Still Legal to Patch a HWH tank...?

Old 02-14-13, 08:53 PM
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Still Legal to Patch a HWH tank...?

The suspect is a.... 20 year old... propane-fired Bradford White, in the now-obsolete 48 gallon size.

I know from reading HV(no AC) catalogs from the 1890s (please don't laugh) that patch kits were once actually sold for water heaters, boilers and the like.

The leak is small and very slow. The heater maintains only a small damp spot underneath itself, less than several square inches. It's been holding for a few months... a few months since the leak was discovered in the back of the heater.

Removal/replacement/installation has been quoted by numerous independent companies, starting at $1490 and going all the way up to $3200.

Now, tell me how crazy I am....
Old 02-14-13, 10:38 PM
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Sure it is legal...IF you have the repair done by a shop that has the proper ASME stamp for repairing fired pressure vessels. That repair will likely cost more than a new water heater.
Old 02-15-13, 02:12 AM
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You'll find, too, that 50 gallon water heaters are less expensive than 40 gallon ones. Not sure why, but I found that out some time ago. IMO, there's no way I would remove a 20 year old tank, take it to some welder for him to fix and reinstall it. The stresses on the metal would be too much. Replacing a water heater is definitely a DIY project and can be done for probably half of the quotes you mention. Let us know if you need help.
Old 02-15-13, 07:48 AM
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Our rule is we replace a water heater if the tank is leaking, we don't even think about fixing it.
Old 02-15-13, 07:55 AM
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Do it yourself
Old 02-15-13, 11:06 AM
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Me, I just really like the convenience of them taking the old one off our hands.

This is actually our second water heater... the first one was determined to be too small and it was replaced after just about a year in service. It was a NOS 80s 40 gal Ruud unit that I swear must have weighed about 200lb... it sat in the basement for years, before we figured out a way to "lose it"...

There are two other big irritations too... one, the gas run to the heater will have to be partially dismantled, as it is in the way of actually getting the heater out.

Looks like about 6ft of pipe will have to come out, which means that the main gas valve will have to be shut off... so shut off the boiler (for how many hours??) and then re-light after the job is done...

The other issue is that it's a combination vent, with a short run of black plastic flex ducting. This is no longer code and "should" be redone.

Let's see what you guys think... the maximum gap between the gas drop and boiler return is just under 23". The heater is 22" in dia. Tight, yes, and I'm sure it would be a huge ordeal to shimmy the WH out through that ~1" of leeway AND get the new one through that gap too. It would be SO much easier if it could just be tipped and carried out...


Last edited by Nick D.; 02-15-13 at 11:38 AM.

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