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Thread: Hotwater System leaking from top ?

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    Default Hotwater System leaking from top ?

    Just sprang a leak with my hotwater system (gas type).

    Its a bit odd, seems to be a decent trickle down the side from the very top of the unit next to the exhaust vents, gathering on the top of the unit outside and streaming down the side of the exterior.

    First tried operating the pressure relief value which gets very hot the longer its operated, but the trickle from the leak is same strength of barely warm water..

    So I assume theres some fresh water fitting entering near the top of the tank thats leaking? I do have a solar unit on the roof but dont think that really maters.. no leak coming from the roof piping, joining to the unit.

    Any suggestions or system is toasted and get a new one.



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    Senior Member johnwinger's Avatar
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    What brand is it? Where are you located?

    If it is close to 10 years old I would replace it as HWUs are time bombs waiting to go off.

    I can reccomend someone to come out and replace it if need be.

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    leaks apart from wasting both power and water regreatably get worse over time.
    Depending where you are and how hard it is to get someone to check it out, I think you may need to consider replacing it.
    As Johnwinger says a HWS can be lethal if neglected and a 160 Litre tank can blow down a brick wall if it over pressurises.
    Or as I saw on a Myth Buster episode, demolish a shed and rocket over 100 metres into the sky, not fun!!
    You could disconnect it, pull off the outer case and try to find where its leaking and then depending on the tank metal, try to repair it and hope its not old enough now to begin leaking elsewere.
    Been there and done that so I think if your satisfied it is the HWS, I would start looking for a replacement.
    Some areas now require you to replace Gas with Gas or electric with Gas if your on or near a Natural Gas supply which obviously you are.
    Could I suggest you take a look at replacing that current unit with one of those Instant or Continuous Flow HWS?
    I put one on to replace the Donkey HWS last year and apart from a minor hassle I have caused, it works terrifically.
    They only function when you turn on the tap so maybe you could connect to the solar to preheat the water and save Gas Cost.
    These units seem around the same price as a standing HWS from what I see.
    Last edited by gordon_s1942; 14-01-12 at 09:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkage View Post
    Just sprang a leak with my hotwater system (gas type).

    Its a bit odd, seems to be a decent trickle down the side from the very top of the unit next to the exhaust vents, gathering on the top of the unit outside and streaming down the side of the exterior.

    First tried operating the pressure relief value which gets very hot the longer its operated, but the trickle from the leak is same strength of barely warm water..

    So I assume theres some fresh water fitting entering near the top of the tank thats leaking? I do have a solar unit on the roof but dont think that really maters.. no leak coming from the roof piping, joining to the unit.

    Any suggestions or system is toasted and get a new one.
    G'Day Cobber.
    This should give you an insight to the plumbing involved.
    A typical schematic well down the page.



    Kindest Regards, " The Druid ".


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    Thanks all for the responses..

    Its a typical gas Rheem 160lt.. Built in 1996...

    I've already switched off the gas supply to the unit and its definitely not anything related to the pressure value as it leaks when its switched off.. I have to switched off the main house water supply to stop the leak as its directly connected to the supply.

    I would probably guess its the the plumbing for main water supply to the tank thats leaking.. Have to take off the cover to investigate, I probably need to look at a new system anyways given its age. wow its done pretty good for 16 years..

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    Once you replace it you could destruct it to see where the leak was and take the residue to a scrap metal dealer as the tank and other bits may be copper and you get a bit more for 'clean' copper than you would as a complete unit.
    I stand unequivicably behind everything I say , I just dont ever remember saying it !!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    Once you replace it you could destruct it to see where the leak was and take the residue to a scrap metal dealer as the tank and other bits may be copper and you get a bit more for 'clean' copper than you would as a complete unit.
    I think you will find it has no copper at all, the tank it steel with a vitreous enamel lining.
    woteva

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    I did say 'Maybe' copper as by the time this was made in 1996, they used all sorts of tanks that were lined with glass or virtueous enamel.
    Darkage can have some fun finding out and once broken up, it will make it easier to dispose of.

    One thing occured to me after the first reply was that the tank is operating at Mains Pressure so the 'leak' could be just a pinhole almost anywhere but I would guess near the top and as such the spray is hitting wherever to appear as a dribble down the outside.
    Given time the material insulating the tank will be soaked and be a very sodden mess so if you do decide to 'Disassemble', take it where it wont be too hard to clean up after.
    Last edited by gordon_s1942; 15-01-12 at 03:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post

    One thing occured to me after the first reply was that the tank is operating at Mains Pressure so the 'leak' could be just a pinhole almost anywhere but I would guess near the top and as such the spray is hitting wherever to appear as a dribble down the outside.
    I took off the cover. Basically the insulation is wet and drawing upwards, flooding the top and spilling over to the exterior.

    yep new tank time

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    Just out of curiosity how much does the metal in HWS fetch for roughly/

    I've found one website in Brisbane that advertised $6 for kg for copper.

    I've always wondered if those ppl at hard rubbish picking up whole HWS are actually worth the effort.. hmm

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    even a 160 lt tank made of copper with copper fittings wouldnt weigh much ($10 ?) but if you have nothing better to do like retired or unemployed, collect old TV yokes, power cords, frypans, car parts,tools etc and while it wont make you rich its cash in hand and it keeps you from running amok among the L.o.L (Little old Ladies) down at the Bowling club.
    At least untill its 'Grabba Grannie' night at the Seniors Centre.
    I stand unequivicably behind everything I say , I just dont ever remember saying it !!

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    Depending on your useage and the size of your wallet you could go instantaneous gas solar



    you aren't boiling water unless you need to

    Ive always had 2x instantaneous systems and they are great and cost peanuts to run

    I have solar electric boost here (no natural gas)
    but its never got the electric turned on and its never run cold in Qld.

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    I actually have a Thermosiphon unit on the roof before the HWS.. Its pretty amazing how much it heats the water in Melbourne.. Im surprised, even on an overcast day its okay warm water and on a hot day it actually is hot enough to burn.. Really surprised I wouild guess it makes up 50% of the hotwater..

    @gordon... never heard of those terms before, I have to tell my parents next time they visit the club.. at least your having fun

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