When to replace water heater? Is Drip pan required?


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Old 12-25-10, 12:04 AM
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When to replace water heater? Is Drip pan required?

I have a 13 year old, 50 gallon, State Select forced vent water heater. It has run without problem in last 4 years that we have been in the house. If I look at the tank from underneath, it has signs of rust.

Q1: How do you know when to replace a water heater?

Q2: Is a quote of $1300 to install a Bradford White: M1TW-50S6FBN reasonable?

Q3: The water heater is in basement. Floor is concrete. The installer is asking $150 to install a drip pan. Is a drip pan required? $150 seems too high?

Thanks
 
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Old 12-25-10, 05:04 AM
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At 13 years, you are approaching end of life, and should be looking. Inordinate rust you are seeing is the first sign you have a small leak somewhere. Leaks or rust signs from the T&P valve are signs also. To your questions....
1) Age, rust, lack of or reduced water flow, reduced heat at appliances.
2) Go price water heaters and compare the raw price of the water heater first. I think you can find a top of the line water heater for around $750. Bradford White is not in that category, as you will see when comparing. Go to Consumer Reports and see what they recommend. IMO the quote is a little high. But in Chicago, who knows.
3) $150 for a $25 pan that can be put in place along with the new water heater when installed is, again, a little steep. Where is the cost? Is there a floor drain nearby the installation? The drip pan will catch the first 5 gallons of a leak to let you know you have a problem. Sensors can be installed to either turn off the water if that happens, or set off an alarm to let you know there is a problem. Was that in the estimate?
 
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Old 12-25-10, 07:36 AM
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$1300 is a good price for a Bradford White power vent type HWH. The pan is useless unless it has a suitable place to drain it to or a auto shut off device install in the pan that shuts off the water and gas if there is a leak. Waggs makes such a device. Ao smith is a good brand also and parts are more available through the plumbing industry. I would stay away from the homestore brands like GE and Whirlpool.

The HWH you are talking about cost a plumber $700-$900 here in NJ.

Also make sure a permit is included in the price. A permit is for your protection.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 12-25-10, 09:44 AM
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Yeah, the costs are much higher in Chicago and the NY area, so you may be stuck with the price.
 
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Old 12-25-10, 11:18 AM
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Brand??

I just installed an American, which is AO Smith, and my customer complained that it is considerably louder than the old Bradford White. I have had a GE (Rheem) in my own house for five years with no problems.
 
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Old 12-26-10, 05:24 AM
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I've, likewise, had no issues with store water heaters, either GE, Whirlpool, etc. I think some have diversions about "store" brands being inferior, when they are not. They come with the same warranty that you get at a plumbing supply house, so where's the problem?
 
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Old 12-26-10, 08:12 AM
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Well from sevicing all various brands the ge and whirlpool type water heaters are cheaply made and parts are hard to come by. You need to go through thier service department to get repairs and it usually takes days for them to get to you. Also the flammable vapor mechanisim are usually non resettable. The BTU's of the burner are always less then a better quality unit, say 34,000 vs 40,0000 for a 40 gallon.

3 brands that I would use are:

1. AO Smith. Has resettable vapor sensor. Higher btu burners. Parts availble from local plumbers if needed.
2. Bradford white. Parts available from local gas company here in NJ because this is what they install. I would say get what your local gas company installs, so if you cant get your plumber to come out you know the gas company will have parts. Higher BTU. 38,000 40 gallon.
3. Rheem. Although I dont like these I have installed them and parts can be bought locally from plumbing supplys and alot of plumbers put these in because they are cheap. So that means many plumbers has a stock of parts. Lower BTU,s I believe 34,000 for 40 gallon.

Basically what it comes down to is the type of hot surface igniter, pilot assembly, flammable vapor sensor, and who and how fast you can get the defective part replaced.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 12-27-10, 07:49 AM
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Thank you all for your feedback.

* The consumer reports does not compare water heaters. They just pontificate on what to look for on this product category. No use.

* There is a drain 3 inch away from the current water heater. So I am not convinced about the drip pan.

iawrosa: What do you mean by a permit? please elaborate.

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-27-10, 08:05 AM
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To istall a HWH most states require you to take a permit out with the township. In NJ its required by law. After the install a inspector will come look at it and give approval or not. This is for your saftey.

Such things the inspector checks is

1) flue pipe.... in NJ it needs to be 4" and not 3". New HWH are 40,000 btus and not the 28,000 or 34,000 btu they were in the past. 3 screws per joint of flue pipe.
2) relief valve piped within 6 inches of the floor.
3) Gas drip tee and proper support, possible correct and new gas flex pipe...ect
4) If in a closet and bigger btu's mean you need more air to the units. Are the air intakes large enough?

These are things that some installers will not follow and the inspection helps the homeowner.


Mike NJ
 
 

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