Replacing 15 year old water heater


  #1  
Old 10-13-15, 10:26 AM
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Replacing 15 year old water heater

Hi,

i'v got a 60 gallon water heater. I don't know much about that one beside the fact that its a rheem professionnal and that it's there since the house has been built 15 years ago.

My step father suggest me to help me change it since, in his opinion, it can break at any time now. Since he came at our home only 2-3 times a year (he live far away) i wont be able to get his help anytime.

There's no rust on the water heater, no water leakage, we always get enough hot water. the only problem (and i'm not sure that it comes from the water heater) it's there's sometimes a bad smell that come from hot water in the basement when i havent use it for 4-5 days. The smelle dissipate over 2-3 minutes of usage.

thanks !
 
  #2  
Old 10-13-15, 11:08 AM
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Sounds like sulphur build up but that's strange from a hot water tank since the temperature should be high enough to kill off any sulphur bacteria. Is there anything else in the basement? Water tank, pump, etc.?

15 years is about max for these, they can rust from the inside. Most insurance companies will ask you to change them at this point.

They are pretty easy to change, you can look up a few Youtube videos.
First off, turn off the breaker (if you're not sure which, you'll have to check with a non contact voltage sensor)
- turn the shut off valve so no cold water refills it
- drain all the hot water by turning on a tap in the house
- you then drain the excess by attaching a hose to the bottom water outlet on the tank and drain it to somewhere lower than the tank (eg outside garden)
- disconnect electrics
- disconnect pipes (if direct copper you'll have to cut these using a copper pipe cutter), if flexible you can just undo them
- remove the tank

What connections does it have right now? Direct copper, flexible pipes?
As this will determine how you fit in the new pipes and whether you use sharkbite attachments or PEX or copper...

Install:
- put new tank in place
- attach cold water inlet (wrap threads with pfte tape)
- attach hot water outlet (wrap threads with pfte tape)
- attach pressure relief valve (wrap threads with pfte tape)
- attach hot overflow pipe depending on model
- connect electrics but do not turn on yet
- open up one of the hot taps in house to let air out whilst filling
- turn on the cold and let it fill until water comes out of the tap (you'll hear the air hissing out)
- when full, turn off tap and turn on electrics.
 
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Old 10-13-15, 04:22 PM
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Wow thanks for that precise answer !

2-3 things:

1) My hot water heater tank is in the basement, so it would be hard to drain it to a lower place. There's a drain near (7-8 inch away) that tank, could I use this drain ?

2) There's nothing elese in the basement that can explain the bad smell, I also get that smell in my washing machine (which is also in the basement).

3) I've got plastic pipe (i guess it's what you call flexible pipes !) shoul i use Pex or sharkbite ?

Thanks once again it's much appreciated !
 
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Old 10-13-15, 04:53 PM
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Gas or electric.
Got a picture so we can see what your seeing?
 
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Old 10-13-15, 05:26 PM
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IMHO, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Sure 15 years is the avg of a tank, but that does not mean all tanks fail at that age. over the years all my gas fired tanks get at least 15 to 20 years, and my son's tank is twenty and still going. The smell? I don't know!
 
  #6  
Old 10-14-15, 06:26 AM
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In your tanks, how do you know if it's rusting on the inside?
I ask because I would have let my tank go on longer but the insurance wouldn't allow it...so statistically I guess you're running out of time.

OP
1) My hot water heater tank is in the basement, so it would be hard to drain it to a lower place. There's a drain near (7-8 inch away) that tank, could I use this drain ?
Is it a floor drain? If so, yes you can drain it into that as long as the end of the hose is lower than the tank.

2) There's nothing elese in the basement that can explain the bad smell, I also get that smell in my washing machine (which is also in the basement).
What about that drain, does it smell?

3) I've got plastic pipe (i guess it's what you call flexible pipes !) shoul i use Pex or sharkbite ?
Upload a picture of all the parts and the tank.
Sharkbite is a connector for joining PEX or copper pipe.
Where the pipe goes into the tank, what material is it?
 
