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Thread: Help Second BW Tank in 11 years gone bad

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Donna B.'s Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    Oakland County MI
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    Default Help Second BW Tank in 11 years gone bad

    Glad I found this website seems like a wealth of information

    Our plumber installed a 75 gallon gas power vent Bradford White water heater in 2000 when we built a new home. In July of 2006 it started leaking, we were just shy of the warranty expiration so they replaced it and the same plumber installed that. Now the replacement that is not quite five years old is leaking again, but there is no warranty on it. First my husband thought it was from the top of the tank by the valve, so he replaced the valve and sealed it good, and now it is leaking from the bottom. We are assuming it can't be repaired and are faced with getting a third water heater in 11 years! So that brings me to my questions.

    1. What should we check before throwing in the towel and buying a new water heater
    2. Did we do something wrong. BW said we should have done yearly maintenance such as drain the tank and
    check and replace the anode. According to them, if you have a water softener which we do, they go bad quicker.
    3. A local plumbing supply and service store told me we should have an expansion tank, which no one including
    BW ever mentioned before
    4. What do we buy now, based on our luck with BW it kills me to spend money on another one of their units but
    they seem to have a good reputation with the professionals
    5. Are we just doomed because all the OEMs are now using lightweight cheaper steel.

    Thanks any help or suggestions are appreciated
    Donna

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The chemistry of the water can make a difference in how long a WH lasts. Some codes require an expansion tank in every install, but they definately are needed in some situations. They never hurt, and they can solve some problems. IF you have a 'closed' system where there's a checkvalve or a PRV in the house, then they generally are required. WHen you heat water, it expands. If the system is open, it just pushes back to the supply line. If it is a closed system, it tries to blow the system up, and expands wherever it can - blowing up hoses like a balloon, leaking out the weakest valve or seal, or popping the safety valve (the T&P valve) on the WH open to release a little bit of pressure. This pressure cycling can decrease the life of a WH and other things in the system.

    The sacraficial anode is what prevents any defect in the tank from rusting out the tank...instead of the steel rusting, the anode starts to get eaten up instead. Once it is used up, the tank will go. It is an insurance policy that you have to keep renewing. How often, depends on your water. Some effectively never get used up, but others can be gone in a short time. You may need an impact wrench to remove the original one, as they can be tough and you don't want to stress the gas and water lines by turning the whole thing (and it's really hard to hold the WH!).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; 2. Did we do something wrong. BW said we should have done yearly maintenance such as drain the tank and
    check and replace the anode. According to them, if you have a water softener which we do, they go bad quicker.
    3. A local plumbing supply and service store told me we should have an expansion tank, which no one including


    2. Draining the tank and checking the anode rod MIGHT have extended the life of the tanks, but since my heater is 12 years old and I ALSO have a softener, and I have NEVER done either, I sort of doubt it. Anytime I have two heaters fail prematurely in the same house, I always install a jumper wire between the hot and cold pipes where they come out of the wall, in case there are transient electrical currents in the piping.

    3. The tank failures have absolutely NOTHING to do with whether you have an expansion tank or not.

    ANY water heater purchase is a "crap shoot". No matter which make or model you buy, it CAN fail prematurely, but the chance of it happening are fairly remote. BW will sell your installer an "extended warranty" to change your heater to a 10 year model. It does NOT change the heater, however, so if it is going to fail in 4 years, for example, the second one will be guaranteed for the remaining 6 years.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  4. #4
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Check this link for how to keep it alive. AND soft water of course eats up steel faster.

    http://www.inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Hot_Water.htm

    And yes be sure its well grounded and a jumper can't hurt.

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