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No Hot Water


Mark P
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I have a rental house. The renters just called and said there is no hot water. The gas water heater is on and there is a flame. The hot water line above the water heater is hot to the touch. Cold water comes out at every sink. Nothing comes out when only hot is turned on. Water heater is in garage, it was 4 degrees last night and is 6 now. The only thing I can think of is a frozen pipe, but why is there cold and not hot and how can there be a frozen pipe if the line above the water heater is hot to the touch? Any Ideas? I'm going to shower/change and go over there, wanted get any ideas before I head out....

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Hey Mark,

sounds like a typical frozen line (when wind is high) along the hot line. Find a place where the line is exposed to drafts and thaw! I usually just pee on them if it is not in a living area.

Good luck!

That's funny Les.

What Les said is probably right. Is the hot water piping running through the attic at all? My brothers house use to freeze the hot water piping in the attic but the cold would still run as odd as it sounds. Heat tape was the cure there.

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You were right, the hot water line runs directly in front of an open crawlspace vent. First time I've delt with that problem before. Wind chill today is -15. Yesterday I called my brother in FL and he was planting guavas in the back yard. I think I made a tactical mistake somewhere along the line.

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You were right, the hot water line runs directly in front of an open crawlspace vent. First time I've delt with that problem before. Wind chill today is -15. Yesterday I called my brother in FL and he was planting guavas in the back yard. I think I made a tactical mistake somewhere along the line.

Thanks for the feedback, Mark. Don't tell us you pee'd on it. That could get the renters in a huff. [:)]

I have used a heat lamp on a similar spot in my place. I got up at 2 AM because wife said no water, the house is going to freeze solid. Shined the 100 watt heat light into the crawlspace vent from the outside and went back to bed. At 2:30 AM, she had to get up to turn the water off in the sink, haha.

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Supposed to be in the 20's here in Florida (on the coast no less) tonight with wind chills in the 12-14 area. Low 70's Friday.

Hi David, I grew up in Florida (around orlando mostly); actually my family has been in Fl for over 150 years, so I consider myself a true Floridian even though I have not lived there since 1984 (joined AF). I go back several times a year. I've been to St Augustine many times, the fort was a frequent school firld trip. I miss living there; especially on days like today.

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"They" always say windchill has no effect on objects but why is the ice always thicker on the windward side of the water tank?

Who says windchill has no effect on objects? It can have a huge effect.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Ok. How's this: It has no effect on objects that are at the same temperature as the wind.

Marc

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Or at a certain point, adding insulation to the exterior of a water heater will actually increase heat loss?

No. The increase in the rate of heat loss due to the temperature differential is dwarfed by the effect of the insulation in reducing the flow of heat. One outpaces the other.

Marc

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Is it ok to copy an paste stuff like this here?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -hot-water

"To the first part of the question--'Does hot water freeze faster than cold water?'--the answer is 'Not usually, but possibly under certain conditions.' It takes 540 calories to vaporize one gram of water, whereas it takes 100 calories to bring one gram of liquid water from 0 degrees Celsius to 100 degrees C. When water is hotter than 80 degrees C, the rate of cooling by rapid vaporization is very high because each evaporating gram draws at least 540 calories from the water left behind. This is a very large amount of heat compared with the one calorie per Celsius degree that is drawn from each gram of water that cools by regular thermal conduction.

"It all depends on how fast the cooling occurs, and it turns out that hot water will not freeze before cold water but will freeze before lukewarm water. Water at 100 degrees C, for example, will freeze before water warmer than 60 degrees C but not before water cooler than 60 degrees C. This phenomenon is particularly evident when the surface area that cools by rapid evaporation is large compared with the amount of water involved, such as when you wash a car with hot water on a cold winter day. [For reference, look at Conceptual Physics, by Paul G. Hewitt (HarperCollins, 1993).]

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Marc,

Loosen up; unless I'm way off, Jimmy's question was rhetorical.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Actually, Jimmy was referencing one of Engel's (Pete) studies where the mfg's. determined that the increased circumference of the heater did, in fact, in some very specific situations, increase heat loss.

IOW, the mfg's. engineers were incensed that folks were putting additional insulation around their water heaters.

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Or at a certain point, adding insulation to the exterior of a water heater will actually increase heat loss?

No. The increase in the rate of heat loss due to the temperature differential is dwarfed by the effect of the insulation in reducing the flow of heat. One outpaces the other.

Marc

I don't believe it either, however, the person who made the claim has some pretty serious credentials. He contends that, because of the water heater's cylindrical shape, as the physical size of the insulation layer increases, the ratio of its surface area to its thickness increases. Since any insulation will let *some* heat through, and since the surface area radiates heat to the surrounding environment, there comes a point when the greater surface area radiates heat away faster than the insulation can retard the heat loss. He is saying that the insulation, in fact, begins to behave like a heat sink.

I proposed an experiment using 5-gallon buckets of hot water but was too lazy to carry it out.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Actually (its been a few years, so I hope someone will correct me if I misremember, but as I recall), the person who made that claim (who is far more scientifically learned and credentialed than I), when pressed to substantiate it, reveal that he was actually parroting back something that some professor had convinced him of many years earlier. He had accepted it without questioning it then, and couldn't defend it at the time.

Anyway, the point isn't that some young guy believed a professor and later found out he was wrong. I think that has happened to most of us. Anyway, the thicknesses of insulation he was talking about in that discussion, would have precluded entry into the basement, as I recall.

The point is that even smart guys can pass on bad info. Home inspectors -at their best- have enough intellectual honesty to keep learning, even when they think they know something, but to always rely on facts and not hearsay.

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Home inspectors -at their best- have enough intellectual honesty to keep learning, even when they think they know something, but to always rely on facts and not hearsay.

Just TIJ er's. [;)] TIJ is a gauntlet, of sorts, but if you prevail and make it through, you're well adjusted and better off.

Just my opinion.

Marc

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I like that analogy. Yeah, it's a gauntlet. Float some bullshit in here, it usually gets you whupped upside the head.

We all need some head whupping every once and a while. You sure can't get it at the ASHI board, nor anywhere else I know of.

Anyone thinks they don't need it, needs it.

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