Need plumbing/plumber advice/recommendation

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Submitted by XBoxBoy on August 16, 2021 - 1:35pm

Hey any one got a recommendation for a good plumber?

I've got good water pressure on my cold, but my hot water as soon as I turn it on the pressure starts to drop until it is just a dribble. I'm figuring it's either a clogged water heater or an issue with the pressure release valve on the water heater.

Looking for advice and/or a recommendation for a plumber. Feel free to post or private message me.

Repair would be in the La Jolla area.

Thanks,

Xboxboy

Submitted by gzz on August 16, 2021 - 4:39pm.

Every plumber I have used in San Diego has been good but expensive.

If your water heater is more than 7 years old I would just replace it.

Submitted by ucodegen on August 18, 2021 - 1:15am.

Right off the bat, the problem is not the pressure release. This only vents pressure should the pressure get too high or temp gets too high. It does not affect outflow to the hot water lines from the hot water heater (not attached to the out-flow line) see: http://theplumbinginfo.com/water-heaters/

If it was the water heater, it would be a constant slow flow, and possibly lower capacity in terms of hot water (ie: a 60gal hot water heater acting like a 40 gal hot water heater). It would also be slow heating of water within the water heater.

This sounds like something constricting as it heats up... after cooling it flows normally till it heats up again.

What type of pipes are in the house? I am almost suspecting old galvanized steel pipes. Copper pipe tends not to get calcium buildup as it ages, I am not certain of PEX, but I do know that old fashioned galvanized pipe does clog up with calcium deposits and most San Diego water can be 'bounced off the floor' because of the hardness (calcium and minerals within the water). The flow drops because the deposits expand as they warm up... closing any tight opening. Another possible is the valve itself.. Have you tried the hotwater from any other outlets? Do they have the same response (reduction to a dribble as the water at the tap gets hot)?

Submitted by Hobie on August 18, 2021 - 5:24am.

Does this happen to every fixture? Take one apart and look for debris on the filter screen. In a water heater the cold water enters and is piped to the bottom of the tank through what is called a dip tube. Sometimes, this plastic pipe will dissolve into very small pieces -pencil tip size, which get into the downstream pipes and ultimately will clog similar to what you are describing. Also, check your shower valve cartridge for this clogging too. If this is the case, a new Wh, and flush lines and clean each fixture filter screen will do the job.

Submitted by XBoxBoy on August 18, 2021 - 5:54pm.

Had the plumber out, expecting to replace the water heater. He took one look at it, and said that some of these heaters have balls in them right where the water comes in and where it goes out. That he would remove the balls and that it would be fine. And sure enough in an hour we had hot water flowing out of the hot taps as fast as cold water will flow.

I'm not really sure what he meant by balls in the water heater, I'm thinking he meant filter screens on the intake and outtake. Or possibly one way flow valve. Either way, removing these balls freed up the flow.

I was just glad he only charged my $200 (he did put in new flex pipe) and didn't sell me a new water heater which would have been $1600. Although because the heater is 11 years old, I'm sure I'll need a new one before too long. (the plumber did say the heater seemed to be in pretty good shape.)

Thanks for all the input.

Submitted by Hobie on August 20, 2021 - 4:02am.

Almost forgot, do you have a water softener( kind with salt)? Rarely, they will fail and release balls into the water.

Submitted by ucodegen on August 24, 2021 - 6:34pm.

XBoxBoy wrote:
Had the plumber out, expecting to replace the water heater. He took one look at it, and said that some of these heaters have balls in them right where the water comes in and where it goes out. That he would remove the balls and that it would be fine. And sure enough in an hour we had hot water flowing out of the hot taps as fast as cold water will flow.

I'm not really sure what he meant by balls in the water heater, I'm thinking he meant filter screens on the intake and outtake. Or possibly one way flow valve. Either way, removing these balls freed up the flow.

Couldn't resist - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ptiDjFNaXQ

Anyway, here is info on the balls:
https://www.waterheaterhub.com/water-hea...

They are probably heat traps that prevent convective flow of hot water out of the water heater. They usually don't cause flow problems, and do prevent loss of heat from the water heater. I think the one in my water heater are actually teflon reed valves, not balls. The heat traps in your water heater may have been damaged over time, possibly calcium buildup.. I didn't see them, so I can not answer this. Did your plumber bend the flex pipe into a 'gooseneck' shape? Kind of like an upside-down 'P' trap? That shape also helps prevent loss of heat through convective flow within the pipes connected to the water heater.

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