Water heater life span

Old 03-10-17, 08:00 AM
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Water heater life span

My house was built in 2004 hence the water heater is just turning 13 years old. It's a large round tank model in one corner of my garage. I live in south florida so I'm sure the heat may affect performance and life span. It seems to work ok but I am having some issues. Sometimes I notice the hot water is not super hot. I have to turn the shower to a hotter setting sometimes. Other times it's just the opposite. The water is super hot at a much lower setting on the shower faucet. So is this a sign it is going bad? I also noticed recently I had about 40% lower water pressure than normal. This only lasted for a day or 2 so I didn't have it looked at. Is changing a water heater a diy job? I am pretty handy and have done most household repairs and upgrades. Also what is the most efficient water heater these days? It's just my wife and myself in the house. I heard tankless can really jack up your electric bill.
Old 03-10-17, 09:08 AM
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You are probably nearing end of life on that heater. I figure 8-12 yrs usually, although I replaced a 1993 electric and 1997 gas this year. I think it is a DIY job if you are reasonably handy. Check local codes for expansion tank requirements and elevation above floor in a garage location. Don't know about outside combustion air requirements in a garage. I just never see a garage install here due to climate. Sharkbite fittings make the water connections easier than ever. Replace the gas line.
Old 03-10-17, 09:18 AM
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Most water heaters in fla are located in the garage. You might try flushing out the tank and see if that helps any [by getting rid of some sediment] I also consider water heater replacement a diy type job.

Today's water heaters are insulated better than the old ones. When I replaced mine a few years ago I downsized to a 40 gallon since it's just me and my wife. Same brand water heater as the 52 gallon it replaced but the exterior physical size was almost identical.
Old 03-10-17, 05:29 PM
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You may have run into the sluggish thermostat problem.

If no one has been using hot water for several hours, say, overnight, turn the temperature dial up a notch and then turn it back to where it was. If the heater kicks on and stays on for more than 10 minutes then you have this problem. Temporarily you can do this trick just before your shower (wait until the heater kicks off) and you should have a nice hot shower every time. If the heater does not kick on when you tweak the dial then the contents should have still been hot enough for your shower without a kick on.

It's a little complex changing out the thermostat assembly and maybe they no longer make the assembly for your model of heater. You need to unhook all the gas lines, drain the heater tank, unscrew the thermostat assembly, etc.

Last edited by AllanJ; 03-10-17 at 05:50 PM.
Old 03-10-17, 05:50 PM
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While Allan gives a good description of a "sluggish" thermostat I would not consider replacing the thermostat on a tank that old. My gas-fired water heater lasted fourteen years to the month from when it had been installed. It blew a hole in the inner flue.

YOUR heater may fail at any time or it just might last another year, or even several years, but the chances are it will fail much sooner than later. IF you can go a few days without hot water AND a large leak won't cause any damage, you can ride it out to the end. Otherwise, it might be best to simply bite the bullet and replace it now, before complete failure.
Old 03-11-17, 06:01 AM
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With all the symptoms your having I'd be more inclined to think it's an issue with your mixing valve instead of the water heater.
A bad thermostat is not going to effect water pressure.
Old 03-12-17, 07:12 AM
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When the time comes to replace your tank use one of those dyke trays if you have access to a nearby floor drain. Put the tray on the floor, lift the tank into it, and then plumb the tray to the drain. If it leaks someday you have your leaking going into the drain.

While on the topic of tank life, tanks around here seem to last 10 years and then leak. Even if you are on clean city water. Most of the tanks have a rod inside them, anode I think its called. My question is, if you regularly replaced that rod, how much longer would your tank last? Do the replacing of those rods really make that much of a difference? Any idea how often those rods should be checked? Anyone ever have issues of leaking around the threads after they removed the original rod?

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