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 Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: H2OHeater911 (CA)

So I’m having an issue with my water heater that won’t stop ‘running’? — it sounds like there’s water running in it.
I’ve been trying to troubleshoot looking online for advice but haven’t been able to get any real answers!

SUMMARY:
1.) There is no obvious water leaking on or around the water heater. It is bone dry under it, on top of it, nor anywhere close to the pressure release valve - totally dry. Checked under house, can’t see any water anywhere.
2.) No water leaks from any other culprit, in or around the house.
3.) Went to main meter at street, while everything else was turned off & confirmed that the meter is in fact spinning (as if water is being run somewhere).
4.) Turned off cold water intake leaver to water heater, sound stopped, went to check main meter, & it stopped spinning - completely at a stand still.
5.) Touched the intake hose on top of unit bringing water in, it was ice cold. Touching outgoing hose next to it on top, it was piping hot.
6.) When I have cold water intake valve open (like it would be under normal operating) Hot water throughout the house is available, but pressure seems slightly diminished. When that valve is off, (when it’s not making this filling sound) cold water works throughout the house but absolutely nothing comes out the hot side.
7.) Burner seems to be working fine, it looks to the untrained eye like it always has. No outward sign of a problem whatsoever. No damage or anything unusual happened.
8.) The sound doesn’t appear to be coming from anywhere or anything other than the water heater itself. I routinely flush it out every year or so. Never had any type of problem with it before until now.

————————
Any input would be greatly appreciated!!!! Need some Guidance ASAP !!
THANK YOU! winking smiley

It is an American Standard, 40 gallon, natural gas heated, Model: G—40T2-3-6 NAT

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: bernabeu (SC)

you have a leak in your hot water piping 'somewhere'

? are you built on a slab ?

- - - -

Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: Curly (CA)

Confirming what Bernabeu said.

If looks like you are in California and most likely on a slab...you have a slab leak...leak in hot water pipe in /below the slab.

Fairly common in a lot of areas of California.

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: DaveMill (CA)

The pros above told you what is going on.

This video shows you some of the equipment professional leak detectors use to find leaks under slabs. This not a homeowner DIY job.

[www.youtube.com]



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: sum (FL)

"Checked under house, can’t see any water anywhere." So you have a basement or crawlspace with the piping exposed?

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 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: H2OHeater911 (CA)

Umm, I have no idea if I’m on a slab or not — I’ve never really even heard of that. Under my house is like dirt, that you can view through these miniature grated rectangle vent-looking things all around, at the base of the house.
The house looks like it’s sitting on miniature stilts or pylons all throughout down there.

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: H2OHeater911 (CA)

Wow, thanks for the video - that’s pretty high tech. I will start searching for what exactly a slab is, because I’m unsure if I have one. To be honest, it really sounds like it is coming from or concentrated in the water heater itself, internally.
Can any of the symptoms I described above be attributed to anything involving the inner workings of the water heater, & not some under ground pipe??

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 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: H2OHeater911 (CA)

Umm, no basement - but yes! perhaps a crawl space is what I have (suppose someone could go crawling in there but I sure haven’t) If you refer to my other reply, you can read how I described it. It’s like all dirt basically.
Before I think about replacing the damn water heater, would you be suggesting I first have a plumber come determine first?
A leak under a slab sounds tremendously expensive!!! It is very mysterious to me that water sure sounds like it’s running like crazy but where the hell would it all be going? Do you know anything like my symptoms described above, that could be causing it inside the water heater? (A valve or something?) Do plumbers even fix water heaters??
It sounds super localized inside there (to me anyway).



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: bernabeu (SC)

you do NOT have 'slab construction'

you have a crawl space

there is piping below the floor but above the dirt

a HW pipe is leaking 'somewhere'

you probably can NOT see the 'puddle' from outside

you, or your plumber, need to crawl in with a GOOD light

- - - -

Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: Curly (CA)

Sorry I missed "Checked under the House" - There are some houses that will be built with a raised foundation (crawl space) and on a slab.

Look for an access point that has a removeable screen/panel that a body can crawl through to get under your house. A lot of the times it is located on the outside perimeter of the house.

In some houses it is located in the floor of a closet. In my area usually older homes with wood floors with a removable section of the wood floor.

Generally speaking you do not need a leak detection company for a leak under a house with a raised foundation....you just crawl and look/listen for it.

You do not need a new water heater.

Good luck.

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: sum (FL)

You have those rectangular vents all around the outside of your crawlspace, look into each one, with a flash light, see if you see any puddles of water or hear anything unusual. You may not see any water supply lines because they may be strapped to the underside of your floor joists and the vents are positioned lower.

Another thing you can do is to shut off the cold feed to the water heater. The meter stops spinning once it's off and no consumption elsewhere. Go to the meter and take a reading of the number. Then turn it back on and let it run for say ten minutes, no usage during that time, then turn off again. Go read that number again. The difference between the two will give you the rate of leak per ten minutes, divide by 10 to get leak gallons per minute. This kind of give you an idea how fast the leak is.

How long has this been happening? Does your water bill reflects a spike?

