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Old 12-03-2023, 03:52 PM   #1
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What is this thing on my water heater?

I started working on my freshwater system this weekend, and after installing a new in-line filter system and finding out my pump was leaking (replacement ordered), I moved on to testing the hot water heater.

The only label I can see on it is "Force 10," but I know they make heaters branded by many other "manufacturers" so I'm betting they're all pretty much identical. It's the 11 gallon model - that sticker was the only one really completely intact...

It doesn't power up when the breaker is thrown - I haven't started troubleshooting that yet because I wanted to take some pictures and ask this question before I do.

On the hot water outlet, there is a T fitting that goes to two different outlets - one feeds the aft end (probably the head/shower) and the other feeds forward where I'm sure it goes to the galley and forward head.

*Behind* that T is another branch with some type of aluminum cylinder that has two outlets. The previous owner ran a small piece of hose between these two outlets. You can see it in the pic below although where the hose attaches to the bottom, it looks like it's attaching to the outlet of the T fitting - it isn't. It comes out of the aluminum tube horizontally on the aft side, then goes right back into the bottom of that tube vertically.

Anyone know what this is?
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Old 12-03-2023, 04:21 PM   #2
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Found it!

It's a "Temperature Compensating Valve"

From this link:

"The other method utilizes a component known as a temperature compensation valve or TCV, which is plumbed, externally, to the water heater's coolant heat exchanger while sensing output water temperature. This product takes a slightly different approach in that it controls the amount of coolant running through the water heater in such a way that it maintains a water output temperature of about 140įF. These are offered with water heaters, also as an option, manufactured by Kuuma Products (Formerly Force
10)"
- See pic below from the site

However, I see it, and I see the picture of it plumbed, but I'm still unsure of where it should go. From what it says above, It would appear to me that the coolant source from the engine should be plumbed through it, and it will "adjust the amount of coolant running through the water heater," - but wouldn't that restrict coolant flow going back to the engine as well? That doesn't sound like the best plan.

Wouldn't a mixing valve do the same thing with less risk?
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Old 12-03-2023, 05:17 PM   #3
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There shouldn't be any risk to the engine, because typically the HW loop is in parallel so no through flow is necessary for cooling.

A mixing valve gives a bit more effective HW capacity because of higher temperatures, but otherwise either approach should work.
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Old 12-03-2023, 05:24 PM   #4
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There shouldn't be any risk to the engine, because typically the HW loop is in parallel so no through flow is necessary for cooling.

A mixing valve gives a bit more effective HW capacity because of higher temperatures, but otherwise either approach should work.
Thanks.

Yeah - I think I will remove that when I replace the water heater and swap it out for a mixing valve.

I wouldn't even be fooling with this one now, but the admiral would like to be able to shower without having to walk a 200-yard round trip. And having hot water to wash and rinse dishes would be nice.

Going to be a few months before we buy and install a new one - so here I am.
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Old 12-03-2023, 07:34 PM   #5
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That's a serious hose kink you got there, don't think much is getting through.

Yeah, with an engine coolant heat exchanger, the hot water tanks can get to 170F, serious scald. So you want a mixing valve to bleed in cold to keep it not so dangerous.
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Old 12-04-2023, 09:21 AM   #6
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Doesn't matter what it is. It isn't going to work properly with that kink in it.

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Old 12-04-2023, 01:03 PM   #7
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It looks to me like someone disconnected the TCV from whatever it’s supposed to connect to, and just connected its two outlets to each other to seal it off. So it doesn’t seem like it’s doing anything at all. If that’s the case, I don’t suppose the kink matters.

Are the coolant lines that are supposed to heat the water connected?
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Old 12-04-2023, 02:55 PM   #8
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It looks to me like someone disconnected the TCV from whatever itís supposed to connect to, and just connected its two outlets to each other to seal it off. So it doesnít seem like itís doing anything at all. If thatís the case, I donít suppose the kink matters.

Are the coolant lines that are supposed to heat the water connected?
I think you're right. It doesn't matter if anything is supposed to pass through it - the hose effectively acts as a plug on both ends so the kink doesn't matter.

Yes, the coolant lines to the engine are connected at both ends but that doesn't matter right now as we're on the hard. As a result, I will only be heating the water with AC power for the next couple of months. There will be a new heater and all new fresh water lines installed before we're back in the water.

