Author Topic: Water Heater replacement? please help  (Read 1676 times)

surfer349

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Water Heater replacement? please help
« on: May 23, 2022, 10:24:48 AM »

https://imgur.com/a/G0d7v4t

Looking for advice here. New homeowner here, the house came with two 40-gal gas tanks, plumbed in parallel, probably 15 years old. One started leaking last year, so I drained and capped it. We've been getting along just fine with the single 40-gal tank. Recently, the remaining tank has started leaking a lot, so its time to pull the trigger.

Looking for advice. I feel like i can DIY the install of something new, to a degree. My furnace warranty tech advised to get a tankless gas water heater. I'm reading there's other stuff like heat pumps and condensation tanks, hybrids, and even solar water heating. I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the options.

Also, looks like there's some nice rebates from my utility, but no idea what is Tier1 vs Tier2
https://www.intgas.com/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/Brochures/energy-efficiency-program.pdf
https://www.intgas.com/energy-efficiency_program/residential-energy-efficiency/energy-efficiency-appliance-rebates/
https://www.idahopower.com/energy-environment/ways-to-save/savings-for-your-home/rebates-and-offers/heating-and-cooling-efficiency-program/qualified-products-list/


I would love to get advice from this like-minded community and point me in the right direction...even if its just doing the simplest/cheapest thing to replace with a similar standard 40-gal tank.

Please help.

shureShote

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2022, 10:34:01 AM »
Is it leaking from the actual tank, or just from the relief valve? The pic looks like it is coming from the valve.

Uturn

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2022, 10:41:17 AM »
It looks like the temp and pressure valve is leaking. Do not just take the valve off and plug it.  This can lead to turning your water heater into a missile.

It is not uncommon for a T&P valve to go bad.  If the water temperature and/or pressure gets to a certain setting, the valve will open and release the pressure rather than turning it into a missile.  When these valves get old, they fail to keep pressure rather than failing to release pressure.

These are not hard to replace, just make sure the water temp is low and the water level is below the valve.  It looks like you also have a spare trainer tank.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2022, 10:46:51 AM »
the beige pvc tube coming from the top of the tank has been leaking for a week or so....same thing happened last year with the first one. From what I've read, that means the tank's pretty much toast and should plan to replace it.

The tanks are 12+ years old and looks like they've never been serviced or had the rod replaced.

The tank on the right was disconnected and drained last year, the bottom pan was all rusted out and water was leaking out the bottom.

what is a trainer tank? There's the expansion tank that's in line to it.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2022, 11:09:27 AM »
I almost went tankless. My mind was changed after spending hours and hours trying to find an established model that didn't have tons of reviews along the lines of "failed after 11 months" or "quit after 2 years". Turns out, applying massive amounts of energy on an on/off basis to pieces of metal and electronics has a tendency to break them. We're a decade past the era of "early" tankless water heaters and they're still failing way too early. It's the same basic engineering reason riding a rocket into space is more dangerous than riding a bicycle. 

PLUS, if you go tankless electric, you'll need a new heavy-gauge wire run from your breaker box, and may need an upgrade to the breaker box too!

I don't know how exactly the previous owners managed to consume 80 gallons of hot water at a time while not running a restaurant. Looks like wanton waste to me. I'd just replace one of the WH's with a similar new model, buy a water heater jacket to improve the efficiency and longevity, schedule a drain and flush from the bottom faucet to occur after 6 months to one year, and schedule anode replacement in 5 years.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2022, 11:11:53 AM »
yea, I asked the previous owner and they just said they liked hot baths a lot.

We wouldn't do electric. Gas is cheap here and its already plumbed and vented for gas.

Fishindude

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2022, 12:31:53 PM »
Retired builder here.  I would never go tankless unless you were limited on space or had some hot water needs far away from plumbing area and main water heater.
If you have room for a conventional gas or electric tank type water heater, they are much more simple, cheaper and last longer.   

We replaced a whole lot of those tankless units after only a few years use.  Should be able to easily expect 10-15 years out of a tank type.

affordablehousing

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2022, 01:04:15 PM »
Ditto, I think tankless is great if you need to reclaim space, have tricky venting situations or already have a large diameter gas or gauge electric line. For tankless gas you usually have to upsize the gas line to increase the btu throughput. They are cool, but it doesn't look like you need the space.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2022, 01:09:50 PM »
don't **need** the space, but always welcome more free space in garage. I've got this large pedastal space where previous two tanks are sitting.

