Replace Old Water Heater?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Earnie, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. Earnie

    Earnie New Member

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    I moved into a house that has a seventeen year old electric forty gallon American Water Heater. It still appears to provide plenty of hot water for two people. Should I replace it now or wait until it fails?

    I have no idea if the anode was ever replaced, but since it is part of the hot water pipe, I have no desire to attempt an anode replacement.

    If I replace the unit, anyone have a recommendation on a good manufacturer?

    Earnie
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    Ohio
    If it starts leaking is it in a part of the house where it will cause any damage?
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    heater

    Manufacturer is almost irrelevent. Your anode rod is probably NOT part of the hot water outlet, but by now is also irrelevent. Change the heater when it starts leaking, unless you think it is out to get you.
  4. Earnie

    Earnie New Member

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    Location:
    At Home
    Hi Guys,

    The water heater is not leaking. It is placed in a closet in the bottom floor bathroom. It sits in a round metal pan. The pan has an overflow tube through the floor into the crawl space. Only issue I need to correct is the overflow tube is not connected to a drain or to a pipe that goes outside. That should be a simple fix.

    So are you saying that all electric water heater manufacturers offer quality products?

    Earnie
  5. yngwie_69

    yngwie_69 New Member

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    Location:
    Prince Rupert, BC
    change the tank, thats way to old for a tank.
  6. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    Seventeen years is not all that old for an electric water heater, my last electric went for eighteen years before it developed a pinhole leak. The leak was small enough that I was able to postpone replacement for at least a week.

    I also know of an electric water heater that has been going strong for more than 36 years. I first came upon this heater in 1973 and it wasn't new then, I have no idea just how old it may be.

    My current water heater is a Sears gas model and it passed the ten year mark last February. I know that it is on borrowed time but it may go for another year, or maybe several more years. When it goes I'll either have Terry replace it or I'll go to the HD which is only ten minutes away.
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    Location:
    Ohio
    Because it is in a pan there is no reason to change it until it leaks...If you wish to part with your $$$ before you need to then by all means install a new one...
  8. Earnie

    Earnie New Member

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    Good point Cass. I'm also wondering how much electricity I'm wasting since the tank's R value is probably low and the heating elements are not what they were when new. I do have a jacket on the tank's exterior.

    Earnie
  9. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

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    Pan's won't hold the water from a ruptured tank.


    See above.

    If it were in a garage or unfinished basement then I wouldn't worry about it until you had to, but if it's within living areas there is a possiblity to come home to quite a mess. Think 3/4" supply line just dumping into that closet.
  10. Earnie

    Earnie New Member

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    Good point Matt.

    Thanks,

    Earnie
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Catiastrophic failures are extremely extremely rare...and happen at any time in a water heaters life...old heaters have no more than new ones...

    The water heater pan will handel 99.99% of the leaks...thats why they are required in areas where a leak can cause damage..

    I say leave it until it leaks...but it is your choice...
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  12. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

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  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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  14. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

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    According to my gas heater lifetimes, if it were a gas heater you'd have a 50-50 chance of reaching 20 yrs.

    Scaling up for an elec. heater I'd say you have till 21 years.

    BTW, I have hardly any elec. water heater lifespan data, so if any knows of how long their elec. heater lasted I'd like to know. This info is useful in making repair/replace decisions.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  15. delta d

    delta d New Member

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    Location:
    nashville
    if it's not broke,you know.
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heaters

    In this area an electric water heater will last about half as long as a gas one, usually about 8 years. Adding a water softener increases it considerably.
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