Nine Year Old Envirotemp 50 Gallon Water Heater

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by hudson, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. hudson

    hudson New Member

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    I believe that it still works like new...but sometimes I suspect reduced performance. Since the kids are all gone, it's hard to really test it.

    It's a model E3Z50RD055V Envirotemp Supreme Lifetime Warranty Self Cleaning purchased Feb. 2000..from Lowes. I still have the receipt and a copy of all of the warranty stuff.

    I'm the original owner...I installed it myself.

    How long will this thing last...Should I swap out the thermostat and elements...or just test everything? ...or just wait till I have real problems?


    Thanks!
     
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    No need to replace parts that are working. Symptoms of an electric WH not working would be quickly running out of hot water or really long time to recover.

    You might want to check and replace the anode rod (assuming this has a metal tank...if it's not, then there won't be an anode rod to replace). Those are more correctly called sacrificial anodes, and they literally get eaten up in preference to the steel in the tank, but when they're gone, the tank starts to rust. Most people don't change them, and then the tank starts to degrade. They're used in numerous situations including boats to keep the hull from disintegrating.
     
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  4. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

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    I guess you could check the recovery rate

    "Recovery rates are generally measured by how many gallons of water can be raised 90-degrees in one hour. If a water heater, for example, stores 50 gallons of water, a recovery rate suitable for radiant heating would be the ability to heat 1 1/2 times its storage amount within one hour. In other words, it could heat 75 gallons each hour. The best water heaters on the market can heat almost three times their capacity."

    You'd have to know the temp. of the incoming water. Turn off the heater, fill it completely with cold incoming water which temp. you have measured, turn it on and time it till it reaches the setpoint, and compare with manuf. spec's.

    If you find any degradation, and knowing that it's 9 YO, you could predict the failure date (when it cannot keep up with demand).
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009
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  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    tank

    The only thing about its description that you have to be concerned about is the "lifetime" portion, and for that you would need your sales receipt. If it is working, leave it alone. If it stops heating properly, test it and replace whatever is broken, and only that. IF it leaks take the tank back and get the new one using your receipt and the lifetime warranty.
     
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  6. hudson

    hudson New Member

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    I've read a good many of the posts in the Water Heater section. My unit was made by Craftmaster, a brand that doesn't have a good reputation. The unit is on a concrete floor...a slow leak probably wouldn't cause big problems...so I just need to fix what's broken and make extra copies of my documentation. When it leaks, I just go to Lowes and they'll replace it with a comparable model.

    It's very nice getting recommendations from those with experience!

    I remember reading one of Terry's posts about a condo unit that required replacements every 10 years.... not a bad idea...then I could get one of the highly recommended units....

    And there's also a pretty good argument that says: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.????
     
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    heater

    Craftmaster is a sublabel of the American Water Heater co.
     
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  8. hudson

    hudson New Member

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    I still have this water heater...it's been almost 6 years since the original post and it's working....so the tank is 15. There are no problems. The brochure that came with the WH says that it has 5500 watt incloy elements, a fused ceramic shield tank lining...also 3 inches of non CFC foam insulation. I saved all the papers and receipt...it says that the tank is warranted for the lifetime of the original owner against leaks. Parts also have a lifetime warranty, but they only replace defective parts.

    I wonder how long this WH is going to continue without leaking?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    A 15 year old water heater could fail at anytime. I doubt that you would get much satisfaction with that "lifetime warranty" but I don't know for sure.
     
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  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey, it's a good experiment.
    Just make sure it's not in an area where leaking can damage the home. With something that old, a leak can happen anytime.
     
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  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Every once in awhile, you'll hear of someone whose WH lasted over 25-years. Much more likely on an electric unit than gas, though. Water quality, use pattern, and design all play a part, as does luck of the draw.
     
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  12. hudson

    hudson New Member

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    The 17 year old water heater (It's a model E3Z50RD055V Envirotemp Supreme Lifetime Warranty...made by Craftmaster/American) is located in a garage that is 1 foot lower than the house. The garage door has been replaced with a wall; it's now a heated/cooled utility room...concrete floor still there. A leak would not cause much damage...but it would cause a mess that I would like to avoid.

    What if I installed a drip pan and connected the drip pan to a 3/4 inch high quality rubber hose. I would run the hose through a brick wall into the crawl space...about 50 feet...it's sloped that way...through the exterior brick wall of the crawl space and out towards a wooded lot....everything slopes gradually downhill.

