Buying my first house

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Esquire, May 23, 2010.

  1. Esquire

    Esquire Plumber

    Nov 26, 2009
    I am about to purchase my first home and I don't want to come home to a flooded basement one day. It seems that heaters around here always die at 4-5 years.

    So I have to questions, what do you guys think of the stainless steel electric HWH's?
    and do any of you believe that flushing your tank and changing the anode rod each year will extend the life of the tank.

    Plumbers around here would rather just change them every 5 years for the money or the home owners don't want to spend the money each year to flush and change the rod if over 5 years it doesn't work and they end up needing a new tank anyway. I mean if you get away with the minimum charge of 60 an hour and the cost of the anode rod it'll cost you more to service it than it will to replace it. Any way just wanted some thoughts from people that have been in the business for extended time.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Unless your water is really nasty, the anode rod should last more like 5-6 years, so every year seems excessive. I suppose you could take it out at a year and see what it looks like, replace or reinstall if okay. After a couple of years, you'd know how long they really last. Draining helps more with efficiency and volume than longevity. Replacing an anode rod is essentially shut off the water, unscrew the rod, replace, turn the water back on. The hard part is loosening it. Invest in a handyman's impact wrench the first year, and you'll come out way ahead. If there's any way to run the WH runoff to a drain, install a pan to collect the water. Since most WH start by dripping rather than a catastrophic failure, a pan and some sort of a moisture detector seems like a good investment if you want to prevent a flood. There are some that will shut the water off as well. check out while it is primarily designed for a gas WH, it will shut off the water supply for an electric one as well. Since it won't shut the power to the WH, on an electric, the elements would burn out, but if the tank was leaking, you'd throw the thing away anyway, so it's not a big deal.

    You may want to get the water tested, and consider some treatment if it is that aggressive, as it would be taking its toll on the pipes and valves as well.
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  4. Doherty Plumbing

    Doherty Plumbing Journeyman & Gas Fitter

    Jun 22, 2009
    Red Seal Journeyman Plumber & Licensed Gas Fitter
    Penticton, BC
    I'd also get the water tested and see if they recommend any filtration equipment to take care of the water problems. In the long run the eq would be a cheap investment.

    But I'd say step #1 is have the water tested (or if you know what's it in it already) and then let us know of the results.

    As for a SS tank it probably wouldn't hurt you that's for sure! I have never seen, and or installed, a SS electric heater I must say but I would have to wonder if they'd even come with sacraficial anodes..... Maybe they would to save the elements.

    People ask me ALL the time if they should flush their tanks out each year. Most of the time I answer that it won't hurt it but I don't know how much it's going to help. But if you live in an area that has lots of sediment in the water (either from the city or your own well) I would say it's probably a good idea. You could atleast pull the sac. anode out and check what it looks like. Replace it if needed.
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    By the time the original anode rod has deteriorated, any exposed metal which it was to protect has already been coated so a replacement rod may be ineffective. Water heaters seem to operate under the theory that if you drain an service them as recommended, they will last 6 years or longer, (usually depending on whether they are gas or electric), but if you do not do so, they may fail within 72 months, but could last longer. My current one is over 10 years old, and the next anode rod replacement or draining will be the first time.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    Check out: Everlast Electric Water Heaters

    Stainless Steel Tank, Incoloy elements, Lifetime Warranty...
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