So, for now, I'm good with it being looped, as it doesn't affect anything else.
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Old 12-04-2023, 03:02 PM   #9
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Stupid question but I assume you located the reset button on the heater and tried that. If that doesn’t help I’m guessing someone ran it dry and burned out the element at some point.
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Old 12-04-2023, 04:34 PM   #10
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Stupid question but I assume you located the reset button on the heater and tried that. If that doesnít help Iím guessing someone ran it dry and burned out the element at some point.
Yeah, that was the first thing I checked - low-hanging fruit and all. Going to check the thermostat and element this afternoon. Just got caught up in other stuff over the weekend and didn't get to it.

And a burned-out element is the same thing I assumed, given that the boat sat for nearly two years after the PO's death without anyone touching it. There wasn't any water in the tanks when we took possession and some interesting stuff came out of the faucets when we did the initial clean-out/shock.

With the new filter system, I will use it for dishes and showering, but I still won't drink it until all the parts are replaced.
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Old 12-05-2023, 07:30 AM   #11
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If you are troubleshooting and find either element, T Stat or over temp switches are bad you might consider replacing all 3 or at least T Stat & O temp. None are very expensive and you would start off with a known good system. If you WH is like many not the easiest place to work and above avoids a redo if any addnl components are compromised.
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Old 12-05-2023, 07:45 AM   #12
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If you are troubleshooting and find either element, T Stat or over temp switches are bad you might consider replacing all 3 or at least T Stat & O temp. None are very expensive and you would start off with a known good system. If you WH is like many not the easiest place to work and above avoids a redo if any addnl components are compromised.
It's in a terrible place to have to work on it. It sits in the farthest aft starboard corner of the engine room, on a shelf that sits about eighteen inches above the rest of the deck. I feel that the boat was built around it honestly.

I plan to replace it, but I'm dreading the day I have to try to get to the mounting screws in the back...
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:28 AM   #13
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Those vinyl hoses get very soft when heated, I wouldn't use them on hot water.
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Old 12-09-2023, 10:51 AM   #14
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Ö with an engine coolant heat exchanger, the hot water tanks can get to 170F, serious scald. So you want a mixing valve to bleed in cold to keep it not so dangerous.
This is the preferred method. He will see a nearly 80% increase in his hot water capacity with a tank temperature of 170į versus 140į, assuming a typical shower temperature of about 105į and a freshwater tank of 60į.

Since heís replacing that old heater anyway, might as well plan for this arrangement and perhaps upgrade to a tank of 12-20 gallons as well.
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Old 12-13-2023, 10:52 AM   #15
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I highly recommend replacing all those hoses with silicone heater hose with plenty of slack when you replace the water heater. They are super flexible, last forever, and easy to work with even after years in place. By leaving lots of slack, you can reconfigure for a different size and brand water heater with ease in the future.
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Old 12-13-2023, 12:01 PM   #16
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H W Heater.

If you have to winterize where you are, consider a RV type setup. 3 valves bypass the tank & you drain by pulling the anode. Saves maybe 12 gals of antifreeze
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Old 12-13-2023, 03:54 PM   #17
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While you're in there, put a valve on the engine jacket water loop so you're not heating your engine along with the water.
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Old 12-13-2023, 05:51 PM   #18
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Good idea @Tom, plus it allows you to preheat your engine when you do wish it to.
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Old 01-04-2024, 07:46 PM   #19
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So, I started troubleshooting this today. I was able to test the 120 to the heater - and it's good.

The next step should be testing the far side of the safety switch, the thermostat, and the element. But the switch and thermostat connections are potted - the wires are encased in an epoxy disk. I tried to turn them a little, but they didn't move, and I didn't want to break them off, so I left them alone.

I looked up the parts online and the pics don't show that the connectors have anything on them.

Are those just some kind of covers? Do they come off?
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Old 01-05-2024, 07:03 AM   #20
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And having hot water to wash and rinse dishes would be nice.
For your wife: Aboard Seaweed I simply nuke (microwave) a small bowl half full of water. Add water to adjust the temperature as needed. Finally add Dawn Platinum, then use the hot soapy water for the galley cleanup. Rinse the dishes/pans with tank water and I'm done. It's 30 seconds to heat my water and I'm all set.



Above, I was off grid, conserving water. For that much water 10 seconds would be plenty. I always add more water to what I have heated to adjust the temperature...
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