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Temperature and Lifespan of Water Heater

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  • Temperature and Lifespan of Water Heater

    Does setting a water heater to 140 degrees significantly shorten its life? Our Bradford White Defender 50 gallon direct vent natural gas water heater sprung a leak after 7 years of use. It is in an unfinished basement that can be in the 40s during the dead of winter. I am wondering if the cold basement and 140 degree water heater setting shortened the life of the water heater by making it run more often to keep those 50 gallons of water at 140 degrees.

    To make things even more fun, my financial situation has changed. I can no longer afford a Bradford White water heater. Do you have any recommendations on other brands of 50 gallon direct vent gas water heaters?

    Thanks in advance for any ideas on this.

  • #2
    do you have a thermal expansion tank above or around your water heater....AND......do you have a backflow prevention device on your plumbing or at your utility meter?

    if you have a backflow, but donot have a thermal expansion tank, then theres a good chance that you have had pressure spikes when the water heater cycles. these pressure spikes can stress out the tank, and from what I have observed talking to customers over the many years, it shortens the life of the water heater.

    for example, I get a call that a customer has "high" water pressure. we dont have high water pressure where i work, it is normal pressure 55-60Psi. thermal expansion is a immediate suspect when i hear high water pressure in the call.
    when I get there, theres a good chance they have been experiencing the pressure spikes when water heater cycles. and they usually dont have a thermal expansion tank to absorb the pressure spikes. sometimes those customers will tell me things like i just replaced the water heater and the last one only lasted 5-10 years before it started leaking.
    I sometimes get calls to shut off a water service because someone has a leaking water heater in their garage, they usually have a backflow prevention device on the water service, and no thermal expansion tank.

    wanting your water to be cranked up to 140deg can create alot of thermal expansion. i keep my home water heater at around 105deg so i dont have to add any cold water to it. anytime someone has to add cold water to hot water, the water heater is wasting electricity keeping water hotter than it needs to be.

    thermal expansion is only a factor, if you dont have a backflow prevention device in your system. normally when thermal expansion happens and theres no backflow device the excess water pressure flows backward thru the city water meter into the main, keeping the pressure the same as your city supply.
    when the person has a backflow device, it prevents that excess pressure from bleeding off to the city. so it can increase the pressure in the homes pipes and tank.

    hope that helps

    John
    HEY! What does this button do?

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    • #3
      Thanks for the detailed explanation. I do not have a thermal expansion tank, nor do I have backflow prevention. The water utility installed a new water meter recently - maybe it has has backflow prevention built in?

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      • #4
        if the meter looks like this, then yes it has built in Backflow device. these are a very easy way for utilities to add backflow prevention to residential services without having to add a separate backflow and in ground box. I have tested thousands of these over my career

        Neptune T10DC backflow prevention meter.

        https://www.neptunetg.com/globalasse...0-dc-04.18.pdf



        or if one of these is installed right after a regular meter. it is a DC backflow device. it is a very simple form of backflow protection but they fail over time and theres no way to test them.
        https://www.supplyhouse.com/Watts-00...al-Check-Valve


        the T10DC has test cocks, which allows for annual testing if the utility has a maintenance program.
        HEY! What does this button do?

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        • #5
          I ended up ordering a direct vent AO Smith 50 gallon gas water heater from Lowes. Took six weeks to arrive. I asked the plumber who installed the AO Smith for advice on water heater maintenance. He advised not to bother.. His opinion is that water heaters are built as a consumable items. Just plan on replacing it every six to seven years.

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          • #6
            My water heater is 25 years old going strong.

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            • #7
              25 years and counting, wow! In 24 years of owning this house, we have had to replace the water heater four times. Are you going to wait until your water heater fails or replace it preemptively?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kc27 View Post
                25 years and counting, wow! In 24 years of owning this house, we have had to replace the water heater four times. Are you going to wait until your water heater fails or replace it preemptively?


                It still looks/works like new. I also have soft water.

                I'll wait till shows signs of failure.

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                • #9
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                  Attached Files

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                  • Bob D.
                    Bob D. commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Looks more like 29 years to me, I see a 1991 date on that label.

                  • AssTyme
                    AssTyme commented
                    Editing a comment
                    My house was built new in 1994.

                  • Bob D.
                    Bob D. commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That 1991 must be the year of the ANSI Std. I see E9414 is the beginning of the serial number. That's probably the 14th week of 1994 with a sequential number after that. Or 1994 day 147 and a sequential number for that day after that.
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