There's exhaust and gas plumbed to that pad.

economista

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2022, 02:29:23 PM »
We have a gas hot water heater and needed to upgrade when we bought our house. We wanted to switch to tankless until we found out the cost of upgrading the gas line / venting. I didn't realize that the tankless units require a totally different gauge of gas / type of venting which was extremely expensive. We just got a new regular water heater.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2022, 03:39:12 PM »
I agree that the failure of the current tank appears to be the T&P valve which is a really simply replacement, there are plenty of excellent YouTube videos.

That being said if the tanks are the same age and the first one was a tank failure, the tank is likely on borrowed time. Since you've been getting by fine with one tank I would not install 2.

I have no experience with tankless water heaters, but most people I know with then have a similar story; it starts of great with unlimited hot water and a smaller footprint and ends failure or significant scale buildup.

When we replaced our water heater solar hot water didn't make sense. First, climate plays a role many people with them here have to shut them down in the winter when temps can fall well below freezing. And second, when I looked it seemed cheaper to install solar PV-electric to offset electric usage of a heat pump water heater.

Heat pumps take heat from the air. Many can have the cooled air ducted to a different room. They also have the added benefit of dehumidification. Their electric consumption is much less than standard electric heaters. They are less efficient as it gets cold (and if you are heating the space they are in you are heating the air then taking the heat from the air and putting it in the water ... not the model of efficiency) So you will need to look at these over the course of a year, unless you live somewhere warm year-round and are putting this in a garage.

Tier 1 and Tier 2 sounds like they have to do with efficiency and are likely defined someone inside that program.

If I were in your shoes what I would do is run out to the store get a T&P valve and replace the current one to buy a little extra time. Then I would throw out any systems that don't make sense on their lifespan, complexity, ability to fit in my house, use existing utilities, or upfront cost (for me that's tankless for reliability, solar hot water solar for complexity and upfront cost, natural gas because it is unavailable, propane because nothing else runs on propane). Then I'd gather cost of fuels (for me electric and heating oil) and find a calculator for running costs (my state have one here: https://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/water-heating-cost-comparison/) and go with whichever system offers the lowest running costs while still meeting my daily needs.

Be aware different heating systems take different amounts of time to build the tank back up to temperature/run out of hot water at different times. A gas water heater and a hybrid water heater of the same size will run out at very different times (usually express as first hour rating).

affordablehousing

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2022, 04:54:02 PM »
If you're like me, and want the cool thing, I've enjoyed running my Navien 199K with recirculating pump. You need a 1" gas line for it to work properly, and I'd recommend the concentric venting/intake, also do you have a recirc line already plumbed in your house? If all that's a yes, it's a simple swap. You can demo the pedestal and get some extra space.

FINate

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2022, 07:04:28 PM »
Just replace with a single standard 40 or 50 gallon tank heater. Simple, cheap, and reliable. Getting rid of the non-functioning second unit (seems excessive) will give you more space.

sonofsven

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2022, 07:39:56 PM »
The most cost effective route is to replace with a similar style gas water heater. Looks like your gas co will give you $50 for "keeping the faith".
I've kept my old tank gas water heater with a pilot light (19 yrs old) because it works when the power is out, which happens multiple times per winter in my area. Another side benefit is the fifty gallons of emergency water storage in a tank unit.
In new houses I've been installing electric heat pump water heaters. I had a tankless (gas) years ago in a small house and it worked fine, but I only used it five years then sold the house.

I'd try replacing the t&p valve, but I like to fix things. You said the other one also leaked from the t&p valve, and that you learned that meant they were toast? I'm not clear on that. Often the bottom rusting is due to water leaking, not the cause of the leaking. Usually the drain valve leaks. The outside metal being rusty doesn't necessarily reflect the condition of the tank inside, but as you noted a lack of maintenne does not inspire confidence. Professionals will always recommend replacement because of the cost of labor and the uncertainty of a successful repair. But diy your labor is worthless (I mean free).
If the other one did not leak from the t&p valve then I would install that one in the working unit.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2022, 08:10:24 PM »
If you're like me, and want the cool thing, I've enjoyed running my Navien 199K with recirculating pump. You need a 1" gas line for it to work properly, and I'd recommend the concentric venting/intake, also do you have a recirc line already plumbed in your house? If all that's a yes, it's a simple swap. You can demo the pedestal and get some extra space.

https://imgur.com/a/MtLfiwH

n00b here. so i'm guessing this is not a 1'' gasline? the source pipe looks like 1 inch.

