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Old 03-26-2013, 09:24 AM   #1
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Inspecting a water heater?


I'm curious, is there anyway to inspect the inside of a water heater? I don't have any leaks but the water heater is pushing 30 years old and if the inside of the tank is still in good condition I'm thinking of using it for a holding tank to use with my GEO system once I replace it with a new water heater. It's a Sears model and I don't see a spot to replace the anode rod.

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Old 03-26-2013, 09:41 AM   #2
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Inspecting a water heater?


You could get a video camera on the end of a cable to inspect the tank interior with. However I do not believe it iwll be that cheap to rent such a camera for a few hours or a day.

Drain plumbers sometimes have video equipment but these cameras are too large to insert into a water heater tank.

It is not unusual for a water heater tank to have severe rusting only in a few places. For a gas or oil heater such rusted areas are most likely to be at the bottom.

There should be a hex shaped plug for the anode rod on the top of the heater, either exposed or with a cover a few inches in diameter over it.

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:00 PM   #3
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Inspecting a water heater?


If I can't find or get into the anode hole is it possible to use the snake camera in another opening?
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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Inspecting a water heater?


Is this a residential tank water heater?
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:08 PM   #5
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Inspecting a water heater?


I'm assuming u haven't replaced the tank yet but are going to, so it's still in use.

There are 2 other such places u can try. However, it would require to turn off and drain or partially the hwh. U could take out the tpr valve, go in that way, (partially drain about a 1/4 of hwh), or remove drain spigot at bottom and go in that way, which would require draining the whole tank. Or to save u all that time and trouble, just wait until u replace it with the new one and do it then.

Could u please throw up a couple of pics of it, let see what u got their.

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:23 PM   #6
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Inspecting a water heater?


In any case, after 30 years of service, u certainly got your money's worth out of it. Good for u. They don't make em like that anymore. Hopefully, it will be good enough on the inside so u can use it as your holding tank and it will continue to give u service.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:15 PM   #7
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Inspecting a water heater?


All you need is a boroscope for that. A lot of people have them, Ive got two. You can buy one cheap from Harbor Freight. There must be an anode. If your heater is a power vent type its probably hiding under the blower. SImple to remove, just a couple of screws. Shame on you for not replacing it before now.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:11 AM   #8
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Inspecting a water heater?


We bought this house 4.5 years ago. So I can't really say I got my money's worth on this unit, but the prior owners certainly did. I know the family well whom we bought the home from and a son of theirs told me he's pretty sure they replaced heating elements at one point in time. This is a residential tank and no I haven't replaced it yet. I'm afraid once I start messing with the tank it will begin to fail...just seems to be how things work for me I'll get some pics of it and post them on here. There is one place on top of the tank that is rusted and corroded that I would guess to be the anode rod but really have no way to tell for sure. Pics coming soon! Thanks for all the reponses btw.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:17 AM   #9
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Inspecting a water heater?


Your welcome.

Sounds great. Wait until u have new one installed and then examine the old one. Let us know how it worked out for u. I would be very interested in the results of examination of the inside of old hwh.

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