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Bock 32E water heater air problem

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My parents replaced a 20 year old Bock model 32E oil fired hot water heater with the same Bock model 32E in kind approx. 3-4 years ago. The old water heater was never a problem, it just developed a tank leak due to age. Ever since the newer water heater was installed, they have air in their domestic water pipes on the hot water side. Kitchen sink faucet, bathroom sink faucets and shower valve all cough up air and the water turns cold very quickly. Problem is worse first thing in a.m. when hot water is used after no use during the night. There are no piping leaks in the house, the water heater relief valve never drips, the water heater does not leak. They have a well pump with a Well-X-Trol tank that is charged with air and has no issues. They have replaced the water heater anode rod, but that did not help. The only thing that changed is the water heater was replaced in kind. The air was never a problem prior to the water heater replacement. Does anyone know where the air could be coming from and what could be causing the problem?

Comments

  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,335
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    Hi @StevenGrening , Try pulling the anode and plugging the tapping for a few days and see if the "air" stops. If it does, the anode is generating hydrogen gas, and that is coming out of the taps. It's common for this problem to be more noticeable first thing in the morning. Do your folks soften the water? Softening makes the water more conductive, using the anode up faster and generating more gas. The best fix, if the anode is to blame is to install a powered anode. Putting an air vent at the hot outlet of the heater is another approach, but it often turns into another thing to maintain.

    Yours, Larry
    STEVEusaPA
  • StevenGrening
    StevenGrening Member Posts: 6
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    Larry - thanks for your comments. I am not familiar with a powered anode rod. What is required to make the switch from the factory installed anode rod? FYI - no water softening here.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,335
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    Hi, A powered anode gets its current from a plug in the wall rather than through the dissolution of the sacrificial metal. It's normally a titanium clad rod that simply pushes current into the water and on to the tank to prevent rusting. They simply screw into the same port the sacrificial rod came out of. You will need an outlet somewhere near by.Here's one source of them: http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/Longevity/powered-anodes.html

    Yours, Larry
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,622
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    I think @Larry Weingarten know more about this than anyone. I would suspect the pressurized well tank bladder could be starting to fail but you would then get air in the cold water outlets as well
    Larry Weingarten
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
    edited October 2020
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    you could carefully take a small sample in a small inverted container, like test tube sized and try to light it and see if it is hydrogen from the anode in the tank.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,335
    edited October 2020
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    Hi, a trick I’ve used, to do what @mattmia2 is talking about is to hold a cheap plastic bag over the spout and catch the gas in it. Then stick a lit match right through the bag: You’ll know if there is hydrogen gas in it, but It can’t blow up. o:)

    Yours, Larry
    mattmia2
  • StevenGrening
    StevenGrening Member Posts: 6
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    Hi Larry - I went to CORRO-PROTEC website to research powered anode. It states "CORRO-PROTEC is specially designed for all models of electric and gas water heaters". My parents Bock 32E is oil fired. I sent message to info@corrcoprotec and the reply was "Sorry, but we do not offer an anode for Bock water heater". They have a long list of water heater manufacturers that can accept their anodes as a replacement, but Bock is not one of them. Not sure why, as the anode in the Bock is a basic hex nut type and seems common to me. So, I just submitted a follow up question to them: "Please advise why not o.k. for oil fired Bock HWH?" Also, I noticed the Comments left my users of their powered anodes were limited to elimination of smelly water problems, nobody commented about getting rid of air. Given the CORRO-PROTEC feedback received so far, do I have any other options for replacing the anode?
  • StevenGrening
    StevenGrening Member Posts: 6
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    Re: mattmia2 comment: taking a match to a bag of hydrogen gas sounds like what happened to the Hindenburg air ship back in the day, to close for comfort, so I was respectfully pass on that deal
    Larry WeingartenSTEVEusaPA
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    Re: mattmia2 comment: taking a match to a bag of hydrogen gas sounds like what happened to the Hindenburg air ship back in the day, to close for comfort, so I was respectfully pass on that deal

    Many of us were thinking the same thing...LOL...

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    I mean don't fill up a garbage bag. Collect an ounce or 2 the same way you did in chem lab with the lighted splint.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,335
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    Hi All, That hydrogen test in a bag was my fault. Actually I've done it a number of times with no bad or dangerous side effects. I usually use a sandwich bag, (not a 42 gallon contractor's bag!) The result of the test is usually up to a second of yellow flame in the bag. It's essentially a way of demonstrating and confirming that the anode is the source, rather than an air leak someplace.

    @StevenGrening , There are other powered anodes. A O Smith has one it imports and CerAnode is another manufacturer. To me, as long as we're talking about protecting a glass lined tank, I don't see a need to differentiate between heat sources unless it changes the internal geometry of the tank, like a glass lined coil would.

    Yours, Larry
    rick in Alaska
  • StevenGrening
    StevenGrening Member Posts: 6
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    Larry - sorry for not posting this sooner, but a powered anode rod solved the air problem. It has been several months, no issues. Thanks for your advice, much appreciated!
    STEVEusaPA
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,335
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    Perfect! It’s so nice when physics behaves. o:)

    Yours, Larry