Water heater by-pass - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-19-2003, 02:13 PM   #1
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Water heater by-pass

I am not only mechanically challenged, I'm too stupid to know that I shouldn't tackle some things. Ergo, a cry for help often emanates from the inner workings of my trailer. Now is one of those times!

Since I recently had to repair a plumbing leak coming out of the water pump, I thought I might as well correct some 'funky' plumbing designs and install a water heater bypass while I was at it.

I followed the directions on the bypass kit explicitly and all seems to be functioning quite well and leak free. That's not my problem. In fact, I may not have a problem, but I'm not sure.

I'm not sure if I can explain this, but I will give it my best shot. How do I know for certain that the hot water tank is full? I cannot seem to get it to drain more than a tad when I open it. Even when opening the faucets, it doesn't drain that much.

To make sure that the valve was working, I opened the drain and turned on the water pump. Yep, it'll shoot water straight at you, so it's getting in there. Close the bypass and it works. If there's an air pocket, why do the faucets run steady? If there is space in the hot water heater, then why doesn't the pump run to fill up that space when the faucets are closed? If there is water in the water heater, then why won't it drain when I open it? (Not clogged, see above).

Since I don't know diddly squat, I don't know if I have a problem or not. Really don't want to fire up the water heater unless I know it's full.

When I drained the system last winter, I emptied the holding tank and pumped the water out with the drain open, so I don't know if it did the same thing before or not.

So, do I have a problem or not? How do I know that my tank is full (other than the ways I mentioned above)?

Here's is what I lovingly call my 'Moonshine Still.'

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec92c04d1d04bypassedit.JPG/>
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Old 05-19-2003, 03:24 PM   #2
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Problem

Suz,

You should get a lot of water out of the drain if a hot water faucet is open. If there was water in the lines you may not have given the pump long enough time to push the water and then the air from the heater. Or you have the bypass valve in wrong.

You could take the top end of the flexible line loose and see if the air is coming out of the water heater or not when the valve is set to fill and pump turned on.

Good Luck
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Old 05-19-2003, 03:36 PM   #3
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Suz ... when water fills the water heater, the water has to displace the air in the water tank, before the tank will fill.

Easiest way to test this theory is for you to fill your fresh water tank. Open the hot water faucet at the kitchen sink. Turn on your pump.

The water being pumped will start to fill the water heater, displacing the air, which will, in turn, push the existing water in your hot water line out your faucet.

Eventually, the existing water in the water line will start to sputter and stop while the pump will continue to run, filling the six gallon tank ... you should hear a bubbling and gurgling noise as air rushed out the faucet ... and then eventually water start sputtering like the devil at the open faucet.
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Old 05-19-2003, 03:59 PM   #4
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Bypass test

Charles - that part seems to work as usual. Does the sputter-spit routine for what seems like forever....then water. I'm very confident with that. I just couldn't figure out why it wouldn't drain if the water heater was full. In theory, it was full, but it wouldn't drain.

Ron - thanks for the tip. All seems to be working as should. Loosened top hose, diverter open to water heater and the water comes from heater, diverter closed then water comes from hose. Okay, self, I said, everything is working like it should. You got water in the lines and water in the heater, so why won't it come out when drain is open?

DING! I think I finally got it. This is a one faucet operation. Faucet with diverter on bottom, brass check valve on top. Check valve only allows water/air to go one way.....out through the top when pushed out. Turning on the faucets without other water/air to push it out does nothing. It cannot pull it open. Therefore, what is happening, is that there is a vacuum holding the water inside the heater. Unless I turn on the pump, empty the holding tank, and push out the water, it ain't gonna move (or blow out the lines through the city inlet.)

NOTE TO SELF: It's the check valve, stupid!

Sorry to take up so much space for something so dumb. Sometimes I just have to talk it out.
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Old 05-19-2003, 04:17 PM   #5
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>>Does the sputter-spit routine for what seems like forever

Yes, particularly when it's spitting all over the place. First time you "charge" the system after emptying the water heater, you have to systematically "walk" the air out of each and every water line, each and every faucet ... and it seems like it takes forever.

>>check valve

Your by-pass system is different that the stock one. Glad you figured it out!
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Old 05-19-2003, 04:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Orginally posted by Charles Watts

* * * * * * *
>>check valve

Your by-pass system is different that the stock one. *Glad you figured it out!