What is concentric venting?

no recirc pump currently, but isn't that just something you connect in series to your outgoing hot water line?

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2022, 05:28:39 AM »
If you're like me, and want the cool thing, I've enjoyed running my Navien 199K with recirculating pump. You need a 1" gas line for it to work properly, and I'd recommend the concentric venting/intake, also do you have a recirc line already plumbed in your house? If all that's a yes, it's a simple swap. You can demo the pedestal and get some extra space.

https://imgur.com/a/MtLfiwH

n00b here. so i'm guessing this is not a 1'' gasline? the source pipe looks like 1 inch.

What is concentric venting?

no recirc pump currently, but isn't that just something you connect in series to your outgoing hot water line?

In most cases the yellow flex line in not the gas line, but something akin to the cord on a lamp. The gas line is probably a rigid pipe (likely what you are calling the source pipe).


Paper Chaser

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2022, 06:12:13 AM »
the beige pvc tube coming from the top of the tank has been leaking for a week or so....same thing happened last year with the first one. From what I've read, that means the tank's pretty much toast and should plan to replace it.

As others have said, the PVC drain pipe is connected to a Temp and Pressure valve. They occasionally need replacement, but a leak there absolutely does not mean you need to replace the entire water heater. It just screws in/out. They're $20-30 a piece, and can be replaced by a novice in half an hour or less.

You've probably got two good water heaters there that just need a bit of inexpensive maintenance to keep working for a long time.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2022, 10:03:32 AM »
the beige pvc tube coming from the top of the tank has been leaking for a week or so....same thing happened last year with the first one. From what I've read, that means the tank's pretty much toast and should plan to replace it.

As others have said, the PVC drain pipe is connected to a Temp and Pressure valve. They occasionally need replacement, but a leak there absolutely does not mean you need to replace the entire water heater. It just screws in/out. They're $20-30 a piece, and can be replaced by a novice in half an hour or less.

You've probably got two good water heaters there that just need a bit of inexpensive maintenance to keep working for a long time.

yea, I've been reading about replacing the anode rod and regular flushing....as far as I know, that's never happened in 12+ years. I wonder at what point there's so much sediment in there that it can't be flushed?

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2022, 10:07:59 AM »

In most cases the yellow flex line in not the gas line, but something akin to the cord on a lamp. The gas line is probably a rigid pipe (likely what you are calling the source pipe).

sorry, but it is the gas line.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/EasyFlex-3-4-in-MIP-x-3-4-in-FIP-x-18-in-Coated-Stainless-Steel-Gas-Connector-1-in-O-D-290-900-BTU-EFGC034YE141518/315878743

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2022, 10:22:47 AM »
I just pulled up old pictures and records from last year. It looks like the the right water heater started leaking from the bottom.

https://imgur.com/a/5cC4pqj

the drain pad was leaking rust colored water seeping out of the bottom of the cylinder. I'd bet the farm that the right tank is completely toast....but that means the T&P valve can probably be canabalized, to swap onto the left tank.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2022, 11:46:00 AM »

In most cases the yellow flex line in not the gas line, but something akin to the cord on a lamp. The gas line is probably a rigid pipe (likely what you are calling the source pipe).

sorry, but it is the gas line.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/EasyFlex-3-4-in-MIP-x-3-4-in-FIP-x-18-in-Coated-Stainless-Steel-Gas-Connector-1-in-O-D-290-900-BTU-EFGC034YE141518/315878743

What you linked is a connector meant to connect the gas line to the appliance. But yes there are CSS lines that can be used for gas. I suspect his gas line is not CSS since he said "the source pipe looks like 1 inch."

affordablehousing

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2022, 10:03:22 PM »
Using a CSST line is a lot easier than rigid pipe as it saves all the connections and possible leak points, but it at this point is pretty expensive in and of itself. Last I checked 25 feet of 1" CSST line was over $200. It is also kind of nice for earthquake country as it is flexible. With the tankless being about a grand more than a tank, the new gas line and new venting, its a couple grand vanity move if you don't really need the space. Personally, I wish I had space for a normal tanked heater.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2022, 10:41:03 PM »
https://imgur.com/a/aqcKJhM

Well, i pulled and replaced the T&P valve....hopefully this will stop the leak drip.

nereo

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2022, 04:30:32 AM »
https://imgur.com/a/aqcKJhM

Well, i pulled and replaced the T&P valve....hopefully this will stop the leak drip.

