Author Topic: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?  (Read 2224 times)

Kaplin261

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Richmond Va
    • Michael Foutz
Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« on: January 19, 2019, 11:17:04 AM »
I have a 13 year old Natural Gas tank water heater. Everything works perfectly and we have had no problems with it. However I feel that the water heater is at the end of its life and instead of waiting for a failure I could replace it at my convenience now instead of having to hire a plumber and pay double the price because I didnít schedule time or have resources available.

I also would like to change from a tank water heater to tankless. The cost looks to be around $1400 for all materials. I do have the skills to do this but I will indeed need to be planned.

If I replace before failure I also have the option of shipping around and getting a better deal on the water heater.

Should I wait for failure or replace now?

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10759
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2019, 11:58:24 AM »
If it were me, I would not replace a 13 year old water heater just for the sake of replacing it before it breaks.  It is towards the end of tis life expectancy but I've seen water heaters go 20+ years with just basic maintenance.  They aren't hard to replace once they do fail and I don't see why you'd pay double unless you insist that a plumber come this very day.  To me going without hot water for a day or two is a minor inconvenience to pay for the sake of not replacing a functional appliance.   Think of it this way - an extra 3 years means your depreciation on that water heater been cut by 19%.

BUT - if going tankless is your major motivator I'd say do it whenever time allows.  Unless you change your usage habits it will save you heating cost$.

ThatGuy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2019, 12:10:29 PM »
I bought a hot water heater and stored it in my basement until mine quit.  That way I was prepared but I got the full use of my old one.  I had been told that the regulations were changing and the price would go up on hot water heaters.  This was my main motivator for buying one ahead of time.

DreamFIRE

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1596
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2019, 12:20:03 PM »

I definitely wouldn't replace it just because it's 13 years old.  I bought my house almost 17 years ago.  I don't know how old the water heater was when I bought the house, but it's still working.  I haven't done any type of maintenance on it.

Kaplin261

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Richmond Va
    • Michael Foutz
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2019, 12:20:37 PM »
If it were me, I would not replace a 13 year old water heater just for the sake of replacing it before it breaks.  It is towards the end of tis life expectancy but I've seen water heaters go 20+ years with just basic maintenance.  They aren't hard to replace once they do fail and I don't see why you'd pay double unless you insist that a plumber come this very day.  To me going without hot water for a day or two is a minor inconvenience to pay for the sake of not replacing a functional appliance.   Think of it this way - an extra 3 years means your depreciation on that water heater been cut by 19%.

BUT - if going tankless is your major motivator I'd say do it whenever time allows.  Unless you change your usage habits it will save you heating cost$.

My significant other would disagree about the couple  days of cold water not being a big deal. Plus I work long hours some weeks and some weeks a lot less hours so being able to schedule it on a slow week would be necessary and if it fell on a long week I would have to hire it out for about $2,800 according to neighborhood posts Iíve seen on Facebook.

FallenTimber

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 110
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2019, 12:27:13 PM »
If it still works well, I wouldnít replace it. My last house had a 20 year old water heater still working perfect. My folks house was built in 1987 and has the original hot water heater. Frankly a 13 year old water heater wouldnít make me nervous at all. From a financial standpoint, youíd lose more money by buying one now and doing it yourself, versus waiting another 5-15 years and paying someone else to do it.

If you want to be proactive, call some plumbers and get quotes so you have a more accurate idea. The labor cost is usually $400-$600 to replace (less than a dayís labor). If you have any neighbors paying $2,800 for labor costs ($400/hr for a plumber)... well, you may want to get into the business of installing water heaters.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 909
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2019, 12:33:53 PM »
No

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10759
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2019, 12:41:22 PM »
If it were me, I would not replace a 13 year old water heater just for the sake of replacing it before it breaks.  It is towards the end of tis life expectancy but I've seen water heaters go 20+ years with just basic maintenance.  They aren't hard to replace once they do fail and I don't see why you'd pay double unless you insist that a plumber come this very day.  To me going without hot water for a day or two is a minor inconvenience to pay for the sake of not replacing a functional appliance.   Think of it this way - an extra 3 years means your depreciation on that water heater been cut by 19%.

BUT - if going tankless is your major motivator I'd say do it whenever time allows.  Unless you change your usage habits it will save you heating cost$.

