Hot water cylinder overflowing

Christmas must be the worst time to have a heating/plumbing problem. But I have one.
My hot water cylinder seems to have overflowed. With water trickling out from the hole where the imersion element is.
I didn't notice it until last night as it's in an airing cupboard. it looks like it may have been doing this for quite some time as the floor is wet through and there is mildew growing on the surface.
I would expect a heating engineer to be able to tighten the nut on the imersion element and hence solve the problem
But should the hot water cylinder overflow right to the top anyhow?
Any ideas why this may have suddenly occured. As it is Christmas the heating has been on for most of the day. And as we have guest we are using much more hot water.
A.
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On 28 Dec 2006 05:42:32 -0800, "Londoncityslicker"
|Christmas must be the worst time to have a heating/plumbing problem. |But I have one. | |My hot water cylinder seems to have overflowed. |With water trickling out from the hole where the imersion element is. | |I didn't notice it until last night as it's in an airing cupboard. |it looks like it may have been doing this for quite some time as the |floor is wet through and there is mildew growing on the surface.
Wrap a bit of rag or old towel round the leak, to absorb the water, so that it does no more damage and wait till after the holidays, to cure it.
|I would expect a heating engineer to be able to tighten the nut on the |imersion element and hence solve the problem
The sheds sell special immersion heater spanners for this job. price is a lot less than call out charges.
|But should the hot water cylinder overflow right to the top anyhow?
Hot water cylinders are *always* completely full of water, so if a hole develops anywhere it leaks.
|Any ideas why this may have suddenly occured. |As it is Christmas the heating has been on for most of the day. |And as we have guest we are using much more hot water.
Probably irrelevant, you say it has mildew so it started a long time ago.
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Londoncityslicker wrote:

The cylinder *should* be full to the top - that's normal. It is fed from a cistern somewhere above it (probably the loft) which keeps it full. (Either that or it's a mains pressure one. If it is a mains pressure version the water would be doing more than trickling, so I think that's unlikely. However, mains pressure cylinders can be dangerous things - if it is one leave it well alone and get someone to look at it ASAP).
Assuming it is not at mains pressure you could get a cylinder spanner yourself from any plumbers' merchants (they're probably open today) and try to tighten the nut yourself - that would save you a wait and a hefty callout fee. However, it could be the packing around the nut (or washer?) which has deteriorated with age. If that is the case then you would need to undo the nut reseal everything and tighten it again.
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snip

Having first isolated and drained down the cylinder .....
AAA Switch OFF the boiler and Immersion heater. BBB Locate the cold watertank feeding water into the cylinder; close the service valve supplying this tank - in extremis; tie UP the arm of the ball valve/ CCC Run the hot water taps to draw off the water from the cylinder. [The water in the cold water tank will flow into the cylinder then be drawn off through the taps ... after a 'while' there'll be no water flowing from the hot water taps.]
If the steps above are not taken before following the advice; water will flow -gush- out from the seal between the Immersion Heater boss and the cylinder ....
I> if that is the case then you

Then, undo all the steps AAA ~ CCC. Untie the ball valve lever - check water flowing into tank - wait awhile - water spluttering out of hot-water taps ? close off taps... check that water is not seeping from remade seal - check ball valve closes properly
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Brian



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ball
The above is all garbled. You say first isolate and drain the cylinder but you then run the hot water taps to drain it again?? Not that this would drain it anyway. It will only drain the loft tank supplying it. You still have to drain the actual cylinder via the drain cock that someone has hopefully seen fit to install at its base. -- Dave Baker Puma Race Engines www.pumaracing.co.uk Camp USA engineer minces about for high performance specialist (4,4,7)
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How rude a response? Actually why don't you read what I wrote and not chunter about what you _think_ I wrote:- I mentioned _draw off_ the hot water; nowhere did I write _drain_ the water from the cylinder! BTW; as other posters have written, the cylinder walls have the consistency of cooking foil and unless filled with water, to provide some rigidity, would -probably- distort when any force was applied to the immersion heater fitting. Have you considered

Naff website and isn't self-advertising prohibited in a D-I-Y newsgroup?
Have a nice New Year!
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Brian





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the
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will
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water
Ah, so the words "drained down the cylinder" didn't actually mean drain down the cylinder? That'll be helpful to an OP who doesn't know much about plumbing. No sir, I think you clearly meant to give instructions on how to drain down a cylinder but got it wrong. You can wriggle if you like. It's a common beginner's mistake to think that opening the hot taps will drain an immersion cylinder though so don't feel too bad about it.

consistency
heater
Wriggle wriggle.

