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View Full Version : Hot Water Heater Life Span



smitty52
12-22-2008, 01:17 PM
I have a 40 gal, gas hot water heater that is now about 11 years old.
I know the avg lifespan is supposed to be about 10 years.
My question is, if it works fine, appears to be fine from the outside, am I taking a chance on it bursting/leaking unexpectedly or should i be fine for a number of years yet?

Should i drain off some sediment from time to time or could I possibly be causing a problem?

nhmaster
12-22-2008, 02:58 PM
Change it now, right now, this very minute :D

Na, just keep an eye on it and change it when it leaks. draining sediment is always a good idea, especially with a gas water heater. It keeps oxygen from being trapped in the sediment and rusting the tank as well as cutting down on that hissing a popping sound.

master plumber mark
12-22-2008, 03:33 PM
I really think that you should wait untill it becomes a dire emergency..

its much more expensive and exciteing that way !!!


If you tweak that old heater out of its last breath,
I can almost %100 guarantee it will fail when you

have a bunch of your family staying over

on X-mas this year or next year....

http://joyerickson.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/mother-in-law-from-hell.jpg?w=300&h=239 (http://joyerickson.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/mother-in-law-from-hell.jpg)
the look on your wife and your mother-in laws face will be
priceless.-----its just one of those memories you will never forget

here you are .... scrambling around x-mas morning mopping up a huge
flood and begging a plumber to come out and install a heater that day..
......for any price .that day....


and you got 6 -8 people in your home
all wanting to take a shower.....


the sight of your mother-in law in a half open bath robe
is truely un-forgetable

(the horror....the horror of it all)


Fella, these are priceless
X-MAS memories that you dont want to miss out on...


so keep that water heater going...

GabeS
12-22-2008, 03:48 PM
Do you mean draining a little water out of the bottom of the hot water tank throught the drain valve? Like in a steam boiler? How often, how much?

jar546
12-22-2008, 05:11 PM
The average life expectancy for a water heater is 14 years as a general rule of thumb counting both fuel burning and electric.

Fuel burning water heaters last less then that but many live way beyond their life expectancy.

Just keep an eye on yours and flush the sediment out annually.

Cass
12-23-2008, 06:02 AM
I would not recommend you flush the tank now unless you live in a soft water area and definitely not if you live in a hard water area...many times people start flushing a tank when it is old and crud and other things can cause the drain valve to start leaking...also if there is a large build up on the bottom only a fraction of the build up will come out...in general I don't recommend flushing a tank unless it is started and done on a regular basis from the time it is first installed...

jimbo
12-23-2008, 06:27 AM
The risk of continuing with the old one is not high. The more common failure modes are failure to heat, and small leaks. Sudden catastrophic flooding can happen, but is much less common, in my experience. Of course a small leak can be very bad if you are away for hours, or days.

It is all risk/reward calculation.

Dunbar Plumbing
12-23-2008, 07:32 AM
What is a Hot Water Heater?


I don't believe there is such a thing. Delete this thread as it's inacurrate.



And mark, that woman is HAWT! You got her phone number? Is she single? Likes peppercorn muffins at the local library?

http://joyerickson.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/mother-in-law-from-hell.jpg?w=300&h=239 (http://joyerickson.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/mother-in-law-from-hell.jpg)

Dunbar Plumbing
12-23-2008, 07:39 AM
I have a 40 gal, gas hot water heater that is now about 11 years old.
I know the avg lifespan is supposed to be about 10 years.
My question is, if it works fine, appears to be fine from the outside, am I taking a chance on it bursting/leaking unexpectedly or should i be fine for a number of years yet?

Should i drain off some sediment from time to time or could I possibly be causing a problem?



The efficiency of that tank as it ages, given the lack of proper draining, the lack of anode rod replacement and the caked sediment in the bottom of the tank due to improper maintenance allows that device to operate inefficiently without anyone knowing how bad.


11 years would put you around the dip tube failure era. Not draining it regularly puts that heater as a V8 cadillac operating on 6 cylinders, and you think the longer the tank sits in operation, the better.

Not so.


