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Question DetailsAsked on 11/16/2017

Hot water heater.

No problem right now, makes plenty of hot water, but is getting older and need to know what to expect from it.

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1 Answer


Here are links to a couple of previous questions with opinion answers on the best brands - also a link to the most popular question on typical water heater replacement cost, FYI:

For water heaters with up to 5 year life and off-brands, I figure you are very lucky if you make it to that life - they seem to have a knack of going out a week or so beyond warranty period. For name-brand heaters with 5-8 year life I figure probably 7-10 year life except in areas with very hard water or corrosive water (google for typical well water conditions in your area or check utility website for water quality info). Water heaters with 9 year or longer lives I figure you are quite likely to get the warranty life plus at least 2-3 years except in very poor water condition areas. I figure 50% longer life is about average in my area, with very high quality (very low mineral content) clean water and only mildly corrosive (as is normally the case with low mineral water - iron/lime building minerals lower the corrosivity index, so the "better" your water generally the more corrosive it is and water heaters and metal pipes get "eaten through", while high mineral water (hard water) tends to generally be non-corrosive but builds up inthe tanks and piping and causes fixture staining.

This assumes you have been draining about 3-5 gallons (or more) of water out of the bottom at full flow (to get sone circulation in there and sweep out accumulated sediment) every year - fail to do that and you will be lucky to make the advertised life (and your warranty will almost certainly be voided by that maintenance omission) because sediment builds up in the bottom and corrosion starts under the sediment - usually causing the "bottom to rot out" of the tank.

BTW - if you don't have one now, make sure to put a drip pan under it when it is replaced (about $50 for good deep metal ones, under $10 for cheap shallow plastic without drain) plumbed to empty where it will cause the least damage - like toward a floor drain. Should have 1" or larger drain and not a long drain hose (if any) - but that can control most leaks when a tank goes out.

And get a good battery-operated water alarm to put in the pan to alarm if a leak starts. Make sure the drain valve is entirely within the confines of the pan 9and positioned so a hose can be connected to it) so if it starts leaking that water is confined too.

And if in a seismic area have seismic restraint kit put on it too.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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