Leaky Hot Water Heater

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by BGSchatz, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. BGSchatz

    BGSchatz New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Iowa
    A few days ago I noticed our 40 gas hot water heater was leaking at the bottom seam (bottom of the white side). It had a number of strikes against it. About 9 to 10 years old, had been a propane heater, but later converted by a gas company contractor to natural gas (drilled jets), first seven years had well water, softened for about 4 or 5 years, TP valve hadn't been tested until now, anode never checked, last put on a water pressure meter and it immediately went to 90 pounds (leaving it on overnight to see if it goes higher).

    I want to replace it with a proper natural gas model, probably a 50 gallon model. I'm looking at either Whirlpool or GE. I also want to do the install right, so planning to buy a water pressure valve and expansion tank.

    Question:From what I've been reading, can I just install the valve and then the tank close to the water meter, or would there be a reason it needs to be close to the water heater? Also I've seen the larger tanks listed and also an inline model, any preferences? Any preferences to water heater brands?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,024
    Location:
    New England
    Sounds like new hw tank time.

    The expansion tank can be anywhere in the system (after the pressure reduction valve)...pick one that make it easy to install and service.

    Can't help on the other items. If a major leak is a potential problem, consider a pan. Also, consider a device from Tacohvac.com called the WAG. I've never used one, but it looks interesting. I'm not a pro...good luck.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,651
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Wh

    Whirlpool is probably still made by State/A O Smith and GE is made by Rheem/Ruud. Even though the companies are among the best in the country, and there are only a few "real" manufacturers, I would seldom buy them since they are sold by Lowes and Home Depot respectively. They could be perfect heaters, but I have also installed them after the customer bought them and had them fail immediately or within a short time.
  4. BGSchatz

    BGSchatz New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Iowa
    I appreciate the two answers. As I stated I want to do the best I can with this so still have more questions.

    1. I've monitored my system water pressure for about two days now and it has max'ed out at 92 pounds. I've heard you don't want it over 80, but this is fairly close. Do I want to put on a pressure valve and expansion tank? If I do, should I lower the pressure to about 60 pounds? If I purchase a 50 gallon water heater, is there a corresponding size of expansion tank I need?

    2. I've noticed in the forums that there is an aversion to Home Depot and Lowe's. I am now 53, have grown up with plumbing suppy stores and quality lumber yards, then saw Menards come in and run many out of business, after that Lowes and Home Depot came in to give Menards competition. I have seen some brand name things/tools such as Rigid, so I'm wondering what the problem is with buying a GE water heater or a Westinghouse? Are you suggesting I actually buy a Ruud's or some other brand from a plumbing supply, or maybe a Sears?

    I appreciate any and all answers I can get, even just people's opinions. Also wanted to publicly say thanks to Terry Love, as soon as I found this I fell in love with the site and the forums. It is very well designed and ran, and appears to be helping many people from all over, including myself.
  5. Deb

    Deb Plumber

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Idaho
    Deb

    If your pressure is over 80, it is a good idea to install a pressure regulator. It should be installed on your incoming cold line. They generally come preset to 60. The expansion tank should be installed on the inlet (cold) water heater line after the ball valve.
    I'm with hj on the quality of products from the big box stores--and it isn't just water heaters. I seem to have far more problems with customer supplied plumbing fixtures and faucets purchased from the DIY stores (don't ask me why, I don't know). I'm not recommending Sears for a WH either.
    Put in a water heater pan if your heater is located somewhere that a leak can cause damage.
    Deb
    The Pipewench
  6. BGSchatz

    BGSchatz New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Iowa
    Thanks Deb, I've noticed that over the years quality has gone down with the price at the DIY stores. As to Sears, someone on another forum bought his there and it didn't sound bad. It actually had two anodes and a curved dip tube to swirl the water coming in.

    Any ideas about size of an expansion tank? Is the tray you mentioned like the ones for washers only smaller? Something with a rim, then let the water go out closer to the drain? I hear there is a 'special' tool to remove the anodes, what is it like? I want to periodically check those, the dip tube, and the t&p valve.

    Really appreciate everyone's help and I guess from what I'm reading, I should look at a plumb supply store for one of the top brands.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,024
    Location:
    New England
    The trays for wh are usually round, I think. If the wh is in an area where leaking can cause damage, then it is a good idea, if it is just a nusance, then you'd have to think twice. Not actually sure what the code says about the drain line on them - you could probably cap it. If you were around, it would probably keep things dry unless it was a catastrophic failure. Taco makes a neat shutoff for a gas wh that, if you use a pan, will shut the gas off to the unit if it gets wet. Never used one (I'm not a pro), but it does look like a potentially useful safety feature. Called WAG, check it out on their website http://www.tacohvac.com
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,651
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    sears

    One consideration about Sears water heaters that I have never seen from other companies is that in the event of a failure, they have to personally inspect the heater to be sure it is leaking, and then you would have to pay them their "going rate" to have it installed. If you were to sell the house before the warranty period expired then the warranty, whether it was for a 6, 8, 10, or 12 period is not transferable to the new owner.
  9. fast pasquale

    fast pasquale hardwood flooring contractor

    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    cleveland, ohio
    Most everyone i know and deal with are contractors.. My plumber tells me to ALWAYS stay away from *********/lowes when it comes to purchasing any fixtures, valves..etc.. even toilets he says are very low quality at these stores... i try to ALWAYS purchase from my LOCAL plumbing supply house. They actually give you the correct answer when you ask them a question as opposed to hd employees who for the most part are clueless when it comes to their department... oh yeah.. that's if you can find them first!!
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