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Thread: Failed Water Heater

  1. #1
    DIY Member Bill MD's Avatar
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    Default Failed Water Heater

    My GE gas water heater started to leak from the bottom. This surprised me since this heater has a 12 year warranty and it is only 4 years old. When I was taking it out so that I could replace it I noticed that the check valves for the hot and cold water lines were reversed. Could these valves being in the wrong places have anything to do with the failure?

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If the check valves were reversed, how did the water get in?

    Or out for that matter.

    Did you have an expansion tank installed too?

  3. #3
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Ge water heaters

    sorry about your water heater...

    the check valves dont mean much

    Either it was just a poorley made heater or

    high water perssure will usually be what kills a heater


    my question is how did the GE warranty people treat you...

    with the warranty and change out of the heater....??

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    By check valves do you mean the heat traps? Nipples with small rubber flaps inside that will move when the water flows? If that is what you mean then no it wouldn't have any bearing on failure.

    Neither would a reversed check valve but you wouldn't be getting any water at all if the check valve was reversed.

    Like Terry said it was most likely just a poorly made tank and you got it.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default Valves

    How do you know, or what makes you think, they are reversed? If they were factory installed, then they are correct, and if they were installed in the piping water would never have flowed to your faucets. Heater failure is due to the quality of water and the amount of usage. The extended warranty heaters are the same as the normal 6 year warranty one, you just pay more for the "insurance policy". In fact I have one 8 year heater that failed, and the company may want the sales receipt because at that time they say they were selling 8 year heaters for the price of 6 year ones because customers did not want to pay the extra money, which was the only difference between the two.

  6. #6
    DIY Member Bill MD's Avatar
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    Default Answers

    Thanks for the Replies.

    I'll try to answer your questions.

    How water got past the check valves puzzels me.

    The check valves look like pipe nipples and have little balls in them which block flow in one direstion. They were located on top of the heater on the inlet and outlet labeled hot and cold. When I removed the heater I took them out because I thought mabe I could use them for something. Then is when I noticed one was stamped hot and the other cold and they had arrows on them indicating direction of flow. The one labeled hot was in the cold water inlet and the one labeled cold was in the hot water outlet. The arrows were pointing in the wrong directions. When I installed the heater I did not put these in, it came from the factory that way. The words hot and cold and the arrows were lightly stamped on the valves and not very noticable.

    GE agreed to replaced this water heater. However, they told me that in 2003 the federal government mandated that all water heaters have sealed fire boxes and I would have to pay for this upgrade. It cost $100.

    A few more things I should mention.

    When a hot water tap was turned on I could hear a bubbling noise coming from the heater. I could also hear a slight bang at the heater when the hot water was turned off. Sometimes I'd hear a scraping around the heater. The replacement does not do this.

    Also, this heater is a replacement for a defective one. In 2002 when I had to replace my water heater I bought one, installed it and it leaked as soon as it was filled with water. So I took it back and got the one I just replaced. Since a brand new one of the same brand and model at the same store leaked, I'm wondering if this indicates a bad batch of heaters.

    I think that about covers everything.

    Thanks again

    Bill

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    If it indicates anything it is that you are buying your water heaters from HD, Lowes, or similar.

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    The nipples and balls are not check valves but a type of heat trap nipple. If they were in the wrong spot and upside down they would allow water to flow but not trap heat.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Great quality

    at that average you will have to install another

    two or three before the twelve year warranty

    finally expires...

  10. #10
    DIY Member Bill MD's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks again.

    Looks kike I just had a defective heater.

    Just one question. Is there any reason not to buy water heaters at Lowes, Home Depot, etc? I can see avoiding some off brands they may carry, but why not buy name brands like GE from them?

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The big box stores are big enough to have products made to order for them to their specs; not always, but sometimes. If you can buy the exact same model elsewhere, vs one only available there, there may be some differences - quality and price may be in effect. Sometimes it is just the packaging, sometimes what accessories are included, sometimes, there is no difference.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #12
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill MD
    Thanks again.

    Looks kike I just had a defective heater.

    Just one question. Is there any reason not to buy water heaters at Lowes, Home Depot, etc? I can see avoiding some off brands they may carry, but why not buy name brands like GE from them?
    Well L***s brand is Whirlpool which everyone thinks is good and they are about to be on the receiving end of a class action law suit over their water heaters.

    So much for brand names = quality.

    The large companys are more interested in $$$$ and will use their name recognition to sell junk when they know it is junk instead of pulling it off the market until the problem is fixed.

  13. #13
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Default

    Here's an update to all of those affected......and it might be coming to your neighborhood as well.

    Home Depot in my area and all the surrounding ones quit selling the PowerVent water heaters. From the higher-ups down to the plumbers installing them that they are having way too many warranty issues coming back to GE. Bottom line? They are not making money and the winds of change I guess are warranted.

    I'm sure they are going to handle all the warranty follow-ups on this heater but I would surely think in the near future that Home Depot is going to change name brands of heaters SOON. They have had 3 in my area already, GSW/Richmond/GE.

    On the GE 50 Gallon Electric heaters........I know these are RHEEM water heaters but those tanks are so light that they are scarey. I mean, that thickness of the tank has to be so thin that I cannot see how it is going to stand the test of time with the hard water my area offers. If those tanks weren't so cumbersome I could pratically through one on my shoulder; it's that light. It ain't gonna happen because I've been living with a torn rotator cuff for some time. No more supa-man antics for me.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  14. #14
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Anytime a water heater is installed by homeowners there si a much higher degree of probability that it will be returned due to the "anyone can do it " mentality.

    Last week I saw a 6 year old heater sitting at the return desk a L***s. With just a quick glance I could tell the installer used silicone on the nipple threads and they must have leaked for years because the whole heater was eaten up with rust starting from the nipples on down. They refunded the $$$$.

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