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Thread: WH lifetimes

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  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.

  3. #3

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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.

  4. #4
    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.

  6. #6
    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??

  7. #7
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by gusherb94 View Post
    The water heater in our 3 unit apartment building is 13 years old, still going well. 50 gallon State.


    Well after 13 years and being used very heavily the State water heater finally died on Tuesday........It sprung a nice leak in the flue, put out the pilot, and left a nice puddle in the basement.
    Of course being it's an apartment building we can't be out of hot water for long so the heater was replaced, and no a pro was not called (even though I would have preferred that myself as not to have the day before thanksgiving spent on that....) but I and my dad got the new Bradford White 50 gallon high recovery heater in and working, it needed a bit of repiping to make it all work and the flue right off the water heater was replaced since it was all rusted out.
    But anyway old one lasted 13 years, easily ran out of hot water. New one is same tank size but high recovery, and it should hopefully never or rarely run out.

  9. #9

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    Friday I went to the building, to the apartment that's our's, and tested the new water heater's capabilities....
    So what I did was first started the dishwasher, then took a 20 minute hot shower. By then water heater temp was down to about 110 by the time I turned off the shower (thermostat set to 140), dishwasher filled and emptied a few times during that time as part of it's normal cycle.
    Then to top it off I decided to run the top load washer at max water level on hot with warm rinse, about 5 minutes after the shower. hot water temperature hovered at about 110 during the whole time it filled and once it stopped filling the heater caught up again...fast.

    So overall the new water heater does about what I expected, it supplies plenty of hot water for intense hot water use between tenants and after some long use hot water runs down but not out.... Just what I wanted, and once hot water use susbides a little the tank catches up more than enough for another shower or the rinse cycle of the washer, fast.

    So overall I'm very happy with the hot water supply now. Next up in who knows when time will be the rusted through 1" water main in the basement...

  10. #10
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gusherb94 View Post
    Next up in who knows when time will be the rusted through 1" water main in the basement...
    A bit off topic but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.... I'd fix that bad boy before it blows.

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