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Question on this hw heater..

mattj19
mattj19 Member Posts: 7
Hey everyone. I am purchasing a new home and am a bit concerned about the hot water heater and some general plumbing. The home has well water and a wall hung on demand hot water heater and natural gas boiler.

The plumbing has for the most part all been changed to pex. The brass fittings are the problem. They are all corroded and leaking.

I am going to convert to public water immediately after moving in.

Im assuming that the well water has caused the corrosion and am concerned what it did to the inner parts of heater and boiler.

The fittings I will change out once I convert and if need be upgrade the units if they fail. They are both working as of now.

I have some pics I am going to try and post, once I figure out how to.

Under the water are two "manifolds" if thats the right word. One has red pex, the other blue. Im guessing hot.and cold? The red looks to.have been changed out and the blue is very corroded. Im hoping I can just swap them out. They both have im guessing gate valves in them.

If anyone can give me an opinion on what it looks like and how bad it may be id appreciate it

Thanks.

Comments

  • mattj19
    mattj19 Member Posts: 7
    One is the whole shot and the other is a close up of where the "manifold" hooks up to the unit.

    Im hoping to replace that piece. But again I can only imagine what the inside looks like.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,071
    Since the corrosion in your photograph is on the outside of the pipes, where there shouldn't be any water, one wonders what was leaking -- or what got soaked. And why.

    Have you had the well water tested? What were the results?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattj19
    mattj19 Member Posts: 7
    I havent had it tested yet. I was going just order a test kit off amazon. Again my plan is to convert to public water asap. Im going to be using bottled water for drinking/cooking until then. So really just showering for 2 weeks.

    I plan on keeping the well water tied into my sprinklers after though.

    The corrosion is also on all the brass fittings. I didnt get a pic of them. So its not just a leak over a certain area. Its gotta be the water (says this inexperienced guy)
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,071
    If the corrosion is on the outside, it's not the water on the inside. That's not the way it works. High humidity, possibly.

    Do get the well water tested. Compare that with the municipal water. You may find that the well water is better quality. On the municipal water, be sure to check pH and heavy metals, also organics, particularly trihalomethanes. Some municipal supplies are excellent -- Boston, Springfield MA, Hartford CT, New York City in the New England area. Some not so much... google "Flint, Michigan:.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattj19
    mattj19 Member Posts: 7
    Yea in my research I have read many people favoring well water. Its just foreign to me. Im on long island so im assuming the water is at least ok.

    Glad to hear that the well may not be the reason for the corrosion. Hoping the insides of the units are ok then.

    And thanks for what to test for. I think once i am in I will get a legit lab test done. But for right now Im gonna order a kit off amazon and test both just to compare.

    Im also concerned about the possibility of the well drying up. Im sure that can happen right? Is there any way to check the integrity of the well?
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 830
    edited September 2019
    The white stuff is sulfur. Heater is condensing and acidic condensate is leaking inside of cabinet and outside. I would say you will need new water heater soon.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,029
    Looks like there is or was a leak of some sorts above those fittings. It could just be the typical minerals in the water, calcium, magnesium are two of the common scaling minerals found in most ground water that could cause deposits like that.

    When water is heated some minerals come out of solution, others stay in solution.

    It's the minerals that make the water taste good :)

    I'm not a big fan of city water, too many chemicals being added these days. Your well water made be better tasting and healthier for you.

    You need to send a sample to a lab to test for the harmful chemicals that could leach into the water, most DIY kits don't tell enough of a story.

    Local water treatment folks generally know what is in the water in their area.

    Here is what the process looks like.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Grallert
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,071
    Well... wells do dry up, now and then. It depends a lot on the well. The vast majority don't, although heavy use such as extended lawn irrigation can do it. Chances are your local health department will have records on the well -- when it was drilled (and by whom), how deep it is, and the yield. At least they're supposed to.

    There are a few areas of central Long Island (Brookhaven area) where the ground water -- and hence private wells -- is contaminated. I believe that most of those wells have been discontinued.

    One minor(?) note: in most jurisdictions, if you switch to municipal water, you will be required to abandon the private well (you mentioned keeping it for you sprinklers (I presume you mean lawn sprinklers?) -- and that, in most jurisdictions, you will not be allowed to do). It may seem odd -- but there is a reason: the last thing your water company wants is any chance, however slim, that someone's untested private well could feed into the municipal water supply.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattj19
    mattj19 Member Posts: 7
    Thanks again for the info everyone.

