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Old water heaters don't die

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  • Old water heaters don't die

    today i changed out a 50 gallon gas water heater. not because it was leaking. but because it was getting old

    this heater was built in june, 1983 and was still working as of today. problem is that it's in a basement and no sump pump along with 2 old gravity heaters down there. owner will install a sump pump, but my priority was the heater.

    keep in mind that the owner has lived there 15 years and had never flushed or drained this heater.

    if i'm guessing correctly, the heater cost under $100. back in 1983. so less than $4.00 a year was what the heater cost still the original gas valve and thermocouple.

    this was an american appliance heater manufactured in santa monica, calif.

    who knows, it could have been a heater i saw being built as i was there on a plumbing school trip in 1983

    and what did i replace this heater with?

    you got it, another american appliance 50 gallon lo nox, fvir heater.

    lets hope it last another 26 years so i don't have to haul it out of the basement by myself again

    i'll be 72, maybe adam and i can still get it up.

    rick.



    heater already in my truck.



    in the old days, the heater shell was stamped with the build date.



    they knew how to make them look like the old station wagon.



    rating plate of the heater.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 01-16-2010, 03:41 AM.
    phoebe it is

  • #2
    Re: Old water heaters don't die

    Can You show How You pumped the water up and out? Pics or the rig.
    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Old water heaters don't die

      nothing more than a 1/2h.p transfer pump that has the 3/4'' hose threads. empties a 50 in around 5 minutes. would go faster if there was a ball valve instead of a hose bibb.

      adam got a good one at harbor freight. mine was about $160. years ago at the supply house. do the harbor freight unit, it's fine.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Old water heaters don't die

        Boy that water heater brings back some memories.

        Mark
        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Old water heaters don't die

          we had one in our house in carp, that had aqua blue trim that looked like that. house was a 1970 when my mom moved out in 6 years ago it was still in there. running like a champ!
          the only dumb question is the one that is not asked!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Old water heaters don't die

            the oil fired one's do!!!

            I've seen them falling apart as early as 10 years old (usually in rental properties)

            I'm changing out one tomorrow that is 30 years old tho... Replacing it with an indirect that'll likely outlast the boiler

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Old water heaters don't die

              can anyone post a link to american's web site. i can't seem to find it. thanks.
              there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Old water heaters don't die

                I just had to replace mine after only 12 years (rusted through). Whats the secret to getting gas heaters to last longer?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Old water heaters don't die

                  typically flush them out 1 -2 times a year and keep the temperature under 130.

                  not sure if replacing the anode rod is worth the expense in the long term? they can be difficult to get out and unless you do it yourself, the bill wouldn't justify the savings.

                  rick.
                  phoebe it is

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Old water heaters don't die

                    I agree with flushing a water heater to nearly double it's life. But the one main factor we only have half the control over is how it is handled before the installation. Banging and knocking a unit around on the back of a truck, loading/unloading, negotiating stairs all can affect the glass lining causing small cracks that will take the life right out of a unit.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Old water heaters don't die

                      Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                      typically flush them out 1 -2 times a year and keep the temperature under 130.

                      not sure if replacing the anode rod is worth the expense in the long term? they can be difficult to get out and unless you do it yourself, the bill wouldn't justify the savings.

                      rick.
                      Someone was spouting off in a class the other day that code required that stored DHW to be above 135deg (because of legionnaire's disease and a few others).

                      I couldn't find anything in the UPC or IMC about it.

                      Any ideas?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Old water heaters don't die

                        the heaters are clearly marked for 125 degrees for both safety/ scalding and energy savings.

                        rick.
                        phoebe it is

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Old water heaters don't die

                          that's kinda what i've always thought...

                          although i've had customers ask that I turn it up a little

                          this guy was saying that it had to be 135+ and then have a thermostatic mix valve

                          It didn't seem right to me, but I didn't wanna get thrown outta the class arguing with him

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                          • #14
                            Re: Old water heaters don't die

                            I've heard that for IPC, I loaned my book to a coworker so I can't check. Anyone have a copy handy?
                            No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Old water heaters don't die

                              we're using UPC 2006 here... the guy who was saying this stuff was a local guy

                              It's an interesting issue though. I would not want to expose people to bacteria, but I also think that if it were a genuine issue, there would be more talk about it.

                              The problem I find with requiring a mix valve is the high failure rate.

                              The thermostatic ones frequently fail within less than 5 years.

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