What you needed for Xmas was a somewhat less fragile ego. The one you have appears to be defective.

You too :) -- Dave Baker Puma Race Engines www.pumaracing.co.uk Camp USA engineer minces about for high performance specialist (4,4,7)
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Can you please cite where I wrote the words 'drained down the cylinder'?

The value of what you think I 'clearly intended to meant to give ... ' is somewhat tainted by the slightly embassing fact that I didn't write the words you've attributed to me.

It's an even more common mistake to read what one wants to read as opposed to what is written. Don't feel bad about it ... details of remedial classes are (usually) available from the libray.

What you neede was the bility to read and not invent words that you want.

--

Brian



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I doubt it. If it's suddenly sprung a leak there after years of being fine then either the gasket has gone or a hole has corroded through the cylinder. Also immersion heaters tend to corrode into place after many years and can't be moved. However you might be lucky. Go to your local DIY shed and buy an immersion heater spanner for a few quid and try tightening it. If it makes it worse don't blame me though. It'll then need the water supply cut off, draining, fixing, maybe with a new tank and installing everything again. Not cheap.
Well not usually unless you live a charmed life :) My old immersion tank gradually sprouted more holes than a colander and I soldered pennies over the holes for several years until I was in danger of having a tank worth more in coin of the realm than a new tank. Finally I started to run out of good metal to even solder to and I knew the game was up. I looked up the price of new tanks, had a small fit and decided to ponder things a while longer. Then one day shortly after a neighbour popped round and said someone in a lorry had tried to deliver my new immersion tank while I was out. It was in his garage if I wanted to collect it. Somewhat puzzled I went round and lo and behold there was a brand new foam insulated immersion tank sat there at the most opportune time imaginable. Who it had been intended for I'll never know. No one came back to try and collect it. I whipped the old one out, chucked it and installed the new one. I raise a glass to the immersion tank fairy every Xmas in thanks for my good fortune. It's just a bitch that Bessy the boiler has now also died so I have a good tank but still have no hot water or central heating. I'm now waiting for the boiler fairy to deliver a new boiler to the neighbour's garage. If she could see her way clear to adding a couple of rads and some push fit plumbing that would be even nicer.

Do you mean should it be full? Yes. Completely. The pipe leading out of the very top of the tank being somewhat of a clue in this regard. They fill with cold water from the bottom and the hot water comes out of the top. If they weren't full you wouldn't get any water out. I suggest you try following your pipes and you'll see how it works. -- Dave Baker Puma Race Engines www.pumaracing.co.uk Camp USA engineer minces about for high performance specialist (4,4,7)
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Leak and Overflow are clearly confused concepts.
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John wrote:

You are right. I was confused. It's a leak.
Any other helpul information?
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As predicted. After a few years in situ they rarely come out again.

Again, it was unlikely to be the immersion in the first place. Much more likely to be a hole starting to appear.

By the time the tank itself is holed the coil inside is often leaking too. Did you have any water coming out of an overflow from the loft? What happens is the large cold tank which supplies the taps forces water up into the small tank which supplies the boiler via the hole in the coil and causes it to overflow if its at a lower level than the big tank.

Not much else he could do safely. You should have slapped some silicone sealer on it and waited until after Xmas. A few more days of a leak you hadn't known about for ages weren't going to hurt. Those of us who've played this game before didn't think you were going to get away without a new tank. Why don't you just connect the water back again? Would only take 5 minutes even if you're fairly clueless. Now the tank is drained you could slap some quick setting araldite on the hole first too. -- Dave Baker Puma Race Engines www.pumaracing.co.uk Camp USA engineer minces about for high performance specialist (4,4,7)
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