineral deposits will eventually stop the pressure relief valve from properly closing, resulting in a slow continuous drip.
Hope this helps, and let us know what you find.
Excellent explanation. The expansion tank has an air check valve which allows you to check the pressure in the expansion tank. The tank pressure should be set to equal the pressure on the house water supply, usually 40 to 60 psi. When the expansion tank fails (usually in 7-10 years) the rubber bladder within the tank passes water and eventually displaces the trapped air. As villagetinker says above the failed expansion tank no longer functions as a shock absorber. Replacement expansion tanks are available from HD or Lowes for $40-50, and like so many things in life, it's an easy fix if you have the experience and confidence. Keep in mind that a failed expansion tank that's full of water is heavy.

Not every domestic hot water system in TV has an expansion tank. Some plumbers opted to install a pressure relief valve in lieu of the expansion tank on the cold water inlet pipe above the hot water tank which drains outside of the house. The code allowed for either approach. This pressure relief valve is not to be confused with the one that's installed in the side of the hot water tank.
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