Hot Topics: Should You Re-Use That Old Water Heater?

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Sometimes you can save a buck or two by re-using an old item you have stored, but is this always a good idea? We all want to save money, but it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion when it’s a large appliance. Don’t have an expert around? No problem! There’s always someone in the Forums who can help.

Original Post: Re-use old hot water heater?

Tall Paul Member

Based on some of the other comments I've seen this is may be a no-brainer, but I will ask anyway.

Our hot water heater is leaking and due to be replaced. There is actually another hot water heater in the basement that was in use when the house was divided into two flats (it was the heater for the upstairs flat). This second water heater has been sitting dormant for about 10 years since the house was remodeled and the upstairs flat got gutted. All the plumbing leading to it was disconnected but to be honest I don't know if it even got drained.

Do you think it would be safe to re-use this water heater?

Highlights from the Thread

Marksr Forum Topic Moderator

You could clean it out and try it. 40+ yrs ago I bought an used WH for $10 and got good service out of it. Back then money was tight and I couldn't afford a new one. Would you be hooking it up yourself?

Joecaption Member

I would not risk it, buy a new one.

AllanJ Member

  • If it fails soon you will have to go through the cost of installing again very quickly.
  • If it was not drained then rusting of the tank keeps going, although slower compared with being at full hot water temperature.
  • No telling what kinds of nasty bugs could be inside, and not easily killed off by bleach because the inside of the tank is quite rough.

Beachboy Member

Another thing you may want to consider, is that if you buy a new water heater now, you can probably still find an "old" style heater in the dealer's stock. If you try to reuse the used water heater, and it fails a year or so down the road, then likely you'll be facing buying one of the new (and more expensive) energy saving water heaters. The new water heater standards that went into effect on April 15 are resulting in water heaters that are considerably bigger, costlier, and in many cases, more complex than the water heaters produced prior to April 15.

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