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 Post subject: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 4:08 am 
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We have a 40 gallon A. O. Smith natural gas water heater that was installed 20 years ago and, here lately, the water has not been getting nearly as hot as it should and I bumped up the thermostat a little (it's now almost as high as it will go) and it helped a little; but, I know that something is soon going to have to be done. I'll be happy if the old one can be fixed; but, since it's 20 years old, I figure it's about reached the end of it's useful life.

Back around '87, Dad replaced the water heater that was likely the original one from '63 and that one lasted until '99 and that one is currently in use.

I was looking at the Lowe's website and they have A. O. Smith models; but, I'm probably going to hire someone to pull the old one out and recommend something. Whatever I get, I'll bet it won't last 20 years, LOL. We were thinking about a tankless model; but, the more I think about it, we'd probably do just fine going with a tank-style heater.

I was also thinking about the heat/air unit (an R22-based Rheem from 2002). It's been serviced over the years and it's currently working OK; but, at that age, I'm sure it's running out of years, too. I just hope it and the water heater don't go at the same time.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 4:21 am 
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Location: Columbus Ohio
have you drained the sediment out of it with the bottom valve. Caution, being so old, that valve may not close fully once opened.
Lowe's and Home Depot give a 10% discount to Vet's, making a new 40 gal heater under $400.
Not much to a gas heater, flame comes on and heats, is the flame full? if so, its sediment build up.
Always better to replace before failure with water heaters without any doubt, what a mess it can be if the bottom perforates.
You have a floor drain there?

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 4:44 am 
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No floor drain; but, it's in the basement (concrete floor) and when it rains hard, water comes in the basement. I have not tried draining it and it would be just my luck that if I did, something would go haywire with the valve and I'd be in worse shape than I am now.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 5:04 am 
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Also need to periodically replace the sacrificial anode to keep the tank from being eaten away.


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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 5:42 am 
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Location: Mission Viejo, southern California
Draining them periodically does help.

At 20 years old, it is past the expected and economic lifespans.

Tankless units can have quirks. You may need a larger gas line and/or different flue. There are articles on installing them with accessories such as pumps and pressure tanks to deal with the hot-cold-hot issue.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 5:51 am 
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You might have an issue with the "dip tube". Your water heater sounds like its the age of the problematic ones.

http://www.thehomeinspector.com/Clients/DipTubeM.html


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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 7:55 am 
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Location: Sayreville, NJ 08872
I replaced my A.O. Smith 50 gal water heater the day after Xmas 2018. It was 11 years old. Sediment build up was the main problem causing not getting enough hot water plus a small leak was developing at the bottom of the tank. Was going to get another A.O. Smith but reviews on various sites were not to great for the newer A.O. Smith models. So I opted for a 50 gal Rheem which got some great reviews. The installer indicated that I should drain the tank (connect a long garden hose to the drain valve and run it out and down the driveway) at least once a year. Sediment buildup can be a big problem in killing lots of hot water.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 8:27 am 
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I would recommend a Bradford White 'Defender' natural gas water heater. With the exception of the burner unit, the water heater is made in the USA.


Last edited by Blustar1 on Jul Mon 22, 2019 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 8:42 am 
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if valve does stick, it can be replaced, you shut off water first of course, then drain 40 gal of "warm" water.
but, the sheet metal around it may give and split from the torque needed, no doubt the old valve is well seated.
Tankless is not efficient as a tank because brushing your teeth uses a lot of energy, where a tank type would use zero or little
to get back to temp. Consumers Report has a good public article on that

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 12:33 pm 
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Location: Gretna, Nebraska
If you buy a replacement HWH be sure to measure the old unit carefully so the replacements flue, water line, and gas line hook ups will reconnect with a minimum of effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 12:54 pm 
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processhead wrote:
If you buy a replacement HWH be sure to measure the old unit carefully so the replacements flue, water line, and gas line hook ups will reconnect with a minimum of effort.


