Water Heater has a bulge on the side

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Sesman08, Sep 23, 2020.

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What should I do with the water heater with a bulge

  1. Have the seller buy a new one

    3 vote(s)
    75.0%
  2. Should I not worry about it

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Should I buy the new one

    1 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. Sesman08

    Sesman08 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2020
    Location:
    13357
    Hello everybody

    I am buying a house and the inspector and myself notice that the water heater had a bulge on the side of it seam. Also there was a leaking pipe above it, it was a small drip. Would I need to get a new one, ask the original owner to buy a new one, or is it fine?
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    How much do you want the house? Are there other eager buyers? Rhetorical questions for you to answer to yourself. If you get it replaced, budget $1200 installed (things vary, so I am being presumptuous). Maybe ask for the seller to contribute part, and you will then own a house with a new WH.

    The T&P relief valve (temperature and pressure) has a test lever. If you lift the lever, water will spill out. Release the lever, and the water should stop. If that works, it seems unlikely to explode. If it will not release water, I would turn off the power/gas or leave the area. If you put a bucket under the pipe before testing, that should catch the water. Your inspector should have tested that, I would think.

    How about a photo? I am curious what that looks like. A bulge would call for a new WH I think, but it may only be a dent. A bulge seems unlikely to me. I am not a pro.
     
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  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You can upload a picture here 800 pixels or less.
    A bulge in a water heater can mean it was under too much pressure if it's the tank beneath the metal insulated wrap. Every water heater should have a pressure relief to prevent an explosion. Those drains can't be capped, or really bad things can happen.
     
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    The tank that actually holds the water is beneath the outer shell and insulation...so, there's not much that should be able to make the outer shell bulge unless it was dropped hard and the shell compressed, causing it to bulge out.

    The leak, OTOH, is something that needs looking into. It could be a bad T&P valve, or it could be a shot expansion tank, or the lack of one where it is now needed, or just a bad fitting or piece of piping. Leaks need to be fixed.
     
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    From another post
    I had a home owner call me and e-mailed me pictures of her water heater. She said she heard a loud pop noise from the basement and found that her heater was bulging. I told her to leave her home immediately, and I will be there ASAP. When I got there I I turned the gas off to her home went down to the basement and turned on the laundry tub faucet and steam came out of it. Her thermostat on the water heater had failed and the P&T valve was frozen. It was a ticking time bomb.
    SewerRatz


    [​IMG]
     
  7. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    California
    It's not fine.
    The most equitable compromise would be for the seller to pay half of an estimate from a plumber.
    However, if you're hot on this house, a bad WH should not break the deal.
     
  8. plumber69

    plumber69 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Location:
    Prince Rupert, British Columbia
    I see quite a few with buldges in my town. the spray foam in the tank can be pushed out if there is a leak in the actual tank.
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    How do you think that happens? Freezing?
     
  10. plumber69

    plumber69 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Location:
    Prince Rupert, British Columbia
    The spray foam is basically water tight. If theres a leak it will push out the outer casing
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I was initially skeptical of your statement. But I cannot think of a better explanation, so I am liking this explanation. Water heater leak means you replace the WH. So take that into account when buying the house. In the scheme of things, a new tank WH is not that big vs the price of most houses.
     
  12. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Thermal expansion on the seam can do this
     
  13. Tuttles Revenge

    Tuttles Revenge In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    When you see hundreds of water heaters each year you get a sense of how old a water heater is by its color scheme. Its also hard piped with dielectric unions.. typical 80s practice in our area. That water heater is over 20yrs old. It needs replaced.

    I would suggest for the new owner to negotiate a price for the water heater to budget.. but hire the installation themselves so that you dictate the new installation. Maybe upgrade to a better unit than what the seller would install to be cheap.
     
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