    Or...I probably need to get 3 quotes on getting the water heater replaced with a drip pan and a drain hooked into the house's drain system.

    I keep thinking that I could buy 60-75 feet of hose and a drip pan and do it myself for next to nothing...and I could see how long this old water heater will last. I would be draining the tank in the process...I might learn something about the condition of the tank from draining and disconnecting everything?
     
  13. hudson

    hudson New Member

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    I'm trying to get a quote to install a drip pan and drain...and possible replace the water heater....here's where I am...with my 3 quotes.

    Plumber 1: He spoke to me on the phone and asked if my water heater was on an outside wall. I said yes. He replied that his solution would be to raise the water heater on bricks or blocks and put a drain out through the wall to the outside. He said that he installed AO Smith water heaters and the cost would be about $700 total. I asked about a longer than 6 year tank warranty. He was not familiar with those.

    Plumber 2: Also...phone only. He said yep...raise the heater...install AO Smith...6 year...also not familiar with longer than 6 year tank warranty or those with more insulation. He didn't call me back with a price. He was recommended by 2 co-workers.

    Plumber 3: This is a larger company...18 employees...with good recommendations. The lady on the phone said that they don't come out to do water heater quotes...but they would for $59. I said OK...come on. The owner came out and looked at my water heater and pointed out some now dry seeps. He didn't like the plastic spigot at the bottom...or the pressure relief valve. I'm going to replace the tank. His plan is to raise the tank on blocks and to run a pipe out of another wall of the house. He said that he didn't want the pipe under my deck because I couldn't see it. He wants the drain pipe seen. He also told me something that I should've known...that I could put a hose from the bottom of the tank to the washing machine drain to flush the tank periodically....I thought that I had to be level with the floor. I haven't been flushing the tank because I had no where to run the hose. He will also add an expansion tank and quote separately for an auto shut-off. He said that he would get me a quote tomorrow. He likes American water heaters....6 year warranty. I said that I would like a 10 or 12 year warranty...but no extended warranty. He said that they use the same tanks and just charge more for more warranty??

    We also talked about more insulation...I think that the American Water Heaters have a .90 to .92 Energy Factor. I kind of liked the water heaters with .95 energy factors. How much difference between a .92 and a .95?


    He also said that the rules have changed. It looks like all the water heaters are going to be minimum .95 EF in a few weeks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  14. chefwong

    chefwong Member

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    #3 Sounds like a honest plumber IMO.
     
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  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    As of, I think, April 1, the codes require additional insulation and efficiency on larger WH.

    Most of the companies that do offer a longer warranty, it is the same tank. On some of them, they do install a second anode rod and may use a better quality drain valve. Some replace the valve that comes on the WH with a full port ball valve - this way, there's less restriction on the outlet and if you want, you have a straight shot into the tank to maybe dislodge some crud.

    If you gravity drain the tank, yes, the outlet needs to be lower. But, just like the water goes everywhere in your home, if you attach a hose to the drain valve and open it...you have the same water pressure as on the normal outlet, and you can run it anywhere. Now, trying to also move any crud, I'd not want to run it too high, but with decent volume, you should be able to drain it. Note, not all hoses are created equal...you'd want one that won't be damaged by the hot water and fairly large diameter. IT can take a lot of hours for the water to cool off if you shut it down. But, maybe the best way is to shut it off before your morning showers. It would be cooling off as new water comes in without the burner enabled but you should be able to get at least a few reasonable showers before it got too cool to be comfortable.

    There are some WH dams that can be installed on a solid floor like a slab that don't fit underneath...they essentially get glued to the floor. Easier to use a pan if you're replacing.
     
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  16. hudson

    hudson New Member

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    This website says that water heater rules will change on April 16th. http://www.raysplumbinginc.com/naeca-2015-water-heater-efficiency-standards/

    I think that existing stock can still be sold. It looks like 40 and 50 gallon water heaters have to be at Energy Factor (EF) .95.

    If I buy an existing stock water heater at EF .92 or .94 how much would I be losing to an EF .95 water heater?

    One plumbing supply said their manufacturers were short on stock and in some turmoil over the changeover...especially if I wanted an EF .95 AO Smith water heater.
     
