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Old 10-26-2011, 10:32 PM   #1
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


I just finished getting my house re-piped. I removed 84 year old galvanized and replaced with copper. The galvanized was a pretty good shape and most of it only had a bit of rust inside.
Regardless, when I turned the water back on, I noticed a lot of crusty sediment that went through my hot water lines. I removed the filters from my fixtures and after a few days of running, I don't notice too much sediment anymore.
Anyways, since I have upgraded my pipes, I figured I would replace the water heater. It is very old i think it could be older than 30 years. I honestly think it may be from 1959 based on the serial number dates but I'm just guessing. Serial number 402859-1K16279 Sears and Roebuck Model 150-4028. I was thinking about going with a tankless but based on what I have read here in the forum, I don't think the added installation cost, and equipment cost is worth it for me. I have a huge basement and it's not in the way.
I want to know if anyone can tell how old it is based on my model and serial number and tell me how will I flush it out since it is in the basement. Do i need to dump the water into a kids swimming pool and then use a sump pump. Any ideas would be appreciated.
By the way it still works great for a small 30 gallon 30000BTU unit. When I purchase the home 3 years ago and had it inspected, the home inspector said it was made of copper. I have no idea how or why he said that because it is painted white. If it is copper, its salvage value will pay for the cost of a new one. Since its working fine, I see no reason to replace it but I would like to clear out the crap. I will save my money and when I dies, I'll buy a Polaris and use it to heat the whole house.

Thx,VC


Last edited by vcheez; 10-29-2011 at 12:32 AM. Reason: Fixed Serial Number
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:04 AM   #2
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


The oldest water heater I've ever replaced was also a Sears; 80 gallon electric - 40 years old (in 2008). And it was only replaced as a precaution (and also because the drain valve was messed-up and I couldn't get it out in order to replace it), not because it was showing any real signs of impending failure!

You can call Sears customer service, and they could tell you how old it is. Have a little fun with them and tell them you want to know if it's still under warranty. You may be correct that the first 6 digits are the date of manufacture, but it could also be a '79 (still impressive).

To pump it out, you need a utility pump such as this: http://blueangelpumps.com/index.cfm/...43_32/ec50.cfm
(You may be able to rent one from a tool rental shop). I usually use a short washing machine hose from the tank drain to the pump, then a garden hose out of the basement and away from the house.

Of course, if there's really that much sediment in the tank, you may open the drain and find that nothing will come out. If that's the case, you won't have too many options. You'll have to remove the drain valve which will hopefully free things up (if not, you'll have to ram some kind of rod/pipe in the hole to keep the water flowing). This means that the water will be flowing out onto the basement floor, or as you suggested (and I like your idea!) a shallow kiddie pool with a sump pump (not the utility pump I mentioned). Have a tapered wooden plug handy to stop the flow if the sump pump can't quite keep up.

You can test the old tank with a magnet. If it's copper, the magnet won't "stick". The typical construction is that the tank is wrapped with a blanket of insulation, and covered with a sheet metal "jacket". On a gas water heater, it's hard to access the tank under the jacket without cutting some of the jacket away with a sawzall. (Or just ask the Sears representative when you call about the serial number).


Last edited by Ishmael; 10-27-2011 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:48 AM   #3
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


To empty the tank I would do the following,
Turn water off and disconnect both the hot and cold supply's on top of the water heater.
Put a 3/4" galvanized cap on the nipple of the hot side.
Hook up a air compressor to the cold side.
Attach a hose to water heater drain and run the hose outside.
Turn the compressor on and force the water out the hose.
I've done this many times on water heaters in a basement, works like a charm.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:00 PM   #4
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


Whenever I turn my main water valve off to work on something in the house, the water is rusty for a little while after I turn it back on. I don't think twice about it since it always clears up nicely.

My water heater has a garden hose thread bib at the bottom to use to drain the tank. I don't know why you couldn't just open that and it will flush itself with normal water pressure. Mine sits right next to the sump pump hole so it is pretty easy.

p.s. - don't forget to change your sacrificial anode every few years, it will make your tank last much longer!
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oh-Fudge View Post
Whenever I turn my main water valve off to work on something in the house, the water is rusty for a little while after I turn it back on. I don't think twice about it since it always clears up nicely.

