Water Softeners and Tank -style water heaters


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Old 11-23-15, 09:47 AM
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Water Softeners and Tank -style water heaters

Hi all,

I thought maybe I need a new thread for this (instead of burying it in my previous one)...

I have an AO Smith gcv 40 200, gas fired hot water heater.

We bought the house a little over two years ago. I've never drained it, nor flushed it. The tag says the tank was built in 2008.

We put a water softener in to service around the time we moved in.

I just started reading up on water heaters and came across info that says we should be inspecting the anode more frequently if we have a softener (like every other year). I went to home depot, and the guy in plumbing looked at me like I had 3 heads when I asked him about this--is this routine maintenance or something that really isnt necessary?

I havent heard of anyone doing this--but thats why I'm here. To learn from folks who have forgotten more about this stuff than I could hope to ever learn

Besides this, should I take the opportunity and drain the tank? Any risk? I've heard that I should have a cap handy in case sediment blocks the drain valve from closing...
 
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Old 11-23-15, 10:58 AM
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An old heter like that you probably should not touch. Do not drain or touch the anode..

Now it is recommended that if you get a new heater is to remove the aluminum anode rod that comes with the ao smith heaters and install a magnesium one.

Also go farther and add one to the hot water outlet too. Now you have two anodes and you are turning the heater into a 10 year heater..

Flush the new heater once a year and IMO you should get over 20 years out of it..

But now onto the softened water issue..

What a softner does to the water IMO is increase the conductivity of the water. This is what will cause a fast death of the heater..

My heaters on softened water last no more then 6 years. Ususally I get a new one under warranty, but then need to buy one.. Im on my 3rd heater doing this..

The solution?? I know I should add a powered anode to my heaters but cant justify the 225 buck cost.

Read here for some good info on what I state above...

Hot water heater anodes and rust protection
 
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Old 11-23-15, 01:01 PM
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thanks for the reply!

Hypothetically, if one were to inspect the anode annually, wouldnt that help make the heater last longer with softened water? Replacing the heater every 6 years sounds like a drag...

What I am reading is that the anode is designed to 'corrode gracefully' before the heater starts corroding...

Also, what did you mean by 'add one to the hot water outlet'?
 
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Old 11-23-15, 01:27 PM
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Hypothetically, if one were to inspect the anode annually, wouldnt that help make the heater last longer with softened water? Replacing the heater every 6 years sounds like a drag...
Im on a well. your milage may be different..

When I had to pay for a heater I flushed it once a year and changed the anode every two years..

It still leaked at 5 years and 8 months..

So now I intall them and dont touch them. I dont even bother flushing it anymore.. For $350 bucks I consider it a throw away as I install myself..

What I am reading is that the anode is designed to 'corrode gracefully' before the heater starts corroding...
OK.. But they are designed to last the lifetime of the heater..


Also, what did you mean by 'add one to the hot water outlet'?
Some water heaters have the anode in its own tapping such as AO smith.. Some have them as part of the hot water nipple.

So if you want to make a water heater a 10 yr heater add another anode. Change them to magnesium.

Remove original anode and add the mag one. Remove the HW nipple and install an additional anode there. Now you have two anodes..

I was an AO smith rep. and this is what thier 10 year water heaters have is all. No different from the regular 6 year heater..
 
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Old 11-24-15, 09:30 AM
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as always, a great reply! Thanks!

Likely I would hire someone if/when water heater goes (how hard is it to DIY?). If/when that happens, I will certainly put in two anodes, magnesium.

If I had to summarize what I learned here, I would say its that I should just wait until I see the heater start leaking, then do a better job maintaining the new one (draining, anode check annually/every two years on anodes) after I modify it at installation to have the two magnesium anodes.

Did I miss anything? Thanks again!
 
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Old 11-24-15, 12:17 PM
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sounds good...

44 bucks added to hwh here..

Solid .90-inch hex-head magnesium anode rod

another 49 here for the combo..

Solid combo anode, 4-inch nipple


sediment control kit possibly 55 bucks.

Water heater sediment flush kit

Or just get a powered anode and forget about it... 238 bucks..

Powered anode/water heaters with recessed ports
 
 

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