check your old hot water tank

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by brewwagon, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    Does anyone know the trick about draining the hot water tank? Most of these things build up a bunch of calcium crud on the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the nozzle on the side of the heater and run it outside and turn the faucet thing on. You'll see what I'm talking about. It's calcium sediment.

    After you don't see any more crud coming out, let the tank fill for a while and repeat. I'll do this a few times until the water runs clear. It helps keep the water inside the tank clean, and probably helps the tank last longer. Can't hurt anything.
     
  2. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    On a baseball diamond.
     
  3. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    One thing that can add a lot of cost to a tankless water heater, 99% chance you will have to run a larger gas line. Not a job that should be taken on by an amateur.
     
  4. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Just replace every 10 yrs or so...15 yrs at the very high side.
     
  5. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Used to live in a one story house, the water heated was on the other side of the wall from the bedroom. Woke up one morning wondering what I was going to do with my free time since I had the day off.
    When my feet hit the carpet with a spash I KNEW what I was going to be doing that day.
    I just bought the cheapest water heater I could find and since one of my exwifes has that place (on a lake) now I thing I made the right choice.:twisted:
     
  6. beach bob

    beach bob Friend of Leo's

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    Yep. Plumbing solder is tin / antimony alloy. It melts at a higher temp than the lead stuff one uses to solder Tele control cavities with. Between the need for a higher temp of the things you're soldering, along with the much bigger mass of those things (compared to electrical soldering), plumbing soldering is a major PITA for the DIY-er.

    Thanks; sometimes I'm not just BSing here, I'm speaking from Actual Experience. The previous generation heater, I had to solder merely *one joint*: the 1/2 copper line for the relief valve. That one joint took me HOURS to do and get right (IOW, not spraying water out of the joint!). This last time around, when I spied that compression fitting at Home Depot, it took about three seconds to decide if it was worth the expense :D

    Money well spent... :cool:
     
  7. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

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    Most newer houses have adequate pipeline for both water and gas for a tankless whole house unit.

    What NO house will have that is an often overlooked requirement is a stainless steel flue duct. They cost 1 1st born child, or on sale 1 arm + 1 leg yuck-yuck-yuck! But seriously, the SS flue can cost more than the heating unit. This is why most houses designed for tankless the heating unit will be found on an exterior wall of the house.

    I have heard stories about DIYers installing tankless units and deciding that their existing standard steel dual wall flue would work only to find out the hard way that their homeowners policy doesn't cover non code installation caused fires. Gotta sue the installer.... Oops!!!
     
  8. brewwagon

    brewwagon Poster Extraordinaire

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    thanks for the posts i have everything dryed out and will replace the tank asap it lasted since '97 its a gemco 33.3 gallon gas

    they now have hot water tank leakage alarms :rolleyes:
     
  9. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    The gas feed on my house is 1/2".( to water heater) You have to know what the BTU requirement is for the tankless water heather. Then you have to no how long the gas line is. once you have that information you can determine the minimum pipe size. myself I would go one size larger anyway that's how a retired plumber would approach it.
     
  10. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

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    You must have a house built before 1990. Since the Loma Prieta earthquake homes are required to have 3/4" minimum gas pipe everywhere. In California anyway.
     
  11. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    One more thing, folks. Before I go to bed at night, I go down to the basement and have a look around for stuff like this. And after I put the coffee on and do my stretches in the morning, I go down to the basement for another looksee. So far, so good.
     