Good, keep us posted.
Did you flush the sediment out of the tank and replace the anode while you were at it? 
How about removing the previous, disconnected water tank?

Annual maintenence goes a huge way towards ensuring the longevity and reliability of your appliances.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2022, 07:57:50 AM »
Good, keep us posted.
Did you flush the sediment out of the tank and replace the anode while you were at it? 
How about removing the previous, disconnected water tank?

Annual maintenence goes a huge way towards ensuring the longevity and reliability of your appliances.

not yet. Still need to stay at a holiday inn to figure out how to do that. wondering if its worth it to do that maintenance on such an old unit or just keep rolling the dice.

nereo

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2022, 08:06:42 AM »
Good, keep us posted.
Did you flush the sediment out of the tank and replace the anode while you were at it? 
How about removing the previous, disconnected water tank?

Annual maintenence goes a huge way towards ensuring the longevity and reliability of your appliances.

not yet. Still need to stay at a holiday inn to figure out how to do that. wondering if its worth it to do that maintenance on such an old unit or just keep rolling the dice.

Itís never a bad idea to flush the sediment, and itís easy to do and doesnít cost anything. Replacing the anodes isnít much harder but might cost $50 in parts. If it buys you a few more years (very likely) itís worth it.

Removal of the old unit is just aesthetics, but itís just trash cluttering your home at this point.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2022, 09:24:35 AM »
hmm....looks like there's two anodes?

https://www.statewaterheaters.com/lit/partslist/res-gas/186830-001.pdf

any advice?

uniwelder

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2022, 09:43:21 AM »
hmm....looks like there's two anodes?

https://www.statewaterheaters.com/lit/partslist/res-gas/186830-001.pdf

any advice?

Probably just one anode.  There's a notation on that pdf regarding anodes.  I think it means that if your temp/pressure valve was located on the top of the water heater, you would have an anode that's integrated with the hot water outlet.  Since your temp/pressure valve is on the side, you would have a regular anode, so that should be easy to find at a dedicated plumbing supply store.

One of my houses happens to have an integrated anode with the hot water outlet.  Its a bit of a pain because the plumbing needs to be disconnected to replace.  They don't even stock them at the plumbing supply store and would have needed to be ordered online.

Replacing the anode can be easy or incredibly difficult.  Sometimes they're threaded in very tightly or with a hardening sealer.  I've had to brace the tank and attach a breaker bar extension (about 4 feet long total) to get it loose.  Its best to try removing the anode while the tank is still full of water, so you have the extra weight to help you out.

edited to add--- looking at the pdf again, maybe there are two anodes.  I don't think you would have to replace both-- the rod would simply get eaten away 2x as fast.  My understanding is that the number of years on a water heater warranty corresponds to the amount of time the anode rod(s) is/are expected to last.  That also depends on your water composition.  On my house with well water, the anode rod looked almost new after 5 years.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2022, 09:54:16 AM by uniwelder »

ChpBstrd

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2022, 09:49:00 AM »
hmm....looks like there's two anodes?

https://www.statewaterheaters.com/lit/partslist/res-gas/186830-001.pdf

any advice?

