Old water heater


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Old 10-18-16, 02:59 PM
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Question Old water heater

Hello people-- I have an astonishing thing to ask you people--
We all know we buy things and hope they do not break and if they do we fix them And may times we do not buy the warranty because it is not worth it. Well we bought this home back in 1989 and the original owners the husband was a crane operator/contractor and right before they sold to us in 1989 they replaced all the appliances with top of the line appliance- the refrigerator, the furnace and the water heater and the stove. Believe it or not all those items are still in our home today. Now as for those items all is great- except someone today said that I have to be out of my mind to keep my water heater??? Now as I mentioned before- it is like out of sight out of mind- it is just there and it operates just fine- never had a problem with rust- and always gives hot water even when my daughter showers upstairs for 20 minutes or so- she never complains about loss of hot water. I also just drained it slightly last week - about 10 buckets or so(about 15 gallons and all that came out was mostly clear water-with an occasional brown burst but not much at all. it makes no noise except for an occasional percolating noise but not much at all.
Now I have read that most water heaters last 8 to 10 years and if one is really lucky they can last double that- but who really keeps their mind on this??? I mean does an alarm clock go off in our heads that says OH my its time to replace the water heater?? I also had an energy audit done in the spring of this year and he made a small hole in the top cap of the water heater and stuck a sensor in it- and his recommendation was this-- it is a standard water heater with no recommendations at this time BUT to look for an energy star one when replacing?? So my question is-- what do I do-- will I get some sort of warning that it is ready to go or what?? and what should I look for OR should I replace it now?? I e-mailed Rheem- which is the manufacturer- it is a Rheem-- Rheemglas- imperial plus model no 41X40- and a serial number of 0786A15650. 40000m gallon natural gas made in chicago illinois.
I am really confused as to what to do-- it works fine and looks brand new- I always dust the top etc etc--
What I am unsure of is - how often does a water heater just burst and flood or does it give some sort of warning so that when it has symptoms you can change it-- so do I wait or change it regardless of it showing no problems????? Please advise
 
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Old 10-18-16, 03:43 PM
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That about double the expected life span.
It rust out from the inside out.
If your lucky it will start leaking out the bottom before the bottom drops out and the house floods.
Keep the outside dust free does nothing but make it look pretty.
That noise your hearing is the solids built up on the bottom of the tank breaking free.
No one ever does but it's best to drain a few gals. out of the bottom of the tank every 6 months.
Once every 30 years is not going to do much.
Some insurance company would not even insure a home with even a 20 year heater.
 
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Old 10-18-16, 04:23 PM
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Dont touch it.. Dont drain water out etc...

It could slow leak when it goes, or as joe said the bottom or seam can split at any time..

The noise you hear is all the sediment in the tank. It may be whats keeping it from leaking..

Usually when you drain a HWH after that many years as you did it will surely leak soon ...

Just saying from experience..

So strickly your choice to replace now or not...

If it were me I would keep it as long as I could until it leaked.. Although in my home even a water heater that bursts would not cause much if any damage to the home...
 
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Old 10-18-16, 07:29 PM
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old water heater

Hello lawrosa- I read your thread and one thing confused me---I see first you say- it is my choice to replace or not-- then you say-- you would wait as long as you could until it leaked - but my question is this-- will it leak (slowly) or just flood my basement and that is why I am nervous-- if it starts slowly and allows me time to get a plumber - that is OK- but to wait for a flood-- HOLY cow!!-- see my problem.....
 
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Old 10-18-16, 08:03 PM
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If your water heater is in a location where if it burst it could cause damage..... replace it.
As stated....NO ONE can predict when a water heater will leak or burst.
 
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Old 10-19-16, 05:05 AM
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If you have a properly pressurized expansion tank then the chances of a sudden big water heater burst are very much reduced.

Normally an expansion tank is attached to the cold water line above the water heater but anywhere where/when there is no closed valve between it and the water heater will work.
 
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Old 10-19-16, 11:50 AM
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Very slim chances of a 1989 water heater having an expansion tank. I agree with other comments. If a leak wouldn't cause damage leave it. Otherwise, replace. These things fail on holiday weekends when your houseful of guests are stressing it beyond its limits. Plumbers love double time on Thanksgiving.
 