My significant other would disagree about the couple  days of cold water not being a big deal. Plus I work long hours some weeks and some weeks a lot less hours so being able to schedule it on a slow week would be necessary and if it fell on a long week I would have to hire it out for about $2,800 according to neighborhood posts Iíve seen on Facebook.

only you know your domestic situation, but I'd add that replacing your hot water heater won't guarantee that your spouse will avoid a couple days without hot water.  IME replacing an appliance with a new one often results in a loss of function, as manufacturing/installation defects are revealed in the first few months.  In other words, you may temporarily increase the likelihood that it will fail while trying to avoid end-of-life failure.

Ultimately though my personal belief is not to toss something int he garbage heap unless its no longer useful or can be replaced with something more efficient.  A tankless unit might alleviate the wastefulness component, but the ROI is likely to be many years.

I agree with other posters that $2800 to replace a water heater is bats*!t insane.  Find a better plumber.

OtherJen

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Location: Metro Detroit
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2019, 01:49:56 PM »
I would have it inspected and maintained to make sure there isn't any damage that could turn into a bigger problem. Two years ago, our 12-year-old water heater corroded and failed. This meant that all of the water in the tank leaked out onto the floor of our laundry room (thankfully there is a floor drain, but it was still an awful mess) and we were without hot water for several winter days until we could get a replacement. I strongly recommend avoiding that outcome if you can.

FWIW, I think we paid about $1400 for equipment and labor (we always hire a plumber for gas line work).

blinx7

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2019, 02:15:49 PM »

My parents have a 28 year old hot water heater, no problems.  The plan I think is to wait until it breaks, then replace it.  There are various ways you can check on it for problems (look for seams, put a drip pan down, I even think there's a gadget you can buy).

We have a 20 year old one we are going to replace, mainly because we are going to put new flooring down and don't want it to burst over the new flooring.  And there's a pipe behind it that's leaking really slowing that can't be reached right now.  And we need to replace the flooring in an adjacent room due to mold.  If it wasn't for all those reasons, I would just let it ride. 

There are DIY videos too on draining and then flushing your hot water heater.  And you can replace the rod inside the unit.  I would start there first given the age of the unit.

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1749
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2019, 05:37:12 PM »
I, otoh, am not interested in going without hot water in January, and know from experience that getting someone to my house to deal with this does not happen all that fast.

So, if I had some inkling that the hot water heater was not feeling tip top, Iíd replace it preemptively.

Weíve been in this house 23 years, and this is our 3rd hot water heater. The first one was an emergency replacement, and the next one I did because the water heater was 15 years old and I had a complicated summer coming up.

Reynolds531

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 298
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2019, 05:57:59 PM »
The price of fuel the last decade makes anything but an atmospheric water heater uneconomic. When prices were high I was looking at drain water heat recovery pipes.  At $10 a month payback times are rediculous.

ltt

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 740
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2019, 06:39:25 PM »
We were without hot water from a weekend afternoon until Friday one week this past December.  Sorry, it was awful!  Our water heater, I believe, was around 9 years old.  That being said, the plumbing people said they've seen them some which don't last that long and some that last a few decades.  But I wouldn't spend the money now thinking that it's going to go out.   

ThatGuy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2019, 07:46:53 PM »
If it were me, I would not replace a 13 year old water heater just for the sake of replacing it before it breaks.  It is towards the end of tis life expectancy but I've seen water heaters go 20+ years with just basic maintenance.  They aren't hard to replace once they do fail and I don't see why you'd pay double unless you insist that a plumber come this very day.  To me going without hot water for a day or two is a minor inconvenience to pay for the sake of not replacing a functional appliance.   Think of it this way - an extra 3 years means your depreciation on that water heater been cut by 19%.

BUT - if going tankless is your major motivator I'd say do it whenever time allows.  Unless you change your usage habits it will save you heating cost$.

$2800 seems awfully high but a big part of that is the switch from a tank to tankless hot water heater.  Would it be possible to buy everything and do part of the work so that when the time came you would only have a few things to do to finish the job?  I had mine installed for $50 labor but again the tankless is going to be more involved.

My significant other would disagree about the couple  days of cold water not being a big deal. Plus I work long hours some weeks and some weeks a lot less hours so being able to schedule it on a slow week would be necessary and if it fell on a long week I would have to hire it out for about $2,800 according to neighborhood posts Iíve seen on Facebook.

MustacheAndaHalf

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1768
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2019, 05:41:58 AM »
I have a 13 year old Natural Gas tank water heater. Everything works perfectly and we have had no problems with it.
...
Should I wait for failure or replace now?
What maintenance do you do on it?  Have you replaced any parts?

