Gremlins in my plumbing?

The #1 community for Gun Owners in Texas

Member Benefits:

  • Fewer Ads!
  • Discuss all aspects of firearm ownership
  • Discuss anti-gun legislation
  • Buy, sell, and trade in the classified section
  • Chat with Local gun shops, ranges, trainers & other businesses
  • Discover free outdoor shooting areas
  • View up to date on firearm-related events
  • Share photos & video with other members
  • ...and so much more!
  • benenglish

    Just Another Boomer
    Staff member
    Lifetime Member
    Admin
    Rating - 100%
    4   0   0
    Nov 22, 2011
    19,747
    96
    Spring
    Here's a little story about the plumbing in my house.

    I got up to no hot water at the kitchen sink, first floor, east side of the house. I let it run a long, long time. The normal high volume of water poured forth but it was, at best, lukewarm. I know there was no hot water at that sink.

    At this point, I think I made a mistake. Since that sink is about the farthest from the heater, I assumed it was a good test. I assumed that if there was no hot water there then there was none in the rest of the house.

    The bog-standard gas hot water heater with tank is in the second floor attic, west side of the house.

    I figured the pilot had gone out. It never happened before but I decided to check it. It took me all day to get around to it; I had things to do and there was furniture in front of the access hatch. During the day, I used the kitchen sink many times and there was no hot water. When I finally checked the heater the burner was going. I turned off and re-lit the pilot light and it stayed on, telling me (I think) that the thermocouple is OK.

    I had re-checked the hot water at the kitchen sink before going to the heater (the water was still cold) but after finding the pilot light on I checked the other faucets in the house.

    They all had hot water. I went back to the kitchen sink and turned on the hot water. It flowed cold for longer than normal and then I got hot water.

    I feel sure I'm not insane or hallucinating. The sink I use 99% of the time for everything did not have hot water for a day.

    Then it did.

    As far as I know, I didn't do anything that would change anything other than run some faucets that pretty much never get used. Would that be enough to dislodge a temporary blockage of some sort? What can cause a temporary problem like this? Is it a sign of potential future problems?
     

    Mikewood

    Well-Known
    Rating - 0%
    0   0   0
    Jan 8, 2011
    2,159
    66
    Houston
    Sounds like a blocked hot water line. So under your sink close the hot water valve. Now turn on the hot water faucet valve on the top of your sink. If it runs you know the cold water is blowing by. That might be ok. In any event pull and clean the strainer/aireator on the end of the faucet. I bet it has a ton of sediment in it.
     

    shortround

    TGT Addict
    Rating - 0%
    0   0   0
    Jan 24, 2011
    6,624
    31
    Grid 0409
    1. When was the house built?

    2. How long have you lived in it?

    3. How cold was it outside your house when the water took a while to get warm?

    4. How old is the water heater? Does it have a pressure vessel in the plumbing line?

    5. Is the hot water pipe to your faucet in a slab, inside walls, or in a crawl space?

    I have a kitchen sink about twelve feet away from the water heater. I always get hot water after a few seconds. Upstairs, it takes about three minutes for hot water to come out of the shower.

    All my pipes are indoors in walls.

    Check the temperature setting on your water heater. Most come from the factory set very low to prevent scalding, but will have a thermostat to raise to temperature far higher.

    My water heater has both "economy" and "normal" modes. The "economy" setting never gives me sufficient hot water. In the "normal" mode, I have it set to 130 degrees. No cold showers or cold dish water ever again. The extra cost is insignificant -- maybe $.05 a day.
     

    robertc1024

    Moderator
    Staff member
    Moderator
    TGT Supporter
    Rating - 100%
    18   0   0
    Jan 22, 2013
    19,446
    96
    San Marcos
    Sounds like a blocked hot water line. So under your sink close the hot water valve. Now turn on the hot water faucet valve on the top of your sink. If it runs you know the cold water is blowing by. That might be ok. In any event pull and clean the strainer/aireator on the end of the faucet. I bet it has a ton of sediment in it.
    +1 If your sink has a one handle faucet, the mixing is no bueno.
     

    benenglish

    Just Another Boomer
    Staff member
    Lifetime Member
    Admin
    Rating - 100%
    4   0   0
    Nov 22, 2011
    19,747
    96
    Spring
    1. When was the house built? 1973

    2. How long have you lived in it? About 20 years.

    3. How cold was it outside your house when the water took a while to get warm? At the first failed attempt, it was very cold, below freezing. The water never got warm, no matter how long I ran it. This remained true all day. When the water finally ran warm, then hot after a much longer than normal delay, the weather outside had warmed quite a bit.

    4. How old is the water heater? Around 15 years. Does it have a pressure vessel in the plumbing line? No.

    5. Is the hot water pipe to your faucet in a slab, inside walls, or in a crawl space? Walls, both interior and exterior, I believe.

    Check the temperature setting on your water heater. It's set a bit higher than the default. Normally, the water is satisfyingly (very) hot.
    Responses inline.
     
    Last edited:

    benenglish

    Just Another Boomer
    Staff member
    Lifetime Member
    Admin
    Rating - 100%
    4   0   0
    Nov 22, 2011
    19,747
    96
    Spring
    Sounds like a blocked hot water line.
    I'm guessing that's the case. The weather was below freezing and the lines immediately before the sink with the problem appear, to me, to be in the best place for lines to freeze. They're on a poorly insulated outside wall and under the cabinets where the household heat doesn't reach them.

    They've never frozen before, though. I have my uncertainties.

    Then again, I also have my hot water back.
     

    subseashooter

    Use Your Imagination.....
    Lifetime Member
    Rating - 100%
    10   0   0
    Apr 7, 2013
    1,911
    46
    Here and There
    What make/model of faucet do you have on that sink, Ben?

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
     
    Top Bottom