That's unusual. I would think as long as you have one anode you are counteracting corrosion. I'd also be wary of investing $100 (2 anodes) in a $600 WH that's near or beyond its 6-9 year warranty. I'd invest a $50 part any day if the upside was a 4-5 year life extension. But I'm also a cheap bastard.

sonofsven

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2022, 09:50:08 AM »
Do both if you're doing anything. Also the dip tube (cold side).
And the drain if it's cheap plastic. If the dip tube goes bad the cold water coming in will mix with the hot ready to go out near the top and you'll get lukewarm water.
You'll probably want to move the unit out where you can secure it somehow, maybe strap it to a porch post? The anode will be really tight and it will look like a science project gone horribly wrong when you get it out.
With the drain valve out spray water down from the inlet and outlet holes on top and a bunch of white gunk will probably come out. Use a stiff wire to break it up as needed and tilt the heater also if needed to get as much gunk out as possible.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2022, 09:57:14 AM »
Draining the tank will at least give you a chance to see if any sediment is present or not. If the water you drain is pretty clear, then that's a good indicator that you might not have to worry about replacement as soon.

The house next door to mine was built in 1969 and flipped in 2020. The flipper pulled the original water heater out (still functioning) just to be able to tell prospective buyers that the house had a brand new water heater. Truth is that water heaters can last a very long time if you buy decent quality and do some maintenance, so you're not necessarily on borrowed time with the one you've got. If it checks out and you do routine maintenance, it could last several more years without issue. My water heater is at least 15 years old, and the water that I drain out yearly has always been crystal clear. We had a tech do it as part of a larger service package one time, and he drained a couple of gallons out, saw how clear it was, and decided it wasn't worth draining anymore since there was no sediment to drain.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2022, 09:59:20 AM by Paper Chaser »

NextTime

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2022, 02:30:15 PM »
Retired builder here.  I would never go tankless unless you were limited on space or had some hot water needs far away from plumbing area and main water heater.
If you have room for a conventional gas or electric tank type water heater, they are much more simple, cheaper and last longer.   

We replaced a whole lot of those tankless units after only a few years use.  Should be able to easily expect 10-15 years out of a tank type.


I've spoken to a handful of plumbers about tankless, and not one of them had anything good to say about tankless water heaters.

JLee

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2022, 02:31:56 PM »
Retired builder here.  I would never go tankless unless you were limited on space or had some hot water needs far away from plumbing area and main water heater.
If you have room for a conventional gas or electric tank type water heater, they are much more simple, cheaper and last longer.   

We replaced a whole lot of those tankless units after only a few years use.  Should be able to easily expect 10-15 years out of a tank type.


I've spoken to a handful of plumbers about tankless, and not one of them had anything good to say about tankless water heaters.

How many of them are familiar with modern units?  My town's plumbing inspector inspected my Navien combi (high efficiency direct vent boiler / water heater) and was like "So that does your hot water too huh?"   Didn't seem he was overly familiar with them at all.

I've had mine for 2+ years and I love it.

derekjr

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2022, 02:55:31 PM »
Your expansion tank is likely bad.  If you are on a city water supply and have a back flow preventer the expansion tank is necessary to keep the T&P relief from opening.  Turn off the water to your house at the water meter.  Tap water at your highest faucet.  If the water runs for a bit (10 seconds or so) with pressure, your expansion tank is probably okay.  If the water stops running at pressure almost immediately it is bad.  Once you take it out, it will probably be waterlogged and the internal bladder has failed.  Once a T&P valves open they are frequently difficult to keep closed again, so you may have had to replace it anyway.  However, if you don't check and replace your expansion tank your new relief valve will probably leak as well.  It probably wasn't bad, just doing its job.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2022, 02:59:44 PM »
good points. it will take me some time to figure out where the main water valve is....
it's been a few days now since replacing the T&P valve and no leaks.

uniwelder

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2022, 03:14:27 PM »
Your expansion tank is likely bad.  If you are on a city water supply and have a back flow preventer the expansion tank is necessary to keep the T&P relief from opening.  Turn off the water to your house at the water meter.  Tap water at your highest faucet.  If the water runs for a bit (10 seconds or so) with pressure, your expansion tank is probably okay.  If the water stops running at pressure almost immediately it is bad.  Once you take it out, it will probably be waterlogged and the internal bladder has failed.  Once a T&P valves open they are frequently difficult to keep closed again, so you may have had to replace it anyway.  However, if you don't check and replace your expansion tank your new relief valve will probably leak as well.  It probably wasn't bad, just doing its job.

This is a really good point.  To add to this, you can also check the air pressure in the expansion tank bladder directly.  When the main water valve is shut off and you opened the faucet to flush out water, you can put a tire pressure gauge on the expansion tank (it has a shrader valve) to measure the air pressure inside.  It should be at least 30 psi, probably 40-60 or so. 

