Rust Inside NEW Water Heater?

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Old 01-27-20, 07:02 AM
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Rust Inside NEW Water Heater?

Yesterday I installed a new 30-gallon electric Rheem water heater. I opened up the access panel to adjust the thermostat and there is rust there. I have contacted customer service but was wondering what ya'll's opinion was by looking at the attached photo. The photo is of the lower thermostat access panels, there was also a bit of rust inside the upper. Is that the actual tank that the rust is on???

Thanks!!!!
 
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Old 01-27-20, 07:23 AM
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Yes there is rust on the outside surface of the tank. Not enough information to draw conclusions about how the rust got there although my conclusion for now is that nothing is wrong.
 
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Old 01-27-20, 10:40 AM
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It is somewhat common to see light surface rust on interior parts. In an effort to cut costs manufacturers don't put a good plating or paint coat on things that aren't visible. I would inspect the top of your heater, especially where the pipes connect to look for slow leaks just to make sure it's not a leak causing the staining/rusting.
 
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Old 01-27-20, 10:52 AM
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It is a new water heater, no apparent need to inspect the top for leaks.
 
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Old 01-27-20, 02:29 PM
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Why not inspect? A new install is exactly the time you follow up and inspect for slow leaks. If it has a slow leak that could be the cause of your rust stains. If you don't stop the leak now the tank could rust out in a few years
 
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Old 01-27-20, 02:56 PM
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Can you get a closer shot of the rust, specifically on the left side. It almost looks like a coating is coming off with rust beneath it. The edges look pretty sharp/defined, as if the coating has flaked off. Kinda hard to tell without a closer picture. If that is occurring (coating flaking off) then personally I'd ask for another heater.
 
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Old 01-27-20, 03:37 PM
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Try to rub the rust off with your fingers or a paper towel (flip off the circuit breaker first).

Leave the hatch cover off and inspect the tank surface every now and then for about a month.

If it ever gets wet in there or the rust stain gets bigger then you have a water leak.

Check where the water pipes screw in on top for a leak at the connections.

If it stays dry chances are the rust developed before the heater was used anywhere, perhaps the inner tanks sat outside the factory and got wet on their outsides before being assembled into complete water heaters.

A coating on the outside you are seeing is unrelated to the glass or ceramic lining on the iniside that inhibits rust inside.
 
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Old 01-28-20, 06:24 AM
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I agree, it looks like the galvanized coating is chipping off. I called support yesterday but did not have the serial number but will call again today and report back as to what they say.
 
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Old 01-30-20, 06:05 AM
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So yeah, Rheem customer (dis)service pretty much, well no, entirely blew me off. Said I'd have to pay a plumber to come out and if he found something wrong I could get reimbursed. I have NEVER felt so belittled by customer service and I'm totally ticked off quite honestly. What gets me is the guy I spoke to obviously didn't know anything about anything. I told him that rust doesn't just stop, you know that right? He asked me if I had checked for leaks. Leaks? On a two-hour old install? It is brand new for goodness sake. Anyway, I'm hoping Home Depot will take the return without a box because I'm taking it back and never looking back to Rheem again.
 
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Old 01-30-20, 10:37 AM
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Rheem at one time had a great product that they stood behind 100%.
 
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Old 01-31-20, 07:11 AM
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Have you done the things I suggested above?

Add this: Tape a piece of toilet paper inside against the rusty spot. Toilet paper will leave telltale evidence of getting wet.

By the way, that much rust would not be created in two hours.

... rust just doesn't stop ...
If the lawn mower or the screwdriver or water heater components got left outside in the rain and got a little rusty and were brought indoors later and taken care of and kept dry then the rusting will stop almost completely. (Exposed metal inside the water heater tank will resume rusting after the heater is installed and filled with water.)
 
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Old 02-01-20, 06:06 AM
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AllenJ, I'm not sure you understand what I'm saying. I KNOW rust doesn't form in two hours. It came that way from the factory, that was the point. Not one drop of water was spilled or leaked during the install. It was the stupid customer dis-service person who suggested I check for leaks The point now is that customer service says that's fine and nothing to worry about on a new water heater and refuse to issue me a replacement. They put the onus on me to hire a tech to come out and say it is defective. I've never been so belittled as a savvy consumer.
 
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Old 02-01-20, 07:51 AM
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If I ran the zoo, er, if I owned Rheem or some other water heater company, then I, too, would tell the customer to prove, although not necessarily beyond a reasonable doubt, that the water heater was leaking before I would authorize a replacement. I, too, would have initially jumped to the conclusion that the rust you saw was a non-problem.

The water heater is warranted against leaking, not against rusting. Of course, if it arrived unexpectedly rusted on the outside so as to be unattractive, or arrived unexpectedly dented on the outside, then you may return it to the store immediately.

You don't need to hire a tech. If you followed the ideas given earlier in this thread yourself and detected continual water flow then that would prove that there was an ongoing leak somewhere. Or if the rust you saw really represented a defect then y ou would almost certainly get an obvious leak later and well before the warranty ran out.

Leaking at the ports/nipples on top is a common problem that water heater company techs have seen a lot of over the years, Usually it is because parts were not installed correctly.
 
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