Plumbing Question

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Pamela, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    The last couple of days, when I take a shower the water runs hot then cold. This is for the duration of the shower. My landlord is in Europe, so I can't call him. Could this be a problem with the water heater? Any ideas?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    Yes, it could easily be. Check the type of water heater you have - gas or electric - and depending on the result, you might be able to do one of the following:

    Electric: check the circuit breaker. If it is off, try resetting it; if it keeps going off, keep it off, and call an electrician (there's probably a short somewhere). If flipping the breaker to on helps, then there is the issue.

    If it is still not working, check the maintenance records. One should clean out a heater every so often (anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on water quality, mostly).

    Gas: check to see if you can smell gas. If you can, turn it off; it may be the pilot flame is off. If you have that kind of heater (some use electrics to start the gas heating on demand), check to see if it is still on. Be careful, don't use an open flame. If it isn't, turn off the gas to the heater, wait half an hour (this is to dissipate any gas in the area, assuming it is reasonably well ventilated), then follow the mfr instructions exactly to turn it on again. If it isn't working (might take a coupe of tries, but be careful), stop, turn off the gas, and call a plumber.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Does this problem exist in the other faucets too?
     
  4. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    going WAY out on a limb here.. but the newer shower faucets have safety valves in them to control temp spikes, I wonder if that could malfunction?
     
  5. Jack Fanning

    Jack Fanning Second Unit

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    They're called "monitor valves", I just replaced one on my 8 year old Delta shower faucet. Mine just had a slow leak, and after replacing the "seats and springs" a couple of times over the years, this time it still leaked, so I replaced the entire valve ($40+)...no more leaks!

    I don't really see how they could malfunction and result in the type of problem Pamela is having...but I could be wrong of course.
     
  6. CalvinCarr

    CalvinCarr Supporting Actor

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    Does it go hot/cold/hot/cold or does it just get colder? If it just gets colder it could be the upper thermostat. Either way if you don't know electricity/plumbing I would suggest getting a friend to look at it.
     
  7. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Actually you may have a defective water heater, I forgot which brand it was (and the sub brands they built them for) but what happened is the inlet pipe that goes into the water heater (it usually comes in from the top and continues for about 18+ inches inside it) most likely deterioriated such that when you use a lot of water (such as a shower)that cold water doesn't make the push toward the bottom of the tank and force the hotter water towards the top thru the outlet pipe. There was a recall on them and most likely you can find it if you do a search but most likely you'll not be able to collect on the class action suit that they settled to offset your next model (my dad had a rental house that had this problem).
     
  8. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I dunno either, just tossing out ideas [​IMG]
    I have no idea how those valves even work.
     
  9. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    It sounds like either the upper heating element is faulty (as mentioned above, for electric heaters only), or your heater is filling up with sediment. Try draining it - be sure to turn it off, first - no need to turn off the water supply - and see what comes out. Drain until the water runs clear.
     
  10. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Well, this morning the water was fine.

    To answer some questions:

    1) It is a gas water heater.

    2) It alternates between hot and cold throughout the shower. It doesn't just go cold.

    3) It's hard to tell if the other faucets do the same thing, as I don't run the water for a prolonged time when using them. I did the dishes last night and kept the water running. It seemed to be fine.

    The water heater looks old. I read that they are only good for around five or six years. Is this true?
     
  11. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    Water heaters last 10 years or so +/- a couple years. If you think yours is older than that, then you've gotten its useful life. The other simple thing you can look at is what the water temp is set at, maybe it's set too low. To have your current water heater replaced you're probably looking at anywhere from $200-$300.
     
  12. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I was living in an apartment once and woke up one day to find that the water heater just decided to flood the room! The funny part was that it had a 5 year guarantee, and it ran out the month before! Go figure!

    I like the idea of draining it too. Sediment could have built up inside it, disrupting the temp.

    Glenn
     
  13. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Although draining the sediment is always a good idea, if it alternates between hot and cold, then sediment, if there is any, is not likely to be the problem.

    Are you loading clothes into the washing machine and starting it before jumping into the shower? The washing machine could call for high volumes of hot water two or three times as it runs through its cycle.
     
  14. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    No way! I know the consequences of that!

    Again, this morning, the water was fine. Lets hope it stays that way! I might still drain it, as I'm sure there's sediment. The water is terrible, here.
     
  15. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    I live in a house where the water heater is in the garage and my master room shower is way way on the other side. I get all sort of segments of cold water and warm water when I first turn on the shower because some of the water in the pipes running from the heater is in cooler area and others are in the warm area. However, after about 5 minutes, the temperature settles.

    I kind of hate that. On very hot days, I just turn on the cold water and it takes a while to get all the hot water out and in the winter, it takes forever for the water to get hot.
     
  16. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    Do you (or any neighbors sharing the water supply if you're in an apartment) have a toilet that drips , runs , or partially flushes itself now and then? Your symptom is the classic "Hey ! who flushed the toilet?" while showering problem. A slow seeping of a flush valve will cause the toilet to run water every few minutes. You might want to jiggle all the toilet handles before a shower and see if it stops happening.
     
  17. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Hey, you may be on to something! I live in a small house. It is 70 years old. The plumbing is ancient. Sometimes out of the blue, the toilet just starts running. Kind of spooky. Maybe my ghost is at work!
     
  18. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    Pamela, watch out for leaking toilets. I couldn't understand why my water bill was creeping up. Finally one month it was double. Turned out my downstairs toilet was leaking. They can leak huge amounts of water.
     
  19. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    You know what to do? Turn off the water going to your toilet before your next shower.

    Glenn
     
  20. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    If shutting off the water to the toilet puts an end to your problem here's what to do next.
    By the sounds of it, the flapper on the flush valve is leaking by.
    The level in the tank slowly drops down to the point where the ballcock valve is initiated, introducing water to make up the volume of water lost. If the ballcock valve isn't seating, water will likely be running continuously. (this raises the tank's water level up to where it runs into the overflow tube of the flush valve) Turning off the water to the toilet will take a leaky ballcock out of the equation.
    Since your problem seems intermittant, I'm leaning toward the flapper on the flush valve.
    To check this simply add some food coloring or dye to the water in the tank after it has finished filling after a flush. The dye ought to end up in the water in the toilet bowl over time if it's the flapper.
    There's any number of brands of toilets out there. Your toilet may use a simple rubber ball with rods to link it to the flush lever, or a rubber flapper of some sort pulled up by a chain on the flush lever's arm.
    Flappers deteriorate over time. A decent hardware store ought to have any number of the many different replacement flappers out there. Remove yours and take it down to them.
    If you can see what brand of toilet yours is, all the better.
    If you can describe what the guts in your toilet look like I can probably give you a pretty fair idea if what you need is out there.
     

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