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Old 07-19-2016, 05:39 PM   #1
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Problem with Suburban Water Heater Valves

I have a 2011 Lexington.
We have a booked camp ground for next week and bang a problem comes up. I do not think it is possible for me to get an appointment with a dealer or repair shop this week. Grrrrr!

My Suburban Water Heater (WH) has 3 valves.
Valve #1 allows cold water to enter the bottom of the WH thank.
Valve #2 allows hot water to exit from the top of the WH thank.
Valve #3 is used to by-pass the WH. (Cold water goes directly to the 'hot' pipe).


For normal operation, I (normally) need to have Valve#1 open, Valve#2 open, Valve #3 closed.
My problem is that when I do that there is not water coming our of any of the hot taps. (Cold water does come out from cold taps).
When I leave Valve#1 and Valve#2 open and *also* open Valve#3, then water does enter the tank and cold water runs out of the hot tap.


It is as if Valve#1 is broken or the pipe is clogged.
I will be grateful for any input/comments/suggestions.


Just in case it is important: the Anode Rod that is screwed in the WH is not fully seated in the WH. In other words, if there is 15 treads in the head of the rod, I am only able to make 2-3 turn (instead of 15). There is no leaks. I do not remember of it used to screw deeper.

rlevesque
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:09 PM   #2
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#1 and #2 open and #3 closed is correct.

You say, "When I leave Valve#1 and Valve#2 open and *also* open Valve#3, then water does enter the tank and cold water runs out of the hot tap."

How do you know water is entering the tank?

Have you ensured that the water heater is full? It holds 6 gal (some hold 10). That will take a few minutes to fill up, so you could be both filling the tank and feeding the faucet at the same time (will will mean it takes longer to fill the tank). You should be able to lift the safety relief valve slightly and have water come out when it's full. (Don't turn on the electric heating element until you're sure it's full or you'll burn up the element.)

Not sure about the anode rod thread depth, as my TT is in storage. But I think 4-5 turns or so should be adequate. Did you put teflon tape on it? That will help.
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for your input Rockfordroo!

My answers/comments follow >>> below.

#1 and #2 open and #3 closed is correct.

You say, "When I leave Valve#1 and Valve#2 open and *also* open Valve#3, then water does enter the tank and cold water runs out of the hot tap."

How do you know water is entering the tank?


>>> I hear water entering the tank. I see water coming out of the hot tap. But as soon as I shut valve #3, the flow of water reduces and, after around 60 secs stops running out of the hot tap and I no longer hear water coming in the tank. Air is coming out of the tap.


Have you ensured that the water heater is full?
>>> I let valve #3 on until the tank was full (pump became silent, I no longer heard water coming in the tank). Subsequently opening the hot tap, had water coming out. But again as soon as I closed valve #3, flow of water from hot tab reduced then stopped after 60-90 secs.


It holds 6 gal (some hold 10). That will take a few minutes to fill up, so you could be both filling the tank and feeding the faucet at the same time (will will mean it takes longer to fill the tank). You should be able to lift the safety relief valve slightly and have water come out when it's full. (Don't turn on the electric heating element until you're sure it's full or you'll burn up the element.)
>>> I let valve#3 open until no more noise and the pump became silent (means the tank was full). I pulled the relief valve and water came out. (The pump was on and valve #3 was open). I then open a hot tab and water came out. As soon as I closed valve#3 the flow of water started to reduce and it reduced to a trickle within 60-90 seconds.

Not sure about the anode rod thread depth, as my TT is in storage. But I think 4-5 turns or so should be adequate. Did you put teflon tape on it? That will help.
>>> I did use teflon tape but the female part of the tread is/seems rusted.
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:40 PM   #4
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Pics of how your WH is setup, would be more helpful than descriptions.
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:45 PM   #5
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Hmmm, very curious.

In order for the tank to have filled, the air in the tank had to go somewhere. The only place it could have gone is out the hot water outlet (assuming the safety valve was closed) and through hot water valve to the hot water faucets. That would imply that the hot water line and Valve #2 are free and clear. Therefore, with all valves open, the bypass valve line and the water heater are in parallel. If you close the bypass valve, then all water should be going through the water heater.

Maybe your hot and cold are switched at the faucet? Have you tried another one? (You should have kitchen, bath, shower and outside shower). Speaking of the outside shower, if both of the outside shower faucets are open and the push button on the shower head is closed, it will "tie" the hot and cold together, similar to the bypass valve. Make sure the outside shower faucets are closed. This also applies to the inside shower, BTW.

On the anode rod, some rust is not unusual.

Maybe someone else has seen this issue and will respond with some other ideas.
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:03 AM   #6
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It sounds like valve #1 is not open(ing) to the tanks cold water inlet. This does happen sometimes, and when you turn the handle, the actual valve inside the fitting is not turning.

What is happening then, is that you have valve #2 (hot water outlet) open and also valve # 3 (crossover) open. Since the crossover valve pipe allows cold water into the hot water lines, it's also backfeeding water into the tank backwards thru the open #2 (hot water outlet) valve.

So when you close off the #3 crossover valve, no water is being backfed into the tank, nor is water entering the tank thru the normal way of the #1 cold water inlet valve (since it's not open).....which also explains why you are then getting nothing from the hot water line, since it can't come from the tank (closed/faulty #1 cold water inlet valve) or the cold water crossover line (#3 crossover valve closed)

Does this make sense, in my explanation?

From the way you have described your symptoms, I would concentrate your efforts on the cold water inlet valve, and see if is working properly. A pic would help tremendously so we can see what you are seeing. Not knowing where your pump is in relation to your water heater valves is something else too. I have actually been involved in threads where the member was mistakingly messing with the anti freeze suction valve instead of the cold water inlet valve.

This thread may also help as it has water flow diagrams on the valves and such for your water heater.

NO (OR MINIMAL) HOT WATER (Please read first)

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Old 07-20-2016, 08:49 AM   #7
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I enclose a pic showing all 3 valves as well as a close-up of valve#1 (cold water inlet).https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5zKI76yS0kdUnNaTzZSZHV1REE

I hope the links to my google drive works (this is my first thread).


Edit by wmtire: try this link url

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5z...w?pref=2&pli=1
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:54 AM   #8
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You have some trouble in the url link, but I can get one pic from it. Let me try to fix it in your post above.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5z...w?pref=2&pli=1

This link pic shows the closeup of the crossover valve handle (set correct for normal use as it's in the closed position)....

.....and the bottom cold water inlet valve handle (also set correct for normal use as it's in the open position). It's this valve that I don't believe is opening according to your described situation. It shouldn't have but two positions 90 degrees apart from one another for open and close. Can you turn the handle, and kinda feel if it seems like it is turning the actual valve inside the fitting?
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:57 AM   #9
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Hi

I tried to attach links of pictures located on my google drive but they do not appear to be visible on the forum. My set-up is as shown on the diagram contained in wmtire's post (post # 6 in this thread).
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:05 AM   #10
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Does the cold valve feel like it stops at a quarter turn each way?

Maybe close valve 2&3 and with the water on, see if water comes out of the relief valve.
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