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Thread: Leaky Hot Water Heater

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member BGSchatz's Avatar
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    Unhappy Leaky Hot Water Heater

    A few days ago I noticed our 40 gas hot water heater was leaking at the bottom seam (bottom of the white side). It had a number of strikes against it. About 9 to 10 years old, had been a propane heater, but later converted by a gas company contractor to natural gas (drilled jets), first seven years had well water, softened for about 4 or 5 years, TP valve hadn't been tested until now, anode never checked, last put on a water pressure meter and it immediately went to 90 pounds (leaving it on overnight to see if it goes higher).

    I want to replace it with a proper natural gas model, probably a 50 gallon model. I'm looking at either Whirlpool or GE. I also want to do the install right, so planning to buy a water pressure valve and expansion tank.

    Question:From what I've been reading, can I just install the valve and then the tank close to the water meter, or would there be a reason it needs to be close to the water heater? Also I've seen the larger tanks listed and also an inline model, any preferences? Any preferences to water heater brands?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Default

    Sounds like new hw tank time.

    The expansion tank can be anywhere in the system (after the pressure reduction valve)...pick one that make it easy to install and service.

    Can't help on the other items. If a major leak is a potential problem, consider a pan. Also, consider a device from Tacohvac.com called the WAG. I've never used one, but it looks interesting. I'm not a pro...good luck.
    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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    Default Wh

    Whirlpool is probably still made by State/A O Smith and GE is made by Rheem/Ruud. Even though the companies are among the best in the country, and there are only a few "real" manufacturers, I would seldom buy them since they are sold by Lowes and Home Depot respectively. They could be perfect heaters, but I have also installed them after the customer bought them and had them fail immediately or within a short time.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member BGSchatz's Avatar
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    Default

    I appreciate the two answers. As I stated I want to do the best I can with this so still have more questions.

    1. I've monitored my system water pressure for about two days now and it has max'ed out at 92 pounds. I've heard you don't want it over 80, but this is fairly close. Do I want to put on a pressure valve and expansion tank? If I do, should I lower the pressure to about 60 pounds? If I purchase a 50 gallon water heater, is there a corresponding size of expansion tank I need?

    2. I've noticed in the forums that there is an aversion to Home Depot and Lowe's. I am now 53, have grown up with plumbing suppy stores and quality lumber yards, then saw ******* come in and run many out of business, after that Lowes and Home Depot came in to give ******* competition. I have seen some brand name things/tools such as Rigid, so I'm wondering what the problem is with buying a GE water heater or a Westinghouse? Are you suggesting I actually buy a Ruud's or some other brand from a plumbing supply, or maybe a Sears?

    I appreciate any and all answers I can get, even just people's opinions. Also wanted to publicly say thanks to Terry Love, as soon as I found this I fell in love with the site and the forums. It is very well designed and ran, and appears to be helping many people from all over, including myself.

  5. #5
    Plumber Deb's Avatar
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    Default Deb

    If your pressure is over 80, it is a good idea to install a pressure regulator. It should be installed on your incoming cold line. They generally come preset to 60. The expansion tank should be installed on the inlet (cold) water heater line after the ball valve.
    I'm with hj on the quality of products from the big box stores--and it isn't just water heaters. I seem to have far more problems with customer supplied plumbing fixtures and faucets purchased from the DIY stores (don't ask me why, I don't know). I'm not recommending Sears for a WH either.
    Put in a water heater pan if your heater is located somewhere that a leak can cause damage.
    Deb
    The Pipewench

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member BGSchatz's Avatar
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    Thanks Deb, I've noticed that over the years quality has gone down with the price at the DIY stores. As to Sears, someone on another forum bought his there and it didn't sound bad. It actually had two anodes and a curved dip tube to swirl the water coming in.

    Any ideas about size of an expansion tank? Is the tray you mentioned like the ones for washers only smaller? Something with a rim, then let the water go out closer to the drain? I hear there is a 'special' tool to remove the anodes, what is it like? I want to periodically check those, the dip tube, and the t&p valve.

    Really appreciate everyone's help and I guess from what I'm reading, I should look at a plumb supply store for one of the top brands.

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