What is your piping material? CPVC (almond colored plastic), copper, galvanized steel (gray color metal), PEX (red, blue or white plastic), polybutene (gray plastic) or something else?

I would also go to every fixture in the bathroom and turn off the valves hot and cold just to see if isolating them makes any difference. Not likely, but sometimes, you may get lucky say the line from the kitchen sink stubout to a dishwasher or an ice maker running under the cabinet and those lines are leaking slowly without being noticed.

I don't know if a water heater itself can be a problem. The only scenerio I can think of this being a WH problem is if the T&P valve on the water heater has failed miserably to the point that water is being discharged out of that into the discharge line that is pipes to exit somewhere (should be a visible spot outside). If that exit is covered with dirt, or behind an air conditioner compressor, or inside the crawlspace you will never see it.



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: bernabeu (SC)

Quote

..... If that exit is covered with dirt, or behind an air conditioner compressor, or inside the crawlspace you will never see it.




IOW: a SERIOUS code violation





OP: tough love: you are clueless, get a LICENSED BONDED INSURED plumber

- - - -

Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: H2OHeater911 (CA)

Thanks for the water leakage rate formula. This problem has only been going on since the day I originally posted, so like only 2 days. I’ve already troubleshooted other taps in other rooms being open - but no, this isn’t some minor mystery leak, it’s a loud rushing sound, that sounds like someone is taking a shower in another part of the house for example. There’s no mistaking it, as it is a distinct brand-new thing.
The water heater has its own little metal cupboard (so to speak) in the corner of my back patio. So there’s no way it’s leaking without my knowing it. I can see & feel all around it. The sound just sounds like when the thing is filling itself up, as it would on any normal day — but it never stops. Like water is infilling, & filling, & filling, & filling……. Etc.
But instead of peaking under the house through the vents, with a flashlight, I think you have a good point about crawling in there to have a look. I’m not gonna lie, the idea of subterranean exploration freaks me out - but I will do it today!

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: H2OHeater911 (CA)

Yes, you’re right — I am clueless about these things. Im a city boy, & for example going to the likes of Home Depot gives me anxiety & stress. Plumbing & home repair is NOT my speciality — Hence why I thought I’d try to narrow down the problem asking those in the know, you guys.

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: H2OHeater911 (CA)

Forgot to answer your question about the pipes — they’re all 1950s solid copper.

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: bernabeu (SC)

I assume you WILL find a leak in the crawl space.

? Then what ?

!? Call in a plumber ?!


? Learn to solder ?

? Repipe a section yourself ?

or

Try some second rate rube goldberg fix yourself ?





????????????????? Why not call in a plumber to perform ...... wait for it ...... wait ..... PLUMBING ???????????????????????

- - - -

Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: clanderson (NE)

He probably is going to call in a licensed bonded plumber(or already has called one and has to wait a few days because it is not an emergency) but wants to make sure he can tell the plumber where the leak seems to be. Anytime saved for the plumber usually means a somewhat lower bill.

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: bernabeu (SC)

sooooooo ........

let him spend HOURS of his time and LOADS of his energy to save 1/4 hour labor charge by the pro who can find the leak QUICKLY ....... the first place the plumber will look (after listening to the symptoms) after checking the heater's HW valve to determine it actually IS a HW leak would be the crawl space


... i really am bored, never should have retired ...





OVER AND OUT

- - - -

Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638
"Measure Twice & Cut Once"

Post Reply

 Re: Water heater won’t stop running!! - HELP PLS
Author: sum (FL)

The issue may be, a plumber may or may not want to go into the crawlspace.

Where I am, some plumbing companies will not "start work" until you OK and sign an estimate, and I am guessing very few plumber will be willing to go crawl around to locate a leak then come out and say "oh yes I found it, it's going to cost XYZ" where the owner may then say "I can't afford that, forget it". Then the plumber would have go through the trouble for nothing, unless the plumber bills him for the recon then bills him for the repair as two line items. If he goes in there and able to locate the leak, he can take pictures and it may allow the plumber to provide a better estimate.

OP, if you go into the crawlspace and you haven't been in one before, need to take precaution, especially since you know there is an active leak, so part of your crawlspace may be flooded, may be moldy. Have someone stand by with phone or walkie talkies in case you get into trouble. You never know what to find in there, could run into snakes, spiders, rats, take a big bright LED light in there, wear at least a coverall.



Edited 2 times.

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 Thanks everyone clap
Author: H2OHeater911 (CA)

Hey just wanted to thank everyone for their input & advice - thought I should provide an update, having since resolved this issue.
So as it turns out, there was nothing wrong with the water heater itself. There was a small pinhole hot water leak in one of the outgoing hot water pipes, under my house, luckily & harmlessly leaking down onto the ground. Plumbers were able to crawl under there, diagnose it & sort it out.
The water sound I was hearing was indeed the cold water just continuing to try & fill up the water heater, as part of its normal operation.
I thought I should just post this follow up in case anyone in the future is experiencing something similar.
Thank again, I appreciate all your help.
winking smiley



Edited 1 times.

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