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#1150776 - 05/13/08 10:11 PM how to know when water heater is going bad
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 32536
Loc: New Jersey
Hi,

Besides the obvious huge puddle or lack of hot water, how does one know when their hot water heater is going bad? Mine is 12 years old.

Ive flushed it once. It works well, except in our shower, where we barely get any hot water. I figure that is a blending valve, however, if some large user of hot water, either a washing machine, dishwasher, other person showering used hot water PREVIOUSLY (not at the same time so there is a lower pressure on the cold water), then the water is much hotter in the shower.

I have to wonder if the controller is getting lazy.

Is it smart to unbolt and check the anode rod from time to time? Replace it?

I just would prefer not to have any suprises... but then a hot water heater is expensive enough for it to not be worth it to replace just because its getting older.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

JMH

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#1150797 - 05/13/08 10:27 PM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: JHZR2]
duaneb9729 Offline


Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 1340
Loc: minneapolis mn
some times the control dosent react as fast as it should and you can turn the temp up a little bit to see if that is the case.

some times water heaters build up minerals in the bottom of them which makes it very hard to heat the water up, you can tell if you have minerals in it, because when it fires up you will hear a slight pounding or boiling of the water inside the tank, it will make strange nosies, the noise, is the sound of water boiling when it touches the side of the tank, as the tank is warmed up it expands away from the minerals allowing water to flow in and it boils there, the danger is the tank expands and contracts out side of the normal tolerances and can make the tank split open.

hope this helps

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#1150807 - 05/13/08 10:36 PM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: duaneb9729]
oilyriser Offline


Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 7077
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Next time the shower is lukewarm, send someone to feel the pipe coming out of the top of the water heater to see if that is hot.

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#1150833 - 05/13/08 11:19 PM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: oilyriser]
TurboLuver Offline


Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 1463
Loc: SW Ohio
Might check the dip tube, if you water heater was built between 1993-1996 there is a good chance it has a defective polypropylene dip tube. If you plan on keeping it I would definitely replace whats left of the anode.

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#1150838 - 05/13/08 11:26 PM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: oilyriser]
TooManyWheels Offline


Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 3666
Loc: Houston, Tex
You might want to google-up on dip tube problems, as there was an industry wide problem between 1993-97. The dip tube directs incoming water to the bottom of the tank to be heated, when they rot away, as the affected ones did, screwy things happen. I am not sure that your symptoms correspond, but you might check.

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#1150916 - 05/14/08 05:46 AM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: TooManyWheels]
Al Offline


Registered: 06/08/02
Posts: 13576
Loc: Elizabethtown, Pa
If its electric..just replace the elements. Not worth brain power going any further. Make sure its wired correctly and the stats work.

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#1150942 - 05/14/08 06:55 AM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: Al]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 32536
Loc: New Jersey
Its gas...

It was made in 96, so the dip tube could be an issue. This is a GE model.

Thanks for all the replies, it will help me to determine what it needs, and if its worth sapping for a more efficient model...

Best,

JMH

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#1150964 - 05/14/08 07:29 AM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: JHZR2]
Brett Miller Offline


Registered: 09/09/03
Posts: 2636
Loc: Arizona
At 12 years, I would replace it ASAP! Good rule of thumb is to replace at the end of the warranty period.

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#1150973 - 05/14/08 07:44 AM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: Brett Miller]
Footpounds Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 534
Loc: DFW Texas
I replaced mine last year. It was made in 1995. How did I know it was time? When filling the tub with water, sometimes the water had a slight rust color to it. Also, the water was not getting as hot as it used to. Oftentimes the first person to take a bath or shower in the morning only had "warm" water and not "hot". My old one was a "State" and my new one is a "GE". After replacement, the difference was night and day.
_________________________
"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?"

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#1150978 - 05/14/08 08:02 AM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: JHZR2]
jg1 Offline


Registered: 12/20/06
Posts: 38
Loc: KS
I installed a bosch tankless hot water heater last year ($500 from sutherlands). Reasons: experienced similar problems and the goverment was giving $300 back on taxes ($500 purchase became $200). If the rebate is still there it is worth checking into imo. Make sure the tankless is right for you (research). We love it but probably not for everyone. Anyway, with rebate, it is worth a look/consideration.

take care.

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#1151005 - 05/14/08 08:28 AM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: jg1]
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 10718
Loc: The Motor City
I just replaced the 44 year old water heater in my mother's house after it sprung a leak. I wanted to replace it 15 years ago as a precautionary measure, but a knowledgeable person told me not to, because the old water heater would probably outlive anything I put in there. They were built better back then. Plus it was maintained by flushing.

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#1151041 - 05/14/08 09:19 AM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: JHZR2]
TurboLuver Offline


Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 1463
Loc: SW Ohio
I replaced my GE a couple years ago due to the dip tube issue, after researching I decided on a Vaughn water heater. It ended up being only about $100 more than the Whirlpools/ GE's I was looking at. My electric bill immediately went down $15 a month, the water heater has nearly paid for itself.

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#1151189 - 05/14/08 12:31 PM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: TurboLuver]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 32536
Loc: New Jersey
Vaughn looks like a good company, but we use gas.

Ive been toying with the idea of a small (10-20 gal???) electric to serve as a pre-heater, coupled with an instant-on gas unit.

I wonder if there is real benefit to this.

JMH

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#1151219 - 05/14/08 01:23 PM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: JHZR2]
Brett Miller Offline


Registered: 09/09/03
Posts: 2636
Loc: Arizona
I think tankless is the way to go but installation can be pain. Must be on an outside wall and they need a 3/4" gas line.

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#1151298 - 05/14/08 03:09 PM Re: how to know when water heater is going bad [Re: Brett Miller]
brianl703 Offline


Registered: 05/07/04
Posts: 10487
Loc: Manassas, VA
The biggest problem with tankless water heaters is that they will not activate unless there is a minimum amount of water draw.

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