Water heater is ALWAYS filling....what could be the problem?

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About 6 month old gas water heater - just recently, the water seems to run continuously - has a sound like water is always on, but the burners are only activated after showers, dishwater, etc.
When one turns off the cold water input valve the water sound stops.
Could there be a problem with the check valve being stuck open and the water draining out continuously?
Ideas? Resolutions?
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Steve wrote:

Assuming what you are calling the "input valve" is the water heater supply shutoff, and not the main shutoff for the whole system, then:
Best case - Someone left a hot water faucet open in a seldom used sink.
Medium case - What you are calling a "check valve" is really the T&P relief valve which has opened and gotten stuck in that condition and is draining water to an unoticed location. (Highly unlikely for a 6 month old valve, but maybe somebody cheated and reused the old valve....)
Worst case - You've got a busted hot water pipe located under a concrete slab floor.
Start listening and looking...
HTH,
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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Yes - that is what I meant - the WH supply valve - cold water in. When I turn this off, the running water sound stops immediately.
Only 4 sinks in the house - all are shut off and dry all round - so no leaks at thta point.
T&P valve - yes, that is what I meant - it does seem to be functionaing properly - though I can't verify that completely - when I open it, I do get hot water running throught he pipes to the outside of the garage.
While the house is on slab, all of the pipes are run down the center of the house within the walls - no sign of water or a leak.
Anyway - the guy that installed this beast is coming by Monday to do his thing........
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snip:

Being as you have a slab foundation, I'd suspect a leak there. As it is the heated water, check the temperatures on the floors in the house. I had a leak like this; although, I didn't notice the running water sound you do. You could still have a very small leak under/ within the slab. Check around the foundation outside too. That is where I first verified a leak but I did notice one of the bedroom floors was warmer that elsewhere in the house. I think you have a leak under the foundation slab and the water maybe dispersing under the foundation.
Also, I never noticed excessive running of the water heater burners either.
Thunder
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Steve wrote:

