Are the answers the same for an electric tank water heater?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by jjamison, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. jjamison

    jjamison Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I've been enjoying the threads:
    Can I just wait until my water heater fails?
    and
    Can I fix this water heater or is it time for a new one?
    I have a Rheem lowboy 47 gallon 82Sv50-2 manufactured and installed in 2004.
    I recently had hot water odor and some sediment output on the hot water side successfully treated with Clorox and flushing.
    The tanks is in a crawlspace with very limited headroom so I've never tried replacing the anode rod.
    On reflection maybe I should have pulled it out being willing to bend it as they make jointed replacement rods?
    So my question after reading the previous threads is do most of these endurance answers apply equally to electric water heaters?
    After 15 years of good and bad well treated water with only a very few flushes and no anode rod changes I'm wondering where I stand.
    a) Try to bend the anode rod out, you may find it short as it's has corroded away anyway, and replace it with a jointed rod.
    b) After 15 years and no anode rod replacements you should be getting a new water heater sooner rather than later.
    c) You never know, sit it out and see if the smell or sediment returns and you may get more years out of the thing.
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That would be my choice. Still, you might as well plan ahead with what you would go with if you spot a leak in 15 years, or 15 months.

    If you sell the house, a newer water heater will not be a selling point.

    I am not a plumber.
     
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  4. phog

    phog Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Anode rods typically contribute to causing rotten egg smell during their working life, and stop causing the smell when they've completely dissolved away.

    Regarding working life, electric water heaters usually last longer than gas, all else equal. But the lifespan of any water heater is highly dependent on your well water's pH, the amount of water that's flowed through it, and mineral profile. So it's not possible to give you a good definitive answer to your question of "when to replace the tank?".

    One thing we can say is that the anode never being replaced probably has nothing to do with the smell, the only reason to replace it would be to slow down the rate of corrosion & prolong the tank life. But at this point you might be better off not fiddling with a tank that old, sometimes you end up causing a leak by wrenching on things.

    As Reach says above, at 15yrs it's good to have a plan in place for your next unit, even if you're ok with trying to coax every last bit of life out of it & risking a flood. Just so that you're not shopping around and making decisions in crisis mode the day it lets go. You might want to consider installing a powered anode on your next tank as this is a good way to reduce smells.
     
  5. jjamison

    jjamison Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Thank you both for your thoughtful answers!
    Unfortunately larger lowboy water heaters are a special order at the big box stores.
    But, a flood in my crawlspace wouldn't be disastrous.
    In any case, thanks again. My wife wants me to wait so I suppose I will.
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Regarding the smell that you mentioned, do you have city water or well water.

    I would sanitize your well and plumbing if you have a deep well. If you have city water, you might still get benefit from some sanitizing. That is is not often discussed.
     
  7. jjamison

    jjamison Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Well.
    I started with a few years of a mechanism dropping chlorine pellets into the well, but eventually transitioned to a stenner pump injecting chlorine into the line. Maybe I introduced some bacteria working on the system post chlorine removal.
    In any case, a while back you mentioned testing for residual chlorine...
    "
    My first thought would think you would like to see maybe 2 ppm (mg/L) into the KL. Since the pot perm is only used in regeneration, I suspect it is rinsed out before the Centaur Carbon. I don't know how the pot perm and bleach interact.

    I am not sure about this.... It would be interesting to see where you stand on the residual chlorine right now.

    I get my bleach at Aldi. I would not get it from Dollar General or Family Dollar. Clorox is probably good, but it does come with an additive. See https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/ditching-chlorination-have-some-questions.76116/ discussion.

    Reach4, Mar 28, 2019"

    I'd not forgotten your comment so I finally got around to purchasing a Hanna Instruments HI 711 Checker HC Handheld Colorimeter so I should be able to address your question.
     
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