17 yrs old WH...scared to replace it


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Old 02-18-16, 07:56 PM
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17 yrs old WH...scared to replace it

Just wondering what are the most often observed signs that a WH is going bad?
I moved in to my current place 2 yrs ago and have the original WH (GE unit from 1999).... before...my previous house, I also had a unit that was going strong after something like 12 yrs.

So now I hear a lot of people telling me that my WH is about to go etc... and then I go do my research on the internet looking for replacement units and hear nothing but horror stories and nothing seems to last more than 5 yrs (ok...so I exaggerate).

My question; How long do I wait before replacing a unit from 1999.... would that go bad in one day and basically crack flooding my basement or is it usually a gradual process?

PS: I am not looking to start a war here...discussing which brand is better / more reliable.... just wondering if I should replace my current unit BEFORE I see any signs of issues?

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-18-16, 08:04 PM
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Well I have always been of the opinion, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

There are several different things that can go wrong with a water heater, so if yours works fine I would definitely not replace it. I think the one in my last apartment was probably 40+ yrs old. You didn't tell us if yours is gas or electric.

Some will leak slowly, others will just quit heating the water (element burns out or thermocoupler is shot, etc). Do you have a floor drain near yours?
 
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Old 02-18-16, 08:07 PM
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If your water heater is in a place where if it let go would cause damage..... then now would be the time to replace it.

NO ONE can tell you how long your present water will last or how much more life it has left in it.
A water heater will not always show an outwards sign that it's going to fail.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 08:24 PM
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In my opinion it all depends upon where the water heater is located. If it is in an area where a major leak won't really hurt anything then I would let it go until it fails. On the other hand, if it is in an area where a major leak would cause severe damages I would be proactive and replace it now.

I know of a water heater (electric) that went for at least forty years, could have been more, before it failed. I also know that several other heaters from the same company never made it to ten years. I think it is highly unlikely that any tank-type water heater built today will last much beyond fifteen years unless you flush it a couple of times a year AND replace the anode rod every couple of years or so.

The water heater in my house (gas-fired) lasted fifteen years, within a month, and then blew a hole in the inner flue. It was located in the garage so nothing really got damaged although quite a bit of water was lost. I had originally planned on replacing it at ten years but kept putting it off.
 
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Old 02-19-16, 04:40 AM
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it is a gas WH.... in the basement but next to the furnace. If it leaks - I have a Water Alarm on the floor so I can catch it (assuming somebody is home).... if it bursts, it will cause some problems... I don't know how that would look like...is it like a dam exploding and releasing all that water under pressure or is it more like water just pouring out through a small crack ?
 
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Old 02-19-16, 06:33 AM
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Usually if they leak it starts out small although catastrophic failure is possible.
 
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Old 02-19-16, 04:23 PM
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Are you getting sufficient hot water now? And does it last long enough for several 10 minute showers? Does does your dishwasher still clean the dishes? And last but not least does the wife complain about hot water for the washing machine?

If you can answer yes to the first three questions and no to the last question then you're probably good for another year at least.

As others have said location and possible water damage is probably the key words here if you think you need a new unit. In most cases a leak will be a small stream as opposed to big blow out. The water alarm is a good idea. But many times reduced efficiency will take place and over the long haul you won't even realize it.

Keep in mind the new generation of water heaters have been upgraded with insulation and will be bigger by about 2" in height and diameter. And cost have risen by at least $100.

I'm in the same boat with a 15 year unit and am hoping to get 18 years. But the bug has been planted in my head and I think I'm not getting the hot water as I should. Perhaps this Spring I'll spring for a new unit.
 
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Old 02-19-16, 07:47 PM
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I'm in the same boat with a 15 year unit and am hoping to get 18 years
Mine is a Mor Flo by American Water Heater Co. and almost 21 years old and still going strong. I have a new unit in the basement and ready to go, but I haven't been in a hurry to install it.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 05:02 AM
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American Water Heater Co?

never heard of them..... looked them up just now....but don't see any distributors / retailers....?
 
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Old 02-21-16, 05:27 AM
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American Water Heater Co?

never heard of them..... looked them up just now....but don't see any distributors / retailers....?
Do a search on Mor Flo

 
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Old 02-21-16, 05:35 AM
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American Water Heater is located just 25-30 miles from me. My oldest son and oldest step son both worked there for a short while. Fairly big employer although they say the work is hard ..... that's about all I know about them
 
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Old 02-21-16, 05:47 AM
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Actually they are quite popular. Distributed by Sears and others.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 02:32 PM
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Norm.... not sure how really popular they are, when I visited their website, they don't list any retailers (only say to contact them) - when I google them - no stores come up and searching Sears.com shows nothing.....

I like their specs and everything on their website make me want to get one.... but it is like they use some secret distributors....
 
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Old 02-21-16, 02:37 PM
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When I looked them up it said Sears was a distributor.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 02:46 PM
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Their plant has grown over the years and they requested and Johnson City agreed to give them tittle to the road that used to go thru their plant. That way the plant wasn't divided by a public road.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 05:33 PM
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yeah...the thing is that when you actually go to Sears or Amazon - the only thing you can find are the parts for the water heater.... not the actual units.

I will just call the tomorrow and see what they say.... hope they have somebody here in NJ area....really like the specs and 12 yrs warranty....hope the prices are reasonable.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 03:34 PM
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I will just call the tomorrow and see what they say.... hope they have somebody here in NJ area....really like the specs and 12 yrs warranty....hope the prices are reasonable.
Their units are easy to find, but it would be rare to find a water heater with the American name on it. Usually the brands you will see are US Craftmaster, Mor Flo, Polaris or Whirlpool (yes, from Lowes). I used to think a lot of their water heaters, but they stubbed their toe big time when the FVIR technology became required. Today I wouldn't recommend any of their gas fired units. Their electric units are probably fine. American was purchased by AO Smith a few years ago after they were beat down with warranty issues and lawsuits and one huge class action lawsuit surrounding their Whirlpool FVIR technology gas water heaters.

The new unit I have ready to go in my basement is a Bradford-White.
 
 

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