Should My Water Heater Drip Constantly?

Niall is correct. Opening the T&P valve to drain water from the water heater is a common practice, but if it's really old, it can be damaged by sediment and corrosion. Where the plumber went wrong is not using the T&P valve to drain some water, but rather trying to hammer it shut. T&P valves prevent BLEVEs (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion), which are a type of catastrophic explosion -- in this case, in the event of a malfunction in the water heater. Let's just say that if your water heater BLEVEs, you can kiss your entire house goodbye, so since there is clearly a problem with your T&P valve, you need to get yourself a new one.In order to replace the T&P valve, you can call a plumber or do the following:1) Turn off the cold water ball valve. 2) TURN OFF THE WATER HEATER'S BREAKER IN YOUR BREAKER BOX (if the top heating element hits air, you can damage it, and it will make a massive shotgun-like sound) 3) Open some hot water outlets, such as the hot water handles on a few sinks. These will allow air into the top of the hot water heater. 4) Run a garden hose from the hot water heater's drain to the street/driveway. 5) Open the water heater's drain, and empty the hot water heater below the T&P valve. 6) If it does not flow on its own, you have sediment build-up (which you most likely do if your T&P is failing.) If it does not flow, open the cold water ball valve so that the water pressure can help break through the sediment layer. After 2-3 minutes, close the cold water ball valve again to allow the top of the water heater to fill up with air. 7) Replace the T&P valve. Use teflon tape to help create a seal.8) Turn off the drain. 9) Remove the garden hose, but keep it held high so no water comes out the end that is in your hand... and take it back outside. 10) Open the cold water ball valve. 11) A mixture of water/air should come out of the still-opened sinks after 1-2 minutes. You can shut them off at this point if you do not mind seeing the air bubbles the next time you use the sink. 12) Turn the water heater's breaker back on.

1. Electrical issues, electric hot water heater?

I have seen a smaller breaker trip and the Main breaker trip. Other loads in the house were on when the water heater failed. This pushed the Main past it's limit and then did it's job and turned off. If you are sure you have fixed the wiring, go ahead with the test. But there is another way. It would be better if you could test this with a volt/amp meter. You can test the element before you turn it on.

2. What size water heater should I install?

go with the 40 gallon tank...the new 30 gallon tanks dont have the oversized burner that helped the old 30 gal tanks keep up with demand despite their small size....the 40 gallon tanks only cost a little more....the difference in cost of running the 2 difference tanks is insignificant,,they both have to reheat the amount of water that you use,,neither costs much to run if they are natural gas [ vs propane]. . the only reason to go with a 30 gal tank over a 40 gal tank is if there isnt room for the 40 gal,or if you really dont use much hot water [single,only take showers,no baths,etc], but if your circumstances change after replacing the tank,,then you are stuck with the now undersized tank.......dan

3. Wiring a tankless water heater to a fuse box?

If you just bought the house, see if there's a home warrantee, and get it replaced through that. If you bought the house 'as-is' replace the water heater with another one like the existing one. 38 amps wo not heat very much water - you might be able to wash your hands if you restrict the flow. I agree with the previous poster, and have a very low opinion of electric tankless water heaters - you would need a massive panel to support one that could provide a decent shower.

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