16 year old water heater - time to replace?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by larrymcg, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. larrymcg

    larrymcg Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Silicon Valley
    We re-piped our house with copper and got a new water heater 16 years ago. It's gas fired and has a pump with return line. I've never done anything to maintain the heater - flushing, anode replacement, etc. I mention the pump and return line because I think (but don't know) that would help keep the sediment from collecting on the bottom of the tank because the return line goes into the bottom (through the drain connection).

    Since it's 16 years old, should I just replace the entire water heater even though it's not giving me any problems?

  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It could last another 10 years, or it could start leaking tomorrow. There is NO way for you, me, or anyone else to tell which, or when it will fail. It is up to you to decide how you want to throw the dice. I do not advocate replacing them until they start to leak, but then I do not know your situation and whether a leaking heater could cause water damage.
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    MASTERPLUMB777 Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    Retired Master Plumber
    If and when you do go to replace it be sure it is a Bradford White or Rheem/Rudd model
    as of 2003 their is new burner and pilot technology out that other
    water heater mfg's
    are having problems with, look at the flame guard post at the start of this section to get a ideal about what I am saying !
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2010
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    You are definitely on borrowed time, but as long as it is working OK and shows no leaks, there's not much reason to replace it. I would start a savings account for a new heater so when the day comes, you'll be ready. As noted previously, a Bradford White or a Rheem seem to be the best heaters. By all means avoid the Whirlpool.
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