For example, you might empty some water periodically to get sediment out.  And the sacrificial anode(s) eventually sacrifice themselves to save the rest of the water tank, and need to be replaced.  If you know all of that and are doing maintenance, then the water heater can probably keep going.

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2019, 12:29:18 PM »
What maintenance do you do on it?  Have you replaced any parts?

For example, you might empty some water periodically to get sediment out.  And the sacrificial anode(s) eventually sacrifice themselves to save the rest of the water tank, and need to be replaced.  If you know all of that and are doing maintenance, then the water heater can probably keep going.
Agreed
https://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Water_Heater_Anode.php

misshathaway

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 390
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Massachusetts
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2019, 01:17:37 PM »
Replace it. I just had mine fail this past summer at age 15. It made a huge puddle which could not be completely mopped up until there was no more hot water usage. Replacement started on a Friday and then there was a weekend with no hot water. Showers can happen at the health club but not dish washing.

Dibdab

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
  • Age: 56
    • http://bryanspicures.shutterfly.com/
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2019, 07:06:23 PM »
My gas water heater has lasted 25 years so far.  I have soft water here.
At my rental property, I just replaced a 40 gal. gas heater at age 14.  Hard water there.  Cost was $1100 by plumber.

Jon Bon

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 877
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2019, 08:36:32 PM »
Yeah you should replace all things that you have had for more then 13 years and are not broken!

1. 2005 Honda Accord, obviously junk replace
2. Water tanks new appliances never break so duh replace
3. Spouse, does not look as good as they used too, time for a trade in.
4. House - probably built during the last housing boom shoddy construction. Burn down and rebuild.

Seriously, the folks that said replace because it could die an not having hot water is terrible are right. Not having hot water is terrible. But appliances fail all the time, it is not that strongly correlated with age. Stick with the devil you know right?

AMandM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 911
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2019, 08:54:32 PM »
I don't think the issue is function--you'll notice if the heating starts to deteriorate, but it won't be an emergency. When that happens, you can replace either the sacrificial anode or the whole heater, as needed.

The emergency happens if the tank rusts out or otherwise develops a leak/failure. Then you have an unending flow of water onto the floor, until you notice it and close the intake shutoff. So check for rust around the bottom of the tank but no, if it ain't broke... you know the rest.

Papa bear

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
  • Location: Ohio
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2019, 10:00:02 PM »
Where is the tank located? Can you handle a leak without a problem, such as an unfinished basement with floor drain? Or will you be tearing up your hardwood floors?

Anyway. That’s a big fat NO from me.  If it’s in the basement, great.  Use that thing until death.  Upstairs on some floors you can’t imagine replacing? Get a pan and a water sensor alarm.  Then use that thing until death.

And learn to replace one yourself.  It’s like a 2 hour job and with the sharkbite connections, you can basically install one with some channel locks pliers. This ain’t rocket surgery.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

affordablehousing

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 351
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2019, 11:38:37 AM »
Funny, I read $2800 and thought that was crazy cheap. But I'm in California where most tankless installs are around $4K. I think there are some benefits to a tankless, not nearly as many as most people think, and water heating is such a small cost compared to house heating in general. One thing to consider is what shape the rest of your piping is in. tankless doesn't do too well with galvanized pipe, and as others said, at least in California, tank water heaters got more insulated, bigger, and don't fit in as many spaces as they used to. Perhaps buying the heater and parts to have on hand is useful, and then you can save some money if and when your tank does go down.

CNM

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 497
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2019, 11:44:03 AM »
I wouldn't replace it if it's working fine now.

About the $2500 or so cost to replace, that is about how much mine cost.  It wasn't necessarily the water heater itself that was so expensive, but the closet where it lived had to be plumbed up to code, which took additional time and materials.

ericrugiero

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 148
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2019, 01:01:28 PM »
Personally I would keep using it till it fails.  There is no guarantee a newer one is going to last much longer than the one you have. 

I don't have a tankless water heater but from what I understand they can either be whole house heaters or you can put multiple smaller ones in a single place like a bathroom.  How much would it cost to install a tankless water heater in a bathroom so that you have hot water to one shower and sink even if the main water heater stops working?  That would be inconvenient but much less of an "emergency". 

JoJo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1387
Re: Should I replace my 13 y/o water heater if itís not broke?
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2019, 01:22:49 PM »
Sold my condo last October.  Energy use document on my electric hot water heater that's still going strong was from 1994.