After 35 years, my parents State 40 gallon gas water heater sprung a leak...

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Andrew LB, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. Andrew LB

    Andrew LB New Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    People's Republik of Kalifornia
    ... and by the look of things on the various forums i've been browsing, they definitely don't seem to make them like they used to.

    My parents bought the house in 1973 with who knows what kind of water heater and i was born in 1978. That heater started having issues in 1984 when they did a lot of work on the house and had it replaced with this one. It made it though the whittier, sierra madre, and northridge quakes. And the most recent one (and all the little ones along with it). It didn't get flushed until about 10 years ago while helping with some maintenance around the house but when i started to drain it and the plastic valve broke instead. Plastic valve, and it didn't want to come out so i noticed it could come apart, so i swapped in the guts from the new valve and all was well. Oh... and they never once changed the anode. I looked at it when i changed that drain valve and figured it wasn't worth the risk to even touch. It makes me wonder if the tank was somehow protected by a layer of hard water buildup that developed very early on. We get our water from the LA Aquifer, not the water that comes down the LA Aquaduct. Thankfully.

    Soo.... below are some photos of the water heater. Now on to the questions.....

    Time to buy a new water heater. Being in Southern California i guess i'm required to purchase an Ultra Low NOX unit, and additionally it seems changes in the building code in the last few years now prevent me from installing the new water heater myself. Lemme guess, Unions pad some politicians wallets for that?

    The most commonly available water heaters here are AO Smith and Rheem. I can also get Bradford White, and American Standard.

    What brand would you guys recommend? I'm leaning towards the Rheem since its seems like parts are easier to get than other brands.

    I'm not planning on spending a bunch of money. It's gonna be a 40 gallon, natural gas, without all the stupid wifi and digital displays. (parents still can't program the time on the microwave). One thing that will be different though, is i plan on replacing the annode every 4-5 years and if the unit does not have a proper ball valve drain, i'll install one of those.

    I've already got a plumber who is going to come by and do the install/removal as well as adding a copper pipe for the pressure and safety valve. He's gonna charage me $250 for the job which i think is reasonable if i provide all the hardware (minus the copper drain)

    Here is my shopping list:

    1x water heater
    2x 3/4" copper flex lines 24" with nut on each end.
    1x 1/2" x 24" gas flex line
    1x 1/2" gas valve
    1x 3/4" brass full port ball valve FPT
    1x 4" brass nipple FPT (or should the drain valve use a PEX lined nipple?)
    1x 3/4" FPT to FHP adapter

    Anything I'm missing?

    I should also add that the water lines in the home are all copper.

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
  2. Andrew LB

    Andrew LB New Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    People's Republik of Kalifornia
    When the new heater gets installed, just for shits and giggles, i'm planning on cutting the tank open to see what the inside looks like. I'll make sure to post pictures. Here's what the annode hex bolt looks like.

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  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    I normally install Rheem and Bradford White.
    I don't recommend people doing their own gas water heater installs. There are good reasons for that and some that I've seen have looked very scary.
    It looks like you have a good parts list.
  5. Andrew LB

    Andrew LB New Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    People's Republik of Kalifornia
    I've been doing a lot of reading this afternoon and came across the thread regarding the Honeywell controls on Rheem gas water heaters being problematic. Is this still the case or have they done revisions to the hardware?

    Rheem's website shows that most of the Ultra Low NOX water heaters, even the ones only available to professional plumbers, largely contain honeywell controls. Even the Professional Prestige series are honewell. Albeit, they are a different unit that seems to be 24v.
  6. Andrew LB

    Andrew LB New Member

    Jan 27, 2019
    People's Republik of Kalifornia
    I wouldn't recommend it for 99% of the population to attempt, much like I wouldn't recommend doing a full re-wire of a 3 bedroom house from 4 circuits to 16 where an electrician friend simply did a final inspection before the city inspector came and said it was one of the cleanest jobs he's ever seen. I'm sure most people on this site are technically minded enough to do any of these things even thought they're outside the field of what they do.

    BUT... like i said earlier I am having a licensed plumber do the install since the nanny state has to protect me from myself. lol.

    Even though i've only posted a few times, I've been reading your forum for probably a couple years now. You and this forum has attracted a group of regulars who are incredibly knowledgeable, much more so than a lot of sites ive come across.

    Anyways... Im in the unfortunate situation of having way too much free time on my hands due to the combination of a ruptured disc in my back from a drunk driver hitting me head on a number of years ago and a recently discovered heart condition. And no thanks to the last occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania ave, lost my health insurance 6 years ago. I guess that explains why i typically do things myself. I'm not some cheap prick just trying to save a few bucks, so please don't take what i say the wrong way. It's just that i simply don't have the means. That and I enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing what i can these days.

    Next project after this is re-framing a 15x8" section of the front of my house due to f'ing Termites. At least they're gone now. Termidor foamed into the walls where they were, then applied Bora-Care to every stud, joist, post, rafter, and beam. And a lot of holes to plug in the drywall. Haven't seen a sign of them in almost 3 years.
  7. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Aug 13, 2013
    When your plumber completes the change over, take some pic and post them here.
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