LESLIE: Now we’ve got Stan in Oregon who’s dealing with a hot-water issue. Tell us what’s going on. It doesn’t come out that great or that hot? What’s happening?
STAN: It comes out but it just makes a lot of noise. It does a lot of spitting, kind of like there’s air in the lines just, you know, like when you purge the line sometimes and then you put the pressure back on, it takes a while to get the air out? It makes the same kind of a sound. And it only does it on the hot-water side and it does it in every faucet in the house: the tubs and the sinks. All the same, only on the hot-water side.
TOM: Does it do it when it’s off for a while?
TOM: Now, what kind of water heater do you have? Is it gas or electric?
STAN: It’s electric.
TOM: OK. Have you checked the heating coils?
STAN: No, I haven’t.
TOM: Sometimes if you have a bad heating coil, this can be a condition that occurs. Is this fairly new in terms of you seeing the air spurt out of the faucets?
STAN: No. It’s been like that. I just bought the house about a year ago and the house has been sitting empty for about two years.
STAN: It was a foreclosure that I bought, so I have no idea.
TOM: Here’s what I would do. Now, there’s an easy way to test this but you need to kind of know what you’re doing. So this might not be a do-it-yourself project, alright? I’m warning you, because it involves electricity.
But the way you check an electric water heater out is you turn the power off at the panel and then you expose the – you open the – take the covers off so you can see the coils. And then what you can do is with a continuity tester, you can check each coil to see if the power passes through it. You have to take one wire off of one side; otherwise, you’ll be checking it sort of backwards. But you could check continuity on each coil to see if the coil is working.
TOM: So you’ll still have hot water even if only one of the two coils is working but you’ll run out quicker.
STAN: Right. Uh-huh.
TOM: And this may be the norm for you: maybe you don’t know that you’re only using your water heater at half its capacity. But I would check the coils first because that could be what’s causing so much air to be in the system. It’s just not heating the water enough.
STAN: Thank you. I appreciate your time and thank you for the information.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.