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Gas Water Heater Advice

Old 01-07-2020, 05:50 AM
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Default Gas Water Heater Advice

Noticed this morning that there was a small leak coming from the bottom of our 40gal Rheem Fury water heater in the garage. This is the second unit I've had installed. First one died two years after the house was built (State brand) in 2008. Warranty replaced with the Rheem which had a 6 year warranty, so dead in 2016. I've been diligent about draining it every six months to avoid any sediments although there really shouldn't be any as we're on Asheville NC city water system.

What are my better choices in replacement? I'm not interested in tankless - too much labor involved to change over. I'm thinking I could install a replacement heater myself. I'm pretty handy if I have to pay out to replace something, and replacement looks pretty much like plug and play at this point. Any feedback on good units you've owned? Suggestions on where to buy other than Lowes or HD?
Old 01-07-2020, 05:55 AM
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If it’s near an exterior wall tankless shouldn’t be much labor at all. Look at models that vent directly without a stack.
Old 01-07-2020, 05:59 AM
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Hmmm. I have 3 Rheem Fury's at 2 different houses all on well water. I dont recall ever draining them. 2 are on propane and are 22 yrs old. 1 is on Natural gas and is at least 30 yrs old.
Old 01-07-2020, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by VesselCalling View Post
Hmmm. I have 3 Rheem Fury's at 2 different houses all on well water. I dont recall ever draining them. 2 are on propane and are 22 yrs old. 1 is on Natural gas and is at least 30 yrs old.
Nothing is built like it used to be.

The water heater is in the garage on an exterior wall just above the gas inlet, so I guess I could install tankless somewhat easily? I plumbed the gas wall heater to make the garage more tolerable in the winter and we haven’t blown up yet. Are these units difficult to install?
Old 01-07-2020, 06:08 AM
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Make sure you check with your gas company. Mine gives you a $350 credit to replace gas with gas (more for electric). The local Home Depot and Lowes give additional discounts if you tell them as do several of the plumbing companies. Makes over $500 difference on typical swap out here,
Old 01-07-2020, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by WeeKilt View Post
Nothing is built like it used to be.

The water heater is in the garage on an exterior wall just above the gas inlet, so I guess I could install tankless somewhat easily? I plumbed the gas wall heater to make the garage more tolerable in the winter and we haven’t blown up yet. Are these units difficult to install?
How long water heaters last has something to do with the chemistry of the water you have. 8 years seems a bit soon for a water heater to start leaking. I've never had one last longer than 12 years. Since mine are inside the houses, I have mine scheduled for replacement on a 10 year cycle.

I have never installed a tankless water heater, but I know those typically have a much bigger burner than a tank type heater. Make sure the natural gas line to the water heater is big enough to handle the volume of gas required. Tankless heaters typically have 150K-200K BTU burners, while your old 40 gallon unit is about 38K BTU. May not be an issue in your house, but best to know that before you buy the next water heater.
Old 01-07-2020, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by xl883lo View Post
Make sure you check with your gas company. Mine gives you a $350 credit to replace gas with gas (more for electric). The local Home Depot and Lowes give additional discounts if you tell them as do several of the plumbing companies. Makes over $500 difference on typical swap out here,
Definitely do this. May check the water department & power provider as well. My parents and brother actually bought their tankless gas units through the electric coop, which I found odd. Buying through them basically paid for the install, and they billed it out over 12 months on the power bill. I doubt duke is doing anything not electric related, but worth checking.
Old 01-07-2020, 06:29 AM
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I have read that going tankless require larger piping, so that might get expensive.

as far as replacing with a new 40, the job should be easy.
drain the tank, so the old is not too heavy for you to pick up and move,
flex copper water heater pipes make it easy to get them hooked up
check for gas leaks after hooking up before firing up
Old 01-07-2020, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
I have read that going tankless require larger piping, so that might get expensive.
ditto this issue. You need a lot of gas flow to run a tankless. Make sure you have it before going that route.
Old 01-07-2020, 07:34 AM
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I’m sticking with original. My cheap Scottish roots dictate it. Should be easy enough to install. Thanks for the tips!
Old 01-07-2020, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by WeeKilt View Post
I’m sticking with original. My cheap Scottish roots dictate it. Should be easy enough to install. Thanks for the tips!
Yes. Not hard. Get one about the same height. Drain. Flex connectors. Soapy water to check the gas line. As mentioned above some water is slightly corrosive and limits longevity.
Old 01-07-2020, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by WeeKilt View Post
Noticed this morning that there was a small leak coming from the bottom of our 40gal Rheem Fury water heater in the garage. This is the second unit I've had installed. First one died two years after the house was built (State brand) in 2008. Warranty replaced with the Rheem which had a 6 year warranty, so dead in 2016. I've been diligent about draining it every six months to avoid any sediments although there really shouldn't be any as we're on Asheville NC city water system.

What are my better choices in replacement? I'm not interested in tankless - too much labor involved to change over. I'm thinking I could install a replacement heater myself. I'm pretty handy if I have to pay out to replace something, and replacement looks pretty much like plug and play at this point. Any feedback on good units you've owned? Suggestions on where to buy other than Lowes or HD?
Asheville has had some very dirty water in the past couple of years. I think its the only place that can start with pristine mountain water and screw it up with rotton pipes.