It could be that the city water presseure is unusually high and it's overpowering the pressure relief setting of the T&P valve, or for some reason that valve is defective and is popping open lower than it's design pressure.
A competent installer should have a pressure gage with him he can attach to a hose bib (like the heater drain valve or an outside sill cock) and easily measure the system pressure.
If high pressure is what's causing the problem, the installation of a pressure reducing/regulating valve at the input to the entire plumbing system will fix things. Needing one is not that unusual a situation.
Let us know what it turns out to be,
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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Hi Jeff, hope you are having a nice day
On 06-Mar-05 At About 07:58:49, Jeff Wisnia wrote to All Subject: Re: Water heater is ALWAYS filling....what could be the problem?
JW> Steve wrote:
>> JW> >>Steve wrote: > About 6 month old gas water heater - just JW> recently, the water seems to >>>run continuously - has a sound like JW> water is always on, but the burners >>>are only activated after JW> showers, dishwater, etc. >>> >>>When one turns off the cold water JW> input valve the water sound stops. >>> >>>Could there be a problem JW> with the check valve being stuck open and the >>>water draining JW> out continuously? >>> >>>Ideas? Resolutions? >> >> JW> >> Assuming what you are calling the "input valve" is the water JW> heater supply >>shutoff, and not the main shutoff for the whole JW> system, then: >> >> >>Best case - Someone left a hot water faucet JW> open in a seldom used sink. >> >>Medium case - What you are calling JW> a "check valve" is really the T&P >>relief valve which has opened JW> and gotten stuck in that condition and is >>draining water to an JW> unoticed location. (Highly unlikely for a 6 month old JW> >> valve, but maybe somebody cheated and reused the old valve....) JW> >> >> Worst case - You've got a busted hot water pipe located under JW> a concrete >>sla Start listening and looking... >> JW> >>HTH, >> >>Jeff Jeffry Wisnia >> >>(W1BSV + Brass Rat JW> '57 EE) >> >> "As long as there are final exams, there will be JW> prayer in public >>schools" >> Yes - that is what I meant - the WH supply valve - cold water in. >> When I turn this off, the running water sound stops immediately. Only >> 4 sinks in the house - all are shut off and dry all round - so no >> leaks at thta point. T&P valve - yes, that is what I meant - it does >> seem to be functionaing properly - though I can't verify that >> completely - when I open it, I do get hot water running throught he >> pipes to the outside of the garage. While the house is on slab, all >> of the pipes are run down the center of the house within the walls >> - no sign of water or a leak. Anyway - the guy that installed >> this beast is coming by Monday to do his thing........
JW> It could be that the city water presseure is unusually high and it's JW> overpowering the pressure relief setting of the T&P valve, or for JW> some reason that valve is defective and is popping open lower than JW> it's design pressure.
JW> A competent installer should have a pressure gage with him he can JW> attach to a hose bib (like the heater drain valve or an outside sill JW> cock) and easily measure the system pressure.
JW> If high pressure is what's causing the problem, the installation of JW> a pressure reducing/regulating valve at the input to the entire JW> plumbing system will fix things. Needing one is not that unusual a JW> situation.
JW> Let us know what it turns out to be,
JW> Jeff
JW> --Jeffry Wisnia
JW> (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
Please see my response to mr. Meehan.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. "Hit him again, I saw his foot move." -- L.A COP
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Water has to be going someplace. Unless you have a valve open somewhere, or a leak, water can't be running. Look around.
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Hi toller, hope you are having a nice day
On 06-Mar-05 At About 19:33:56, toller wrote to All Subject: Re: Water heater is ALWAYS filling....what could be the problem?
>> Mr. meehan, again you show your inexperience. if the PT valve was >> opening he would see it as they are supposed to be terminated so you >> can see when they blow off.
t> It probably isn't inexperience; I am sure he knows the PT valve t> wouldn't run continually. (and of course the OP would have mentioned t> the PT valve discharging) It is a matter of not reading the OP t> carefully before replying. (I have done it myself, though I felt t> pretty silly afterwards.)
sorry but he is constantly making these mistakes. he is always trying to answer questions when he obviously doesn't really know the proper answer. I do have to give him credit as he does seem to have a good memory and can recall what he reads but I believe that if you aren't in the trade you are trying to answer the question for you really shouldn't try to answer it as there are plenty of people in this group who are in the respective trade and can CORRECTLY answer the question.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. URA Redneck if you answer the door with a baseball bat in your hand.
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Hi Joseph, hope you are having a nice day
On 06-Mar-05 At About 21:46:03, Joseph Meehan wrote to All Subject: Re: Water heater is ALWAYS filling....what could be the problem?
JM> HvacTech2 wrote: >> Hi Joseph, hope you are having a nice day
>> On 06-Mar-05 At About 17:30:45, Joseph Meehan wrote to All Subject: >> Re: Water heater is ALWAYS filling....what could be the problem?
>>> Steve wrote: >>>> About 6 month old gas water heater - just recently, the water seems >>>> to run continuously - has a sound like water is always on, but the >>>> burners are only activated after showers, dishwater, etc.
>>>> When one turns off the cold water input valve the water sound stops.
>>>> Could there be a problem with the check valve being stuck open and >>>> the water draining out continuously?
>>> No not a check valve, but the PT valve. The pressure temperature >>> valve will open and all water out when the temperature of pressure >>> gets too high. Some fail with age, but in your case I would guess >>> that in not the case, but it is functioning as it is designed. If >>> you have a check valve and you do not have a working expansion tank, >>> then as the water heats up it expands, with a check valve and no hot >>> water valves open it has to go somewhere and that is where the PT >>> valve comes into play.
>>> If I am right, you need an expansion tank, or service the one that is >>> there.
>> Mr. meehan, again you show your inexperience. if the PT valve was >> opening he would see it as they are supposed to be terminated so you >> can see when they blow off.
JM> Yea, but I bet you as I have seen some that were not.
Nope. I do everything to code and have never seen one that was improperly done. they always terminate within 1" of the floor near a floor drain. please stop trying to answer these questions as it is obvious you don't know the proper answers. also as someone else has mentioned if it was the PT it wouldn't be constant either. you really need to stop this before you get someone hurt.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. "I bought instant water but I don't know what to add..."- s.w.
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wrote:

I'd just like to point out that while *you* may do everything to code, there are plenty of hacks in the world who do not - which means Joseph's claim to have seen some that were improperly done is perfectly believable.
However, unless your work is almost entirely in new installations and you do hardly any repairs to existing systems, your claim to have *never* seen one that was improperly done is perfectly absurd.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Hi Doug, hope you are having a nice day
On 06-Mar-05 At About 22:32:33, Doug Miller wrote to All Subject: Re: Water heater is ALWAYS filling....what could be the problem?
DM> From: snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller)
DM> Joseph Meehan wrote to All > JM>> Yea, but I bet you as I have seen some that were not. DM> > > Nope. I do everything to code and have never seen one that was DM> improperly > done.
DM> I'd just like to point out that while *you* may do everything to DM> code, there are plenty of hacks in the world who do not - which means DM> Joseph's claim to have seen some that were improperly done is DM> perfectly believable.
DM> However, unless your work is almost entirely in new installations and DM> you do hardly any repairs to existing systems, your claim to have DM> *never* seen one that was improperly done is perfectly absurd.
Nope, I do service only with a little install work. I am exclusively in the commercial side now. I don't think you can honestly say what I have seen in my 30+ years in the trade but as for a T&P I have never seen one terminated improperly.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. "A friend of mine is in jail for counterfeiting pennies..."- s.w.
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HvacTech2 wrote:

Sorry you feel that way. But I have seen more than one PT that someone piped in such a way that you could not see the end. It happens even if you have never seen it. I know well that it is not code and not safe, but, as I am sure you know, not everyone knows or bothers to follow code.
I feel sorry that you seem to have a personal problem with me. I don't know why. Sorry you are having a bad day.

