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Thread: WH lifetimes

  1. #1
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Default WH lifetimes

    Anyone have data on how long their gas water heater lasted?
    How 'bout for elec.?

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Some heater last for years and years, others only a few. I think it is due to mineral content in the water as much as anything. Don't know if there is a difference between lifespan of gas and electric. I would never use electric if gas was available.

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    We still have the original Ruud 50 gallon high recovery water heater in our house, the water heater is 19 years old.
    My grandma had a Ruud 40 gallon standard recovery water heater installed in 1990 and it's death was induced by a flood that devastated her neighborhood, it was still going strong. That was 18 years old.
    The water heater in our 3 unit apartment building is 13 years old, still going well. 50 gallon State.
    My aunt's 30 gallon A.O Smith water heater lasted 16 years before the tank rusted thru at the inlet nipple and it was just replaced less than a month ago with a G.E.
    A person I know had their water heater's bottom drop out on them when it was approximately 15 years old (this was back in the 90s), they got a new one about 15 years ago and I hear that it's starting to leak.
    All the water heater's I listed are on city water from lake Michigan, it's pretty common around here to have water heater's last 14-17 years and not rare to have them going over 20 years.

    :EDIT: all of the above water heater's are gas models.
    Last edited by gusherb94; 08-22-2009 at 07:27 PM.

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking here you go...

    read all this horsh-sh//
    and tell me what you think
    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/generalinfo/

    our area has some pretty aggressive water..

    I am finding that when a waterheater goes out before the
    warranty has expired, usually their is a water softener installed
    in the home......

    so does the sodium in the water eat the anode rod away quicker
    or is the problem the fact that the ground for the home is usually installed
    on the soft side of the plumbing system???.

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/generalinfo/

  5. #5
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Default equipment replacement strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by gusherb94 View Post
    We still have the original Ruud 50 gallon high recovery water heater in our house, the water heater is 19 years old.
    My grandma had a Ruud 40 gallon standard recovery water heater installed in 1990 and it's death was induced by a flood that devastated her neighborhood, it was still going strong. That was 18 years old.
    The water heater in our 3 unit apartment building is 13 years old, still going well. 50 gallon State.
    My aunt's 30 gallon A.O Smith water heater lasted 16 years before the tank rusted thru at the inlet nipple and it was just replaced less than a month ago with a G.E.
    A person I know had their water heater's bottom drop out on them when it was approximately 15 years old (this was back in the 90s), they got a new one about 15 years ago and I hear that it's starting to leak.
    All the water heater's I listed are on city water from lake Michigan, it's pretty common around here to have water heater's last 14-17 years and not rare to have them going over 20 years.

    :EDIT: all of the above water heater's are gas models.
    Thanks, that's what I'm looking for.

    Ok, so for gas heaters, lifetimes are

    13
    14
    15
    15
    16
    17
    18
    19
    20

    so 89% last longer than 13 yrs and 89% last less than 20, and if your heater lasts 16 yrs you have a 50-50 chance of going another 2.5 yrs.

    Here's an HVAC example
    1
    7
    7
    10
    10
    12
    12
    13
    15
    15
    15
    18
    18
    20
    20
    20
    20
    20
    20
    25
    30
    30
    35
    50
    56

    so if your HVAC has lasted 25 years you have a 50-50 chance of getting to 35 years.

    The more datapoints, the more accurate the likelihoods.

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    I don't think you have enough data points to be statistically significant with those numbers. But no matter what the number is...let's say you are at the 15 year point on a water heater, and you come up with some number that says you have 1 chance in 3 of lasting 5 more. Or whatever.

    What does that mean....how do you do a cost benefit of the added years about the potential damage caused by a leaker? How do you measure the hassel factor of having the WH croak at the most inopportune time?

    There a certaily plenty of gas WH today which do not outlive the 6 year warranty. But how many of those were due to faulty install??

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    I don't think you have enough data points to be statistically significant with those numbers.
    1
    But no matter what the number is...let's say you are at the 15 year point on a water heater, and you come up with some number that says you have 1 chance in 3 of lasting 5 more. Or whatever.

    What does that mean....how do you do a cost benefit of the added years about the potential damage caused by a leaker?
    2
    How do you measure the hassel factor of having the WH croak at the most inopportune time?
    3
    There a certaily plenty of gas WH today which do not outlive the 6 year warranty. But how many of those were due to faulty install??
    4
    1 30 is a statistically large sample, assuming they are representative samples. If you have less than 30 your uncertainty increases and somewhere I have a table that gives me these numbers.
    2 The HO decides his risk/benefit tradeoff. In a way, lifetime is determined by parts availability and the willingness of the HO to sink more money into this machine. There are also equip. replacement strategies based on purely economic considerations. In one sense, buying a drip pan is paying a one-time premium on an "insurance policy".
    3 See 2.
    4 These are lifetimes due to any and all reasons. It's all averaged out in these numbers.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 08-23-2009 at 10:18 AM.

