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  • water heater

    customer calls can,t get water to lite off. end of day pull out burner assy. and install new thermocouple . fires off fine. the top of the burner had a wet scum of moist rust.
    will pick up the best replacement i can find. the old one is only 10 yrs. old. am i making the right call,pin hole leak? do you have a favorite? A O Smith, Bradford white. i have that great little book " the water heater workbook by larry and suzanne Weingarten

    t i a tool
    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

  • #2
    well tool,i think you,re wasting time on this site.
    feels like sour grapes and small pataters to me.

    helpful folks over at terry love,s plumbing forum.
    and no silly turf wars. good luck guys ,tool
    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

    Comment


    • #3
      Tool,

      Sorry it took so long to get here. This is all volunteer posting.

      Does the heater flue go directly into a brick chimney?

      Is the water heater flue drawing properly?

      Important: Also check the leak indicator on the meter, even a small pin hole leak should show movement if the meter is functioning correctly. If no leak you don't want to be embarrased if a new tank has the same problems. Your description does sound like a possible pin hole, and tanks are not as good as they once were, but it only takes a few minutes to weed out other possible causes.

      Has the tank's pilot gone out before?

      How long did the tank sit without a pilot flame?

      After the pilot runs for awhile does the moisture disappear or can you hear an occasional hissing sound?

      Both brands you mentioned are reliable appliances. Rheem is another. Lochinvar is a good brand but you pay extra for just the name and not worth it for residential in MHO.

      turf wars?
      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Tool,

        I don't understand the "turf war". Plumbing and piping are more technical than most people realize. When you get a group of people who are knowledgable in this subject, there will be disagreements. Plumber, Bob D., Plumber Rick, and others are are extremly knowledgable. Sometimes there is disputes in this trade. That is healthy.

        I've learned on this forum, I'm sure others have as well.

        If you are looking for instant answers to every plumbing problem you face, maybe you should not take on those jobs.

        the dog
        the dog

        Comment


        • #5
          tool,

          A wet rusty spot on top of the burner assembly does not always mean a leaky heater. A properly functioning water heater will condense water down the flue when heating a cold tank.

          Have you used a millivolt meter to check the voltage of the thermocouple? Have you tried replacing the coil in the valve?

          Anyone can be a parts changer but you owe it to your customer to know why you are changing their water heater.

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

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

          Comment


          • #6
            tool, i was out of town for a couple of days. i did read your post late at night and was a little confused at your question. a 10 year heater is typically not worth anything more than an inexpensive thermocouple. a gas valve is too costly for a heater of this age.

            rick.

            Comment


            • #7
              Rick,

              While I agree a 10-year old heater is not worth a new valve a coil is only a few dollars more than a thermocouple. Either item can be installed in a few minutes and could give the homeowner a few more years of service.

              What is your rated for replacing a 50-gallon heater these days? We are no longer in the days of $300 water heater replacements.

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

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ToUtahNow:
                Rick,

                While I agree a 10-year old heater is not worth a new valve a coil is only a few dollars more than a thermocouple. Either item can be installed in a few minutes and could give the homeowner a few more years of service.

                What is your rated for replacing a 50-gallon heater these days? We are no longer in the days of $300 water heater replacements.

                Mark
                Utah,

                The problem with patching togather old water heaters is the call back that will happen a month from now when the tank begins to leak, etc. Often the customer will blame the plumber with "You were out here and charged me x amount of dollars and I still have no hot water." I think it's good policy to save the customer when you can, but you have to look at your end as well.

                the dog
                the dog

                Comment


                • #9
                  dog,

                  I agree and of course it depends on the condition of the heater. I've seen plenty of heaters go 15+ years before replacing.

                  When I was doing service I would have people ask when they should change their five-year heater. My feelings were if you changed you five-year heater at five years the new heater may only last five-years. On the other hand your old heater may have lasted ten-years but you changed it anyways.

                  Today shops are charging anywhere from $500-$1,000 to change out a 50-gallon water heater. I can replace a coil for under $100 labor and parts included. I believe you should give the customer all of the vivtal information and let them make an informed decision on which route to go.

