Natural Gas Hot Water Heater ?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by ncage1974, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. ncage1974

    ncage1974 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Illinois
    I bought my house about 3 years ago. The home was 7 years old when i bought it. I have a 40 Gallon Hot water heater in the basement that i think is starting to kick the bucket. The guy i call to do my heating/cooling work. I had him look at it he was here and he said there is not much you can do with Gas hot water heaters. He said when they start to not work you might as well replace them. He also told me to not worry about the brand of water heater you buy since they are all essentially very close in design. He said look you have a "rheem" and its going out.

    I have my water heater turned up all the way to max temperature now because it will even run out of hot water when i almost have the bathtub filled up. The FHR of my unit is 62 gallons.

    Ok first of all was my heating/cooling guy right about replacing them we they start having a problem? I see not external physical signs that its going bad.

    Second was he right about brands. Just get the cheapest one you can? I know when you spend more money your going to get more insulation and a longer warranty but im wanting to stay in the lower bracket of say no more than $350 for the unit. They sell a richmond units (i think) in my local ******* for $260 range. They also sell this one at low*s:
    http://www.*****.com/*****/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=211448-135-BFG1F4034T3NOV%20%207K&lpage=none
    Which is a whirpool brand. Which one would you go with. Hey if i can save $40 why not if they are basically the same thing. I have searched on google without much help.

    I called my heating/cooling guy tonight and he quoted me a pretty good price to replace the unit ($120) which include disposing of the old unit.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    thanks,
    ncage
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2007
  2. Have a licensed plumber inspect the water heater and fix it.


    If it is not leaking it doesn't need replacement.


    Don't bother with the heater you have in the link.....you think you have problems now....wait till you get one of those treats in your house. :eek: :confused:
  3. ncage1974

    ncage1974 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thanks for the reply. Two questions for you:

    1) What is that water heater i linked to such junk? Are whirlpool wh not any good or is it because you have to spend more money on a wh to get a descent one? If you have to spend more money how much would you have to spend? How about the richmond units at *******?

    2) Say if its going to cost me $300 to fix my existing one wouldn't it be better to get a new water heater with a warranty for around $420 and get a new warranty to go with it?
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,802
    Location:
    New England
    At the age of the unit you have, it could be the dip tube is shot. That can be replaced fairly easily and cheaply. If the rest is working and it is not leaking, that may restore the quantity of hot this (fairly small) unit can provide.

    Do a search here and you'll get some opinions on the Whirlpool unit - not good. Rheem, Bradford-white usually get better comments. From what most of the people say, the longer warranty units are basically the same thing with a prepaid insurance policy.

    Depending on your water conditions and the units use, 7-years may be a good life. That installation price is probably for a handyman, no license, and no permit. Not saying he can't or won't do a proper job, but it is cheap...
  5. ncage1974

    ncage1974 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Illinois
    Again thanks for the reply. Yea i actually just googled on Whirlpool WH and found a class action suite filed against them for a defective thermocouple in the units. So it looks like richmond are the same as rheem so that would be the better unit. Im glad i did a little bit of research.
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,298
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Sounds like you are going through the same problem I just fixed. There was a period of time ending about 1996 that dip tubes being supplied to the majority of water heater manufactures were defective. I just replacement mine and that fixed the problem. The cost? $6.00. To check and replace the tube, you just remove the cold water supply nipple and fish whatever is left of the old tube. Drop in a new one, put the nipple back and you're done. Of course, you have to do the obvious like turning the water and gas off.
  7. 41Fever

    41Fever New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    North Dakota
    You may have a dip tube problem that is not allowing you to get enough hot water. Can be replaced, but given age of your heater, replacement of unit may be a better option. Is your bathtub a very large one? If so, a 40 gallon heater may not be large enough to begin with. Also when looking at new heaters, be sure to compare apples to apples. Check the BTU input on your existing RHEEM and also the input of the new heater. $ 120.00 for installation is good price as long as a permit is pulled. Insurance companies love to deny claims for problems that arise when something is done "CHEAP"! The permit is a must.
  8. ncage1974

    ncage1974 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Illinois
    thanks again for the replies:

    About the size of my bathtub: its a standard size (whatever that is). Its not one of those huge bathtubs. I had no problems at all when i moved into the house. I could actually take a bath at the same time my gf was taking a shower and we had no problem. Me and my dad went to drain the unit today. This is the first time ive drained a water heater but damn this thing was draining slow. We turned off the gas and turned off the incoming could water and released the pressure relief value and this thing would take about 10 min to fill a 2-1/2 gallon mop bucket. I only seen a few specks of sediment. I probably drained 6-7 buckets because i got sick of waiting. I did turn the cold water on after this to try to pressure drain some of the rest of it. I am now waiting for it to heat up to see if it helped at all. If it doesn't work i will see if i can replace the dip tube. I never have worked on anything like this but i will do my best.

    If that doesn't work i will call Monday to a liscened/bonded place to see what they will even charge me to look at the unit. Depending on that i will decide whether to get a new one or fix my existing one. There is no reason not to get a new one if its going to cost me say $300 when i can replace it with a new one for about $400 with a new warranty. I guess if i get a new one i will get the richmond unit since it seems like its made by rheem and should be descent. Im glad i did a little research though because i would have probably bought a whirlpool WH since you would think whirlpool stuff is quality thank god you can now use the internet to research stuff like that.

    ncage
  9. ncage1974

    ncage1974 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Illinois
    dip tubes

    Hey guys i did a little research on the dip tubes and found this:
    http://www.mtmua.com/diptubes.html##What is it and why can it possibly can be a problem in homes?