Sounds like Flynt Michigan.

I would not go tankless. My son from Charlotte took two showers here over the holidays and he was surprised how much better real hot water feels... he has tankless.

That said, My ten year old Rheme gas is still going strong.

Go buy one at Hajoko and get TP Howard to plumb it,, thats what I would do.
Old 01-07-2020, 08:53 AM
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Do you want to buy a pump to descale a tankless once a year ? Ever tried to fix a tankless or find someone competent that can ? Parts are order only around here . Home Depot is open 7 days a week and keeps tank type parts on the shelf . Go with a Bradford White tank water heater from a supply house . I believe the life of a tank water heater depends on the condition of internal glass lining . Careful treatment transporting and during installation helps . Don't over tighten the top connections as it can chip the glass lining just under the threads . I used to hear it when I reefed down installing the old table top style water heaters where tops are exposed . They get treated better at a supply house .I look for a nice crisp box . The goons at the box stores damage a lot of the appliances , walk down the clearance aisle . . I know its a wife's tale about sitting on concrete electrolysis or something draining a 12 volt battery , but I insulate the contact between the ground with pieces wood or plastic anyway .Regardless it slows the rust on the base . I don't drain mine , after a storm events where we lost power for days , I noticed a pattern of more replacements months later , much different than the random leak calls otherwise . I think a water heater that stays hot without extreme temperature fluctuations may help reduce the cracking of the fragile glass lining . It's the exposed metal that fails . I've been a unlisted plumber with basically the same customer base for over 37 years . I get to see where I went wrong or what tends to hold up .
Old 01-07-2020, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by normsworld View Post
Do you want to buy a pump to descale a tankless once a year ? Ever tried to fix a tankless or find someone competent that can ? Parts are order only around here . Home Depot is open 7 days a week and keeps tank type parts on the shelf . Go with a Bradford White tank water heater from a supply house . I believe the life of a tank water heater depends on the condition of internal glass lining . Careful treatment transporting and during installation helps . Don't over tighten the top connections as it can chip the glass lining just under the threads . I used to hear it when I reefed down installing the old table top style water heaters where tops are exposed . They get treated better at a supply house .I look for a nice crisp box . The goons at the box stores damage a lot of the appliances , walk down the clearance aisle . . I know its a wife's tale about sitting on concrete electrolysis or something draining a 12 volt battery , but I insulate the contact between the ground with pieces wood or plastic anyway .Regardless it slows the rust on the base . I don't drain mine , after a storm events where we lost power for days , I noticed a pattern of more replacements months later , much different than the random leak calls otherwise . I think a water heater that stays hot without extreme temperature fluctuations may help reduce the cracking of the fragile glass lining . It's the exposed metal that fails . I've been a unlisted plumber with basically the same customer base for over 37 years . I get to see where I went wrong or what tends to hold up .
Awesome information, THANK YOU!
Old 01-07-2020, 08:57 AM
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Find a torn box at your local HD or Lowes save 20% right there. Just replace it and go on, be glad it is not in your attic!!

John
Old 01-07-2020, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jtburf View Post
Find a torn box at your local HD or Lowes save 20% right there. Just replace it and go on, be glad it is not in your attic!!

John
Funny you mention that. The homes in my cookie cutter neighborhood all have second floor water heaters except for my floor plan. That was a consideration when we built. I've seen 2 other homes in the neighborhood get flooded from that alone, but 5 others from shitty PEX fittings. I paid extra for copper and am glad I did.
Old 01-07-2020, 09:03 AM
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Asheville used to get all of their water from the Black Mountain and Bee Tree watersheds. They are now pulling water from the French Broad ( started that quite a few years ago ).
I would not eat fish from the French Broad.
Hajoca is on Sweeten Creek and they will sell to you .
A.O. Smith is a good unit. You probably have a direct vent since it's in your garage. You can get different BTU capacity's for quicker recovery times.
Old 01-07-2020, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 4/0 View Post
Asheville used to get all of their water from the Black Mountain and Bee Tree watersheds. They are now pulling water from the French Broad ( started that quite a few years ago ).
I would not eat fish from the French Broad.
Hajoca is on Sweeten Creek and they will sell to you .
A.O. Smith is a good unit. You probably have a direct vent since it's in your garage. You can get different BTU capacity's for quicker recovery times.
The French Broad is directly behind my house. I won't wade in it, much less fish in it. Nasty river.

Yes, it's direct vent with hood. I'm going to peruse the local Lowes at lunch since it's right down the street from work. I can smell a bargain from several miles away. Must be a Scottish thing.
Old 01-07-2020, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by WeeKilt View Post
The French Broad is directly behind my house. I won't wade in it, much less fish in it. Nasty river.

Yes, it's direct vent with hood. I'm going to peruse the local Lowes at lunch since it's right down the street from work. I can smell a bargain from several miles away. Must be a Scottish thing.

Don't forget if your a vet. 10% off
Old 01-07-2020, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by HeadHunt View Post
I would not go tankless. My son from Charlotte took two showers here over the holidays and he was surprised how much better real hot water feels... he has tankless.
Not to argue but why would it make any difference in how the water feels in regards to how it's heated?

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