New Water Heater equals Air in Lines?

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Some Background:
So... a little while back I replaced the electric water heater. We get a lot of minerals and sulfur gas in our well and it was finally too much for the bottom element. It was a straight-forward job of unscrewing the hot and cold lines from the insulated nipples, slide the old one out, new nipples, crank down the flex lines and reattach the 220. Only real difference this one has is the digital temp deal on the side... set at 130F. I know some won't like that temperature but there are no children or elderly but I have immune issues left over from Lyme disease and it's not worth not having your water at biologically safe temperatures, especially with a well.
The Problem:
Ever since the installation I have had air in the hot lines. This is present in both the feeds to the front and back of the house and affects all the spigots. It never gets worse but it never gets better... any time you run a faucet it is fine until the hot water makes it to the tap and then it gurgles and spits every few minutes.
I can't see any way for air to get in the lines at the heater level (they split right above the unit) but that's where it has to come from or it would not affect both ends of the house. I wondered if the holding tank was water logging any faster than usual, but it is not (old fashioned but not old galvanized tank style). We get the sulfur gas like many wells out here that turns everything red and brown but one would not think this would occur from that on the exact day the new heater is installed. It certainly is annoying.
What could be causing this?
Thanks.
posted to home.repair and rural in hopes of hitting pertinent experience.
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BTW... there is no air issues with the cold water pipes.
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On 3/5/2013 6:37 PM, rdoc wrote:

Have you lifted the arm on the safety valve to let any residual air escape? Just pop it a bit until just water comes out.
Paul
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Actually, I have not... even though I used to try them out periodically. I read somewhere not to test them so as to not make them pop prematurely. Maybe I'll turn it off and run it down to lukewarm and open it to see but one would think that after a month or so and all the air that's hit the spigots that it would be purged. Of course, after this long I'm open to anything, just about.
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fIs it possible the sulfur is reacting with something in the HWH and making gas. Some material in the new HWH that wasn't in the old one?
As tp air entering, if there were a leak, it seems a lot more likely water would be exiting. (Of course I have city water which is under pressure. I don't know how well water systerms are set up.) Especially when you're not usig the hot water, but if there is a chance air is getting sucked in, maybe you can at the joints you fiddled with for the installation, wrap a soaking wet towl around the joint and maybe that will keep air from getting in, for the length of a test. This is just a guess. I've had spitting but only after water was drained from pipes.
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wrote:

You might want to try pulling the anode rod.
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Unstated is how long this has been going on. Has water been drawn from all the hot water faucets to get air out of all the lines? If all else has been ruled out, then I would agree it might be the anode rod reacting and generating gas and that would be worth ruling out. Assuming of course that the rod can be pulled. If it's a basement and no clearance, then that's a problem.
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wrote:

What would that accomplish? With well water, it can be especially important to have that there and in good shape. These minerals can wreak havoc on elements. It doesn't *appear* that anything is being hurt by this situation... pulling the anode might guarantee that something gets hurt, wouldn't it?
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He's suggesting pulling the anode to see if it's the source of the problem. Since you have sulfur and a lot of minerals, it's possible that the water is reacting with the anode, causing gas. If it is the anode, there are ones made of other metals, Al?, that don't react as much. They are typically used to solve problems of the water smelling bad.
How long has this been going on now? At all hot water faucets?
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wrote:

He's suggesting pulling the anode to see if it's the source of the problem. Since you have sulfur and a lot of minerals, it's possible that the water is reacting with the anode, causing gas. If it is the anode, there are ones made of other metals, Al?, that don't react as much. They are typically used to solve problems of the water smelling bad.
How long has this been going on now? At all hot water faucets?
Heh... Interesting. Thanks. Like I said... all faucets at both ends of the house and I've waited it out for a couple of months hoping to see some other reason present itself. It only starts after the hot water replaces the cold at the taps.
This is a Whirlpool ES50R123-45D and it is 48 inches high and up on three bricks. It would be very close as for clearing at the floorboards above. It might depend on whether it can be navigated through some pipes and such above. I had to replace one of these a long time ago at an in-law's house but I really don't remember much about it, now. Seems to me that theirs being rotted off was no big deal getting out but angling the new one in gave us trouble... I even want to say we cut an inch or two off but I might be mixing memories with something else as we always are into something around this farm. Come to think of it... they have low ceilings down their place.
How long is a the anode and can I buy one at the big box hardware or do I special order one? My water goes through spells where it smells worse than other spells, but now that you mention it these last couple of months have been really bad.
Thanks again.
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On 3/6/2013 8:58 AM, rdoc wrote:

they make foldable anodes for low clearance situations
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'chaniarts[_3_ Wrote: > ;3025835']

