Should I put in a new water heater now or wait?


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Old 02-03-15, 02:12 PM
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Smile Should I put in a new water heater now or wait?

I wonder if the old saying of "if it's not broken don't fix it" applies in this situation. I have a perfectly working 40 gallon gas water heater that is approaching 17 years old. Do I just go ahead and replace it because of it's age? Also it's directly next to my furnace so don't want any major leak issues.

Thoughts??
 
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Old 02-03-15, 04:01 PM
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If you think a leak would be a significant problem, I would replace. You are beginning to sniff at double expected life. Stay away from American/Whirlpool. Codes may have changed in 17 yrs. I think everywhere requires outside combustion air and many also require expansion tanks.
 
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Old 02-03-15, 04:24 PM
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The question you should be asking is how is your hot water? Does it recover quickly? Does it get to the temp you want and stay there? Is the center element go to the bottom or is it corroded away? Is the fill tube corroded away? If you have soft water or a softener then most likely its only half the age compared to units using hard water.

In my opinion... Just because its old does not mean its ready to fail. Seventeen years is not old for a HW tank. I installed mine in 2000 and it's as good as ever. I expect another 5 years at the very least. Besides most tanks don't have a catastrophic failure but will show a small leak at the bottom of tank. If you want insurance buy a new one and just keep it on the handy until the old one does in fact fail. You'll have a unit ready to swap without the hassle of shopping and paying any price unit just to get hot water within the day. You have time now to educate yourself and the different brands and save some money with a sale price.
 
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Old 02-03-15, 04:31 PM
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Norm... good idea with the standby heater but the warranty clock starts when you purchase it.... not when you install it.
 
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Old 02-03-15, 05:37 PM
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There are supposed to be new efficiency standards coming into effect this year. That may raise the price of the new higher efficiency units. Just something to checkout and keep in mind.
 
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Old 02-03-15, 07:24 PM
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Pete, you're right. But I was thinking that the OP was convincing himself to buy a new unit. And most warranties are as good or not as the paper their on. The odds are the warranty would never be used anyway. But, there's always a chance. That is the risk. I think I would take it if I were the OP. Even if I lost say two years on the warranty. Usually a problem will show up within one or two years of use. Just say'n.
 
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Old 02-04-15, 08:46 AM
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I based my water heater replacement on the amount of damage that would ensue if it failed. I got fifteen years, to the month, out of my gas-fired water heater and it sprung a leak in the central flue. It made a fine mess in the garage but no real damage.

Gas-fired water heaters have an average lifespan of about eight to ten years so at ten years I was thinking of being proactive at that ten year mark but I didn't want to spend money before needed and I didn't want a new heater taking up space and having the warranty clock running. In the end I did as previously stated.
 
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Old 02-04-15, 09:15 AM
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I've never gotten less than 15 years on any HW tank. Anything less I would call cheap junk. In most cases its been a Sears branded unit.
 
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Old 02-04-15, 09:19 AM
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Thanks everyone- at this point the heater is doing it's job (like it was new) but you've all brought up good points. I'll start researching brands and prices now.


Thanks again
 
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Old 02-04-15, 09:33 AM
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Average means that 50% fail before that time period and 50% fail afterwards. There are lots of conditions that will decrease or increase the lifespan of any particular installation the two most important being the quality of the water and the routine maintenance performed.

Electric water heaters generally last a few years longer than gas. The AO Smith electric heater I installed in my previous home went for eighteen years before springing a leak. I knew of a National (electric that was old in 1973 that finally failed just last year and other Nationals that barely made it ten years. Amazingly, these last heaters were all using the same water supply and none of them had any preventive maintenance whatsoever.

Other people have had water heaters that would last in excess of fifty years but the truth is that these days EVERYTHING is made to sell at the lowest possible price and longevity is simply not a consideration. Sad.
 
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Old 02-04-15, 07:01 PM
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Thanks everyone- at this point the heater is doing it's job (like it was new) but you've all brought up good points. I'll start researching brands and prices now.
Do you have room for a significantly larger tank if you wait? After April 16 the new efficiency standards require much more insulation making most tanks wider and taller plus gas units will require a 120 volt connection for electronic ignition, no more standing pilots. Can you afford a water heater that may cost $100 to $200 more than one purchased now?
 
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Old 02-05-15, 03:54 AM
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After April 16 the new efficiency standards require much more insulation making most tanks wider and taller plus gas units will require a 120 volt connection for electronic ignition, no more standing pilots. Can you afford a water heater that may cost $100 to $200 more than one purchased now?
Gee, that makes me want to but a new tank now just so I don't need the 120 v ignition or the larger size and cost.
 
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Old 02-05-15, 05:57 AM
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That's exactly what my plan is, buy a new one by March or so. My 40 gallon Mor-Flo water heater is almost 19 years old and surely is near it's end of life. When we have power outages from a storm here it's not unusual to be without power for 2 to 3 days. It's pretty nice still having hot water even if you have to shower by the light of a battery powered camp lantern.
 
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Old 02-05-15, 06:55 PM
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Hey Norm, we talked briefly about the new efficiency standards in another thread back in early December. This info might be useful and make you the "Authority" at your hardware store.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/wa...standards.html
 
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Old 02-06-15, 03:40 AM
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Hey Norm, we talked briefly about the new efficiency standards in another thread back in early December. This info might be useful and make you the "Authority" at your hardware store.
Funny you should say this. I did in fact mention it and they looked at me and said, "Where did you hear about that? From your Forum"? At this point the management is not aware of the new standard. Perhaps the buyer are.
 
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Old 02-06-15, 07:21 AM
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I'd be willing to bet that both the management and buyers will be aware now!

What brand water heaters do you sell there?
 
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Old 02-06-15, 09:10 AM
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At the present Reliance.
 
 

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