7 Year Old A.O. Smith Water Heater - Tank Rotting

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by fkrantz, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. fkrantz

    fkrantz New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Mayfield, PA
    Hi,

    I have a 7 year old A.O. Smith GPSH 50 200 water heater. It was considered to be a pretty decent unit when my builder installed it in my new home in 2005, and for the most part I haven't had any complaints about it. The other day when I was in the basement, I noticed that there was a puddle forming between it and the condensate pump for my AC. I figured that my condensate over flowed, so I wiped it up and watched, and soon I noticed that the water was coming from my water heater. I pulled the panel off on the bottom, started looking around with my flashlight, and soon discovered that the water was coming from a pretty badly corroded area where the drain valve screws into the tank. I checked to see if maybe the valve was bad, but it was pretty clear that the moisture was coming from the area at the tank where the nipple flares out for the valve to screw into (not from the threaded area).

    I'm now resigned to the fact that I'm going to need to invest in a replacement, but a few things have me curious.

    First, since A.O. smith seems to be a fairly well respected brand, is it common for a tank to rot out after only 7 years? I never did replace the anode on it, but I didn't really think it would need it yet. Keep in mind, it is fairly well treated municipal water in Pennsylvania.

    Secondly, where is the anode on this unit? I only see one "pop out" cap on the lid, and it is packed with solid foam under it. Do I need to cut the foam out, or is there another place I should be looking on this unit.

    Finally, I live in a 3 person household, what would be a good unit to replace this one with?

    Thanks!!

    Frank
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    A.O. Smith is not that well respected. Probably not the worst, but sure not the best. Most folks on this forum recommend the Bradford-White or the GE/Rheem. 7 years is not a very good life span for a water heater, but it could be minerals in your water that are to blame. By the way, builders are not noted for installing quality appliances. They go for cheap so they can keep the price of the home as low as possible and their profit margin up. We find that especially true with toilets. I don't know much about anode rods, but it seems that I've read that anodes rods rarely need replacing. That tank is usually shot before the anode rod. One other point about water heater warranties. The extended warranties are a con game. You get the same water heater and just pay extra for the extra warranty. When the tank goes bad, they prorate the warranty and it is usually almost worthless.
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,246
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    A.O. Smith had a great tank years ago, we have 2 of their tanks over 20 years old in use right now. Unfortunately, like most things in the country, they don't make them like they used to.
  4. fkrantz

    fkrantz New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Mayfield, PA
    Thank to you both for your input and observations!!
  5. fkrantz

    fkrantz New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Mayfield, PA
    Hi All,

    I spent the past week deliberating between replacing this water heater with a tankless, or just upsizing to a larger tank (we have a garden tub, and my wife thinks the 50 gal heater is too small). I initially settled on a Jacuzzi 7.5 gpm Tankless from Lowes, and actually bought it with all of the accessory kits, but when I got it home I soon realized that I would need a special kit to get the vent higher than 12" above the snowline. It was beginning to look like a lot more money and work than I bargained for, and I was starting to hear people say that they have trouble heating the cold water coming in during the winter in colder climates. Long story short, I returned it to Lowes and went to the local plumbing supply where I should have gone in the first place. I took Gary Swart's advice and bought a 75 gal. Bradford White TTW2 heater. The old heater was installed right on the ground, with no drip pan. I believe that the fact that it was on the ground resulted in the tank rotting out, and I want to avoid having water all over the floor if something happens again, so I want to use both a pan and blocks. Here is the question, should the blocks go inside the pan (my idea), or should I try to put the pan on the blocks like the guy in the plumbing store suggested. I didn't think the edges of the pan would be very well supported that way, and if there was a problem with the pressure valve, I'd prefer that it wasn't sitting in the water. Any thoughts on this topic?

    Thanks

    Frank
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    What benefit would there be to the blocks if they are UNDER the pan? The water from the "pressure valve" should not go into the pan in the first place. Water under the tank, or anywhere near it, did NOT cause the failure. The tank rusted from the inside out.
  7. fkrantz

    fkrantz New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Mayfield, PA
    That was my thought as well, I always had a hose clamped on the end of the copper tubing that came out of my T&P valve running right to my sump pit, and I planned to stick with that. To me the purpose of the pan was a fail safe measure so that in the event that I have another heater spring a leak I won't be mopping the floor twice a day until I get it replaced. I was kind of surprised that he suggested putting the pan on the blocks, it made more sense to me to put the blocks in the pan. He also suggested letting the T&P go into the pan and just connect a hose from the pan to the sump pit, but I'm going to run a hose from both. Thanks
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