Yes, they're called "segmented" anode rods, but if you just say that you want one that'll bend, fold or flex cuz of the lack of overhead clearance, then everyone will know what you mean.
[image:
http://shop.garn.com/images/products/preview/p-0069%20anode%20rod%20%20segmented.jpg ]
If it were me, I would NOT pop the P&T relief valve on the water heater just to see if any gas comes out. These things can be notorious for not closing fully afterwards, resulting in a continuous drip from the relief valve down pipe.
--
nestork


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http://shop.garn.com/images/products/preview/p-0069%20anode%20rod%20%20segmented.jpg ]

The one they are suggesting is only 42" so it should be good. I think I agree about the relief valve. Any air should have been gone long ago and any in there now muxjh be being generated. As I said in another post, I read a piece a while back that suggested that was actually a very bad idea that could result in a pop-off at conditions below usual standards.
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I guess there are two sides to that issue. One is that if you do open the TPR, it may then leak. I agree with that. But on the other hand, if you never open it, is it possible that it's frozen and won't open if it has to? If it does leak, a new one is $10. But then there is the issue of whether you can get the old one unscrewed, etc...... I have to admit, I'm not in the habit of fooling with mine.
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wrote:

He's suggesting pulling the anode to see if it's the source of the problem. Since you have sulfur and a lot of minerals, it's possible that the water is reacting with the anode, causing gas. If it is the anode, there are ones made of other metals, Al?, that don't react as much. They are typically used to solve problems of the water smelling bad.
How long has this been going on now? At all hot water faucets?

Whirlpool seems to agree with this. I am to order the AK90 anode that is made of Aluminum, Zinc and Tin. It is 42" and will likely clear. I looked at the tank and the 'anode' sticker is between several holes/plugs. A diagram I found doesn't show those other holes so I pulled the one that looks closest to that diagram and there is foam under it. Can/Should I just cut that foam away or is this a sign that I'm looking at the wrong place. The previous tank had a hex that sat slightly higher than the rest of the tank, so this may be something I need to research.
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wrote:

It can be covered by foam, but a little more research won't hurt.
Here are a couple of links that look at this from a different perspective.
http://www.cleanwaterstore.com/technical/water-heater-odors.php
http://www.mrwa.com/watersmellrotteneggs.htm
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On my State WH it's also a hex head, think it was 1 1/8"?, but it was obviously the only fitting there. I'd make sure the new one will clear. Otherwise there are ones available that are linked together that will go in for sure. I think waterheaterrescue is one place that sells them. Also, you might want to check around to make sure you're getting a decent price.

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I'm still skeptical about the anode being the problem.
I've heard of anodes being a problem with smell. The usual reason given is that they encourage bacteria growth which releases hydrogen sulfide. I've never seen it happen myself. My inlaw's water has that smell, but it's fr om a well, and in both the hot and cold water. The hot water is worse of c ourse because it volatilizes. But while I haven't seen it, there are lots of articles that say it happens.
But how does an anode release air? It can't be the HS gas. There's only a tiny amount dissolved in water, it just happens to affect our nose very ea sily. If it were concentrated enough to burp at a faucet, it probably woul d be enough to kill you. For sure it would corrode anything nearby, probab ly eat through pipes.
I haven't seen anyone suggest any other gas that an anode can produce. Wel l, long ago there was a report of hydrogen in a water heater, but I tracked down the original report and it turned out to be something else, long stor y.
And if it were any other gas, I don't think the OP would be reporting it as air. Does it smell at all? Will it burn?
And if it were some other kind of bacteria reacting with the anode, and it' s making enough gas to burp, I'm not sure I'd want to drink it. Must be li ke jello inside, with that much bacteria.
How about this for a scenario? Your well pump is injecting air into the wa ter supply. You actually have air in both hot and cold water pipes. BUT, you never notice it in cold water for two reasons. Cold water dissolves mo re air, and your cold water pipe layout has some areas where it gets trappe d. Your hot water tank has a dip tube for cold water entry, but hot water leaves through the top. Your water sits in the tank long enough for air to separate and form a layer on top of the water.
The thing is, an anode is a pain in the butt to get out. They're usually s crewed in really tight. And even if you get a shorter one or segmented one , you still need clearance to get the old one out. I wouldn't try this exc ept as a last resort.
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Had another thought.
Well systems often have an expansion tank. There's usually a pressurized side, maybe air is getting in from there?
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ed side,  maybe air is getting in from there?
All well systems (except direct pumping) have a "tank" that uses a bubble to that uses air to keep the system pressurised. Even if the bladder is leaking over the period he reports. All the air would have been gone by now and he would be having major problems with short cycling. If you are referring to the real "expansion tank", small and separate frm the main tank, same thing would apply - air would be gone by now.
Harry K
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