time for a new water heater - what needs to be considered

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Old 06-23-18, 04:48 PM
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time for a new water heater - what needs to be considered

As the title states, the water heater in my place has started a slow drip of some rusty brownish liquid. Since i'm not home at the moment for a few weeks, I've shut the water and the gas to the heater, since i couldn't drain it. the release valve wouldn't budge.

I know i'm going for a 50gal, same as what I had before. but what else do I need to consider or keep in mind as I start my search. also what do I need to replace or add during this.
new gas line valve, new water valve, auto shut off ????

thanks for the help
 
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Old 06-23-18, 05:15 PM
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One of the pros should be along with more specifics, but be sure to check for any permits that may be required.
 
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Old 06-24-18, 05:53 AM
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You'll need to realize that during the past 3 or 4 years the insulation standards on HW tanks have changed, That means that the diameter and height of short and tall tanks have changed and gotten larger. That will most certainly mean your cold water inlet and hot water outlet will need to be adjusted for the change in height. Also there are two types of controls available. Pilot flame and non-pilot (electronic ignition). Personally I would stick with tried and true pilot flame. Assuming you are looking at gas fired.

Now would be a good time to replace those old fashioned gate valves to 1/4 turn ball valves for the inlet.
 
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Old 06-24-18, 11:58 AM
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I personally like old, proven technology that doesn't rely on electronics. I always install standing pilot light heaters in my rental properties. I also go for the standard models, not higher priced versions with longer warranties. My thinking is the heaters do not get flushed regularly so there is an ever building layer of sediment in the bottom so after 10-15 years it's time for it to be replaced.
 
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Old 06-24-18, 03:23 PM
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Tell us where the leak is located. Where is the drip coming from? Photos would You said the "release valve" won't budge. You mean relief valve? What wouldn't budge? The manual operator (which should have been operated at least once a year)?

I'm not sure
 
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Old 06-24-18, 03:30 PM
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Where is the leak coming from. Please post a photo. You said the "release" valve won't budge. You must mean relief valve? But what doesn't budge - the manual operator, that should be lifted every year to keep it operational? A replacement relief valve costs $10 I'm not sure you need a new water heater. I'm sensing you need to call a plumber that comes recommended. Do you really need a 50-gal heater - they are nearly twice the cost of a 40-gal heater.
 
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Old 06-26-18, 05:15 AM
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the side wall has bulged in an area half away up the length of the heater, showing a crack through insulation and the rusty looking water was slowly dripping from the bottom of the crack/bulge.
the empty valve that requires a screw driver to open wouldn't budge. I've only been at the place for 4 years, but that water heater is a lot older than that. so I doubt any one ever did any of these recommended maintenance items.

here is an image https://i.imgur.com/XN6JSRm.jpg?s=sms

please note that the crack has grown. imgur is just over capacity and i can't upload any other images at the moment. at the bottom of that crack is where the leak is, and this is approximately half way up the heater
My in and out lines are using a copper flex pipe, which i will replace too in the process. also want to replace the 3/4 turn ball valve on the cold water, and the old gas valve is really old, so I plan to replace that too along with the flex pipe.
 
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Old 06-26-18, 07:57 AM
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Yes, it appears that the tank itself is leaking, and the leak is migrating through the insulation, and then corroding the surrounding steel enclosure.

A new water heater will come with a new drain valve - probably a cheapo that I would replace with a quarter-turn ball valve and an elbow.

To replace the gas shut-off valve ahead of the heater, you will have to shut off the gas at the meter and relight any pilots.

Good luck.
 
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Old 06-26-18, 02:43 PM
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thanks Mike for the confirmation. is there any value in adding a quarter turn ball on the out line (hot water).
so the plan would be to change the quarter turn on the cold water, change the flex copper pipes (with same), change the gas valve with a quarter valve and the gas flex pipe. quarter valve on drain valve. and quarter on outgoing hot water ??
its currently sitting on a metal base, which still looks good and much newer than the heater itself, does that need replacement ?

now any brand suggestions?
 
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Old 06-26-18, 03:02 PM
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There is an advantage to having a valve on the hot-water supply from the water heater. It allows isolating the heater completely for maintenance - just shutting the cold-water inlet valve doesn't keep water from sneaking back through single-lever mixing valves at various fixtures.

Ball valves are now preferred for isolation service - low pressure drop through an open valve and relatively inexpensive. Globe valves are best for throttling service, and ball valves aren't suited for that. Gate valves have been used for eons for isolation, but they are prone to getting stuck when left in one position for a time. (All valves, even ball valves, should be exercised periodically.)
 
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Old 06-26-18, 06:31 PM
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is there any value in adding a quarter turn ball on the out line (hot water). \
There is an advantage to having a valve on the hot-water supply from the water heater.
AFAIK this is against code and an inspector will fail this installation.
I installed it on my HW tank, but I'm extremely careful to never have it shut off with the heater on. I repeat it's against code!

If I'm wrong will the plumbing professionals please correct me.
 
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Old 06-28-18, 02:42 AM
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thank you again all for the fast turn around. sounds like a valve is useful but a code problem and dangerous if closed. hope to hear from the experts to confirm the code question.

one last question to close tthis any thought on best brands for gas WH?
 
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Old 06-28-18, 07:37 AM
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As far as brands, my understanding is that virtually all, or at least most, hot-water heaters are manufactured in the same plant in Tennessee. Pick one based on water volume and recovery time.

Back to the code issue. Building codes are always implemented by local or state jurisdictions, so best to check with your local code enforcement department. Local plumbers would certainly know. Probably, about two-thirds of the U.S. area, including where I live, do not have residential building codes. For example, the National Electric Code is not really national in scope, and only applies where local jurisdictions have adopted it by law, ordinance, or regulation.

If a water heater is completely valved off and the burner fires uncontrollably, the pressure could rise dangerously. Same with a hot-water boiler. Even if there is no valve on the hot-water supply from the water heater, a closed valve on the cold-water inlet could produce the same result. But, of course, the T&P relief valve would lift, and the resulting steam discharge would be hard to ignore. But, whatever you or I think, our opinion is trumped by your local codes, if any.
 
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