Corrosion on bottom of tank near flue pipe?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by nealp, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. nealp

    nealp New Member

    Jul 23, 2014
    About 1 week ago we had our State Select 50 gallon propane direct vent water heater shut off for no apparent reason. I discovered this the next day when the hot water slowly got colder and colder. It was flashing the red LED status light (which according to the instructions means to unplug it and plug it back in). It has been running fine ever since, but while I was down there investigating why we had no hot water, I peeked into the burner area of the tank (with the power off :p) and noticed some corrosion around where the flue pipe and the bottom of the tank are welded together. It even looked like a few drops of water had leaked through that joint. Is it possible that this corrosion and moisture are caused by condensation from flue gas? Or is my fear confirmed that the tank is shot? I snapped a picture with my phone and posted it here also.

    Any help is appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Well, nothing is forever. Most people replace the water heater when the leak is obvious. Some like to plan their replacements to avoid the big surprise.

    People that live on top of each other, like in condo's, replace every ten years.

    Sometimes I'm lucky. For friends and family, with water heaters in the living space, I prefer to change them whild they are still good.
    I let my own go a few weeks too long, as I was going tankless. Before I was able to make the conversion, my old gas tank failed and I was without hot water for a few days while I was piping in a new gas line. My tank was fifteen years old. My mom's had made it twenty, and I didn't really want the call late at night that her carpets were all wet.

    Master Plumber Mark replaces a lot of gas water heaters. Maybe he will see this and comment.
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  4. nealp

    nealp New Member

    Jul 23, 2014
    Thanks Terry!
    taking into consideration the the water heater is 13 years old I think its time to go ahead and replace it while the leak is still small. I currently have a state select LP 50 gallon, 40K BTU, 90 gallon 1st hour, 34GPH recovery, EF .56.

    I have been looking online and found a great deal at pex supply on a 40 gallon unit, 50K BTU, 90 gallon 1st hour, 56 GPH recovery .70 EF.

    I have friends who swear that going down a tank size is a bad idea but according to the specifications of the water heaters, the newer, smaller one seems better than the old one. Is going from a 50 gallon to 40 gallon a bad idea? We've never run out of hot water yet with the old unit.

    The new unit with the same 50 gallon capacity costs $100 more and since this was an unexpected expense, Im trying to save as much money as possible.
  5. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Aug 13, 2013
    how many people use hot water in your household?

    In most cases going from 50 gal to 40 gal makes almost no difference.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    The new one is: more efficient, has a larger burner, has a bigger first hour use, and has a faster recovery. If you find that it ends up being a bit too small, you may want to install a tempering valve when you're repiping things now, and then, should you need more hot water (say you have company over for a weekend), you could safely turn the storage temperature up, making the tank effectively look like it is bigger, and still not be unsafe with that higher temperature.

    WHere I live, both a tempering valve AND a vacuum breaker are required on all WH, if you want to pass inspection.
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