needs advice from a plumber

Submitted: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 09:50
ThreadID: 4906 Views:1427 Replies:9 FollowUps:0
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First up, my apologies for apparently usurping this site with a non related topic, but I promise to weave 4 wheel driving into it eventually.

Our Rheem 135 litre hot water system (31 series) is playing up. The water pressure has dropped off significantly and the water temperature does not seem to indicate the high setting of the thermostat (second highest setting).

This morning I filled up a 9.6 litre bucket with water from the hot tap closest to the heater (approx 1 meter) and it took 3 minutes to fill. The cold tap next to it took 13 seconds.

On cold nights we have to supplement the hot water with boiled water from the kettle when running a bath, and it takes ages to fill. Showers run out of steam very quickly also.

The problem has been obvious for some time, but we have learned to live with it, however we recently had the diode changed (by a mechanic!!), and the problem seems to have gotten worse.

Can anyone please advise what the likely cause is and a possible solution, or is that like asking how long is a piece of string?

We are planning to go off roading in the Pilbara in a couple of months (I did promise to weave 4 wheel driving in), but I can see that possibly going out the window if I call in a plumber. Is it a big problem, will it be expensive to fix?

Again my apologies to the forum readers and to the ExplorOz team, but I dont know any plumbers and this seems like a good place for my questions to get wide exposure without doing the dirty on a hard working tradesman by calling him out and then sending him packing. The unit was new in 1998.
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Reply By: Surf - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 10:15

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 10:15
Its gas by the way
AnswerID: 19985

Reply By: bruce.h (WA) - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 11:11

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 11:11
Surf
try ringing your local heem dealer they should be able to give you some guidance or point you in the rigth direction of some one who can
Regards Bruce
AnswerID: 19992

Reply By: Member - Bigbear - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 11:47

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 11:47
If you are in an area which has high calcium content in the water it will build up on the heating element and cause problems. If this is the case 5 years is not a bad run. Just a thought,
Bush Bappo's 4WD Club
AnswerID: 19997

Reply By: Member - Bigbear - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 12:00

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 12:00
If you are in an area which has high calcium content in the water it will build up on the heating element and cause problems. If this is the case 5 years is not a bad run. Just a thought,
Bush Bappo's 4WD Club
AnswerID: 19998

Reply By: herkman - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 14:02

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 14:02
I would try a cheap fix first.

The unit is too new to be beyond fixing.

Turn the unit off, and they drain all the water out of the heater, there will be a drain plug on the bottom.

Get yourself some thread tape from local hardware store, remove the plug and watch what I suspect will be mud coming out. When the unit is empty, chock it on oposite side to plug, turn the water on, and let it run out until it is completly clear. Screw plug back in, until just finger tight, fill with water, and the when full, pull the plug out, if no more rubbish comes out, then run the tape around the plug and put it back in, and tighten. If it keeps coming out dirty, keep repeating process until you get it clear. Remove the chock.

The crud tends to make the heater less efficient, but if that does not fix it, the problem could lie with the thermostat. If they are not expensive, that would be the next to go.

The fact that you are loosing pressure, appears to me, that the tank is full of rubbish. You could try taking the inlet pipe off, and see what the pressure is like.

In SA where crud abounds in the water, most plumbers put a filter on the water intake, they are about $60 for the assembly, easy to fit and replacement elements are only $10.

If you are like me, I hate to have tradesmen around, they cost a heap, never come on time, and always make a mess.

Hope we have helped.

Regards

Col Tigwell
AnswerID: 20022

Reply By: tessa_51 - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 15:32

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 15:32
Surf
I had a similar problem a few years ago - only difference it was electric. When I spoke to a friendly plumber over the phone he suggested that I try hitting what I always thought was a tap, but he called a Yorkshire fitting, on the water pipe leading into the unit on the bottom, with a hammer. He said they sometimes corrode and get clogged with their own muck. He was right! Loosening the muck gave a temporary relief and I was able to go to my local plumbing supplies and buy a replacement which I installed myself.

Good luck

Tessa_51
AnswerID: 20031

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 17:02

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 17:02
Surf,

I sympathise...our gas h/water system bleep itself completely only 2 days before Christmas. Had to get a newy and drastically scale back our Christmas trip from 10 days around Esperance to 5 days around Collie, Nannup etc :((((((((

MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
AnswerID: 20039

Reply By: gopha - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 22:12

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 22:12
Give me a call on 0408 878 260 I am what you are looking for,if you still have aproblem with your heater
Cheers
AnswerID: 20076

Reply By: SteveA - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 22:54

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 22:54
Have had the problem as well. There is a lever on the top of the system, I pulled on that until the water stated coming out the over flow pipe. What I think it is the float gets stuck inside and doesn't allow the resevoir to fill up.
Try it and hope it helps
Steve
AnswerID: 20083

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