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Please School Me On Residential Water Heaters

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Please School Me On Residential Water Heaters

Old 11-27-2020, 05:32 PM
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Default Please School Me On Residential Water Heaters

So I bought my house 6 years ago. During the inspection, I was informed that the water heater was 9 years old, and with that age, was “pushing the normal life expectancy” for a water heater, and I might want to make it an issue in the house negotiations

I didn’t want to make anything an issue in the negotiations——the guy had just dropped the price by $70K and I would have paid full price prior to the price drop. 3,000 square feet, water front with a dock for $ 600K.....say no more...

So now it’s 2020 which makes the water heater 15 years old. It works fine. I should also add it was designed for 4 people’s worth of daily use as far as output....I live alone so it gets minimal use for its size and output

I heard older water heaters can oxidize and the bottoms fall out of the water tank. My friend tells me the newer ones don’t do that—-it’s the heating elements that go bad and they’re easy to replace...he tells me he’s going on 20 years with his heater and has no intention of yanking it out and replacing it

What say you guys? Again, it works fine and appears to be in good working order. But I can tell you that it’s in a closet in a carpeted room (the house does not have a basement)—-if the tank leaks, it’ll be a major PITA due to the carpet.

At 15 years old, should I just yank it out and replace it?

Thanks for the comments
Old 11-27-2020, 05:39 PM
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Don’t trouble trouble until trouble troubles you


if you are the type to fret buy a leak detector
Old 11-27-2020, 05:50 PM
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My mother's is 18 years old so we had it inspected by a plumber. He looked at it and said not to worry about, it's was in great shape. Guy must have been honest because we were prepared to have him put in a new one.
Some things you can do: Turn it off and connect a hose to the hose bib near the bottom and drain it till the water is clear to flush out any sediment. There's also an anode rod screwed into the top that can be replaced. If there's not enough clearance to pull it straight out you can cut it as you go - just don't drop the lower piece in the heater! Ideally you would drain it so you can lift it and slide a drain pan underneath and run a drain line to the outside.

Anode video:
Drain pan installation: https://www.doityourself.com/stry/wa...n-installation
Old 11-27-2020, 05:54 PM
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where will the water go if it leaks?
Old 11-27-2020, 05:58 PM
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As above, what’s the worst case scenario for a leak?

I give them about 7-10 years. Will it kill you to spend the $500-$750 to replace it now rather than wait for a failure? A lot easier to do on your schedule rather than wait for an issue. And a 2005 water heater is well past "the good old days" when you'd expect them to last forever.

Last edited by Flot; 11-27-2020 at 06:06 PM.
Old 11-27-2020, 06:04 PM
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I got 24 years out of my gas water heater in Norcal, replaced a few years ago.
Old 11-27-2020, 06:12 PM
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It depends on where you live. Some water is more aggressive and will cause the tanks to fail sooner.

If it were me I would change it, so I don’t have an issue with the carpet.
Old 11-27-2020, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PXMAN View Post
It depends on where you live. Some water is more aggressive and will cause the tanks to fail sooner.

If it were me I would change it, so I don’t have an issue with the carpet.


You make a good point with “aggressive water”.... it’s heavy on the minerals...stains everything it touches. And yes, if it leaks, I’m ripping up carpet. I guess that’s the clue I need to switch out for new. Thanks for leading my horse to water and convincing him he should maybe ....have a drink...
Old 11-27-2020, 07:28 PM
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Does the heater have a warranty tag on it? I've found that they're pretty accurate and you can expect them to start leaking soon after. I'd invest some of the $$ you saved on the deal in a new one rather than risk spending a bigger chunk of it on remediating water damage.
Old 11-27-2020, 07:32 PM
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If it ain't broke...
Old 11-27-2020, 07:36 PM
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Replace anode and keep on.
Old 11-27-2020, 07:36 PM
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I had the bottom fall out of mine. Thankfully it was while I was gone and the water was off. 16 years old or so. I switched to rheem marathon that has a lifetime warranty.
Old 11-27-2020, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by marketic View Post
So I bought my house 6 years ago. During the inspection, I was informed that the water heater was 9 years old, and with that age, was “pushing the normal life expectancy” for a water heater, and I might want to make it an issue in the house negotiations

I didn’t want to make anything an issue in the negotiations——the guy had just dropped the price by $70K and I would have paid full price prior to the price drop. 3,000 square feet, water front with a dock for $ 600K.....say no more...

So now it’s 2020 which makes the water heater 15 years old. It works fine. I should also add it was designed for 4 people’s worth of daily use as far as output....I live alone so it gets minimal use for its size and output

I heard older water heaters can oxidize and the bottoms fall out of the water tank. My friend tells me the newer ones don’t do that—-it’s the heating elements that go bad and they’re easy to replace...he tells me he’s going on 20 years with his heater and has no intention of yanking it out and replacing it

What say you guys? Again, it works fine and appears to be in good working order. But I can tell you that it’s in a closet in a carpeted room (the house does not have a basement)—-if the tank leaks, it’ll be a major PITA due to the carpet.

At 15 years old, should I just yank it out and replace it?

Thanks for the comments
maybe, maybe not. How does it look? like new? rusty? How much other shit is on you list to get done?

Originally Posted by MaroonD View Post
I got 24 years out of my gas water heater in Norcal, replaced a few years ago.
I replaced mine a few years ago. I'm not sure when it was installed but it warmed my water for 15 years'ish. It began to leak. Not bad but worrysome. I replaced before it became a problem but only because symptoms. Not because it looked fine and I was worried about being worried.
Old 11-27-2020, 07:37 PM
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Plumb a sill dish under it. Then when it leaks, you’re set up for a new one. Definitely get ahead of it now.
Old 11-27-2020, 07:40 PM
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If leak damage isn’t an issue, wait for failure. SELDOM do heaters experience catastrophic failure. They leak. They don’t explode. When you replace, be sure to follow current codes. Your replacement will be a bit bigger dimensionally as a result of new insulation codes.

Wait till you must spend the $.
Old 11-27-2020, 07:55 PM
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Just replace it. Switch to a hybrid water heater also.
Old 11-27-2020, 07:56 PM
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it is a lot cheaper to replace the heater before it ruins other things
Old 11-27-2020, 08:02 PM
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Water heaters fail. Even new ones fail. Normally it's just a slow leak but rarely it's worse.

If it's somewhere that a leak won't be a catastrophe, I'd wait. If a leak would be a catastrophe, figure out how to mitigate the damage because replacing the water heater doesn't eliminate the risk. A drain pan under the heater with a pump, a water alarm on the floor, add a floor drain to your basement floor, etc.
Old 11-27-2020, 08:03 PM
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Price those hybrids!, And remember, regardless of style, gas, electric, hybrid, they use the same tank. Tank life is tank life regardless of purchase price!
Old 11-27-2020, 08:16 PM
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It’s $1k to replace....you decide

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