If its low, then fill it up to a few psi under the pressure your pipes is it normally.  To know what that pressure is, you need to measure the pressure at the expansion tank before you started shutting things off and draining water. 

If it was zero, the bladder is probably bad, but maybe not.  You can add some air while the faucet is open, then see if the bladder pressure goes up at all.

NorCal

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2022, 03:24:23 PM »
If you do end up needing to replace it, I've become an advocate for the heat-pump water heaters.  I have the AO Smith one, which is on your rebate list and linked below.  They also qualify for a $300 tax credit.

https://www.aosmithatlowes.com/products/water-heaters/electric-water-heaters/hp10-50h45dv/

They require a few things that make them not appropriate for every house.  They need:
1. Good air flow.  They need to be in a room that's 10'x10' if I recall correctly, otherwise you have to add some ventilation (which isn't that hard).
2. The fan is moderately loud, so they won't work if it lives in a closet adjacent to a main living space.
3. There is some condensation that needs a drain.

While they are pricey, I've calculated my financial returns on the install at just north of 20% based on our new ridiculous natural gas prices and slightly less ridiculous electricity prices [Colorado]

I did mine as a DIY install, so feel free to DM me if you have any questions on them.

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #37 on: May 27, 2022, 03:29:22 PM »
Your expansion tank is likely bad.  If you are on a city water supply and have a back flow preventer the expansion tank is necessary to keep the T&P relief from opening.  Turn off the water to your house at the water meter.  Tap water at your highest faucet.  If the water runs for a bit (10 seconds or so) with pressure, your expansion tank is probably okay.  If the water stops running at pressure almost immediately it is bad.  Once you take it out, it will probably be waterlogged and the internal bladder has failed.  Once a T&P valves open they are frequently difficult to keep closed again, so you may have had to replace it anyway.  However, if you don't check and replace your expansion tank your new relief valve will probably leak as well.  It probably wasn't bad, just doing its job.


can I just close off the cold water valve going in to the expansion tank and heater?

surfer349

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2022, 03:33:04 PM »
Were you electric previously? Currently, I have a gas furnace and gas water heater. In Idaho, it seems that gas is cheaper than electric.

My water heaters are in the garage, right next to furnace and whole-house humidifier, behind laundry room and washer drain. It would be easy to plumb a condensation line.


If you do end up needing to replace it, I've become an advocate for the heat-pump water heaters.  I have the AO Smith one, which is on your rebate list and linked below.  They also qualify for a $300 tax credit.

https://www.aosmithatlowes.com/products/water-heaters/electric-water-heaters/hp10-50h45dv/

They require a few things that make them not appropriate for every house.  They need:
1. Good air flow.  They need to be in a room that's 10'x10' if I recall correctly, otherwise you have to add some ventilation (which isn't that hard).
2. The fan is moderately loud, so they won't work if it lives in a closet adjacent to a main living space.
3. There is some condensation that needs a drain.

While they are pricey, I've calculated my financial returns on the install at just north of 20% based on our new ridiculous natural gas prices and slightly less ridiculous electricity prices [Colorado]

I did mine as a DIY install, so feel free to DM me if you have any questions on them.

uniwelder

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2022, 03:51:14 PM »
Your expansion tank is likely bad.  If you are on a city water supply and have a back flow preventer the expansion tank is necessary to keep the T&P relief from opening.  Turn off the water to your house at the water meter.  Tap water at your highest faucet.  If the water runs for a bit (10 seconds or so) with pressure, your expansion tank is probably okay.  If the water stops running at pressure almost immediately it is bad.  Once you take it out, it will probably be waterlogged and the internal bladder has failed.  Once a T&P valves open they are frequently difficult to keep closed again, so you may have had to replace it anyway.  However, if you don't check and replace your expansion tank your new relief valve will probably leak as well.  It probably wasn't bad, just doing its job.
can I just close off the cold water valve going in to the expansion tank and heater?

I don't know any reason why not.  That should work.