--
Joseph Meehan

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Steve wrote:

No not a check valve, but the PT valve. The pressure temperature valve will open and all water out when the temperature of pressure gets too high. Some fail with age, but in your case I would guess that in not the case, but it is functioning as it is designed. If you have a check valve and you do not have a working expansion tank, then as the water heats up it expands, with a check valve and no hot water valves open it has to go somewhere and that is where the PT valve comes into play.
If I am right, you need an expansion tank, or service the one that is there.

--
Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

Joseph, he did say that the running water sound was "continuous". If that's a true statement, I doubt that thermal expansion could cause it, 'eh?
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

I caught that also. However it could run for some time and it might seem like continuous. But to answer you question, it would not be continuous, and not likely for more than a couple of minutes.
--
Joseph Meehan

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Hi Jeff, hope you are having a nice day
On 06-Mar-05 At About 08:02:50, Jeff Wisnia wrote to All Subject: Re: Water heater is ALWAYS filling....what could be the problem?
JW> Joseph Meehan wrote:
JW> Joseph, he did say that the running water sound was "continuous". If JW> that's a true statement, I doubt that thermal expansion could cause JW> it, 'eh?
Actually the Thermal expansion could cause the relief to open but it wouldn't be continuous.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
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Hi Joseph, hope you are having a nice day
On 06-Mar-05 At About 17:30:45, Joseph Meehan wrote to All Subject: Re: Water heater is ALWAYS filling....what could be the problem?
JM> Steve wrote: >> About 6 month old gas water heater - just recently, the water seems >> to run continuously - has a sound like water is always on, but the >> burners are only activated after showers, dishwater, etc.
>> When one turns off the cold water input valve the water sound stops.
>> Could there be a problem with the check valve being stuck open and >> the water draining out continuously?
JM> No not a check valve, but the PT valve. The pressure temperature JM> valve will open and all water out when the temperature of pressure JM> gets too high. Some fail with age, but in your case I would guess JM> that in not the case, but it is functioning as it is designed. If JM> you have a check valve and you do not have a working expansion tank, JM> then as the water heats up it expands, with a check valve and no hot JM> water valves open it has to go somewhere and that is where the PT JM> valve comes into play.
JM> If I am right, you need an expansion tank, or service the one that is JM> there.
Mr. meehan, again you show your inexperience. if the PT valve was opening he would see it as they are supposed to be terminated so you can see when they blow off. now, with a little more information we may be able to solve this. are your pipes running through a slab or do you have a basement?
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. "Moms and reason are like oil and water." -- Calvin
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OK everyone - the problem is n fact is a leak in the slab - fortunately, it is in the garage slab, in the wall behind the existing water heater - really near garage slab floor level, but far enough down that the hot water was running under the slab.
Cost to repair by folks who have the tools/knowledge/time (I don't have any) to fix is going to be ~$900 (this includes removing and reinstalling the water heater, busting up the slab, fixing the leak, repouring the concrete, repairing the wall section we had to take apart). I'm in Alabama if folks think it's cheap or outrageous.
Just glad it wasn't down in the middle of the kitchen floor or someplace like it.
Thanks for all of the replies and suggestions - helped us narrow our focus down alot.
Steve
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Steve wrote: ...

I'll just reiterate others--I would <not> let them put it back in the slab--you're just asking for more trouble down the road. There's got to be some way to route it that doesn't have to go under a slab.
<Particularly> since you mentioned in another response that you're doingsome fairly significant remodeling in the not too distant future, even if there's a temporary visible line to be permanently fixed later, I would <NOT> rebury this thing...
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Folks - the leak has been fixed already - we only had to excavate ~4 inches of concrete - it turned out that the hole was casued by a bit of wire mesh penetrating the copper tube - it was in an easily accesible area - this leak was NOT in the middle of a floor and had it been, I would have go the re-route way. Total cost was reduced to <$250.00.
If we ever do happen to have something of this nature in the middle of the slab, then we will be re-doing things.
Hopefully, I will be out of this house by then - as sson as the kids graduate HS (4 more years).
Steve
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