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Old 10-19-16, 11:56 AM
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If you don't replace it now, create a fund for doing so.
 
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Old 10-19-16, 01:08 PM
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My water heater was fourteen years old, almost to the day, when it failed. I had thought about being pro-active when in hit ten years but decided against it because if it failed it would cause minimal, if any, damage unless it blew catastrophically. Since the vast majority of water heaters fail by merely leaking I took my chances.

Well, as stated it took another four years before it failed and it happened while I was relaxing in my whirlpool tub. The water had cooled off and when I went to add more hot, there was none. I got out, dried myself and then went out in the garage and heard it before I saw it. There was maybe a couple of gallons of water on the floor and a slight spray out the chimney connection. I turned off the water and said, "Oh, well!"

Due to being cheap and refusing to pay someone $1,000 to replace the heater as well as general procrastination it took a full week for me to replace. Let me tell you, our ancestors that bathed in the river were hardy people! No wonder they only took a bath once a week.
 
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Old 10-19-16, 05:01 PM
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how often does a water heater just burst and flood or does it give some sort of warning so that when it has symptoms you can change it
A water heater failing by bursting would be pretty rare, but I suppose it could happen although I have never seen one do that. Generally they just start leaking and you know it is time to replace it. My Mor Flo water heater is now 21 years old and I drain and flush it annually. I have expected it to start leaking for a while now and bought a new one in March of 2015, it is in the basement ready to go. I'll get around to changing it one of these days.
 
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Old 10-19-16, 06:00 PM
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These are some of the responses I got from a site called Heatinghelp.com
1)
You are doing the right thing by researching before you need to make a decision. I would let it ride. You must have very good water.
2)If it ain't broke, don't fix it! It will drip or leak or just quit long before it actually bursts... almost always... :smile:
Jamie
3)I agree with the previous posts, and I will add..."they don't make em' like they used to". I often see many older tanks lasting 20-30 years before failure, but don't expect this out of your new WH, modern tanks typically last 8-12 years.

here is what I did since we last spoke--
hello people-- I thank all of you for all of your well wishes and comments-- I truly thank you all- in the interim I went to a plumbing supply house and they were a little shocked about the age of the water heater BUT they did say also to leave it alone. and just wait and see. Then I called Rheem the manufacturer and spoke with tech support department and they also said they never heard of a heater exploding-- they said it will leak first as you all have said- so WHEW!! I feel a little better that the actual manufacturer did not seem worried at all. That is a very good thing. Then after all that I had a plumber stop by and he looked at the water heater and he said also to leave it alone-- he recommended that I do not drain it since I told him my water is almost never rusty or brown except for when the town does their water cleaning in the street or sewer pipes every year. he said that if i did drain it that i would upset all the possible rust or dirt etc and that would maybe cause a leak-- so he said to let it be and keep an eye on it as well. So there you have it-- I will wait and see and keep an eye on "old faithful"- I appreciate all the responses- thank you again.
 
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Old 10-19-16, 06:03 PM
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You probably spot on-- I spoke with the manufacturer RHEEM and they said the same thing and they did NOT say to replace it- even knowing the age- they did not seem inj any emergency for me to do so- and they are the manufacturer. I also had a plumber come in and he said to to leave it alone and not even drain the unit for that may actually upset the unit-- to leave well enough alone until I either get no hot water or see a leak or hear loud banging - he said he has had no experience with a water heater bursting at once- usually he said you will see rust on floor and water near the base of the unit-- So all in all I will wait and keep a close eye on the unit and let it be for now-
 
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Old 10-19-16, 06:54 PM
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keep us posted .. .
 
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Old 10-19-16, 08:16 PM
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You will not always get rusty water in your shower as a warning that the water heater is just about tol rust out and leak.

You can install an expansion tank at any time if there was not already one there.
 
