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 Posted: Thu Jan 7th, 2010 01:39 am
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TomfromNorthville
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I have a question regarding softened water and water heaters.  I have sampled water from my hot and cold taps.  The cold water is softened but the hot water is extremely hard.  Is this possibly due to a water heater problem?  Anode issue??

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Tom

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 Posted: Thu Jan 7th, 2010 03:20 am
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elenano
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The bigger question is, if you're using a water softener, where is it installed? Usually they are installed upstream of everything, so the water from them goes both to the water heater and cold taps. Where is yours?

And how did you determine that the water from one was soft and the water from the other was hard?

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Thu Jan 7th, 2010 12:07 pm
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TomfromNorthville
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Yes the softner is upsteam from Hot water tank.  Water from well goes through the softener and then through a Omni whole house Carbon Filter then is directed to hot water tank and to outlets.

 

I took samples from hot and cold taps and had them tested.

 

Thanks for your help.

Tom

Last edited on Thu Jan 7th, 2010 12:09 pm by TomfromNorthville

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 Posted: Thu Jan 7th, 2010 03:56 pm
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elenano
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I confess I'm puzzled. Hardness is mineral content. If the softener has removed that, and the water then goes to the heater, the heater can't very well put it back. Larry Weingarten is apparently out of town at the moment. Perhaps he'll have something to add when he returns....

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Thu Jan 7th, 2010 07:16 pm
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eleent
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 Hello:  If the heater was in place before the softener was installed, there could be scale in the tank which would add to the hardness measured.  If there is a recirc line that does not have a working check valve, that hardness could really show up at the taps :shock:

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Sat Feb 20th, 2010 05:09 pm
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katy
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Tom, did you ever get your problem resolved?

I have the same problem with a new Sears Kenmore Power Miser 9 tank (gas). I installed the tank myself, a direct replacement for the old one, no changes.

We are on well water and have an iron filter and then a water softener before the water goes to the rest of the house, including the hot water tank. Before we replaced the tank the hot water was just as soft as the cold water, now it's harder. If I wash with hot water from the tap, the water is not very soft. If I take the same basin and fill it with cold water from the tap, heat in on the strove and wash with it I can tell the difference, it's definately softer.

I have not had the water tested yet, but I plan on doing it next week.

I spoke w/Sears about this but they claim to not have any idea as to what could be causing the water to turn. I suspect the anode is the problem.

Any advice on this would be definately appreciated.

Last edited on Sat Feb 20th, 2010 05:11 pm by katy

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 Posted: Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 02:12 pm
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katy
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I forgot to mention that we also get a lot of air coming out w/the hot water. Not enough that it spits, like it does when bleeding air after a repair, but it comes out and it can be heard rumbling and gurgling coming through the taps. Again, this did not happen w/the old tank.
Another point is that the anode has a bump on top as shown on the sites pictures of different anodes.
Anyone?
TIA

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 Posted: Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 01:09 am
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elenano
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I don't want to comment on the hardness issue. I have my doubts that the anode would create hardness. But the spitting is indicative of an overactive magnesium anode. It's not dangerous or anything. You may not have experienced it with the old heater because there was probably hardly any anode left toward the end, but with a big new one in there, you could.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 08:43 am
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undee70ss
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katy wrote: We are on well water and have an iron filter and then a water softener before the water goes to the rest of the house, including the hot water tank. Before we replaced the tank the hot water was just as soft as the cold water, now it's harder. If I wash with hot water from the tap, the water is not very soft. If I take the same basin and fill it with cold water from the tap, heat in on the strove and wash with it I can tell the difference, it's definitely softer.

Any advice on this would be definitely appreciated.

How "recently" did you replace the water heater? Depending on when you softener "recharges" and how much water was used before you filled the new tank, you could have very well filled it with hard water. (I did)

Most home softeners usually recharge once a day and and are only good for so many gallons of softened water. Replacing leaky water heaters and refilling a new heater uses a lot of water.

If the heater was filled with unsoftened water it will take several days/weeks (depending on hot water usage) for all the water in the heater to become soft again. (need to use several times the capacity of the heater.) A problem like this will correct itself over time.

Same is true if you let your softener run out of salt. The cold water will turn hard immediately but the hot water will take some time to go hard as its already filled with soft water.

