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Old 02-06-2015, 07:40 PM   #1
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Did I just burn out my water heater?

In an attempt to begin using our water system, I filled the water tank, then started the hot water heater, forgetting to check to see if the heater bypass was in the proper position. It was not. I am not sure how long the hot water heater ran. I placed the bypass valves in the correct position (although one is facing the wrong way) attempting to fill the hot water tank. The pump is running continuously for 6 minutes so I have shut it all down. Now what.
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Old 02-06-2015, 07:53 PM   #2
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Just guessing but did you try opening a hot water tap?

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Old 02-06-2015, 07:53 PM   #3
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After you have ensured that there is water in the heater tank ( you can do that by connecting to city water and then opening the pressure relief valve ( top centre - pix show it closed and open ) try pressing the heater reset (see pic - there are two buttons and one is the reset ).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg anode relief valve.jpg (178.6 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg anode relief valve open.jpg (172.0 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg heater reset.jpg (135.7 KB, 25 views)
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:39 PM   #4
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Ron,
I did that before starting the hot water heater, mistakenly thinking that that was an indication the hot water tank was full. GB, what outcome am I looking for there? Is it if I get hot water, then I have NOT burned out the element? How long should the pump run to full that 6 gal. tank? I shut it off after 5 minutes.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:10 PM   #5
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I'm not saying to run the pump to fill the hot water tank ( I don't know if that will work ). Attach hose to city water inlet and turn it on. Then open the pressure relief valve. When the tank is full water will shoot out ( see second picture ). I let it flow for a couple minutes to remove any trapped air. Then you know your tank is full.
Press the reset button ( to the best of my memory it's the rubber button on the right, could be left, try both ).
Then, when you switch on the water heater, you should hear it light ( it might have to try a couple or three times ). After 15 minutes, turn on a hot water tap and you should have hot water.
My buddy did the same as you and the reset fixed it.

You don't say where you are. Full hookups? No? You are not to run the pump when hooked to city water.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:48 PM   #6
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When you say the pump ran 5 or 6 minutes, I would say it only "runs" when you are running water. Otherwise, it is probably not doing anything including not filling your hot water heater. It may make a low droning noise and do nothing.

When you turned the hot water tap on before the heater, did you run it for a while and was the hot water running fine and not spitting? If so, your hot water tank was probably full, but you would have to use the pressure relief valve as Glenn shows to be sure. Had you drained the hot water tank just prior to the trip? Do not check relief valve by pulling on it when the water might be hot.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:49 PM   #7
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Is your unit propane only or propane/electric? If propane only then once filled and water is coming out of the hot side, turn on the water heater. If you turned on electric already, then yes your element is probably fried, but your unit should operate off gas only. The pump is running to eliminate air in your lines, Keep the faucets closed and let it run until it shuts off, open the cold and hot lines to eliminate the air and try the water heater lighting cycle again.
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Old 02-06-2015, 10:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I'm not saying to run the pump to fill the hot water tank ( I don't know if that will work )
I don't see how it would matter whether you are using the freshwater tank and pump, or a water hose from a tap ("city water"). The advantage of using the pump is that you can hear whether or not it is running, but it doesn't really matter either way.

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When you say the pump ran 5 or 6 minutes, I would say it only "runs" when you are running water. Otherwise, it is probably not doing anything including not filling your hot water heater.
One thing a running pump can be doing is pumping water into the water heater tank, and compressing the air trapped in the tank. That adds water to the tank, but can never more than about two-thirds fill the tank. If there is no faucet or relief valve open to give the air a place to go, it will still be in the tank and water piping.
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Old 02-06-2015, 10:48 PM   #9
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The advantage of using the city water is you have pressure and can open the pressure relief valve to release air and ensure that the tank is full.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:19 PM   #10
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In other words, yardsale, the pump will not fill the hot water tank with no taps open. I would not assume that the hot water tank is full just because the pump was making some noise. You need to run water. I am assuming you are still in very cold weather and may not want to do outside stuff much.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:25 PM   #11
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We still don't know if Yardsale has access to city water.
When I de-winterize, I attach hose to city water and open the relief valve to ensure the tank is full.
If that can be done, we will at least know the tank is full.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:25 PM   #12
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Opening the tap ensures the tank and waterlines will be free of air. I'm not a fan of opening the PRV to act as a pruge valve etc. It's my belief that if the tank contains some contaminates such as rust particles then the PVR seat may become contaminated and never seal as well as when it was new.

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Old 02-06-2015, 11:28 PM   #13
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It's what Reace told me to do, and it's equipped with a handle so you can do that.
I think if the seat does become contaminated, there are simple ways to deal with that.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:55 PM   #14
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Thanks for all your responses. I will digest them in the morning but am hopeful now that someone has reminded me that there may be nothing to "burn out" in this propane only system.
Do have full hookups.
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:17 AM   #15
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Having full hookups, I'd start from scratch. Connect to city water, ensure the tank is full, press the reset button(s), and give it another shot. Worked for my buddy.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:52 AM   #16
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Success. Per the advice I received here, I opened the relief valve to determine the tank was full. Then opened the kitchen sink taps to purge the air there. Before I had just purged the lines in the bathroom and the pump worked constantly against the air still in the line closer to the pump. Next I hit the reset button on the heater itself, after which the heater started and appears to be running normally. Wish it would get a little colder than the 36F so I can see how robust the system is. I think the weak link might be the line to the toilet as that line appears to run between the outside wall and the bathroom insert. Although it is within the heated space, it will be hard to get enough heat out there in really cold temps. The good news is the lines and joints are PEX which can freeze without breaking.

Thanks again to those of you who responded.
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:24 PM   #17
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I hope you are headed for someplace warmer soon, or you'll have to drain that water heater tank and winterize again.
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Old 02-07-2015, 02:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
The advantage of using the city water is you have pressure and can open the pressure relief valve to release air and ensure that the tank is full.
The unlimited supply of water from a city water hose is great, but even with the tank and pump you have pressure. That's what turns the pump on and off: it runs until it hits a set pressure and stops, and restarts as required to maintain that pressure

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In other words, yardsale, the pump will not fill the hot water tank with no taps open. I would not assume that the hot water tank is full just because the pump was making some noise. You need to run water...
I agree - running water right through to a faucet is required to ensure the water heater tank is purged of air. Purging every section of piping avoids building pressurized air pockets in the piping.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:46 PM   #19
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Success. Per the advice I received here, I opened the relief valve to determine the tank was full. Then opened the kitchen sink taps to purge the air there. Before I had just purged the lines in the bathroom and the pump worked constantly against the air still in the line closer to the pump. Next I hit the reset button on the heater itself, after which the heater started and appears to be running normally. Wish it would get a little colder than the 36F so I can see how robust the system is. I think the weak link might be the line to the toilet as that line appears to run between the outside wall and the bathroom insert. Although it is within the heated space, it will be hard to get enough heat out there in really cold temps. The good news is the lines and joints are PEX which can freeze without breaking.

Thanks again to those of you who responded.
We camped in 20 degree weather last month, the water heater worked great and so did the furnace. It kept us warm all night. If you have the duel water heater, you can run it on both electric and gas at the same time to get hot water very quickly.
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:12 PM   #20
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Just a reminder for you folks with propane/electric water heaters. Make sure the switch for the electric (behind the outside access door to the water heater) is off when there is no water in the heater. After you are sure there is water in the heater (using the pressure relief valve mentioned above) you may flip that switch to on. Here is a great video if you need to replace the element:
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