How do you know when to replace your hot water heater before it blows?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by chris m., Oct 21, 2019.

  1. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,764
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    Bought my house 10 years ago. It had a brand new hot water heater. We live in an area with hard water and lots of mineral buildup. For example, shower heads and dishwasher ducts clog up. I don't get my water treated with softeners by the Culligan man or anything like that. (Probably should but haven't done it). My electric kettle gets a nice layer of buildup that I have to remove with vinegar once in awhile.

    So I have a feeling that even though it's a good quality hot water heater and is working just fine that it's a) filling up with gunk; and b) maybe about to rust through and start leaking all over my garage.

    But do I just wait until it leaks, or is there another way to evaluate it and decide when it's time to replace it? I recall an earlier thread that suggests that since I haven't been servicing it that it is probably too late to do any preventative maintenance and that any attempts to do so might actually hasten its demise-- and therefore to just replace it when it's time to do so. But how do I know when it's time without waiting for a leak?
     
  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    27,086
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    I only change my guitar strings as they break
     
    SacDAve likes this.
  3. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    855
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    Before it breaks:
    Do you own a time machine?

    Prepare for it, when I was renting a house, A 3 year old tank went out because the guy that Installed it
    didn't do a good job and the pressure valve somehow dripped and flooded the box the igniter was in. Couldn't spark the gas, no heat.

    Speaking of said valve, make sure the pipe goes to the ground(low, at least) . I need to extend mine...

    Puddles, having to relight, etc are all I've dealt with. I just assume it'll go every decade or so. I've got 7 years, I think?

    Not sure on hard water. I also should but dont have a softener...
     
  4. OldDave

    OldDave TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    21
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2019
    Location:
    North Carolina
    If you're a DIY'er you can flush it yourself and see if there's a bunch a gunk in the bottom. You're supposed to do that once a year, but aint' nobody got time for that. If you have rusty water on the hot side but not the cold - time to replace. Many manufactures state 12ish years of useful life but mine have lasted longer. Thermostats and T&P valves usually go first which are replaceable. As with any else, stuff never breaks when it's convenient. I wouldn't be sweating yet but I'd probably give it a cursory drain and flush. I'd also pull the thermostats/elements and see if there gunked up. The T&P will let you know if there's a problem.:eek:
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
    dented, verb boten, Obsessed and 2 others like this.
  5. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    36,977
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    San Benito County, California
    great advice here. Flush it once a quarter. but people don't do it. so, wait til it drips. With SB water, 10 years is tick tock time.

    if you do go with a softening system you MIGHT get 5 additional years, but the rest of your plumbing will thank you...
     
  6. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,764
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    If you get a softening system does that mean you can no longer drink the tap water? What if you put it through a Brita filter?
     
  7. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    36,977
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    San Benito County, California
    You can drink the tap water with soft water. It is fine, in fact, it is pretty good. If you spend a little, you can get softening plus reverse osmosis and you'll have fantastic water...
     
    TeleTex82 likes this.
  8. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    482
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2014
    Location:
    Virginia
    An anode rod can help you extend the life of the hot water heater - but you kind of need to select it based on the mineral content of your water.

    On the other hand, my dad called a plumber to change his after he bought a house and the plumber recommended not to touch a working tank... apparently fiddling with it can trigger it?
     
    JayFreddy and getbent like this.
  9. Warren01

    Warren01 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    56
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Location:
    Castlegar BC
    Mine is going on 20+ years. Last summer I decided to drain the tank. That part worked ok, but the valve wouldn't hold without dripping after, so I replaced it. Also, when I drained the tank, I kept turning the water inlet to flush the sediment. That valve didn't like that, as I got a drip. As my Dad used to say, don't ever touch a manure pile, as it will start to smell.
     
    GuitLoop, JayFreddy and Marc Morfei like this.
  10. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    522
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2017
    Location:
    USA
    Been in my house for 20 years. The hot water heater tank was there when we moved in. I don't know how old it is.

    We have our own well and use a water softener, which I replaced a couple years ago. I probably should replace the water heater but the damn thing still works so we keep using it.
     
    dented and LunarSlingShot like this.
  11. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    11,449
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    The Far-Flung Isles of Langerhans
    Check the dipstick.
     
    imwjl likes this.
  12. Telegnosis

    Telegnosis Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    125
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2012
    Location:
    Third Rock
    Tap water, better check your city water to see if they are adding fluoride. Don't want to be drinking that unless you get a filter designed to take that out including glyphosate.
     
  13. fnkmstr

    fnkmstr Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    132
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2018
    Location:
    Is it Spring yet?
    My old house in Rochester,NY had the tank replaced by the previous owner on 12/24/xx. It died 14 years later on 12/24. Had to wait out the holiday to pick up a new one at the home improvement store.
     
  14. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    36,977
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    San Benito County, California
    tenor.gif
     
    KWal, bender66, dented and 4 others like this.
  15. OldDave

    OldDave TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    21
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2019
    Location:
    North Carolina
     
    tery likes this.
  16. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    1,103
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2018
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    I flush mine every few years. There are YouTube videos that show you how.
     
  17. joealso

    joealso Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    701
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Location:
    East Haddam, CT
    Hopefully you have a drain pan under it. Be sure you get one when you do replace it.

    You're right, it's just about time. You might get another year or 2 out it, max.

    If you do have a pan underneath, you can usually catch it beginning to leak very slowly, but you'll need to check it often. Mine was right next to our washer, so we kept an eye out all the time. I've never seen one just burst without giving you some warnings first. But, again, if you can't keep an eye on it regularly, or if you don't have a pan under it, it's probably better just to start the process.
     
    Obsessed likes this.
  18. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    50,405
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    I have a detector that will sense any leak.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  19. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,536
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Location:
    My mom's basement.
    I think it's all been said. That includes the funny and out there stuff.

    This is a good and sad reminder for me. I was keeping an eye on it. This house had bad time when someone had many cancer surgeries, procedures and a hospital mistake that almost killed her. My testing the water and watching for a leak stopped. I was in survival mode keeping work going and being strong with the kids. I got my wife home from the hospital late on a Saturday afternoon. Went to wash my hands before even touching her, the instructions for wound care, the meds, etc.... and no hot water. I had no choice but an emergency plumber repair.

    The dude who dropped off the water heater was kind of joking how we were helping him take his wife out for steak dinner but no one was happy in this house. The plumber didn't make it until Sunday AM. I think he sensed something was up was more kind with his bill than I expected. I got no choice for product, no bargains, but we had hot water.

    This totally made me remember that really sucky time, be glad it's better and hope my wife beats the stats she lives with. I'm so proud of my wife and kids in that time. That water heater incident was about the lowest point.
     
  20. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    21,721
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Location:
    Luddite Island, NY
    Why are you heating hot water?
     
    SacDAve, nojazzhere and tery like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.