 

 


 

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 Posted: Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 02:40 pm
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katy
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The tank (40 gallon size) was installed on Jan 18, 2010, so thats just over 5 weeks ago. I waited 2 weeks to see if it would settle down before contacting Sears on this issue, but they've been of no help.
Our water softener regenerates depending on usage, every 1,000 gallons, which works out to about every 14 days. There's just the wife and I here and we are quite conservative on water usage. My main concern is the septic system, not the well or how much water we use, but getting rid of the used water.
The tank was replaced about midway between the softener's regenerations.
The iron filter backwashes every second night.
I monitor the water system very carefully, in fact it's one of the first things I do every morning - before any water gets used.
I've lived w/hard water most of my life and I've worked in the high Arctic (10 years) where the water is very soft as it's all snow melt.
Believe me, I know the difference betqween hard and soft water.
I'm not a klutz either, I'm a tradesman, an industrial electrician.
So, all that being said, I'm firm in my belief that the new tank is somehow adding mineral(s) to the hot water. The hot water is not real hard, it's just that it's harder than the cold water.
I'm taking 2 samples of water to town today to have them checked.
I'm also contemplating removing the anode temporarily to see if it makes a difference in the hot water.

Elenano said: "the spitting is indicative of an overactive magnesium anode". I believe that and also suspect that that anode is adding magnesium to the water, causing it to be on the hard side. There's nothing else that I'm aware of that could be adding to the water.

What do you think of replacing the anode w/an aluminum one?

TIA

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 Posted: Tue Feb 23rd, 2010 05:33 pm
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undee70ss
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katy wrote: I forgot to mention that we also get a lot of air coming out w/the hot water. Not enough that it spits, like it does when bleeding air after a repair, but it comes out and it can be heard rumbling and gurgling coming through the taps. Again, this did not happen w/the old tank.
Another point is that the anode has a bump on top as shown on the sites pictures of different anodes.
Anyone?
TIA


Try here.......

http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/Troubleshooting/Tanklets/outgassing-at-faucets.html

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 Posted: Sat Feb 27th, 2010 04:13 pm
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eleent
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Hello:  I think you'll be unhappy installing an aluminum anode.  They produce a LOT of corrosion byproduct, which magnesium doesn't.   There are other concerns as well.  If you find that removing the rod temporarily has a real effect on water quality, a powered rod might be the right fix.

Please understand, questions arrive here from people with every level of understanding of mechanical stuff.  In answering, we need to find that sweet spot that's useful, but doesn't assume much ;)

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Mon Mar 1st, 2010 01:14 am
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katy
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Thanks for the replies. I haven't had a chance yet to remove the anode, but I plan on doing it ASAP to see what happens.

BTW, are zinc rods available? If so, what is the consensus on using them?

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 Posted: Mon Mar 1st, 2010 04:32 am
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elenano
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You won't find a pure zinc anode for water heaters because at a certain temperature, zinc reverses polarity and goes from being an anode to being a cathode, meaning it will eat up your water heater.

Aluminum/zinc anodes are mainly for smelly water. They have much the same drawbacks as pure aluminum, being about 92 percent aluminum, 7 percent zinc and 1 percent trace metals.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Wed Apr 7th, 2010 02:37 pm
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katy
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Well I removed the anode and ran that way for 2 weeks. The hot water returned to normal, softer and no air spitting out the taps.
Because I don't want to void the warranty I have re-installed the anode and now after a few days the hot water is back to spitting air out and not so soft. I notice that the less hot water we use the worse it is.
I am going to try and source an aluminum anode for a reasonable price and try installing that.
This new 40 gallon tank has a 40,000 BTU burner in it, the old tank, also 40 gallon, had a 36,000 BTU burner in it. I was wondering if the faster heating of the water would have any effect on it. If so, could the burner be down rated to 36,000 btu by replacing the orfice with a smaller one?
Also, the tank is connected to the water lines with di-electric unions, but the tank is still "grounded" through the gas line. Should there also be a di-electric union on the gas connection?
But then electric tanks are grounded (by code) along with the wiring.
TIA, Ken

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 Posted: Wed Apr 7th, 2010 06:09 pm
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undee70ss
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Since you tested, by removing the anode and the water returned to normal, then the anode must be the problem. Maybe you need to consider a powered anode. They sell them here for smelly water, but I don't see why it wouldn't work in your situation.

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 Posted: Thu Apr 8th, 2010 01:46 am
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elenano
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I agree with undee70ss. Although I have a conflict of interest because I sell the things, I think a powered anode is a possibility here. It is self-adjusting, so it shouldn't be overactive, doesn't have the negatives that aluminum has, and so far, has a really good record for protecting water heaters (meaning nobody has yet come back and said,"my water heater broke with your piece of junk in it!"); hope it stays that way!

They ARE expensive, but they are a permanent replacement for sacrificial anodes. They don't wear out.

Randy Schuyler

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