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Old 10-19-16, 09:00 PM
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old water heater

- as stated I am not going to touch the unit- as the plumber said- if I have not flushed it in all these years - now is not the time to start- to leave well enough alone-
Now on another point-- if I were to replace this heater- does anyone recommend a tankless water heater?? The plumber does not recommend it for the following reason- he said that the units MUST be flushed every 6 months to clean out the fins?? he said that a maintenance record must be kept of such flushing and if you cannot prove the maintenance that it voids the warranty??? is this true- and when the time comes should i just replace it with another water heater and if so can you recommend a good brand with good efficiency and reliability(I am leaning toward RHEEM again in the future seeing how long my RHEEM unit has lasted thus far)
 
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Old 10-19-16, 09:24 PM
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I guess what I am asking is how do I get ahead of the curve here and get an objective search for the best water heater out there or do I just go with the recommendation of the plumber??? I really want to get the low down on a GREAT replacement when it comes time .What kind of search should I do and where or who do I listen to??
 
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Old 10-20-16, 01:50 AM
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In my opinion, which will get you a cheap cup of coffee if you slip the waitress a buck, ALL tank-type water heaters are of about the same quality. More money will buy you a bit more insulation, a bigger or second anode rod or maybe a decent brass drain valve vs. the plastic drain valve on cheap models. Mostly what more money buys is a longer warranty, a "pay me now or pay me later" plan that mostly enriches the company selling the heater.

That stated, many plumbers tout Bradford White as the best. Our own plumber, Mike Lawrosa, likes A.O. Smith but he MAY be slightly biased from being an A.O. Smith rep in a past life. Whirlpool gas-fired water heaters are universally panned due to problems they had several years ago when the FVIR (flammable vapor ignition resistant) technology they used had several bugs. For balance, A.O. Smith also had some problems with their first generation of FVIR models.

Many people will disagree with me but I bought a mid-line Rheem (or maybe it was RUUD, they are the same company) from Home Depot. It was close by and they delivered it for free. As I recall, the price was about $350. with maybe another fifty or so in the seismic restraint kit and assorted fittings. I bought the mid-line rather than the least expensive because I wanted the extra insulation, the heater being installed in the unheated garage.

Of course, with something so simple the government just HAD to make it better. Now all water heaters have additional insulation and other "improvements" that may (or may not) save you in operating costs but most definitely will increase your capital costs.

And if you are considering a tankless (instantaneous) water heater you won't find any of the regulars here endorsing them. They DO have their niche, but in most cases not in single family residences.
 
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Old 10-20-16, 08:44 AM
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old water heater

hello as I mentioned I went on another site called heatinghelp.com and this is what one contractor told me---

The last say 5 years we've been installing Rheem and Bradford White pretty much exclusively for residential applications. Though recently we have dropped Rheem for the fact that about 30% of our installs have had trouble with the pilot assembly and required warranty work. We now only install Bradford White... American made, contractor grade and very reliable.

So as the gentleman above recommended he also mentioned Bradford White-- something to think about for the next unit.

Also he gave me this video to watch about tankless water heaters-- very informative and funny attachment below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vffdymvjluk
 
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Old 10-20-16, 11:07 AM
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I pretty much agree with all that was stated in that video EXCEPT the part about no maintenance for tank-type water heaters.

You should drain off a few gallons of water from the tank every year to remove any settled dirt. If you have poor water you may want to do this every six months or for extremely poor water every three months.

Once or twice a year test the safety valve by pulling the lever smartly to the wide open position, letting it blow a couple of seconds and then releasing the lever. Use a five gallon bucket if the discharge piping does not go outside or into a floor drain. Note that the discharge pipe will drip for a few minutes but it should stop within fifteen minutes. If it doesn't then try blowing some more water out. If it still leaks then you will have to replace it. I always keep a spare safety valve just in case, they cost less than ten dollars.

After the third year of operation of a new tank remove the anode rod and inspect it for erosion. If it has minimal erosion then put it back and check again in three years. If it has moderate erosion put it back and check it again in a year or eighteen months. If it is severely eroded then replace it.

These tips will help you to get the absolute longest life from your water heater. Unless your water is so bad it is unfit for drinking you will most likely exceed the warranty period by double or longer.
 
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Old 10-20-16, 05:07 PM
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thank you all so much for your care I appreciate it
 
 

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