    The property is in fact in Brookhaven. I was kind of shocked it still had well water to be honest.

    If it needs a new heater eventually, so be it.

    I will have the water properly tested as soon as im able to. I believe there is a local company that does it.

    And if they require it to be abandoned, whatever. The water bills arent outrageous.



    Side note, are brass fittings the best option to replace with being the lines are now pex?

    And if replacing the heater is that something a diy'er with a little experience can do being that gas is already ran? Or a hire a pro?
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,284
    Hello, I'd be tempted to hire a pro and then hover and learn all you can. Some pros don't like that and many are fine with it. Also, you should be able to get a "water quality report" at no charge from the water company or on line. There should be no need to have that water tested. As Hot Rod mentioned, it looks like the water is coming from overhead. I'd take off the cover of the tankless and have a look. A question, Have you lived with a tankless heater before?

    Yours, Larry
  • mattj19
    mattj19 Member Posts: 7
    Larry,

    I have not had a tankless system before. Why do you ask? Good, no good? I keep hearing differenr things.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,332
    Suffolk Co Water WILL do a basic analyses for you.


  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,195
    BNL should do a complete water analysis for him. Or wait for someone or something to turn a nice shade of florescent green.
    @Jamie Hall I never thought about abandonment due to cross contamination from well to municipal. Smart and scary at the same time.
  • It should be easy to have a complete separation of the irrigation-well, and potable water systems.—NBC
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,183
    We went to city water and kept well for irrigation at the last house I owned. We have that iron feeding bacteria that make it smell like rotten eggs. Plus the pressure fluctuated a lot even after I changed the pump switch and adjusted hte pressure tank. I think it was struggling for capacity at times running the irrigation and house.

    Our company NEVER installs tankless on well water...period. Too much maintenance ot flush them. Defeats the savings. So only advantage is floor space savings
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,071

    It should be easy to have a complete separation of the irrigation-well, and potable water systems.—NBC

    The problem isn't in the ease of doing it. The problem is in making sure it's done. Water companies -- I've been associated in various ways with several, simply cannot afford the liability which such a cross connection would impose.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,183
    Our was easy because the irrigation connection was right next to the pressure tank. So was simply a matter of disconnecting the supply to the house only.

    The city has to inspect it before installing the meter anyway. Contractor coordinated the fin connection with the water department.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,284
    Hi @mattj19, My experience is that tankless is good for some applications, but is oversold and does not deliver hot water like a tank type heater does. Energy savings are often offset by maintenance costs. Tanks are simpler so need much less upkeep. Tankless don’t like hard water, which 85% of the US has. If I’m biased, I’m hoping it’s based on facts :p
    Yours, Larry
    HVACNUT
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,029
    mikeg2015 said:

    We went to city water and kept well for irrigation at the last house I owned. We have that iron feeding bacteria that make it smell like rotten eggs. Plus the pressure fluctuated a lot even after I changed the pump switch and adjusted hte pressure tank. I think it was struggling for capacity at times running the irrigation and house.

    Our company NEVER installs tankless on well water...period. Too much maintenance ot flush them. Defeats the savings. So only advantage is floor space savings

    What makes you think city water is softer than well water? I suspect it touches the same ground and minerals that private well water does. Unless you know a city that softens the water before they send it to customers? :)

    In fact some of the chemicals added to city water are causing sludge problems in boilers like the polyphosphates they add to deal with turbidity. The chloramine they add also react with metals in boilers, tankless and combis.

    New chemicals are being used in public water supplies all the time to deal with super bacterias. And to lessen lead leaching.

    If your well water test okay and is free from bacteria, heavy metals and industrial chemicals, I propose it is much healthier for you than "doctored" public water with unknown types and quantities of chemicals added.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • mattj19
    mattj19 Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for all the replies everyone.

    Im still definitely going to have the water tested professionally. And I guess make my decision based on that.

    I know the wife still wants to go with public for fear of it drying up one day.

    Either route I do plan on installing a whole house filtration system. Figure it cant hurt to further filter whatever water were going to be using.



    As for the heater itself, well see, if it works great! When the time comes to replace ill get prices on the normal tank set up vs a new wall hung.

    I do plan on swapping out a lot of the leaky/corroded fittings. The seller doesnt seem to eager to do any of this but its not something i am going to lose the house over. An afternoon and some cash and i can do it myself (I hope lol).
  • Take the cover off and look inside for any acidic water damage.—NBC