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Old 09-23-2019, 07:44 AM   #1
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Kuuma water heater leak

My new this spring 11 gallon Kuuma water heater has sprung a leak. Purchased from from Defender and installed this March.
I have been fighting with fresh water connections as I talked to the Kuuma people and they feel the leak is likely in the hose connections.
Have redone all connections with industrial pipe dope and heavy duty teflon tape; fitting and hoses are all dry and still have a leak. Has to be a split weld in the tank.
My water pump cycles about every 15 minutes. When I rotate the heater bypass valves to isolate the heater the pump no longer cycles.
Kuuma says remove the heater and drill out the pop rivets to inspect the tank and if is split they will send a replacement. This is a real pain and I think I am done with Kuuma and their five month old heater,. Plan to move up in quality.
Anyone else our there have a Kuuma problem? What brands are people happy with in their boats?
Headed off to defenders today to see what they say.
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:03 AM   #2
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Isn't Kuuma an aluminum tank? Al water heater tanks can indeed fail early, but in just a few months sounds like build quality. Riveted construction? Suggest a glass lined tank if you replace, such as Torrid.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:15 AM   #3
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I installed a Torrid last fall after my Seaward leaked. Torrid has a very good reputation and the are local for me, built on Bainbridge Island, WA.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:11 AM   #4
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I suspect that you’ve ruled this out, but if there is no sign of a leak except that the pump cycles excessively when the water heater is bought online. Could it be that as the water heats and expands it triggers the relief valve to open and then the pressure in the tank drops below the set point of the pump, causing the pump to restore the pressure, repeating the cycle until your water runs out. If these are the symptoms and the relief valve came with the new water heater it would be worth eliminating first if you haven’t already.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeJay View Post
I suspect that you’ve ruled this out, but if there is no sign of a leak except that the pump cycles excessively when the water heater is bought online. Could it be that as the water heats and expands it triggers the relief valve to open and then the pressure in the tank drops below the set point of the pump, causing the pump to restore the pressure, repeating the cycle until your water runs out. If these are the symptoms and the relief valve came with the new water heater it would be worth eliminating first if you haven’t already.


Every pipe fitting and the relief valve have been wrapped with paper towels and clipped in place for a completely day and ALL fittings are dry.
Pump cycles about every 12 minutes, and when the water heater bypass loop is used the pump does not cycle. Water collects around the base of the heater.
Leaking tank is the only possibility as far as I can tell.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:40 AM   #6
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Another vote for Torrid- great water heater. They even delivered it to our boat- they wanted our old 1994 30 gallon Torrid water heater to tear down and examine.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:43 AM   #7
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Another way to test your heater for leaks is a pressure test. Block off the discharge (hot water side) and hook a valve and a gauge to the inlet (cold water side). Turn on the water pump and bleed the outlet until no bubbles. Then close the inlet valve and watch the pressure. Should hold steady for 15 minutes.


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Old 09-27-2019, 12:57 PM   #8
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They are a budget water heater, although I've yet to have any issues with my 2 year old Kuuma. I'll be happy if I can get 5 years out of it as it it less than half the price of a top quality heater.

If you are going to pull it out, you may as well spend 5 minutes checking to see if it's split and get a new one under warranty.
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