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#326346 - 11/13/06 08:18 AM Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hotter
mikey2006 Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2
Loc: kansas
Our hot water has been getting very hot for about a week. Much hotter than before. The thermostat on the hot water heater hasn't been changed. Any ideas on a cause? Is it something I should be concerned about?

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#326347 - 11/13/06 09:43 AM Re: Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hotter [Re: mikey2006]
Chas311 Offline
Handyman

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 647
Loc: NE Illinois&West Central Minne...
I don't know the answer to your situation, but I have had a similar experience after installing a new water heater. This may not be the same as you are experiencing. There is a characteristic called "layering" which sometimes makes for a noticeable change in temp. At different times of the day the water heated will rise to where the hottest water will be used right away making a difference in what you are used to. Just a thought. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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#326348 - 11/13/06 10:25 AM Re: Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hotter [Re: mikey2006]
Dennis_H_N.J. Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 25627
Loc: Toms River, N.J.
Welcome to the fourm.. I can say that t-stats on WH aren't very hi-tech.. If the temp of the water excedes the setting on your safety valve, it will blow... I would lower the temp on the stat and see if that answers the situation..

I assume you have a gas heater!!


Edited by Dennis_H_N.J. (11/13/06 10:28 AM)
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#326349 - 11/13/06 09:04 PM Re: Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hotter [Re: mikey2006]
Nestor_Kelebay Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 8552
What Chas is referring to is called "stacking", and it's most commonly associated with using relatively small amounts of hot water (3 gallons or less) frequently.

What happens is that every time you use enough hot water to cause the thermostat in the hot water heater to call for heat, the burners come on and heat the bottom of the tank. The bottom of the tank has to get hot before it heats the water inside the tank. So, even after the thermostat stops calling for heat, the hot bottom of the tank will still be heating the water inside the tank. This heated water, being less dense than the cooler water in the tank, will accumulate at the top of the water heater. And, that hottest water at the top of the heater can be over 30 degrees F hotter than the thermostat set temperature. However, this hottest water at the top of the water heater also cools down the fastest, so stacking won't even be noticable if the hottest water cools down before your next draw of hot water.

Where it becomes a problem is if your next draw of hot water occurs WHILE that stacking is occuring. The result is that you'll get a blast of super hot water from the water heater initially, and then the water temperature will subside to normal "hot water". The more frequently you use small amounts of hot water (that are sufficient to cause the water heater's gas valve to open), the higher the percentage of the time that stacking will be present in your hot water heater, and the more of a problem you're going to notice.

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#326350 - 11/14/06 08:58 AM Re: Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hott [Re: Nestor_Kelebay]
mikey2006 Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2
Loc: kansas
Thanks for the replies guys.


We have lived in the house for about 2.5 years. We haven't changed any habits that I know of. I've noticed the issue in the morning after taking a shower and in the afternoon and evening, so it seems to be a consistant thing now. The water is getting so hot it could literally scald us. I need to turn down the t-stat to prevent this, but something is definitely up.

For instance, I always take my showers with the valve control handle at the 2' o clock position, but now, that position is too hot, so I've had to turn it down.

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#326351 - 11/14/06 11:12 AM Re: Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hott [Re: mikey2006]
dtownfb Offline
fanatic

Registered: 12/20/04
Posts: 580
Loc: York, PA
What is the actual temperature of the hot water coming out of the faucet? The issue with the hot water being hotter in the shower could also do with your cold water not being as cold.

If you take a look at the hot water heater manual it will give you approx. temperatures for the gradiation. The temperature out of the faucet (shower, sink, etc.) should be around that temperature.

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#326352 - 11/14/06 10:33 PM Re: Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hott [Re: mikey2006]
Nestor_Kelebay Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 8552
Quote:

For instance, I always take my showers with the valve control handle at the 2' o clock position, but now, that position is too hot, so I've had to turn it down.




If the problem isn't just in the shower, I'd probably change the thermostat about now.

If it's only in the shower, then you need to do a bit more investigating here to see if the problem is in the water temperature or the shower faucet.

You see, all newer shower faucets now have a pressure balancing system to prevent scalding. It works by automatically reducing the flow of hot water whenever there's a drop in the cold water supply pressure and vice versa. The idea is that by doing that, you can maintain a more uniform shower temperature and avoid situations where someone in a shower gets scalded because someone else flushed a toilet.

Those pressure balancing mechanisms can cause problems as well. If your pressure balancer thingie isn't working right, it might appear to be the water getting hotter, when it's really a problem with you're having more hot water in the mix.

Alternatively, you COULD contact some of the plumbers that sell your make of water heater and ask them what they do with the old LEAKING water heaters they replace. Then, go liberate the old thermostat from an old leaking water heater and see if switching out the thermostat solves the problem. Might want to check your local scrap metal dealers as I expect that most old hot water heaters end up there.


Edited by Nestor_Kelebay (11/14/06 10:43 PM)

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#326353 - 11/15/06 05:17 AM Re: Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hott [Re: Nestor_Kelebay]
Clint_Robbins Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/19/01
Posts: 10509
Loc: Akron, OH
Quote:

Alternatively, you COULD contact some of the plumbers that sell your make of water heater and ask them what they do with the old LEAKING water heaters they replace. Then, go liberate the old thermostat from an old leaking water heater and see if switching out the thermostat solves the problem.



When I replace a leaking water heater that otherwise works okay, I remove the gas valve/thermostat and keep a few. I've never had one fail but they are so expensive that it wouldn't normally pay to buy a new one for an older water heater.

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#326354 - 11/15/06 10:15 PM Re: Hot Water heater - suddenly water getting hott [Re: Clint_Robbins]
xmy556a Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/04/01
Posts: 30225
Loc: Québec, Canada
Did I miss if this was a gas or electric heater?
If electric, my similar ex^perience was a result of a almost completely corroded top element sheath.
It crumbled when I took it out, I replaced it and flushed out the heater : $10 and an hour later, the heater was working like new.
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Why did I post this?

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