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Old 11-15-2012, 09:03 AM   #1
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50gal. hot water tank question


Hi all,

I know there are a few factors like water turn-over, water type, etc but how much does a water heater efficiency degrade over say 10 years? Previous owner never drained it and anode rod not replaced.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:42 AM   #2
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To many variables to give an answer to , IE: Type of water well/city, Electric/gas, usage, etc, etc. Start a water heater fund so you'll be ready it could be next year or 10 years before it needs replacement. I wouldn't recommend trying to drain it down now I might consider the anode rod replacement.

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Old 11-16-2012, 06:19 AM   #3
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That is nearing the end of its expected life---if it's not broken----do not mess with it----

I had one customer call, asking how to service his older water heaters---three of them----

He was doing internet research and he read that---Bla Bla Bla---

I told him to leave them alone------that was two days before the emergency call----Advice from the internet carried more weight with him than advice from me---

His check was good----so I didn't really mind.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:03 AM   #4
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ours was 16(?) years old when I decided to do some maint. luckily, the previous owner had at least drained it. when i finally got the anode rod off ( tip: impact wrench worked within seconds of trying) I discvered it had been past due replacement. There was just a tip left attached to the end. Im due to check it again one of these months.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:27 AM   #5
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ours was 16(?) years old when I decided to do some maint. luckily, the previous owner had at least drained it. when i finally got the anode rod off ( tip: impact wrench worked within seconds of trying) I discvered it had been past due replacement. There was just a tip left attached to the end. Im due to check it again one of these months.
x2 on the impact wrench
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:05 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies!

bbo, what brand, gas/elec, how old, and what water source please.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:42 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies!

bbo, what brand, gas/elec, how old, and what water source please.
A.O.Smith Promax 40G, 1994, Gas, Municipal (Lake Michigan)
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:40 PM   #8
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Some reasons why a gas water heater can lose efficiency:
1. Sediment accumumulated in bottom of tank.
2. Soot building up in combustion chamber..
3. Turbulator (spiral or finned metal strip running the length of flue up middle of tank has disintegrated or got removed.
4. Insulation in tank jacket is missing, can't think of any reason why other than it has biodegraded and sagged, or chewed out and removed little by little by ants or mice.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:22 PM   #9
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Some reasons why a gas water heater can lose efficiency:
1. Sediment accumumulated in bottom of tank.
2. Soot building up in combustion chamber..
3. Turbulator (spiral or finned metal strip running the length of flue up middle of tank has disintegrated or got removed.
4. Insulation in tank jacket is missing, can't think of any reason why other than it has biodegraded and sagged, or chewed out and removed little by little by ants or mice.
I have never done jack to my water heater. I just replaced it last year. The one before was putin 95. Its natural gas.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:11 AM   #10
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Now and every 4 months, drain a few gallons out the water heater drain valve. A little more if it takes longer for the water to run clear of sediment.

Every other time, have the water turned off, the water heater knob set to "pilot", and a hot faucet open upstairs. Turn the water on and wait for the hot faucet to run steady before turning the water heater control back to "run".

If the water consistently runs clear before a gallon was drained out you can lengthen the time between drainings.

Inspect the burner flame while it is running every once in awhile. It should be almost all blue. If you see a lot of yellow, you may need to leave a window ajar in the basement all the time. Also the flue needs to be checked for obstructions. If all this does not help then you should have a serviceman come to inspect the heater.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-17-2012 at 07:15 AM.
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