Replace 26 year old water heater?


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Old 01-02-15, 11:03 PM
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Replace 26 year old water heater?

My house was built in 1990, but the water heater is original, dated 1989. I was very surprised when i saw this, since it looks almost new. Other than a little dust there's no rust or anything. It seems to work fine, i have plenty of hot water.

My only complaint is it seems to be an energy hog, so im thinking of replacing it with a hybrid that is more efficient. Should I wait until it dies, or get a hybrid?

I live in arizona which is usually very dry, and i leave near phoenix where the water is very hard. Ive had to replace all the faucets and my shower arm because the hard water eats away at metal, but for some reason it isnt eating this water heater.

And that's a side question i have - should i get a water softener, or leave it as is? If the hard water is a fountain of youth to hot water heaters maybe i shouldnt use one.

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Old 01-03-15, 01:22 AM
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... i leave near phoenix where the water is very hard. Ive had to replace all the faucets and my shower arm because the hard water eats away at metal, but for some reason it isnt eating this water heater.
So-called "hard" water is usually not corrosive but is scale forming. In other words, the piping and faucets should NOT be "eaten" by the hard water but instead should be scaled up with the minerals in the water.

Twenty-six years of service is impressive, have you done any kind of preventative maintenance such as periodically flushing out any accumulation of scale? I have a gut feeling that the inside of that heater tank is pretty well scaled and I would not be surprised if the drain valve is plugged solid. What DOES surprise me, assuming you have not done any maintenance, is that the electric elements have not failed due to the insulating effect of the scale.

As to whether or not the hybrid water heater is a good idea for you first remember that the hybrid has a price tag of around $1,000 vs. around $300 for the straight electric yet the guarantee is exactly the same length. Are you prepared to spend more than three times the cost of the standard water heater just to save a little on the electric bill AND risk the whole thing dying in six years? The hybrid still has the 4500 watt elements to allow for a much quicker recovery and the heat pump (hybrid) portion is mostly to overcome standby losses and small drawdowns such as would be used for washing your hands. Any large drawdown such as shower, bath or dishwasher would likely still use the standard electric elements for the majority of the recovery so in the end the electrical savings will likely not be as high as advertised.

My personal opinion is that until the manufacturers can give a much longer warranty on them the hybrid water heater is nothing more than a cute idea.

For your last question, should you replace now or wait until failure...IF the heater is located in an area where a tank failure will not cause significant property damage I would say wait. On the other hand, if it is located in an attic or some finished area then I would strongly suggest replacement now.
 
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Old 01-08-15, 07:41 AM
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Thanks for the reply. When i bought my house 2 years ago the original 23 year old faucets were still in the bathrooms. There was a lot of corrosion on the head, where people probably dripped water over the years.

I dont' care about money. I make enough in a month to afford a hybrid electric heater. I got solar panels on the roof that generate 80% of my electric use, so a new efficient water heater would get me closer to 100% generation.

I think later this year ill buy a new hybrid heater. They come with 12 year warrenty but ill also buy the extended warrenty. If it saves me $200/year itll pay for itself.
 
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Old 01-08-15, 08:33 AM
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It's your call. I would put it on a to do list.
For me, I have a gas water heater, but if it was electric, replacing it would be a no-brainer. That label that shows the cost per KwH would be over $0.36 (that's on a good day)
 
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Old 01-08-15, 09:01 AM
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As Furd said it's a mater of cost. If failure occurs will it be catastrophic? Just because its old does not mean its bad. But age will take its toll. Its all a mater of payback. If you think it needs replacing due to age then why not go with a gas unit but not any of those hybrids. What is the point if it will cost so much that you may never see the payback.
 
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Old 01-08-15, 09:08 AM
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I dont' care about money. I make enough in a month to afford a hybrid electric heater. I got solar panels on the roof that generate 80% of my electric use, so a new efficient water heater would get me closer to 100% generation.
If money is no object I'd put in a new geothermal heat pump in combination with a Marathon super insulated water heater with lifetime warranty. The geothermal system will heat your water inexpensively in the winter and for free in the summer. The geothermal installation will also give you a 30% tax credit if you install it by 2016. That makes the price of the geothermal system competitive with a new traditional furnace and air conditioner. The Marathon water heater will not only store your hot water, but it'll also provide a quicker recovery than a hybrid heater.

WaterFurnace : Geothermal Tax Credits

Marathon Water Heaters by Rheem
 
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Old 01-08-15, 09:11 AM
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I missed that part that Joe quoted. In that case by all means do it as Joe said. My daughter also has solar panel electric and geothermal heat. She loves it.
 
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Old 01-16-15, 11:45 AM
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Thanks guys I'll put it on my todo list. Depending on my tax refund maybe ill get it this year. Ive noticed the hot water is salty so it would be nice to get something new.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 10:48 PM
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Well she finally died today. I was going into the garage to get something to start my grill, when I noticed a bunch of water by the hot water heater. There also was a noise like a fan. After 26 years she finally gave out ;*(. When I drained it there was a ton of rust colored water lol. There were balls of rust that came out.

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