  8. #8
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    I don't care how long a water heater lasted,



    The efficiency of that heater went down dramatically the longer it sat in use.


    And since people think what they don't know won't hurt them, a water heater that came with a V-8 running on 4 cylinders with a terrible energy rating is not important to the fact that it doesn't leak or not.


    Every 6 years is when water heaters should be replaced to even remotely follow those energy guide stickers.

    If you think a water heater that's operating 20 years old only costs you what the sticker says on the side of it...
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I've had two forced air furnaces go bad, the heat exchangers cracked and were letting carbon monoxide into the home.
    One was 28 years old and the second one was 15 years old.

    The 28 YO one may have gone bad before this, but this is when I bought the home, and it was replaced before closing.
    I feel sorry for the people that lived with the bad furnace for how many years?

  10. #10
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunbar Plumbing View Post
    I don't care how long a water heater lasted,



    The efficiency of that heater went down dramatically the longer it sat in use.


    And since people think what they don't know won't hurt them, a water heater that came with a V-8 running on 4 cylinders with a terrible energy rating is not important to the fact that it doesn't leak or not.


    Every 6 years is when water heaters should be replaced to even remotely follow those energy guide stickers.

    If you think a water heater that's operating 20 years old only costs you what the sticker says on the side of it...
    So efficiency drops to 50% by 6 years? You have a link?
    This should be easily measured by seeing how much gas or kwh it takes to raise the water temp. 1 BTU per pound of water per degree F and 1 Therm of energy from approx. 100 cubic feet of natural gas or 29 kwh of elec heat.

    Because, now the replacement time would also depend on how much you spend per therm of NG or elec., in addition to how much a new heater costs.

    Sounds like the strategy behind Cash For Clunkers. What's good for society may not be good for each individual in that society.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 08-23-2009 at 12:34 PM.

  11. #11
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatguy View Post
    1 30 is a statistically large sample, assuming they are representative samples. If you have less than 30 your uncertainty increases and somewhere I have a table that gives me these numbers.
    .
    There are probably a hundred thousand plumbers in the US. Home depot alone sells around 10,000 water heaters a week. A sample of 30 from 6 old geezers on the forum here.....????

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    There are probably a hundred thousand plumbers in the US. Home depot alone sells around 10,000 water heaters a week. A sample of 30 from 6 old geezers on the forum here.....????
    Representative or not, it's all I got. . .!
    "Because there is very rarely enough time or money to gather information from everyone or everything in a population, the goal becomes finding a representative sample (or subset) of that population."
    from
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_(statistics)

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    OK.....we've had a good Sunday set-to over this issue!. Now....maybe I missed it.....what was the point of the question? A lot of water heaters "live" way beyond what woudl be a reasonable expectation, and a lot die young. Many are replaced before D-day, "just because". Where does all this leave us?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Where does all this leave us?
    With help deciding on a repair/replace decision. . .

    I see from Lowe's website
    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...rs&N=0+1000092
    that most gas WHs cost between $400 and $600. For HVAC equipment this method may be more sought-after, since there is more money riding on the decision.

    BTW, same website, the elec. ones are probably close to 100% efficient (and don't lose efficiency with time?) so at $200 to $400 they seem to clearly be the better buy, assuming one therm of NG costs the same as one therm of elec.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 08-23-2009 at 06:09 PM.

  15. #15
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thatguy View Post
    So efficiency drops to 50% by 6 years? You have a link?
    This should be easily measured by seeing how much gas or kwh it takes to raise the water temp. 1 BTU per pound of water per degree F and 1 Therm of energy from approx. 100 cubic feet of natural gas or 29 kwh of elec heat.

    Because, now the replacement time would also depend on how much you spend per therm of NG or elec., in addition to how much a new heater costs.

    Sounds like the strategy behind Cash For Clunkers. What's good for society may not be good for each individual in that society.


    Do I have a link? NO, I am THE LINK.


    I've installed hundreds of water heaters...how bout you?

    I've seen them installed and not touched since the day they was installed, they call when they break, nothing inbetween.

    From day one, sediment builds in the bottom of them...even if you drain them once a year, that sediment starts to hard scale inside the tank and will not come out, ever.

    Furthermore, calcium deposits/mineral buildup become a common thing inside the water heater.


    Do you not comprehend that an energy guide rating only is dictated off a brand new unit?


    Realistically speaking, if you did install water heaters on a regular basis, you would get the famous statements after an old one has been replaced, "We can't believe how much hot water we have now, and how much faster it recovers."


    That's the efficiency as stated on the yellow tag, years from now you can erase those numbers because it grows progressively larger.

    You are not making accurate comparables to anything, and as jimbo stated precisely, you're not statistically significant.

    Your numbers are fictitious and do not represent anything because there are far too many variables that determine the longevity of a water heater.

    Believing a water heater lasting 20 years thinking it is efficient is ignorance. Go to a junk yard and cut an old one open, then tell me where the capacity went along with the ability to transfer heat through solid calcium deposits at the bottom of the tank.


    Posting resource links from l0wes? Are you kidding me?
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

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