The new energy standards provide a better R-Value on the insulation they install around those heaters, along with the known fact that a clean inside of the tank will heat that water like it was designed to.


You don't understand how badly it's operating so you'll move to let it be. IF you knew how bad the efficiency was, you'd replace it immediately. This is a lack of knowledge concept that only a handful understand, comprehend.

GabeS
12-23-2008, 08:07 AM
To flush or not to flush, that is the question.

Probedude
12-23-2008, 08:27 AM
What is a Hot Water Heater?

I was wondering when someone was going to post about this.

GabeS
12-23-2008, 08:37 AM
It's a heater that heats water. Hence, hot water heater.

SteveW
12-23-2008, 08:42 AM
It would actually be more accurate to call it a cold water heater. No need to heat hot water.

Probedude
12-23-2008, 08:43 AM
It's a heater that heats water. Hence, hot water heater.

But the response is
"If you already have hot water, why do you need to heat it?"

"HOT water heater" vs "water heater"

Verdeboy
12-23-2008, 01:05 PM
My HW tank was on its last legs in my new rental house, and since it was 15 yo, I thought it was a no brainer to replace it. Not so, said the landlord, he has a tank that is 50 yo in one of his other rental units, so this one is just a pup.

The thermostat had to be turned all the way up to get any hot water out of it, and it was on all the time. Well, my first gas bill was $60.00, and, since it was June, the only thing that was using gas was the HW tank. He relented and got a new tank. My bill went down to $18.00.

I'm guessing that, either the dip tube had snapped off, or it was so full of lime, it formed an insulation barrier to the water.

hj
12-24-2008, 05:35 AM
Asking how long a heater will last is like asking "how high is up?" The same make and model heater can last 2 years or it can last 25 years. There is no way to determine ahead of time how long, or at any point how much longer. And, there is little, if any, difference between brands as can be seen by the quantity of each that is replaced.

Cass
12-24-2008, 06:08 AM
Whirlpool heaters Are complete junk in comparison to all others and seem to have a shorter life span than all others...for what ever reason...just my NSHO

WV Hillbilly
12-24-2008, 07:32 AM
Just for the heck of it I thought I would post this . Back in the 90's I received a call to replace an electric water heater that quit heating . I arrived at the persons home & the man told me that he had bought the home in the 50's & the water heater was there when he bought the home . It wasn't leaking & I asked him if he wanted me to check it out & see why it wasn't heating . He said no , because of the age he wanted to replace it & he would go get a new one while I removed the existing one . He left & I started removing the heater . The first thing I did was turn off the electric to the heater . I had to follow the wire to find the power source . It turned out that there was a small disconnect switch on the outside wall of his house & it was turned off . Turned it back on & the heater worked fine . Only explanation they had for it being turned off was that they had a boy mow their yard & he must have turned it off . I replaced the heater with the new one anyway . The old heater was 40 something years old & if I remember correctly it was a Rheem . The electric water heater in my rental house was there when I bought the house in 1991 & is still chugging right along . The house was built in 1982 & I expect the heater is the original . That would make it about 26 years old . Offhand I can't recall the brand name . I have also replaced leaking heaters that was only a couple years old but that was the exception rather than the rule . I won't get into the efficency , bad water problems , ect , but as a general rule I wouldn't replace an 11 year old heater just because of its age . Just my opinion & it's worth exactly what you paid for it .

Cass
12-24-2008, 10:07 AM
A tank used to heat water is a water heater...it will heat water reguardless of the incoming temp of the water and the water it heats will always be cooler than the water becomes after it is finished heating the water.

Dunbar Plumbing
12-24-2008, 10:20 AM
Yep!


It's definitely a "proceed with caution" scenario when someone posts those 3 words. They obviously don't have a clue and signifies their experience level.

So I respond in candor most times not allowing the full flow of knowledge to reach my fingertips to assist. :D

Cass
12-24-2008, 10:38 AM
Nice...and my finger tips will be reaching forth, grasping shrimp by the tail and dropping them into my belly watching for the response by others...

