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Thread: Water Heater issues, replace or fix

  1. #1

    Default Water Heater issues, replace or fix

    Hello all,

    I have a ~10 year old natural gas water heater (RHEEM 21V40-7) - 40gl. which seems to have developed a weird leak.

    Every once in a while there is a small amount of water dripping out of the water outlet of the unit. This is where you would flush the tank I assume, as it has no valve on it, but a small white plastic piece with an open female water hose connector. It usually drips a little and than stops, last week it dripped, so I put in 2gb water bucket under it, today the bucket was filled to the max. It has since stopped leaking.

    Any ideas?

    Also, I have been itching about getting a tankless water heater, are they worth the headache of finding out the temperature vs GPM issues? If I were to buy one I would need it to be for the whole house.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I don't understand what kind of fitting you are describing. The only fittings I have ever seen on the bottom of a water heater is a hose bib. These are usually a piece of crap and a person is well advised to replace it with a ball valve. That said, it does not sound like the tank itself is leaking, so if you can figure out how to replace that "thing" with a ball valve, you should be OK at least for awhile. 10 years is well into middle age for a water heater, but I'd stay with it until it really leaks. As far as tankless is concerned, the are wonderful if you have deep enough pockets to buy one, enlarge your gas or electrical supply service to handle the added power requirements, pay for the installation, pay for the high operating costs, and the frequent and high cost to maintain them. Also, you should not be too concerned about having truly hot water in the winter if you live where it gets cold. Seriously, I would suggest you search the archives of this forum and see what others have experienced with these things. For the most part, they are very negative. They seem to be a wonder concept that just hasn't been developed to make the a good choice.

  3. #3
    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    Just to the right of the gas valve. They are a one-piece affair and all they do is keep a real valve out of the drain tapping.

    I replaced mine with a brass nipple and ball valve.

    As for tankless, I pretty much agree with Gary. I wish someone would put as much time and money in to building a better tank-type heater. It would get about the same energy efficiency and eliminate the downsides of the instantaneous heaters.
    Last edited by Furd; 06-01-2008 at 03:55 PM.

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    On a 10 year old unit I wouldn't touch anything... Here at least it would have 1 foot in the grave! I would just put a garden hose cap over it and call it done!


  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    San Diego
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    That is your drain valve...you just twist the big knob to open it. They are known to be trouble. It is not a big deal to replace it, although you often have to be creative getting the broken plastic nipple out of the tank! But just putting the cap on as suggested is probably your best option.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    Get a 3/4" female hose faucet. Turn off the water to the heater. Open the drain valve by rotating it counterclockwise to bleed off the latent pressure. Keep rotating it counter clockwise until it stops moving outward. THEN pull on the valve while turning it clockwise and it will come out of the tank. It is screwed into a metal nipple so you just have to put some joint compound or Teflon tape on the threads and screw the new valve onto it.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    I don't understand what kind of fitting you are describing. The only fittings I have ever seen on the bottom of a water heater is a hose bib. These are usually a piece of crap and a person is well advised to replace it with a ball valve. That said, it does not sound like the tank itself is leaking, so if you can figure out how to replace that "thing" with a ball valve, you should be OK at least for awhile. 10 years is well into middle age for a water heater, but I'd stay with it until it really leaks. As far as tankless is concerned, the are wonderful if you have deep enough pockets to buy one, enlarge your gas or electrical supply service to handle the added power requirements, pay for the installation, pay for the high operating costs, and the frequent and high cost to maintain them. Also, you should not be too concerned about having truly hot water in the winter if you live where it gets cold. Seriously, I would suggest you search the archives of this forum and see what others have experienced with these things. For the most part, they are very negative. They seem to be a wonder concept that just hasn't been developed to make the a good choice.
    Thanks Gary, I did more searches and I did find a lot of issues. I would have thought it was a easy replacement and without much trouble, that does not seem to be the case.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thank you all for the advise. I will be taking a trip to HD to get a replacement shortly.

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