+1, that makes it so much easier

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 2:55 pm 
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New water heaters are in fact taller and of a larger diameter than they were 20 years ago, due to more insulation mandated by federal energy regulations. No more plug and play installations. However, the many flex pipe products available today make installing them a breeze, should you opt to go that route.

As far as tankless units, they demand a rigorous maintenance schedule. Depending on your water quality, tankless heaters can end up costing far more in the long run, all things considered. Another important factor is the temperature of your cold water, especially in the winter. They're only capable of so many degrees of temperature rise. Nothing like a cool shower in January. . . .

Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 4:18 pm 
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Bradford White or Rheem either one you ain't gonna go wrong.

I've recently installed a 50 gallon Rheem gas water heater in a rental property I own and basically only had to sweat on male connectors to the water supply lines.

I installed a new cut off ball valve on the cold water supply and then used flexible supply lines to connect to the water heater and then on the gas line installed a new gas stop and new flexible gas line.

Bought everything I needed from my local Home Depot and yeah cost close to $600.00 although should be good for years now.

Biggest problem was lugging the old water heater outside and then with the help of my renter we set the new water heater in the pan and connected everything and filled it and sparked it up and all went well.

I agree drain the water hear twice a year and if possible do change the Anode Rod every so many years and the water heater should last a good while depending on how hard your water is.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 4:39 pm 
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I went a different direction and replaced both of my gas water heaters with electric. In my area, electricity is reasonable and with the excellent tank insulation of modern water heaters there is little heat loss during standby.

My main reason for going electric is gas models have become considerably more complex and failure prone as new safety systems and sensors are required while the electric units are much simpler and of course don't need a vent. A couple of the personnel for the gas utility in the area are hams and they both went electric for the same reason. Gas water heating is fast and efficient but they aren't as reliable as they used to be. I got 28 years out of the gas Rheem "fury" in the main part of the house but I do drain the sediment (very minimal) each year. The newer Rheem model that only serves my master suite made it 7 years before it started having issues and I got tired of fooling with it and replaced it with electric which has gone 9 years without any interaction besides draining the sediment (which is not as important with electric because the elements sit higher in the tank instead of having a bottom burner)

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 7:34 pm 
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I've had 2 water heaters replaced in my home, The first one I did in 1997 myself and cost $250. The next was under my home warranty and cost $1800 to install to code with the anti-siphoning crapola added. Thankfully I was on the hook for the $75 service call only.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 7:46 pm 
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SparkyDan wrote:

As far as tankless units, they demand a rigorous maintenance schedule. Depending on your water quality, tankless heaters can end up costing far more in the long run, all things considered.

That's news to me. I bought a house to rent out in 2012 that had a tankless heater, and in 7 years, the only problem occurred early this year when the pilot went out, and had to be re-lit. We have very hard water here, but it apparently has had no effect on the unit.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 9:55 pm 
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Location: Peekskill, NY
Just a suggestion: stores like home depot sell an inexpensive cap (gasket inside and all) that fits on the threads for
boiler drains or garden hose bibs. These can be invaluable when you encounter that valve
that was OK until you touched it, and then won't shut off at all.

I make it a point to keep a couple of those in my plumbing department at home. Last time I used
one, it was for my neighbor.....


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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 10:09 pm 
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Joined: Sep Tue 15, 2015 1:16 am
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Location: 18424 PA
Gas water heaters have a sacrificial anode?

I do it the old simple way, shallow well, water filter, 24/7/365 coal boiler water coil into elec water heater, basically never comes on, water gets hotter the more you use it. Never had sediment.


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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 10:25 pm 
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Good luck with the modern gas valves on these. They can be quite a pain.


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 Post subject: Re: Probably going to be buying a new water heater
PostPosted: Jul Mon 22, 2019 11:04 pm 
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MAKE SURE AHEAD OF TIME THE WH STAYS UPRIGHT DURING DELIVERY.

The steel has a thin lining of glass that can crack if the WH is carried horizontally. Uncracked glass protects against rusting and premature leaking. Folks who wonder why their WH didn't last don't know this.


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