You really should figure out where the main valve is.  It would be terrible if a pipe burst one day and it took an extra 20 minutes to get the water off.

derekjr

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #40 on: May 27, 2022, 04:28:28 PM »
If there is a valve before the expansion tank on the cold feed into the water heater, yes you can turn that off.  If doing that, you need to open a hot tap on the faucet to get a sense of whether it has failed or not.  90% of the time, leaking T&P valve equals bad expansion tank.  You can try to add some air to temporarily fix it, but if it is waterlogged, it needs replaced.  They are less than $50.

It will only trip intermittently or never depending on how frequently you are tapping water.  If you leave it sit for awhile, without tapping any water, then the water heater will cause enough expansion to trip the T&P.  Every time you tap some water, you essentially reset the clock.  Once your old valve started, it probably didn't close even thought the pressure dropped back below trip levels after tapping water.  If you had tapped on the pin of the lever on top of the relief valve, it probably would have stopped leaking.

nereo

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2022, 05:13:29 PM »
Your expansion tank is likely bad.  If you are on a city water supply and have a back flow preventer the expansion tank is necessary to keep the T&P relief from opening.  Turn off the water to your house at the water meter.  Tap water at your highest faucet.  If the water runs for a bit (10 seconds or so) with pressure, your expansion tank is probably okay.  If the water stops running at pressure almost immediately it is bad.  Once you take it out, it will probably be waterlogged and the internal bladder has failed.  Once a T&P valves open they are frequently difficult to keep closed again, so you may have had to replace it anyway.  However, if you don't check and replace your expansion tank your new relief valve will probably leak as well.  It probably wasn't bad, just doing its job.
can I just close off the cold water valve going in to the expansion tank and heater?

I don't know any reason why not.  That should work.

You really should figure out where the main valve is.  It would be terrible if a pipe burst one day and it took an extra 20 minutes to get the water off.

Speaking as someone who had a pipe burst when they werenít home and had to tell a neighbor how to shut off the water - YES, as a homeowner you should know exactly where the main shutoff is at street level and where the main valve is inside your home.

Minutes matter when a pipe or faucet breaks

NorCal

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2022, 06:30:13 PM »
Were you electric previously? Currently, I have a gas furnace and gas water heater. In Idaho, it seems that gas is cheaper than electric.

My water heaters are in the garage, right next to furnace and whole-house humidifier, behind laundry room and washer drain. It would be easy to plumb a condensation line.


If you do end up needing to replace it, I've become an advocate for the heat-pump water heaters.  I have the AO Smith one, which is on your rebate list and linked below.  They also qualify for a $300 tax credit.

https://www.aosmithatlowes.com/products/water-heaters/electric-water-heaters/hp10-50h45dv/

They require a few things that make them not appropriate for every house.  They need:
1. Good air flow.  They need to be in a room that's 10'x10' if I recall correctly, otherwise you have to add some ventilation (which isn't that hard).
2. The fan is moderately loud, so they won't work if it lives in a closet adjacent to a main living space.
3. There is some condensation that needs a drain.

While they are pricey, I've calculated my financial returns on the install at just north of 20% based on our new ridiculous natural gas prices and slightly less ridiculous electricity prices [Colorado]

I did mine as a DIY install, so feel free to DM me if you have any questions on them.

I was previously gas. I did pay an electrician $500 to run the electrical. With hindsight, I probably could have done electrical myself.

Iíd say itís worth doing the math for your own utility rates. It adds about 120kwh/mo to make electric bill ($17/mo), but it reduced our gas bill by over $35/mo. And this was before gas prices doubled for us. The heat pumps are WAY more efficient than the old electric water heaters.

Norma_G

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Re: Water Heater replacement? please help
« Reply #43 on: June 23, 2022, 02:59:10 AM »
The seals between the tank and the pipe can be why your tank leaks, and the age and heat also be a reason. Anyway, You are on the right track with your idea to get a gas tankless water heater if you consider giving your home the best you can. A tankless water heater has no storage tank, so it heats water once a time as needed. This gives the water heater a much faster warm-up time than a tank water heater which is essentially a large tank that must be filled with water before it can be heated. I did replace my water heater last year. It was a standard 40 gal. electric water heater The new one is gas. I had the plumber https://www.advancedplumbing.ca/contact-us/toronto/ do it because I didn't want to mess with those gas lines. If you are still confused, I think it is better to approach a professional plumber who will help you make wise decisions.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2022, 03:03:29 AM by Norma_G »