View Full Version : It happened!

Jerry Thompson
09-27-2008, 2:26 PM
This is not nearly as bad as getting ones tires slashed and not in a finacial position to just get new ones.
Ever wonder what happens when the drain valve opens up on your water heater? I knocked a plastic jug of water off of the dryer as I was going out to my shop. It hit the PVC drain valve on the 82 gallon water heater. I suddenly had scalding hot water gushing out. One cannot put one's finger in the hole. It is about 180 dg. I had no dowels to jam in it. So it was towels and the shop vac. The kitchen floor is buckeling and the shop now has a mopped floor.
The next job was to get out the brokern theads from the inside of the drain. Not one inside pipe wrench or nipple extractor that would fit to be found in Jacksonville, FL. I used a hacksaw blade to saw almost to the threads and one or two hits with a screw driver and hammer loosened up things to use a needle nose vice grips to get it out. Now to find a BRASS drain valve.

Leo Graywacz
09-27-2008, 3:02 PM

Dennis Peacock
09-27-2008, 3:10 PM
Awwwww-Maannnn!!!!! That stinks big time!!!! BTW, did I mention that I hate doing plumbing.!!!!! :rolleyes:

Darryl Hazen
09-27-2008, 4:00 PM
That's a real bummer!

A former employee of mine had a similar tale of woe. It started with an oil change on his car. He drained the oil from his car, placed it in an empty clorox plastic jug and put it out on top the trash for pickup. He went to work the next morning as usual, came home to find that the kids had gotten the jug out of the trash and had poured the contents up and down the sidewalk. He improvised-he put on a pair of work gloves, sprinkled powdered detergent on the oil, hooked up a plastic garden hose to the drain on the water heater and told his wife to open the valve when he got out to the sidewalk. She did, all was going well until the pressure in the hose drops to zero and his wife starts yelling. The hot water melted the hose off the drain. No one could get near the valve to turn it off so he shut off the water to the house. The water heater was located on the main floor of the house. When it was all said and done that oil change cost him a bundle. He had to replace all the carpeting on the first floor of the house.

Tom Veatch
09-27-2008, 4:41 PM
Been there, done that, so I can empathize with your situation. A few years back, I was sitting in the basement family room when the sound of rushing water imposed itself on my consciousness. Investigation found the overflow/drain/safety valve dumping the contents of the hotwater tank onto the floor where is was leaching under the finished floor of the rest of the basement. Luckily, the hotwater tank has a shutoff valve on the inlet. Closing that depressurized the tank, stopped the flow, and limited the damage. If your's doesn't have a shutoff on the tank inlet, I strongly recommend that you add one.

Seems the tank thermostat went bad, allowed the temperature to get too high and the fusible link in the safety valve opened. Luckily, I was sitting near the door to the utility room and heard the commotion. Hate to think how bad the damage would have been had it happened while we were away from home for an extended period.

That incident caused a new line item to be added to the "Going Away for Awhile" checklist.

Matt Meiser
09-27-2008, 8:44 PM
I always turn ours off when we go away for more than a couple days and I also throw the breaker for our well. There's still pressure in the bladder tank but it would run for very long--maybe make a big mess instead of a disaster.

Our water story involves the washing machine overflowing. Luckily we were home and I noticed pretty quick. For some reason it didn't shut off when full--and its never done it again. Now we NEVER start a load of laundry when we aren't going to be home for it to finish.

Bill Cunningham
09-27-2008, 9:32 PM
I just installed a tankless hot water heater.. Now I don't have to store 50 gallons of hot water till I need it.. The old hot water tank was oil fired, and the new tankless is gas.. It has just lowered my hot water costs from 1200.00 a year to about 100.00 ..(oil here this year will be about 1.15 a liter .. if were lucky..) Well worth the money.. A break in the output line would do the same thing, but there are 90deg ball valves on both the cold-in and hot-out lines .. providing of course your home at the time to turn them.. But if your not, thats what insurance companies are for:D

Ray Bersch
09-27-2008, 11:22 PM
Jerry! 180 degrees! That is way too hot for a domestic water heater - gushing or not - it can be dangerous at the tap. And it is a tremendous waste of whatever fuel you use to heat the water. Try moving it down to 125 degrees, then go ahead and knock off the new valve you are about to install and see it that does not feel a little more tolerable! :rolleyes:

Peter Stahl
09-28-2008, 8:33 AM
I hate when I do stupid stuff like that too. You never know when something like this could go on it's own also. My Wife's cousin went away for the weekend and came home to find that a toilet leaked all weekend and caused thousands of dollars of damage. They were out of the house for months. I'm like Matt, I turn it off when I go away.