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Leaking gas water heater expansion tank  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sun Oct 24th, 2004 12:15 pm
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Kevin Dovel
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I have had a small leak from my potable expansion tank in my gas water heater which is now about 4 years old. The leak was evidenced by a rust trail down the side of the tank. Not much water leaking though, until last night, it decided to blow. It is spraying out of the expansion tank fairly quickly now. I have turned off the water supply for now, but am wondering if an expanision tank is an easy fix for a novice or do we need a plumber? Also do the symptoms above suggest any other problems with the heater that should be looked into :?:



Thank you very much for your help!

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 Posted: Sun Oct 24th, 2004 04:39 pm
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eleent
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Hello: You need a new expansion tank as yours is a goner. Water leaking from it lets you know the rubber bladder inside is leaking, so the tank cannot function as it should. The tank will unscrew from the plumbing. What you need to remember when replacing it is to set the pressure correctly. Measure the static water pressure in your house. Check the new tank and pump it up ur deflate it to match that water pressure. Otherwise, the tank is of much less benefit. Note that it should be mounted in the cold side plumbing. I don't think there is a connection between the expansion tank failing and some hidden problem with the water heater. Do check the anode and relief valve though. As a self proclaimed novice, you may want to watch a plumber do the work this time.



Yours, Larry

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 Posted: Sun Oct 24th, 2004 05:29 pm
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Kevin Dovel
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Thanks Larry!



I went ahead and did it myself before getting your reply. The tank I got from Lowes was preset at 40 psi. I just screwed it in, checked for leaks, relit the pilot, and she seems to be doing great. Is there something I should do or check to assure it is working ok?



Thanks again!



Kevin

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 Posted: Mon Oct 25th, 2004 02:52 am
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eleent
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Hello: I would match the air pressure in the tank to your water pressure. To do that you need to find out what your static water pressure is. Plumbers sometimes carry a gauge that reads from 0 to 160 or 200 psi and has a hose thread adaptor on it. This can be screwed onto any hose bibb downstream of a pressure reducer (if you have one) and used to read the pressure. Let a slow trickle come from a faucet when taking the reading to prevent thermal expansion mis-reading. Now take that number, say 60 psi, and pump up the tank to that pressure with a bicycle pump. Use a tire pressure gauge to check. You will need to remove the tank from the plumbing, or shut off the water to the house and relieve all pressure before pumping up the tank. This is why plumbers usually adjust the pressure before hooking it up. Department of transportation rules prevent shipping expansion tanks pressurized over 40 psi, but normal water pressure is usually higher. There is no magic in the number forty!



Yours, Larry

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 Posted: Mon Oct 25th, 2004 10:39 am
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Kevin Dovel
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Sounds like I need to get a plumber in, huh?!

Is there urgency to getting the tank pressure matched, i.e., should I shut my water off until the plumber arrives to match it?



Thanks for all your help!



Kevin

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 Posted: Mon Oct 25th, 2004 04:19 pm
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eleent
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Hello: This is not an urgent thing. Actually the gauge is not expensive and it's not a particularly challenging project fot the mechanically minded. I might try it and if it doesn't work then call in a pro.



If it doesn't work, you'll get spikes in pressure amd possible leaking fron the water heater's relief valve. Those are bad long term.



Yours, Larry

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 Posted: Mon Oct 25th, 2004 04:30 pm
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Kevin Dovel
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Great!



Thanks for all of your help! You provide an excellent service! :lol:

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