    So i went to look on my wh unit to see what year it was manufactured. It looks like 1991 so it shouldn't be in this group that this site was talking about between 1993-1996. I don't think ive ever noticed the sediment problem and the clogging either. Ok don't think im stupid because i don't know that much about wh but i looked at the cold water inlet and i seen a plastic ring surrounding it. So i would assume the dip tube is still plastic but i don't know.

    Ncage
  10. ncage1974

    ncage1974 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Illinois
    oh i don't know now...

    Maybe that isn't the manufacture date. It had 1991 printed on it but this was in this format:
    ANSI Z21.10.1A-1991

    Model number is 21V40-7 which i have searched for and not had much luck.
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Post the Ser.#
  12. ncage1974

    ncage1974 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Illinois
    RN 1094A40881
  13. 1994 Rheem

    your heating guy is right about that heater

    its sounds about 13 years old.....just put it down...


    As far as quality goes ,,,, I would not get a WHIRLPOOL

    Their is presently a class action laswuit in claifornia
    on the Whirlpool Gas flame Lock and another one about to kick in
    in Illinios , and another one in Michigan...
    (its presently a race between the lawyers to see who can file first)



    Go to home depot and get a GE made by Rheem....

    But DO NOT buy a Whirlpool from LOWES

    it will cause you great sorrow.....

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/products/
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2007
  14. ncage1974

    ncage1974 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Illinois
    Actually was just going to get a Richmond made my Rheem locally since there isn't a HD close to me.

    Ncage
  15. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,298
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    It is true that your tank may be about due for replacing, but I'd try replacing the dip tube first. You may or may not buy more time before replacement, but it's a cheap and easy thing to do. It would guess you tank has a lot of crud in the bottom. You can open the drain value and try running a wire in to loose it. Also, after the drain valve is open, turn the intake supply back on. The pressure may help open it up. Once you get the tank drained and flushed out, then you can tackle the dip tube. Just remove the nipple on the cold water intake and fish out whatever remains of the dip tube. Probably you'll get nothing more than the flange from the top of the tube. Buy a new tube at a plumbing supply store. HD and Lowe's don't stock them in my town, but a "real" plumbing shop will have them. You will want the plain-Jane tube which is just a 52" x 5/8" tube with a flared end. You may need to trim the other end of the tube off if it bottoms out in you tank. It just slides through the intake hole. The flared keeps it where it belongs. Then replace the nipple and reattach the waterline. The only tools you need are a good pipe wrench and perhaps a screwdriver to help fish the tube. You can't retrieve the tube that has broken off, that's probably most of what is clogging the drain, but you so have to get the old flared end out. If all of this doesn't work, all you are out is about $6 for the tube. If it buys another year or two of life for the heater, your ahead of the game. When you do have to replace the heater, get the GE/Rheem and definitely stay away from the Whirlpool.
  16. bekkilyn

    bekkilyn New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I've been looking into water heaters as well and am very interested in the GE natural gas heaters sold at Home Depot, but I was looking at their web page and couldn't find any natural gas water heaters there at all? Does this mean the stores themselves no longer have them or that they just aren't included on the website for some reason?

    The GE site says Home Depot sells them exclusively, so I hope they are still available.
  17. why ask here?

    i propose you delete or edit your post. HD is HD and you can call any store anytime to ask why they do something with their web site or products.

    GE is a big big company, so my guess is that if any chain store claims to have anything as "exlusive" from GE, what it really means is that a specific model number is exclusive to that chain, and then when you analyze this in ultrafine detail you discover that the chain does not have any exclusivity on anything, not even any feature or function. However, in order to make comparison shoppers unable to compare comparables, the functions and features are mixed up slightly so you can never really be certain of any conclusion you may wish to draw.

    that answers the second question. The only exclusivity is a made-up model number. Or maybe a couple changes in features. I could be wrong about it this time with these two companies at this point in time, but my answer still stands with regard to any chain claiming to have any manufacturer exclusively.

    david
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  18. bekkilyn

    bekkilyn New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Why not ask here?

    Why would I want to delete my post? I didn't think I was being offensive. Or are "stupid" newbie questions illegal on this forum?

    Since I first read about these heaters on this forum and then couldn't find them at the "exclusive" place they are sold, then why not ask here if someone here knows where else I could get one if Home Depot isn't selling them or if I was just looking in the wrong place? I'm not ready to call up vendors at this point because I'm not even closed on the house that I'll be moving to and thus cannot give them any specifications on the existing water heater other than that it may need to be replaced.

    Bekki
  19. ok you are right

    still a good idea to call an HD store to ask if they have GE. Any two corporations can make a policy that they can change any day of the week. I doubt anyone here can answer why the HD web site doesn't mention GE heaters. Now I find out you actually have been to a store too...

    -d
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  20. bekkilyn

    bekkilyn New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I think I'm more confused than ever since I haven't actually been inside an actual Home Depot store since around Thanksgiving when I needed to deal with a fungus gnat infestation of my house plants.

    It's just that everywhere else I've shopped, I can look online to see whether or not a store carries something because their website inventory matches their store inventory, but maybe home improvement stores are different and you actually have to call them or go to the actual, physical store building just to find out? Seems kind of archaic. :)

    Well, I suppose I'll call them when I am at the point of actually replacing the water heater and not just in the information-gathering stage. We are getting a plumber to look at it first as part of the homebuying process, but since it has rust stains and evidence of leaking, I suspect it will indeed need to be replaced.
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