spit and gurgle. It doesn't take much air to do so, and it can be a pain
to get the last little bit out.
I'd buy that for a few days to a week. But he said it's been
going on for a long time, got the impression it's been months,
though I don't recall if he's actually given a number. And in
every case I've been involved with it was over in a matter
of minutes once that line was flowing. It's not unusual to
open a faucet a week later, that hasn't been used and have
air come out of it, but that isn't what he's saying. He says
he has spurting, gurgling going on continously, on all hot
faucets. And also that the spurting starts when the hot
water arrives at the faucets. That strongly suggests that it's
not coming from some random place, but actually from the
Why would that be? A simple battery in a lab experiment can
fill a test tube up with gas in a matter of minutes.
I can see two obvious ways to test for it.
a clear plastic bag inside it, can be a dry cleaner bag or similar. It
doesn't have to hold pressure. Open the bag under water so it fills.
Run a hose from the hot water faucet into the bag. The air/gas/whatever
will collect. Poke a small hole in the top of the bag, squeeze a little gas
out and use a lighter to check.
is is not confirmed, it could still be methane from the well.
ted through the water. The element is 240 V, just two hots, no neutral.
The case exterior is grounded. So electrolysis would require jolts to
leak from the element through the tank coating to the metal body and back
to the panel through the ground. The voltage would be 120 of course, not
240. Put a clamp on ammeter on the bare ground wire. You shouldn't m
easure any current. Disconnect the ground wire, and if it is electrolysi
s it should stop. You might be able to measure voltage between ground wi
re connection and ground wire with them disconnected. (I always get in t
rouble here with voltmeter measurements.)
nk, and it just seems unlikely.
The current path doesn't have to be from the heating element to the
The outside of the element is grounded. If it has a hole in it, the
path could be
from the hot electrode inside to the metal outside of the heating
very short path. Also, it would not require a coated tank. The
in and the metal plug part of the element is uncoated.
n is that they encourage bacteria growth which releases hydrogen sulfide.
I've never seen it happen myself. My inlaw's water has that smell, bu
t it's from a well, and in both the hot and cold water. The hot water is
worse of course because it volatilizes. But while I haven't seen it, th
ere are lots of articles that say it happens.
only a tiny amount dissolved in water, it just happens to affect our nose v
ery easily. If it were concentrated enough to burp at a faucet, it proba
bly would be enough to kill you. For sure it would corrode anything near
by, probably eat through pipes.
Well, long ago there was a report of hydrogen in a water heater, but I t
racked down the original report and it turned out to be something else, lon
as air. Does it smell at all? Will it burn?
t's making enough gas to burp, I'm not sure I'd want to drink it. Must b
e like jello inside, with that much bacteria.
e water 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 di
ssolves more air, and your cold water pipe layout has some areas where it g
ets trapped. Your hot water tank has a dip tube for cold water entry, bu
t hot water leaves through the top. Your water sits in the tank long eno
ugh for air to separate and form a layer on top of the water.
If he has a submersible, there is no air available to inject. HOWEVER
you do hve a good point. Some wills produce water that has air
dissolved in it. It could be coming out of solution and collecteding
as you suggested.
I occasionaly get a short 'burp' from my system. Never paid attention
if it is only from the hot side.
I'm not sold on any analysis yet. It's just been my experience that until
you find the real "root cause," you're spinning wheels spending money.
It might be useful to know the water analysis. I assume you wouldn't drink
well water without an occasional test, so you should know pH, TDS, hardnes
s, conductivity, etc.
Even though these symptoms appeared when the water heater was changed, it's
not a given that this was the cause. Maybe the characteristics of the wel
l had changed, and it would have happened with either heater. That's the k
ind of coincidence that drives you nuts troubleshooting.
til you find the real "root cause," you're spinning wheels spending money.
rink well water without an occasional test, so you should know pH, TDS, har
dness, conductivity, etc.
's not a given that this was the cause. Maybe the characteristics of the
well had changed, and it would have happened with either heater. That's
the kind of coincidence that drives you nuts troubleshooting.
There is another puzzling aspect to this:
"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. "
It sounds like this then goes on continously? If some gas of
some kind is getting generated in the WH, by whatever reaction
you would think it
would show up as the first hot water arrives. But you'd also
think that it would not last too long. I mean how much gas
could there be? You would think in a few minutes it would be
over. And then if you drew hot water again in like 5 or 10 mins
you would have no air, or at least no noticeable air. And if you let
recover for say 8 hours, then you'd have more air again.
Another interesting experiment would be to turn off the
WH, use up all the hot water and see how it behaves
with just cold water in it. Is it possible this "gurgling/spitting"
isn't even due to air/gas? Another key experiment would
be to get the water going into a container, preferabley via
a hose, maybe on the washing machine tap, to verify that
bubbles are in fact responsible. I mean you would
certainly think it's air/gas related, but who knows. Is it
possible something is partially blocking the flow, causing
the fits and spurts?
That whole thing is based on the premise that there is
air trapped in the pipes somewhere. That seems unlikely
to me, since he says it's been going on for months. At
some point, if air is coming out, it would exhaust itself
and several months seems like a very long time. Also,
since it's coming out of ALL the hot water taps, it would
have to be trapped in a common part of the pipes, close
to the WH. That it's coming from either the tank or the
pipes close to the tank are further verified by the fact
that he says the air only shows up when hot water
arrives at the faucet. All that suggests to me that it is
in fact being generated inside the tank.
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