Author Topic: Well, that water heater didn't last long...  (Read 6045 times)

geekette

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Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« on: May 03, 2015, 01:55:38 PM »
In September '06, we replaced our 40 gallon direct vent gas water heater with the same.  The "new" one is now leaking.  Really?

While I love the idea of a tankless water heater, I don't see how it would be worth the cost differential.  The two of us use <$10 worth of gas per month for heating water (much more gas is used in the winter for heating, of course, but it's the only thing that uses gas in the summer).

That 9 year old water heater (with a stinkn' 6 year warranty) cost over $1300 (installed, permitted) back then.  Some of it was probably new safety features (a thick metal pole to make sure you can't hit it with a car, an expansion tank for...well, I'm sure it's for safety).

Is that the best we can do?  Options?  We don't see any with longer warranties online. 

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2015, 02:08:35 PM »
Did you ever change the anode?  Depending on your water quality, your anode can deteriorate in 3-5 years.  Once it's gone, the water starts eating the tank.

A good habit to get into is to check the anode when you do your annual sediment flush.  My water must be pretty good, since the anode is still in good shape 7 years after installation.  But I give it the eye every year just to be sure.

Faraday

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2015, 02:10:32 PM »
+1 about the anode, but mine's not been changed yet after 8 years. I go for 10 year anode changes.

BUT: You gotta drain the sediment out of the water heater at least once a year. You do it this way:
- turn it off (whether gas or electric)
- turn off the water supply line
- hook a hose up to the spigot at the bottom and route it outside or to a drain
- open up the spigot
- flick the pressure valve so air comes in and the water can drain out

You will get all kinds of crud out of it. When nothing else comes out:
- close the spigot at the bottom,
- turn on the water supply line
- wait and listen as the tank fills back up
- if you see any water come out of the pressure release valve, flick it back closed now
- turn it back on

I drain mine at least once a year. i always get a batch of crud out of the bottom. Still going strong after 8 years.

forummm

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2015, 02:19:32 PM »
^^^^ I also flush some more water through the tank to get the last bit of sediment out. It's amazing how much builds up in there when you think "it's just water" coming through. But there are so many minerals that precipitate out when heated.

geekette

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2015, 02:43:33 PM »
Wow.  I will definitely add flushing the tank to the list, but watching a video on checking the anode rod?  Uh, clearance is an issue.  And leverage.  The water heater's tucked into a corner of the garage, and the top's about 2' from the ceiling.  And as far as I can tell, the rod would come up right into the vent pipe.

The booklet that was on top of the water heater did mention the anode, and also said not to bother checking it until the warranty had expired.  Found that interesting.


Faraday

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2015, 03:34:30 PM »
Wow.  I will definitely add flushing the tank to the list, but watching a video on checking the anode rod?  Uh, clearance is an issue.  And leverage.  The water heater's tucked into a corner of the garage, and the top's about 2' from the ceiling.  And as far as I can tell, the rod would come up right into the vent pipe.

The booklet that was on top of the water heater did mention the anode, and also said not to bother checking it until the warranty had expired.  Found that interesting.

Holy leaky tank, Batgirl! The booklet says "not to bother checking the anode until the warranty expires?!?!?" Talk about corporate evil....

The location of that water heater is...unusual...does it HAVE to be so high up toward the ceiling? Can it be moved downward a little more so the anode CAN be checked?

And BTW: Any time you do anything to the water heater, you want to turn it off and shut off the water supply line. I once read a water heater review on the Lowes website where the troll said "don't turn off the water or the pressure won't equalize".... Yeah, right.

geekette

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2015, 04:59:25 PM »
It has to be raised up off the floor per code.  I just got out the yardstick and the top is actually 2.5' from the ceiling.  And I misstated - they say the anode should be inspected annually after the warranty expires, by a professional, of course... 


bigalsmith101

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2015, 05:42:09 PM »
You got 9 years out of a direct vent gas water heater, that's really not too shabby. Pretty well in line with the experiences I've seen over 10 years helping my dad with his water heater/plumbing business (he ONLY installed water heaters, nothing else).

You got the leaking one right in front of you. Turn off the gas, disconnect it, take lots of pictures, watch youtube videos, and put the new one in  yourself!

geekette

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2015, 11:38:09 AM »
Good news, bad news:

Good news: The water heater's been off for a day, and when we turned the water to it back on, I still had warm water for a shower today!  Of course that started the leaking again.

Bad news:  One plumber said Tuesday or Wednesday, and the second said the 18th(?!?)

More bad news: can't seem to even get the pilot lit to try to get a couple more showers. No spark. Guess it really got soaked? 


Bob W

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2015, 02:02:58 PM »
Good news -- You can buy a new one for $450 and install it yourself.   Or hire that neighbor guy down the street.  Or your brother or whoever. 

I'd say 9 years was a good run.  I'd also say mine is about to go anyday now.  Damn

Captain_Burrito_Pants

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2015, 02:09:06 PM »
I recently got a new 50 gallon gas one through Costco, cost $1,000 permitted/installed and has a 15 year parts+labor warranty.

geekette

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2015, 04:47:02 PM »
Good news -- You can buy a new one for $450 and install it yourself.   Or hire that neighbor guy down the street.  Or your brother or whoever. 

