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  • Water Heater Life Span??

    What is the life span of a water heater? I have one that is 7 years old. Are the newer ones More efficent?

  • #2
    Re: Water Heater Life Span??

    They are just like buying a car.More expensive does not necessarily longer lasting.Sometimes you can get one with a good reputation but something can happen on the assembly line(lemon).

    The manufacters have been raising efficiency

    As of now, for natural gas, I like the Bradford-White.

    I'm sure there are a few people here on this forum that have seen them go 20 years.Not likely, but it happens.
    Last edited by drtyhands; 02-24-2007, 09:52 PM. Reason: addition

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    • #3
      Re: Water Heater Life Span??

      It depends on things like water quality, as well as the quality of your sacrificial magnesium Anode.

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      • #4
        Re: Water Heater Life Span??

        I have an old RHEEM that was installed in the fall of 83 that's still doing fine. I did replace the anode rod once or twice and I keep it set to shut the fire off at 125F (approx). I drain it out several times per year (T-stat set to min.) and give it a good flushing. Something people don't seem to do (around my area anyway) that I highly recommend is to replace the safety relief valve every few years. They get badly corroded and can't open up as needed. They are cheap and easy to replace. If not replaced, then every few months put a pail under the discharge pipe and pull the lever. Blast the *&^% out of it with hot water. Do check that it seats tight after that. As stated, you never know how long a water heater will last. There are too many variables.

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        • #5
          Re: Water Heater Life Span??

          Id say most heaters last only the warranty period these days.

          Woussko , youve got probably the last of the good Rheem heaters, and your maintenance schedule should keep it humming for many years.

          Most homeowners never think of the heater until it stops working.

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          • #6
            Re: Water Heater Life Span??

            A P J

            I would say for the most part that seems about right. Some people in the USA have had very good luck with AO Smith water heaters. In another property I've seen an older electric by Bradford-White pass 20 years and keep on with regard to the main tank. The elements and one T-stat were replaced. They also do take care of it. You're right that most people can't even bother to flush the crud out of the bottom of the tank. Same with heating boilers. They tend to forget them until KaBoom day.

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            • #7
              Re: Water Heater Life Span??

              I know a couple folks that swear by AO Smith.
              I think flushing the unit every six months to a year probably extends the life quite a bit. The efficiency factor goes down over time as sediment builds up on the bottom of the tank, thus making flushing out the tank even more important.
              I like the tankless units that have been around for years...

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              • #8
                Re: Water Heater Life Span??

                electric tend to last longer as the heat is generated from within the tank and not on the tank's bottom. the sediment on a gas heater settles on the bottom, making the botttom super hot as the flame has to heat the crud and then the water to reach final temp.

                it's not uncommon for an electric to last 20 years. but when they go out, they tend to go out with a big leak an element will usually blow out and create a large leak.

                gas tend to develope a small controllable leak prior to a large flood.

                don't say anything, but my gas (heater) is going on 16 years

                hope i don't take a cold shower tomorrow

                i would say that 90% of the heaters i look at never get any preventative cleaning or flushing. hard to flush after a few years of not flushing.

                a tankless really needs to have proper flushing and deliming. if not the warranty will be voided if the leak is from lime buildup. once again, 90% of the owners i discuss this with have not cleaned their heater. of course tankless being a newer product, time will tell

                rick.
                phoebe it is

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                • #9
                  Re: Water Heater Life Span??

                  don't say anything, but my gas (heater) is going on 16 years

                  hope i don't take a cold shower tomorrow
                  I think you just jinxed it...

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                  • #10
                    Re: Water Heater Life Span??

                    Since I started this thread I want to add a bit more info. It is a Bradford -White. Propane. AND I cannot find a anode rod ! There is no visible sign of one through the top of the shell.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Water Heater Life Span??

                      The average life span of a tank type w.h. is 7 years. Power flushing every coupla months will help a lot. Soft water helps, brass nipples to copper pipe will help as well. In my area, galvanised nipples and dielectrics are the kiss of death.

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                      • #12
                        The hidden anode.

                        Often the top of the anode is concealed under the casing. Look for a raised section top centre.

                        Am i just getting carried away with conspiracy theories or do the manufacturers not make people aware of the benefits of replacing the anode and doing a little regular maintenance?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Water Heater Life Span??

                          josh, up until a couple of years ago, a 50 gallon heater cost $150.

                          when the gas valve went out, it didn't pay to replace a $60. gas valve.

                          an anoide rod in those heaters were aluminum and no longer magneisum.

                          the heater was pretty much a throw away heater

                          today the 50 gal. cost approx.$400.

                          no longer a throw away, but still not a heater that you want to put too much labor and materials into. like i said, my 40 gallon heater is still going strong after 16 years, just with a simple garden hose flush for 10 seconds 2 times a year. i hope i get a hot shower today

                          not sure if it's very cost effective to replace anoide rods. they are also very difficult to remove without an impact wrench. i don't remember the last time i saw an anoide rod at a supply house too.

                          we are talking residential heaters

                          commercial heaters are a bigger investment and therefore it might be worthwhile to service the anoide rod

                          rick.
                          phoebe it is

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                          • #14
                            Re: Water Heater Life Span??

                            Just to chime in...our 1977 AO Smith w/h was replaced about a year and a half ago...we bought the house in '99 and I'm pretty sure nothing was ever done to it, maintenance-wise. I was scared to touch it so it stayed until our kitchen re-do when the plumber said a recirc pump and loop was a good idea but "I'm not connecting ANYTHING to THAT water heater!". What's another grand on top of what the kitchen cost!!! BTW, really enjoy the recirc loop, keeping the hot water readily available to the kitchen and laundry room.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Water Heater Life Span??

                              Originally posted by 10sCoachRick View Post
                              Just to chime in...our 1977 AO Smith w/h was replaced about a year and a half ago...we bought the house in '99 and I'm pretty sure nothing was ever done to it, maintenance-wise. I was scared to touch it so it stayed until our kitchen re-do when the plumber said a recirc pump and loop was a good idea but "I'm not connecting ANYTHING to THAT water heater!". What's another grand on top of what the kitchen cost!!! BTW, really enjoy the recirc loop, keeping the hot water readily available to the kitchen and laundry room.
                              if you really like that circ. pump and hot water loop, you better have a timer on that pump. and or a thermostat. hope its also a low head unit.

                              grundfos up15/18 sf or su is fine for a single family home.

                              rick.

                              ps, nice name rick
                              phoebe it is

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