Bill Roper's Journal
In Hot Water 
21st-Feb-2014 10:56 pm
Or not, as the case may be.

I came downstairs after work and daisy_knotwise informed me that the hot water coming upstairs seemed to be distinctly anemic. So I headed down to the basement and watched the water heater's signaling light pulse out six flashes (one would be good; six, not so much). I looked at the legend on the device and it said that this indicated that the "Upper sensor failed".


Ok, Google is my friend, so I pulled out the cellphone and went digging for information, typing in the ludicrously long model number on the hot water heater. And I discovered shortly thereafter that this message seems to be endemic on this particular model of water heater. Joy.

On the other hand, someone reported that he'd managed to revive it by playing with the connectors on the sensor, since there really isn't any strong reason for the sensor to have gone bad. If only I could figure out how to get to it, which would require knowing where it was located. The tiny pictures on the cellphone weren't much help, so I retreated to the studio and fired up the computer there. On a set of instructions that someone had casually photographed, I saw where the port was and was able to go out and pull off the plug covering it. There was nothing too obvious to play with there, but I pushed it around a bit anyway.

Then I settled down on the floor and wiggled the contacts coming into the main control box.

And I tried to relight the pilot.

And failed. Several times.

But eventually, I got the pilot relit.

And as of about an hour ago, the device was still happily sending out a single pulse of light, so it appears to be working correctly.

I hope that it continues to do so, because it is going to be annoying if it doesn't...
22nd-Feb-2014 09:02 am (UTC)
Last summer, the water heater in our place started leaking. At first, I thought it was the overflow/relief valve, since that was all caked up with lime, but replacing the valve just slightly lessened the amount of water on the floor. Turns out the tank had rusted through. (Not surprising, since the heater was probably 25 or 30 years old.)

The landlord was ready to hire a plumber to come out and replace it, but I talked him in to letting me do it - he came over to help (and to bring the new water heater). It took about 2 hours to do the job (including moving the brine tank for the water softener out of the way), and saved the landlord between $500 and $1000. I like the new heater - lots of hot water, and it's high efficiency.

What brand water heater do you have? From what I've read, there are 3 major manufacturers of water heaters - the best rated is from Bradford White, but those are only available through plumbers and plumbing supply stores (with the expected higher price tag). The next highest rated is Rheem (also sold as GE and Richmond in some of the big-box stores) - this is the brand that my landlord got (at my insistence). The brand consistently rated the lowest is A.O. Smith (also sold as American Water Heater, Whirlpool, American Proline, Maytag, and Kenmore, among others). From the reviews I've read, A.O. Smith water heaters tend to fail quicker than either Rheem or Bradford White.
22nd-Feb-2014 03:25 pm (UTC)
Sadly, Whirlpool.

The good news is that we have hot water this morning...
This page was loaded Mar 31st 2023, 12:08 am GMT.