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Old 08-25-2009, 02:54 PM   #1
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electric water heater end-of-life decision

Anyone have any years-of-life values for this?
I'd think it'd be longer than for gas heaters, which is 15 ~4 years.


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Old 08-25-2009, 10:04 PM   #2
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Hard to say. I've seen gas and electric heaters last as little as 7 years and as long as.....hmm...well I replaced a gas water heater that was 36 years old. A good bet for any water heater be it electric or gas is anywhere from 7-12 years be it gas or electric. At least that's what the Rheem rep tells me. Alot of variables involved including frequency of use, water condition, temperature setting, etc.


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Old 08-25-2009, 10:41 PM   #3
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The water condition JDC mentioned has a heck of a lot to do with it. If the anode rod gets eaten in 7 years you can bet that the rest of the unit won't live much longer. I've seen anode rods dissapear in less than 2 years!!!
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:20 AM   #4
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>>> little as two years

That's why you need to inspect the anode rod often and replace it before it is completely eaten away. Also clean it down to the bare metal if needed.

Another reason to inspect the anode rod often is so it doesn't get rusted in place so badly that when you finally want to inspect it you don't end up twisting the whole tank trying to get the rod out and you twist the gas pipes right out of the wall too and cause an explosion.

Now the anode rod cannot be left too loose relying on pipe dope and/or teflon tape to seal it in place. There must be metal to metal contact with the tank itself, at the screw fitting. Making sure the tank threading is clean and bright and screwing the rod in reasonably tight will cut through the tape or paste enough to make contact.
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:13 PM   #5
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I need to inspect mine
It's been 2-3 years since my electric WH was installed
I have no idea how long the last one was installed
--it was oil fired 30g

Last house had a gas WH when I moved in - not sure of age

In both cases they were placed due to leaks
Old house - slowly leaking
This house - major failure - wife was home
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:02 PM   #6
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Plenty of data now on gas water heaters. The bell-shaped-curve may start showing soon.

Age in years | how many in that 5-year-wide bin

Avg. life is 16 yrs. and the 36 YO is definitely an outlier.

Need more on elec. WH. With 2, 2, 7 the avg life with these values is 11/3 = ~4 years.

I'd think the elec. ones would last longer mechanically and electrically than the gas ones but the owners may replace them sooner than gas ones [for who knows what reason? Recovery time?]

Once the histogram curves fill in I should be able to use this info to help on repair/replace decisions.


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