Nope!  I'll do other plumbing, but I'll hire a professional to deal with gas.  Chicken!

Quote from: Bob W
I'd say 9 years was a good run.  I'd also say mine is about to go anyday now.  Damn

Oddly, the one that came with the house lasted 18 years, so this one blowing out after 8 1/2 was a complete surprise.  Not sure what changed with the water, but we'll be checking that anode.

I checked with Costco, and they said they didn't do water heaters.  Maybe it's a regional thing because he asked for my zip code.

It's going to be $1300, partly due to reworking things.  The new gas water heaters are taller and more expensive for about a 4% increase in efficiency (wow?)  The electrics supposedly got a 20% efficiency boost, but for gas?  Let's see, 4% of $5/month...

jba302

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2015, 05:01:14 PM »
Good news, bad news:

Good news: The water heater's been off for a day, and when we turned the water to it back on, I still had warm water for a shower today!  Of course that started the leaking again.

Bad news:  One plumber said Tuesday or Wednesday, and the second said the 18th(?!?)

More bad news: can't seem to even get the pilot lit to try to get a couple more showers. No spark. Guess it really got soaked?

You should be careful using warm water from a standing / off tank. Legionnaire's is a risk due to the temperature range. Small but nonzero.

Dan_at_Home

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2015, 09:54:35 PM »
It has to be raised up off the floor per code.  I just got out the yardstick and the top is actually 2.5' from the ceiling.  And I misstated - they say the anode should be inspected annually after the warranty expires, by a professional, of course...

This is good advice, if you do install it yourself make sure that the new one is also at the same height off the floor.  When it is in a garage and a car is running the flammable fumes from the vehicle sink to the ground and spread out, and can come in contact with the flame of the hot water heater if it is directly on the floor.  This is why the code says it has to be off the ground if you have it in the garage.

geekette

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2015, 10:20:52 PM »
It has to be raised up off the floor per code.  I just got out the yardstick and the top is actually 2.5' from the ceiling.  And I misstated - they say the anode should be inspected annually after the warranty expires, by a professional, of course...

This is good advice, if you do install it yourself make sure that the new one is also at the same height off the floor.  When it is in a garage and a car is running the flammable fumes from the vehicle sink to the ground and spread out, and can come in contact with the flame of the hot water heater if it is directly on the floor.  This is why the code says it has to be off the ground if you have it in the garage.

Interestingly, not any more.  The stand for our water heater came with the house, built before these safer burners.  So, per the plumber, now the stand has to come down because all the insulation makes the next generation water heaters too tall to fit where the original direct vent is.  By TWO inches.  Might make the anode easier to check, though.

Bob W

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2015, 08:36:47 AM »
Here is a very nice sub $600 tankless gas heater.   You could probably have it installed for $400.  So you're $1,000 in.    You will probably save around $100 per year in natural gas costs over a gas tank water heater.

Do it your self folks on this site should really consider these. 


http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rheem-EcoSense-6-4-GPM-150-000-BTU-Ultra-Low-NOx-Natural-Gas-Mid-Efficiency-Indoor-Tankless-Gas-Water-Heater-ECO150DVLN3/203222955?N=5yc1vZc1u0


Whatever anyone does here --- do not consider a Geosprings hybrid  water heater.  (basically heat pumps)   I had considered one and the reviews are astoundingly bad. 

Faraday

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2015, 03:08:17 PM »
Here is a very nice sub $600 tankless gas heater.   You could probably have it installed for $400.  So you're $1,000 in.    You will probably save around $100 per year in natural gas costs over a gas tank water heater.  Do it your self folks on this site should really consider these. 

...link was here....

Props to Bob W for catching that - geekette, my bad. We should have suggested tankless to you at first opportunity. If you already have natural gas plumbed in, a tankless can be a bargain, both on initial cost and continuing costs. I hear great things from people who go tankless.

I don't have gas available where I live (Youngsville, up in Franklin Co.) or I'd consider it. No way would I do tankless electric, the power draw is just too high.

geekette

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2015, 03:35:44 PM »
There are downsides to tankless - mostly that we use <$10/month for heating water so the payback period is too high.  Add in the loss of hot water during power outages, and electronics that seem prone to crap out, so we stuck with a tank.  Tankless would probably be great if we had teenagers, but it didn't make sense for us.

New one's in.  Yay for hedonic adaptation to hot water! 

Faraday

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Re: Well, that water heater didn't last long...
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2015, 10:26:38 PM »
There are downsides to tankless - mostly that we use <$10/month for heating water so the payback period is too high.  Add in the loss of hot water during power outages, and electronics that seem prone to crap out, so we stuck with a tank.  Tankless would probably be great if we had teenagers, but it didn't make sense for us.

New one's in.  Yay for hedonic adaptation to hot water!

Good points, all. I'm glad you folks have the new water heater! Gotta give us a "first impressions" update!