Dunbar Plumbing
12-24-2008, 12:51 PM
mmm


shrimp


scampi

Donn2390
12-30-2008, 01:50 PM
I replaced an 11 year old electric W/H that was working fine. It was a forty gallon unit, and I replaced it during a bathroom remodel that added a tub/shower and washer. I didn't think the 40 gal would keep up with the new usage requirements.
What I didn't expect was a large saving in energy..! The new 80 gal heater was so much more efficient, it cost half as much to operate as the 40 gal unit.
The world has come a long ways in 11 years, efficiency alone is reason enough to change an 11 years old unit.
I'm not a plumber, but I write the checks, and saving momey excites me...1

theplumber
12-31-2008, 11:37 AM
With new water heaters these days I would avoid changing it unless it's neccessary. If you have a heater with a brass hose bib at the bottom draining them tends to be fairly easy. If it's a plastic hose bib there's a chance it won't stop leaking afterwards. You haven't touched it in 11 years now have you, so chances are it's not used to being touched. Important things to look for is corrosion around the nipples coming out of the top of the unit, this can be a bad sign that not everyone knows what looks bad verses what is actually bad.

Not talking about venting, I'm assuming it was all done properly and doesn't look rotten out. The other important thing is the relief valve. Sometimes they don't work if they get real old and never have to open up. If this is the case then opening it up for the first time could cause it to drip forever after. You could end up having to change that or maybe should change it if you are worried about if failing to function in the future. This of course increases a small chance of the tank cracking whenever you drain it down and disassemble and reassemble an old unit. But this is always a chance, and it's better to attempt these tasks when you are prepaired to go the distance if you have to.

Some older heaters go 20 years. It depends on use, craftsmanship, luck, quality of water supply.... If you ask me about new heaters, I'd say your older ones are more reliable than the current generation of products available to you. Go B&W if you do and stay away from American water heaters no matter what. I'm told the current GE water heaters found in ********* are actually American heaters so you need to get to know what their burner assembly looks like so you know what to avoid. A telltale sign is on the bottom of the heater. If it's on legs and has a rectangular area underneath it with a microscreen - it's an American WH and should be avoided at all costs.

Redwood
12-31-2008, 01:31 PM
Now this would be a "Hot Water Heater"

http://www.bradfordwhite.com/images/products/booster.gif :D

After all it does take hot water and make it hotter doesn't it?

I would consider Bradford White to be a great choice. However if you are not opposed to spending more and are planning on owning the house for a long time you may want to consider one of these. http://www.htproducts.com/phoenix.html

Probedude
12-31-2008, 08:03 PM
I'm told the current GE water heaters found in ********* are actually American heaters so you need to get to know what their burner assembly looks like so you know what to avoid.

The GE water heaters are still being made by Rheem.

Other than the glass vial FVIR mechanism (one time use only), Rheem I've read is a good quality replacement.

Redwood
01-01-2009, 07:01 AM
I have noticed of late, fewer of the "Whirlpool" brand name water heaters on the shelves at Lowes and more of the other brand names of the American Water Heaters Company like American Proline, Envirotemp, Mor-Flo, Powerflex, Premier Plus and US Craftmaster. This is clearly an effort to further deceive the customers of Lowes as the word of the "Cesspool" debacle is finally having an impact on their sales...

Same Junk just a different name!:mad:

master plumber mark
01-01-2009, 07:11 AM
http://www.htproducts.com/phoenix.html[/URL]


That unit appears to be a glorified power vent water heater

I would hate to have to even attempt to service it

what does it cost??

kingsotall
01-01-2009, 08:55 AM
Now this would be a "Hot Water Heater"

http://www.bradfordwhite.com/images/products/booster.gif :D

After all it does take hot water and make it hotter doesn't it?

[/URL]

As is this:

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/productImages/9/7/00000119497-WolfFreestanding36InchGasRangeDF366-large.jpeg

Redwood
01-01-2009, 09:12 AM
As is this:

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/productImages/9/7/00000119497-WolfFreestanding36InchGasRangeDF366-large.jpeg

You're Killin Me!

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f2/Redwood39/laugh-1.gif