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Old 10-14-15, 03:04 PM
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In your tanks, how do you know if it's rusting on the inside?
I ask because I would have let my tank go on longer but the insurance wouldn't allow it...so statistically I guess you're running out of time.
There are several signs that will indicate if rust is present in your tank. 1. Try drawing out a gallon from the lower spigot valve. 2. Are your faucet aerators clogging up with rust debris? 3. Diminished or reduced hot water on demand. 4. longer recovery of hot water.

Maybe in Canada it's different but I don't understand what insurance has to do with the age of a HW tank.
 
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Old 10-14-15, 04:22 PM
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If the hot water smells significantly worse than the cold water it is often because of the anode rod in the water heater tank. Standard anodes are magnesium and they are often replaced with an aluminum anode when the water stinks. Downside is that aluminum does not do as good a job in preventing internal corrosion as will a magnesium rod so the tank life will generally be less with an aluminum anode.

IF this is a gas or oil fired water heater then the first 18 inches of piping to/from the tank must be metal. After that you may use PEX or CPVC plastic piping. I personally would do this even with an electric water heater.

Waiting for the tank to actually leak MAY be economically sound IF nothing will be adversely affected by the running water, IF there is usually someone home that can shut off the water rather than letting it flow for several hours AND if being without hot water for a few days doesn't bother you. There are companies that will respond in an hour or two, 24 hours a day, to replace a leaking water heater but you pay mightily for the convenience. If you want to DIY the install then you have to include the time to go get the replacement heater along with the other work to swap out the heater.

When my heater blew it was within a month of fifteen years since installation. It blew a hole through the internal flue so most of the water came out the bottom in a more-or-less controlled leak. No real damage as mine is in the garage. For several excuses and maybe a couple of reasons it took me a full week to replace it. Let me tell you, our forebears that bathed in the river were really tough people. On the other hand, it made for some mighty quick showers!

Oh, one more thing, most urban areas will require a permit to change out a water heater, especially a gas-fired unit. Generally they are understanding enough to allow the change and then apply for the permit and get it inspected after replacement. They WILL want all the currently applicable provisions to be incorporated and than might include flexible (or in some areas, rigid) piping on either or both the water and the fuel gas as well as seismic restraints on the heater tank as well. Don't do it the way they want and you fail the inspection.
 
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Old 10-15-15, 04:21 PM
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Thanks once again for all those answers, it's much apprciated. I was a bit hesitant to change it, but the wife want it to be changed. I guess that keeping for more would be pushing my luck a bit !

Does anyone know the GSW brand ? The store near my home carry that brand.

I join 2 pics of my actual installation

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  #10  
Old 11-03-15, 07:14 AM
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It's probably fine but you're not supposed to put PEX pipe directly into the water heater connections. There should be a flexible metal pipe instead.

The reason is this:PEX is usually rated at 180 F-210 (82 C) for 48 hours.
Under normal operating conditions, that's just fine as your hot water is probably at 50-60 degrees C.
However, in the event of a malfunction the overflow pipe is supposed to let the pressure out. The temperature could rise above that and the PEX might fail, expand too much causing a leak.

a T&P safety valve is rated to go off at 210F (100C), so if something does go wrong and your
water heater overheats, there is a possibility the PEX will fail. If the PEX does fail, it almost certainly will happen right above the tank (which will be the hottest place, obviously). It will also serve somewhat the same job as the T&P valve, except that a T&P valve will close once the temperature/pressure has lowered, while a burst pipe will just keep gushing water until someone shuts off the supply.

The chances of water heater overheating like this are quite low: electrical heaters have thermal fuses in them that serve as an electronic safety (very hard to find the temperature rating of these: seems like it's anywhere from 167 to 210F). In addition, the electronics are pretty reliable, and just very unlikely to fail "on", and without drawing too much current that would cause the breaker to trip.
FWIW, this is extremely unlikely but that's why you're supposed to have flex pipe for the first 12 inches or so (maybe 18 inches under some code) - your call. You can also just add flex metal pipes when you get some time in the future.
Now...do any of those existing pipes you added have a shut off valve? If not, and you want to install these flex metal pipes in the future, you will have to empty the tank (make absolutely sure you turn off the breaker or you will overheat the elements inside the heater).

Something like this, some come with shut off valves also:
https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...NIr3-QH3oKugCQ
 

Last edited by qwertyjjj; 11-03-15 at 10:09 AM.
 

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