  12. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    House 1992 probably a branch of a 3/4 line, the line off the meter is 3/4. gas for cooktop is also 1/2"
     
  13. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

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    and it's actually illegal for a non-licensed person to do in a lot of places!

    when i was a roommate with a couple who owned their townhome, i helped replace the hot water heater. it actually wasn't that difficult, aside from being really awkward to maneuver up and down the stairs (also, there was a little water left in the bottom that we couldn't get out, so it leaked all over the carpet once it was tilted.) i soldered some of the pipes and it was pretty easy, but i also grew up watching This Old House, which actually helped a surprising amount :D. we had to draw straws to see who had to light the pilot light though.

    that was probably eight years ago at least, but i remember the solder had no lead in it. i don't even know if it's legal to use lead solder on domestic water pipes anymore (i think it was "silver solder", although i don't think there's actually any silver in it. kinda like nickel-silver frets;)) anyway, we just made sure to turn on the water supply slowly, so that if i'd screwed up it wouldn't spray water everywhere (it didn't and i was rather proud of my propane torch-wielding self.)

    speaking of This Old House...a few months back i was watching an episode of Ask This Old House, and they were explaining that regular tank water heaters have a sacrificial anode in them. it attracts the ions (or is it negative ions?) that would otherwise cause corrosion to the tank itself. turns out most people don't even realise those anodes exist, and they're also replaceable once they get corroded. you can extend the life of your water heater by replacing them, and apparently they're available at pretty much any home store (Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.) they usually just unscrew from the top of the tank with a wrench.

    ...do i watch too much PBS?
     
  14. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

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    it could've been worse. over the past year, my grandfather's lower floor has flooded twice...and it wasn't his hot water heater. nope, it was the sanitary sewer! not only did they have to spend a bundle to have someone come out and remove tree roots from the pipe, they had to have a remediation company come out to clean the basement. luckily his house is a split-level, so there are only two bedrooms and a bathroom. unluckily, both rooms are completely furnished and carpeted (one home office and one guest bedroom.) it also got into the crawlspace a little bit, but that only has a dirt floor and they don't use it for much anymore.

    he said it was the most disgusting thing he's ever seen or smelled.
     
  15. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    If a home owner takes out a Permit to do the work his or her self, its legal.
    If they see it through and pass the inspection, then their Insurance Company will give them Fire Insurance.

    If you don't get it Inspected and Passed, you are Liable for Damages to yourself and others.
     
  16. beach bob

    beach bob Friend of Leo's

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    Good man, pretty close explanation. And no you do not watch too much PBS! :)

    I am a professional in the world of sacrificial (and other kinds) anode protection. Without delving into the electrochemical aspects, basically your water heater anode operates the same way a dry cell battery does: the anode corrodes sacrificially (intentionally) so that the thing you want to protect (in this case, your steel water heater tank) does not corrode. In the battery, the outer casing is a magnesium alloy, and the center is a carbon alloy, to give you a 1.5 voltage for your flashlight, etc. The water heater tank anode is made of zinc if memory serves. I saw replacement anodes at my Home Depot. I pulled the anode out of my old water heater after it leaked and sure enough, the anode was kaput.

    If you look at the instruction book for your new water heater, you might even find a section about replacing the anode.
     
  17. gayler

    gayler Tele-Meister

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    Your right silver solder is very easy to work with. Changing the anode is also a good idea. I just changes out the one in the 50 gal water heater that heats my garage floor. 42 inch anode cost 17.00 but had to be ordered in because no one changes them any more.
     
  18. ValveFan

    ValveFan Tele-Meister

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    Hot water heater drain pan.
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_317903-11713-QP-24_0__?productId=3126575&Ntt=hot+water+heater+drain+pan&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dhot%2Bwater%2Bheater%2Bdrain%2Bpan&facetInfo=

    One of these with a hose to the floor drain will save your bacon. If you don't have a floor drain cap the drain connection and put a leak detector alarm in the pan. Hopefully you catch it before the pan overfills...

    Also, replace the hoses to your washing machine at least every ten years. I remember hearing that those hoses breaking are the #1 homeowners insurance damage claim.
     
  19. gionnio

    gionnio Tele-Meister

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    Sorry to hear about the OP's basement flood. I hope there weren't any guitars down there!

    Our house in Oakland just had its 100th birthday. My water heater is the original Ruud tankless model (a large burner with a coiled pipe above it). It's not as efficient as modern tankless models and requires a bit of maintenance every few years, but it still works like a champ!
     
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