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Thread: This Old house rust in water

  1. #1

    Default This Old house rust in water

    Was watching this old house this weekend. Homeowner had rust in bathtub water and was told it's time to replace the water heater. Is this really true? Our home is about 18 years with the original water heater. We rarely use the tub but whenever the water is turned on rust comes out. I never thought much about it and it's been doing it for years.I figured I'd keep the heater until it dies;can't see replacing it it because of some rust in the water. Some some earlier posts on this topic and have concluded it's no big deal.Wondered what someone else thought.

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    If it were the water heater, it would not just manifest at the tub. You/they would be seeing rust at all hot water outlets. Perhaps you don't care if your whites don't come out white and holding onto an old heater makes sense to you. A heater that's rusting is not long for this world so replacing it before it springs a major leak at an inopportune time may be the prudent thing to do.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If it's only rusty in the tub, it's probably not the WH, but a steel nipple that was used to attach the tub spout...change that to a brass one, and the problem goes away. But, at 18-years, you are well past the average point when a WH needs to be replaced. If it truely is the WH and not a localized problem from say that nipple, then it is probably on its last legs, and you should replace it now, rather than the inconvenience of having it start leaking when you are say away for the weekend or worse.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Not to get off the subject but I also watched the same episode. Did you notice that Richard was putting the T- tape on the heater nipples backwards?

    John

  5. #5
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    If you have an 18 year old water heater, its a good rig. Todays are DESIGNED to fail in 6 to 8 years.

  6. #6

    Default Replacing Water Heater-Good Brands

    Quote Originally Posted by ballvalve View Post
    If you have an 18 year old water heater, its a good rig. Todays are DESIGNED to fail in 6 to 8 years.
    Think I'll start checking out prices for a new one. Two questions First what are brands to stick with? This one is a Bradford White .have heard it's a good brand along with AO Smith. BTW it is a vented gas model Thought I'd stick with one of these two brands. Also I have no interest in one of those super efficient heaters like the Vortex.Out of my budget and will not be in house long enough for payback. What is reputation of these brands?

    Second, I thought I'd replace it myself.i'm a homeowner not a pro. But I think I can solder two new plumbing connections(resoldered my exterior sprinkler system connection fine) and refit new gas line. The heater is in our basement with plenty of room. Just doesn't seem like it's that difficult.Is it?

    As an aside my father home still has the original Rudd water heater;it's now 44 years old. Was used for years by 5 people. Now just one. What's different about these things?
    Thanks

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o1 View Post
    Not to get off the subject but I also watched the same episode. Did you notice that Richard was putting the T- tape on the heater nipples backwards?

    John
    Missed that detail but I'm not a pro. Was just trying to get overall idea of replacing a heater.

  8. #8

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    Easy enough. It is only this one tub. No the other and not in the washing machine water or kitchen

  9. #9

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    Reminds me of another question. He installed some kind of solenoid to the cold water pipe connected to water alarm. What exactly is that device called and price of it?

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Technically, a BW WH is only supposed to be sold to a plumber, but some places will sell them to a consumer. It is still a good brand. GE WH sold at HD are made by Rheem, but to a slightly lower quality. Rheem is also considered one of the better ones.

    Codes have changed in some places, and (at least where I live) a tempering valve may now be required, so it's a bit more plumbing than just the hot/cold supply lines. BW has a nice package with one included that has a secondary output with full hot for things like the DW, which works better with hotter water.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vaman77 View Post
    As an aside my father home still has the original Rudd water heater;it's now 44 years old. Was used for years by 5 people. Now just one. What's different about these things?
    Thanks
    The debate about the useful lifespan of hot water tanks comes up often. Unless your father has unusually soft water, after 44 years it must have so much limescale that it's efficiency is poor.
    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...ifetimes/page3

    I lived in a rental home once where the old tank was so heavy from limescale that the plumber just left it where it stood and ran the piping over to the new tank beside it. It took three strong men to carry it up out of the basement.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Rusty water will be apparent in a tub, but NOT in the sinks because of the volume of water, but if it is only the one tub, then there is a steel fitting SOMEWHERE near the faucet causing the rust. Several companies, including BW, are using the new I-Con thermostat, and we are have IMMENSE issues with them failing on new heaters. AND when they fail, it is a laborious process to repair because the problem can be in any one of four components and sometime you have to change all of them before you find the problem. A single supply house may NOT have all four because the demand is so high it is hard to keep the replacement parts in stock. It is not like the old days when the only part that caused a problem was the thermocouple.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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