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Old 12-05-2009, 05:46 AM   #1
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


Hey all,

My g/f and I just bought our house in August of 2008. We didn't have a home inspection on it, because we already blew over $500 on inspecting 2 other homes that didn't work out, and we really didn't have much money to toss on another one.

A relative of mine just moved back into town and is a general contractor. After living here a year, we decided to check with him on a few upgrades we wanted to do, so he came in and did a home inspection for us. We found many issues, but here is the one I am wondering about right now:

We have a Coleman hot water heater. Now, I don't know much about any of this home improvment stuff at all, and have been doing research online as often as I can. We were told by my relative that its an old 1983 model hot water tank. We have well water with a Culligan filtration system installed along with a salt barrel for it. We didn't know we where suppose to drain a bit of the water from the tank from time to time. So he opened the drain valve and some pretty nasty water came out, and then when he went to shut the valve off, it wouldn't shut off all the way, so we had to by a cap for the valve to stop the leaking.

He suggested we buy a new hotwater take ASAP because it could start leaking anytime and isn't in the best of shape. He said the inside of the tanks no longer use glass liners and use somthing else (metal or steel or something), but that just didnm't seem to make since to us. Any suggestions on what we should do and what is this liner talk about that apparently could be making the water worse?

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Old 12-05-2009, 09:44 AM   #2
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


At the risk of starting a long debate about the typical life span of water heaters, at 26 years it is ready for replacement before it starts to leak (usually noticed at night or weekend when replacing it is rushed and expensive). IMO, I'd go new.
Good luck with the new house!

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Old 12-05-2009, 09:53 AM   #3
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


That is an extreme amount of life for a water heater. It has served well and it is time to retire. I don't know what your relative was talking about as far as glass lined tanks. They are still alive and well in the industry. The glass coating prevents the metal tank from rusting.
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:02 AM   #4
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


Thanks for the rpelies guys. Yea, I am not sure what he was going with on the glass liners. He said something about how they break and cause issues like a thermos for an example.

I am not sure on that, I'll double check with him on this again later today. Is $400.00 a good deal for a new tank, all parts, and labor? I am assuming so, since thats the lowest plumbing job offer I've ever heard, and he is a close relative, so I highly doubt he would screw with me on prices...
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:11 PM   #5
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


He's right, they are not glass lined anymore. they are coated. but not with glass.

Its a poly coating these days. And its not as fragile as the glass liners were.
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Old 12-05-2009, 03:57 PM   #6
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


This price seems very reasonable. My take on glass lined tanks is not like a Thermos, but a coating of something like fiberglass or another resin type product.
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Old 12-05-2009, 04:16 PM   #7
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


Quote:
Originally Posted by liberty610 View Post
We have a Coleman hot water heater. Now, I don't know much about any of this home improvment stuff at all, and have been doing research online as often as I can. We were told by my relative that its an old 1983 model hot water tank.
Is it natural gas? If so, I get an avg. replacement age of 13 to 19 years.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 12-05-2009 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:09 PM   #8
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


Here's one of the anti-glamorous costs of owning a home. Don't wait. Do it the minute you can afford it. Or learn the hard way that you should have done it before.

My hot water heater gave up the ghost in spectacular fashion easter weekend six months after we moved into the house. Wish we'd done it before we had to clean up 30 gallons of water and six gallons of fuel oil.

On the upside you can brag to us about your new hot water heater (don't forget to flush it regularly).
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:53 AM   #9
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


It's up to you whether to summarily replace the water heater after so many years for fear it would spring a leak.

Draining the sediment and other nasty stuff from the water heater twice a year prevents undue heat buildup at the bottom (where the burner is) that can damage the glass or poly' or porcelain lining. (If you don't get visible sediment each time you can lengthen the interval between drainings.)
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:00 AM   #10
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


I agree with most of the postings above. 26 years life from a WH is incredable life I think. The thing you call a filtration system is a water softener. Culligan is a quality brand. Read up on these also as they need work themselfs from time to time. Get the heater replace asap as plumbing appliances "know" when a bad time to break is and....do. They're sneaky that way LOL. The upside too is that most modern WH's are much more energy effient and will save you some $$ in the long run.
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Old 12-06-2009, 05:02 PM   #11
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


Have a new one installed before a holiday or weekend when your stuck and at the mercy of the hot water tank install money snatcher.
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:58 PM   #12
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


Awesome replies. Thanks again everyone. I am trying to talk the g/f into getting it replaced right away, but even with the fair amount of money we got coming in, it is still the holidays and still tight cash wise (as everyone is these days).

My cousin is suggestion a Bradford White brand tank. Any opinions on those? Another thing he noticed was there is copper piping for the gas on the tank and said that should be replaced too....

thanks for all the replies guys. Its been a great help.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:27 PM   #13
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


Quote:
Originally Posted by LeakyMike View Post
26 years life from a WH is incredable life I think.
If my samples are representative, only 3 out of 28 NG WHs make it that long.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:52 PM   #14
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


If my 26 year old WH was working OK I'd gamble maybe this time of the year with an eye on the fact it could go any time. Have your cousin on speed dial just in case. Gas water heaters are traditionaly plumbed with
black iron or galvanised 1/2'' in residential applications. Brass is fine too
but very pricey. Copper tubing CTS is not approved I believed and the heater should be hard piped. Earthquake zones have their own code however. The drop will have a proper gas cock (not a regular valve) , a ground joint union before a tee. The feed pipe to the gas control comes out the side of the tee and a 4 to 6 inch drip leg/cap out the bottom completes the install. Don't forget the pipe dope on the threads ( I like Rectorseal #5) being careful to NOT get it inside the pipe. Also a good time to check the draft on the chimney and upgrade the flue pipe if needed. Good luck.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:47 PM   #15
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Hot water heater - Should we replace it??


Hey thanks again for the input. We just took a trip to the nearest Home Depot, and my cousin went in with us. Boy did he take them "sales reps" for a ride... lol.

Anyways, we have decided to hold off for a couple months (in hopes that the tank will last us through the January/February months) and go with a new Bosch tankless system. We figured we wanted to go with all new energy star compliant systems when we do upgrades to save on the energy costs and get the whole rebate ordeal on taxes the following year.

So thanks for the replies everyone!!! If you have any feedback on the tankless setups, please feel free to chime in.

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