Ancient hot water heater


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Old 06-10-10, 06:06 AM
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Ancient hot water heater

Hi Guys,

I always knew the hot water heater in my house was old, but I just found out it is MUCH older than I thought. It is an electric 50 gallon Rheem with 365 as the first digits of the serial number. From what I understand, that means it was manufactured in March of 1965 - making it about 45 yrs old. My house was built in 1965, so I guess that means it is original to my house.

Given its age, are there any dangers in just running it until it dies? It is working just fine now and it is located in the garage on a concrete slab so any leaks would be somewhat confined to the garage.

Thoughts/comments welcome!

- Joe
 
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Old 06-10-10, 06:26 AM
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I'd say if it's still working and is really that old..I wouldn't do anything different from what you have been doing.

Just put a dollar a day in a jar for when you need a new one. And of course, since you are now wondering about it, it will probably fail withing 2 weeks....j/k. Seems like thats the way it goes sometimes...or when its a long weekend and you have guests from out of town...thats when it will go.
 
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Old 06-10-10, 09:06 AM
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Does it have a T&P valve?
 
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Old 06-10-10, 09:17 AM
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It does, but it leaks profusely from the lever area when I test it.

It looks like it may have been an add-on because instead of being mounted directly to the tank, it is mounted on the hot water outlet.

- Joe
 
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Old 06-11-10, 09:10 AM
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The remote safety valve should be for over pressure only if you inspect the tag.


Typically there would be a separate safety valve for overtemperature only on the tank, but I'm not sure if that is a code requirement.

Obviously, the remote safety valve can't accurately test for an over temperature water condition in the tank, which is why a separate safety valve for that purpose is usually mounted on the tank.

You should be able to replace the leaking safety valve easily enough. The tag on the safety valve should identify the pressure relief level you would need to buy to replace it.
 
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Old 06-11-10, 10:45 PM
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It is completely normal for a water heater safety valve to leak through the stem opening while the valve is relieving. To prevent leaks at this point would require a packing gland and the friction of the packing would deter the operation of the valve.

Just because the safety valve is not mounted to its own dedicated tapping does NOT mean that it is a pressure only valve. At one time it was common to install a short nipple and tee to the outlet tapping and screw the safety valve to the tee with the temperature stem going through the "run" of the tee with the hot water outlet becoming the branch of the tee. Water heater safety valves are available with different lengths of temperature stems for this very reason.
 
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Old 06-12-10, 01:23 AM
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As Furd points out, if the relief valve allows water out when you are testing it and shuts off when you aren't it is doing it's job.

A p&t valve located right close to the outlet of the water heater is probably fine. I was imagining a remote location that would be testing only the water pressure, but that may have been a bad reading of your post.
 
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Old 06-12-10, 06:30 AM
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And to explain why I asked was because around 1965, at least where I lived then, was when they started installing T&P valves. Very important on an old heater where an old gas control might fail in the on posistion heating the water too long.
 
 

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