:shg One can only hope. I figure if it won't come out of the faucets or toilet unless there is water pressure, then why would it come out of the water heater? I think it has something to do with displacement. I'm not sure, though, because I think I was absent that day. :conf
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Old 05-19-2003, 04:43 PM   #7
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From theory to fact

Never being one to accept an answer based on theory alone, I decided to put it to the test and do an applied thingy.

I closed all faucets and opened up the water heater drain. Drip, drip, stop.

Hook up blow out plug to city water inlet. Connect manual bicycle pump. Raise plunger, depress plunger - water spews from drain. Water stops. Raise plunger, lower plunger - water spews from drain.

AHA, Watson! Another case solved.

We can delete the thread now.

Thanks, everyone!
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Old 05-19-2003, 05:01 PM   #8
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Suz, have you tried to drain it with the faucet open? (Did I miss something?)
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Old 05-19-2003, 08:04 PM   #9
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Where's the logic?

Quote:
Orginally posted by Mary F

* * * * * * Suz, have you tried to drain it with the faucet open? *(Did I miss something?)
Yes on trying the faucets. Everything from one to all four. Did the hots only, did the colds only, did one only, did all four....I think I tried every possible combination. It just wouldn't drain more than a few dribbles. I only left them closed during my air pressure test to see if it would come out of the water heater.

As I said, Mary, it really had me baffled. But then when you think about it, it makes sense. Have you ever bought one of those 2 1/2 gallon jugs of drinking water? What's the first thing you have to do? Poke a hole in the top. Then it pours out like a water fall.

If the holding tank was empty (along with the lines) then it would drain. If I turned on the water pump with the drain open, then the holding tank would drain out through the hot water tank displacing first the water that was in the tank, then the air from the pump forcing out the remaining water.

I don't know why my system is like this and no one else's is. It must be the type of bypass that I used. As long as it works and doesn't leak, I can live with quirky. Quirky I can relate to ;)
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Old 05-19-2003, 08:10 PM   #10
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NO,NO,NO

No Suz,
Don't poke that hole in the top of the water heater.......

By the way that's a really neat plumbing job.
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Old 05-19-2003, 08:45 PM   #11
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Plumbing job

Quote:
Orginally posted by pjanits

* * * * * * No Suz,
Don't poke that hole in the top of the water heater.......

By the way that's a really neat plumbing job.
Okay, no holes in the water heater. :hide

About the plumbing job: I should have taken before pictures. It would make the after look that much better. All of the white pipe is the new stuff. The gray is the old.

It had all been tangled up into what I called bird's nest bundles. No rhyme nor reason. I went through and seperated out the Romex (thanks Morgan) and put it into the black wiring cover. Some of the original plumbing lines were too long, some too short which resulted in some strange contortions. So I straightened it out, regrouped it and re bundled it. You really can't appreciate it without a before and after picture, but here's what I ended up with. Obviously, the main thing was the by pass, but here's the rest of it.

NOTE: Age of the trailer really shows here. Faded carpet doesn't show when bench is in, but sticks out like a sore thumb when empty. Also, when I put in new flooring, I decided to leave old carpet inside cabinets rather than have to move everything (water pump, tanks, battery....everything. It's in good shape and doesn't show when all together, so I left it.

Here's what started the whole project. There was a leak at the tee coming from the water pump. Decided to replace all the plumbing around it.
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec986e7bbe16waterpumpedit.JPG/>

This is another area where everything was jumbled up.

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3ec9871cbebdaplumbing edit.JPG/>
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Old 05-19-2003, 10:00 PM   #12
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Oop. I did miss something

Sorry Suz. You did say you tried it with faucets open as well as closed. I should've reread before chiming in.

Nice plumbing job you did, there, though. Love your pics of everything!

:sunny
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Old 05-19-2003, 11:35 PM   #13
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Drain

Suz,

When you need to drain the water heater loosen the anode to let in air. Then take it out slowly as the water level gets below the opening. Always a good time to inspect it.

Ron
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Old 05-20-2003, 08:17 AM   #14
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Anode

Funny you should mention that, Ron. That is next on my agenda: replace the anode and drain plug. I thought my water heater had a slight leak in it, so I was holding off doing those things. Then I realized that the slow leak from the 'T' had been causing all my wetness.

Thanks for the tip. I had decided that I was going to open the drain and do exactly what you suggested. If the diverter is closed then only water from the water heater should come out.

I really appreciate the input, insight, and patience for my ramblings while working this out. This board is great!
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