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

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Utah,

                    Can't say I disagree with you. It's best to let the customer decide. But also to make sure they understand that your inexpensive fix doesn't gaurentee the heater for future problems.

                    It's one of a million reasons why I stay away from service work.

                    I'm just too surly for that kind of work.
                    the dog

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      marc, depending on where the heater is located. if the heater is indoors and potentially will cause water damage to the floors. i would rather change it a day early, than a day late. a 50 gallon 6 year heater is approx. $320. for the heater alone. add the connectors, straps, venting, and what ever else is needed plus the delivery and disposal cost. (time) you could easily be looking at $700-800.
                      you mention a coil? are you talking about the magnetic safety that is built into the gas valve? if so, this is a non servicable type of gas controll. that's why the screws on the valve are tamper proof. the 1 time high limit device is also a 1 time use. a replacement gas valve runs approx. $60.00 for a 30-50 gallon heater. add labor and you still have a 10 year old heater.
                      if the customer knows all their options, i let them make an educated decision. my own opinion is to replace the heater, especially if it's indoor and more than a thermocouple. outdoors the only issue would be a cold shower for the day. no damage to the house.
                      all a person is really saving on an old heater, is the interest on their money for the amount of time that the heater would have lasted. what they could stand to lose is a very expensive floor and the inconvience of a cold shower. not to mention the additional cost that a plumber might charge if i'm not avaliable. my prices don't differ for emergency or sch. work. the difference is i'm not always avaliable for emergency work.
                      the heaters that last the longest are typically the ones that are not turned up too high. an electric heater also tends to last much longer as the heating is done directly to the water and not the bottom of the tank. it's not too uncommon for me to see a 15- 20 year old electric heater. although i typically replace 20 gas heaters to 1 electric, as out here most tend to be gas. unless of course the building was built in the early 70's.
                      basically to sum it all up. i probably would lean to a new heater for the limited info i have on this post.
                      marc. fill me in on a new coil?

                      thanks.
                      rick.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Rick,

                        Like I said conditions will dictate whether you should change a heater or not. The owner is spending more than interest on their money when you install a heater without them needing one. If you change a six-year water heater every six –years when they might go twelve-years the owner will be spending twice as much money as they need to plus interest.

                        As for damages most of the heaters in our area are located in garages and as such would not cause much damage. My last heater lasted me 17-years and then I only changed it because I added a re-circ system and didn’t want to plumb an old heater.

                        You are right the new heaters come with a valve that you cannot replace the magnetic coil. However, I believe a ten year old heater is still serviceable. As for replacing a valve I have only changed a few under warranty. By the time you add the labor to install a valve you might as well install a new heater.

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

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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you change a gas valve on a water heater and it's not the factories original replacement part, if anything were to happen, lawyers gleefully pull pictures of the scalded child out of a hat, then YOU become their food.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            billg, anytime anything cause an injury, you know there is some personal injury lawyer who is going to try to find fault. replacing a water heater controll valve with another brand is not going to create any more of a risk from 1 brand to another. just like a factory installed tire on a car and an aftermarket tire. the car rolls over and there will be a p.i. lawyer looking at fault. were the tires properly inflated, overloaded, worn out?
                            i would expect that any person who gets scalded will look for fault. as long as the valve was properly sized for the application. adjusted to the proper temperature, and no other safety issues were present. the lawyer will sue all. the heater co. the valve co. the plumber, the gas co. the water co. instead of looking at the parents that allowed the child to bathe in water at 125 degrees without supervision. all valves can fail, suing a plumber 2 years down the road is not the real person at fault. too many people take advantage of the legal system for their own benafit. i personally would be more worried about repairing a gas valve, than replacing one.

                            rick.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              ther,s more than plumbing here! these poor folks lost there 30 yr. old daughter to a drug overdose this year. this room contains some precious possesions from her. a flood would be a disaster. they made the call on the new w.h..
                              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                              Comment

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