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Think of energy factor as a percentage...0.95EF = 95% efficient. Over the life of the WH, a couple of percentage points is almost totally in the noise, especially if those extra few points cost a lot more money up front. Some if it is from the insulation, and IF the manufacturer allows it, you could add some (not all do, and you must keep the air supply area free on a gas WH), and probably exceed what the new ones provide. Depending on WHERE the WH was located (a cold basement verses say conditioned space) will make a difference, too. In conditioned space, any heat loss from the WH will help in the winter (but hurt in the summer if you run the a/c).
     
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  18. chefwong

    chefwong Member

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    Hudson -

    I read you OP dated back in 2009 and the recent drain pan, etc.
    Any reason you have changed mind on your ~lifetime~ water heater.

    I recently changed mind due to the upcoming law change. I have been pondering about going from a 50 to a 75 gallon.
    My vent stack just barely sits at the height for the proper slop in the chimmney stack.
    The new fatter higher heaters would have been a major renovation for me.
    Hence, I swapped tanks now.

    Just curious what had made you decide to swap tanks. You seemed pretty happy with your *tank* performance...

    If it's about it fitting into a tight spot where 2" of height or depth won't allow down the road, I surely would do it now.
     
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  19. hudson

    hudson New Member

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    chefwong, Here's why I want to go ahead and change the tank.

    I'm going to have a plumber install a drip pan and drain....so why not get a new tank at the same time.
    I've been my own water heater "expert" since I moved in in 75. I've put in 2 Lowes lifetime water heaters....warranty was honored....no problems....both jobs...by me were a struggle...but I got it done.
    But... I'm not a plumber and I'm not doing any more big jobs. According to many discussions that I've read, 15 years is beyond the average water heater's lifespan. I've learned that a longer warranty doesn't necessarily mean that a lifetime tank is built any stronger than a standard tank.

    My current state is a 15 year old Lowes water heater with the lifetime warranty...with no drip pan...no drain...old internals...I've never drained or maintained it. Current state is working but at risk...no leak protection. I'll lose my lifetime warranty deal.

    For $1375, I'll get my old water heater hauled away, a new WH with a 12 year warranty...6 years parts and labor, a thermal expansion tank, a drip pan with a one inch pvc pipe through the wall to the outside, a 3/4" ball valve for something?, and for $240 more an auto shutoff. It will be done by a plumber...not a wanna-be like me. Since I've got a place to drain the WH, I can flush it periodically and do whatever maintenance is recommended.

    So, I give up my lifetime warranty...there's some heartburn there...but I get probably 10 good years of service with less risk.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
  20. hudson

    hudson New Member

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    Ok, here's a pic of the final result. The pressure in the expansion tank matches the current pressure of my water system...45 lbs. When I put my gauge on the outside spigot, overnight it maxed out at 60...but it has been running 40-50 lbs during the day. The plumbers liked the idea of a brass valve at the bottom of the tank as opposed to the plastic valve...I'm guessing that it came with a plastic valve and they replaced it with brass?

    I'm glad that I hired a good plumber. He answered ALL of my stupid questions patiently and called his boss to find the answers of my really stupid questions....

    How do you check the pressure in the expansion tank? Turn off the cold water at the valve on the tank; go into the kitchen and turn on the hot water; then check the pressure.

    Should there be batteries in the auto-cut off device? answer yes...4AAs.

    Where is the warranty information? They sent it in...call the office. It's a 6 year tank with a 12 year extended warranty on the tank.

    Do I need a pressure regulator? Possibly...he gave me a quote for $425. They'll dig a hole between the meter and the house...add some kind of enclosure, and a cut-off valve...plus the pressure device. I've got a call into the city water system to ask them what they think. I don't know of any high pressure problems...although years ago I had 2 quarts of water appear out of my water tank pressure relief valve.

    How do I drain the tank? He said do not drain it into the drip pan...hook up a hose...move your refrigerator and run it out the garage door...he showed me how easy it would be to move the refrigerator and open the door...duh...I should've figured that out.

    Therefore, I have a pretty good setup....as opposed to what my DIY plan was: Get a Marathon lifetime tank, put in a drip pan...I would probably have raised it...I would have attached the pan to a long garden hose...I would have run it under the house and out the far wall. An expansion tank wasn't on my radar at all....nor was the auto cut-off. I would have somehow made connections with the same flexible copper that I used before.
    wwater sys[​IMG]
     
  21. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
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