66 year old hot water heater still working

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by DeWayne Lehman, Jul 11, 2021.

  1. DeWayne Lehman

    DeWayne Lehman New Member

    Jul 11, 2021
    Hey, what’s the record on a hot water heater lifetime? I had a scare recently with my ancient one. Turned out it just need the pilot re-lit. But it got me thinking about just how old it is. Serial number starts with 55, and modern day company that produced the Rudd-Moel heater confirmed it’s 66 years old. Friends say I should replace it. I’m thinking let’s see how long it will last. Thoughts?
    TheOverThinker likes this.
  2. Sarg

    Sarg Enjoy Learning

    Nov 6, 2020
    Recently retired
    In your place ...... I would commence accumulating all the parts needed to install a new heater. That assumes you plan to stay where you are. That way you will be able to do the replacement quickly and avoid the "scramble".
    Not having hot water is not fun. Seems that folks do not appreciate a heater until it stops working.
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  4. Weekend Handyman

    Weekend Handyman Member

    Nov 30, 2020
    Nova Scotia
    I am not a plumber. The questions I would ask myself are: 1) What is the potential for damage if it lets go? 2) Could you save some money by installing a more efficient unit?
  5. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Oct 28, 2009
    Orlando, Florida
    In the USA the 2005 EPA energy bill redefined gas and electric water heater energy use. Usually the new guidelines rollover to Canada and if the tank is manufactured in the USA, chances are you can get the latest model. Replacement will definitely save on your gas bill but since this energy law kicked in, the manufacture have about doubled the cost. What used to coast maybe $250 USD, is now over $500. For traditional style water heaters the tank insulation was greatly increased.
    For a 66 year old tank, mineral deposits is probably holding it together. For gas unit, the bottom of the water heater tanks will build up with deposits and the tank side of the gas flue will get a coating of mineral (hard water) deposits. If you hear a gurgling sound when the burner is on, you have deposits. The mineral deposit also act like an insulator so more heat goes up the chimney than can be absorbed by the water. Damage due to a blow out depends on its location. Water always flow downhill but under pressure it can spray anywhere. If you get a inch or two of water on your living space floor, all walls below 6" will need to be replaced and the flooring will be all toast. Even with tile because water will get under it and may never dry out.
  6. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Aug 13, 2013
    Well, having a working 66 year old WH is a rarity. Contact Guinness book of records, get it listed in their book, then replace it.
    Replacing on your terms, will prevent many potential discomforts and damages, like:
    Diminished hot water supply capacity,
    And worse case scenario - damages from leaks, the kind that cause damages in the thousands.
  7. Timothy Young

    Timothy Young New Member

    Aug 26, 2021
    Now I feel like I got ripped off with only getting 35 years out of my heater.
  8. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

    Feb 27, 2020
    I think its time for a water heater.
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