Is 18 years a long time for a hot water heater?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by HS2, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. HS2

    HS2 New Member

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    I got a home depot variety (50 gallon recall it was the best of the three options they sold at the time) and it's still going strong. Should I leave well enough be or is it time to change it if it still works? I had heard of a scenario that old water tanks start to crud up pipes. Does this dog have a few more walks and runs left? I haven't flushed it religiously but maybe every 3-5 years or so.

    Edit: Found a similar post, sorry guys but I think Terry's comment was telling, "Any gas water with 15 years on it is living on borrowed time."

    I'll take a closer look and evaluate.
    Rheem, what other brands would you recommend? Home depot still sell good stuff?
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    If it is in a basement, I would leave it until it leaks. If it is on a second floor condo, replace it. I am not a pro.

    Maybe the water in Illinois is not as hard on WHs as it is elsewhere. I expect about 30 years.
     
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  4. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    I removed one over 40 years old and one of my accounts has his water heater replaced every ten years as he doesn't want to have an emergency or a leak while he is away

    Like Clint said "do you feel lucky"
     
  5. taylorjm

    taylorjm Active Member

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    I always like to change things like that out on my terms verses when it needs to be done. It's much nicer to be able to plan it out, find the best price, the best model for ease of installation, etc. Then take your time on the day of your choosing when you already have all the parts and tools you need.
     
  6. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

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    I recommend to change it now, when you're not under pressure for the reasons mentioned above and also because a new WH will be more energy efficient.
    What brand to get is up to you. To be honest, roll your dice, as you are pretty limited to Rheem and AO Smith (or one of their off brands).
     
  7. HS2

    HS2 New Member

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    Thanks everyone. Will go with Rheem again, found one on sale at HD and they stock the item. As said, do it on my terms.
     
  8. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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  9. HS2

    HS2 New Member

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    Ha!
     
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Many condo associations require replacement at 10 years. The expense if you wait is just too much when there are people living below you.
    If it's a single family home, and you have carpets, it's the same advice. When you do the math by the year, it's better to be proactive.
     
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  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Depending on the luck of the draw and your water quality, well, use factor will play a factor in it, too...a WH may barely make it past its warranty period. That does vary some, but anything beyond that is on borrowed time. Could last 2-3x longer than the warranty, might not make it through it, either. So, depends on your situation.

    You might ask your neighbors how long theirs tend to last. That would give you an idea on how water quality might play into it. Electric ones tend to last longer than gas, but might need an element or thermostat replaced before the tank leaks.

    If you can put a drain pan, and have a place to drain it, you might get a little less concerned about damages.
     
  12. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    I wish that they would enforce this rule, but here they just let them go until they rupture and take out 5 floors under them
    Its really a terrible thing to be involved in .... You go out to a 5 th floor condo and change out the leaking heater and all the neighbors under this clown are coming home and literally start creaming when they walk into their flooded 800k condo........ Its terrible the way builders do without installing floor drains in the mechanical rooms or install the heaters in water heater pans .....
    Then it amazes me that no one else in the building wants to change out their heaters even after a disaster like the one they just went through. I think they really like to dump on their downstairs neighbors....
     
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Insurance companies must hate it. You're talking thousands and thousands of dollars in repairs.
     
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  14. HS2

    HS2 New Member

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    I think the heater I replaced had to be in there since the 50's. Previous owners had two more houses and the one they sold to us had a lot of neglect. I can't think of anything I have not replaced in this house over the last 20 years. Each to their own but plumbing, gas and electricity related things are not areas where I usually skimp.
     
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  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    If you still have it, the brand and date code of the old WH (may be part of the serial number) could be interesting.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
  16. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

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    The code here states that every heater should be installed in a water heater pan.... but no one cares
    I have become very adamant about installing a pan even if the unit is only a foot away from the drain
    and have been doing things this way since 2001

    We put our business stickers on every heater I see for advertisement, and we have had people call us in the past wanting our insurance information for water heaters that flooded out their homes.... just because our name is on the unit.....
    I tell them all ..... show me your paperwork and prove we installed that off brand 15 years ago.....

    I have gotten pretty inventive with water heaters on higher floors..... I have Installed the heater in a washing machine pan and put a small condensate pump in the pan piped up to the laundry drain,,,, and a water alarm also installed in the pan
    Lately I have totally passed on working in high rise units..... I dont want the troubles..
     
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  17. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    A important point in replacing a gas water heater is the efficiency. Unless you’re on a water softener, mineral deposits lines the bottom of the tank reducing heat transfer. Another point is they blow out at the worst times, Christmas Eve or the day before the daughters wedding.
     
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  18. HS2

    HS2 New Member

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    Long gone, 18 years ago, sorry.
     
  19. taylorjm

    taylorjm Active Member

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    Sure seems like if it's in the rules that it needs to be replaced every so many years, or it has to be in a pan with a drain and it's not, that the insurance company would go after the neglectful condo owner.
     
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    One home I had the gas water heater started leaking after the water meter was changed out for one with a check valve. I repaired the leaking connectors on the top of the tank and while I was at it, installed a pan with drain to the crawl space. It was on the first floor with carpets.
    A month later the water heater was gushing water which was draining into the pan and down. A new water heater was installed.

    Fifteen years later the ex wife calls me and there isn't much hot water. I tell her to look to see if there is flame.
    "Yes, lot's of flame".
    It's old so I arrange to install a new water heater. As I'm walking down the driveway I can hear water running, like a river. I go inside and the water heater has collapsed internally and water is flowing like a river down the drain into the crawl space. Yes, lot's of flame as the water heater is trying to keep up with all the water rushing through it.

    You may have a slow leak, and you may have a river. Nobody knows for sure.

    I saw one job where the water heater had a very bad leak, so bad that there was a river down to the home below and it caused damage to that home too. Not common, but sometimes just the luck of the draw.

    One home of a friend I noticed the washer hoses looked old. I thought, Gee I should get around to replacing those for her.
    Three weeks later she opened her front door and there was three inches of water in the basement.
    I opened the slider door to let some of the water out, and pulled the downstairs toilet and swept water down that drain. It took a good part of the Summer before they were done with carpets, drywall and painting.
     
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  21. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Watts has something that not that many people seem to like called a WAGS valve. It gets installed in the WH pan, and when water gets about 1/2" deep or so, it shuts the incoming water off. So, at that point, while there's 'only' the amount of water in the tank, having the incoming water shut off acts like your finger over the straw, so it really slows things down. If it's plumbed to a drain, you should not have any damage. It also will shut off the burner if installed properly. It's a one-time use, so the down side is you have to replace it if it gets submerged. It doesn't require any power, and will immediately shut the water off. Uses the same tech as emergency life vest inflators used on airplanes...a disk that dissolves quickly when water gets to it. https://www.wagsvalve.com/
     
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