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Imploded water heater!?

adambuild Member Posts: 413
What the @$#%^&*??? Just came from a clients home where we have a 4 y/o rheem 75 gallon water heater because aof a complaint that flames were rolling out the pilot/burner access panel! Pulled off the flue and collar only to peer inside and find that the internal flue was completely crushed inward around the baffle!! Has anyone seen this before? Why does it happen? Still under warranty but I'd like to give an explanation!


  • Heatermon
    Heatermon Member Posts: 119
    Thermal Expansion's

    the name - destruction is its game.

    What you have there is a water heater that built up too much pressure and moved the steel. I have a tank just like you described in my office. The water connections at the top dropped down a couple of inches and are at angles. The bottom of the tank bulged out and the flue bulged in. We see this happen a few times a year. For this to happen you need: 1.Some type of check valve (or backflow preventer, or pressure regulator-without a bypass or even a frozen pipe) that prevents the normal expansion of heated water to other areas of the system where it can be dissapate. 2. A relief valve that is stuck (usually one that is just a couple of years old) and will not open at 150 pounds pressure. 3. A heat source (the water heater) that will expand the water as it heats and with no place for this expanded water to go, the pressure builds in the system until something gives (usually the water heater, but also pipes, fittings or other parts of the water system can break also). The best protection against this happening again is a properly sized expansion tank installed adjacent to the water heater. This tank acts like the radiator resevoir in your car's heating system. When the water expands, the tank "absorbs" the extra water volume that is created, and when water is used (by turning on a faucet) the "extra" water is pushed back into the system. All water heater manufacturers have information on how to size and install these tanks on their heaters. Try www.rheem.com for more info.

    By the way, don't go telling them too much info about this heater, if you read the fine print in the warranty papers that come with this heater, you will see that this type of failure is not covered under warranty and they may make you buy a new one. We can usually get a couple of these covered under warranty by our local Rheem rep as long as we correct the problem so it won't happen again (install expansion tank, install by-pass system, have relief valve replaced annually). The use and care manual that comes with these units also have maintenence proceedures that "should" be preformed, one of which is testing the relief valve (annually, I believe). Good luck with your problem child - hope it doesn't happen again.


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  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,793

    Less than a year ago I installed a Rheem 50 gal commercial NG water heater in a restuarant. Four months later I replaced it with the same model because of a bad weld at the inspection port. Today I get a call because the 2nd heater is leaking. Bad weld. Same spot.

    Does anyone know what country these heaters come from?

    I noticed recently that Kohler toilets are coming from China. So are their cast iron bath tubs. It's tough to buy from manufacturers that are continually sending jobs overseas.

    Also, it seems insane to be burning oil to ship cast iron bath tubs across the globe.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • steve_6
    steve_6 Member Posts: 243
    I agree with heatermon

    He's dead nuts on it on the the problem and the solution.
  • steve_6
    steve_6 Member Posts: 243
    I agree with heatermon

    He's dead nuts on it on the the problem and the solution.
This discussion has been closed.