My water heater has a garden hose thread bib at the bottom to use to drain the tank. I don't know why you couldn't just open that and it will flush itself with normal water pressure. Mine sits right next to the sump pump hole so it is pretty easy.

p.s. - don't forget to change your sacrificial anode every few years, it will make your tank last much longer!
The only problem with that idea is that the cold water runs down to the bottom of the tank through a "dip tube" (near the drain valve). So leaving the water "on" to the water heater while you attempt to flush it out will accomplish little. the incoming water will stir up the sediment such that it rises thoughout the whole tank, and the relatively close proximity of the incoming cold water to the drain valve will result in most of the new, "clean" water going directly out the drain.

I agree 100% with changing the anode. Also...most water heater manufacturers recommend that the tank be flushed annually to get rid of any accumulated sediment. If that's not done, then it can literally result in a tank that won't drain - (been there, done that). Removing the drain cock on one old water heater I replaced did nothing - I could look right inside the tapping and see a solid layer of dirt/scale/rust. Luckily it was an unfinished basement, so I was able to ram a piece of 1/2" copper in there and get it flowing, then quickly reinserted the drain valve and pumped out the tank; (had to stop and repeat the process once more as the drain valve got clogged again before it was completely empty).
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:29 PM   #6
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oh-Fudge
Whenever I turn my main water valve off to work on something in the house, the water is rusty for a little while after I turn it back on. I don't think twice about it since it always clears up nicely.

My water heater has a garden hose thread bib at the bottom to use to drain the tank. I don't know why you couldn't just open that and it will flush itself with normal water pressure. Mine sits right next to the sump pump hole so it is pretty easy.

p.s. - don't forget to change your sacrificial anode every few years, it will make your tank last much longer!
What is a sacrificial anode? If my water heater is as old as I think it maybe? Do you think it is still working because some one has been replacing this anode on a regular basis over the years?
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:04 AM   #7
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


Quote:
Originally Posted by vcheez

What is a sacrificial anode? If my water heater is as old as I think it maybe? Do you think it is still working because some one has been replacing this anode on a regular basis over the years?
Long story short, corrosion happens to the parts inside the tank. The sacrificial rod (aka anode) is there to be the first thing to corrode, saving the tank from getting damaged and ultimately leaking out. The rods are replaceable so that you can keep changing them. Because once your rod is eaten up, then the tank starts to get attacked, potentially aggressively.
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:46 PM   #8
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


Ishmael, you are right-on about flushing. I should have said I shut off the intake cold water then let the tank drain with the static internal pressure. Not as good as your setup, but I'm too lazy to do things the right way .

vcheez, a sacrificial anode is just what adpanko said. Look for a 1" to 1-1/8" inch hex nut on the top of your heater. It is connected to a long rod made of magnesium or aluminum or a combo of both. It draws the corrosion away from the tank and onto itself, thus the name "sacrificial". After a few years the rod gets eaten away then the corrosion starts going after your tank . Unscrew that nut and I'll bet you pull out a long skinny wire that used to have the anode coating on it. It may be hard to get off, I had to use an air wrench to get mine loose when I changed it the first time - the previous owner obviously had never done so.

Here is some more info:

http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pag...er-anodes.html
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:21 PM   #9
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


Of course you have to have room to put one of these into the top of the tank.

I think I saw one on This Old House or similar years ago that was made like a chain with long links to allow you do insert it when you only have a couple of feet clear above the tank.

Anyone know where to buy these? My Google Foo didn't find any.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:23 PM   #10
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This is a basement? And there's no drain or door anywhere? I just swapped out my mother in laws tank and used about 75' of hose and put it out into the yard for an hour. But most basements have a drain somewhere.
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:43 AM   #11
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbacoreShuffle
To empty the tank I would do the following,
Turn water off and disconnect both the hot and cold supply's on top of the water heater.
Put a 3/4" galvanized cap on the nipple of the hot side.
Hook up a air compressor to the cold side.
Attach a hose to water heater drain and run the hose outside.
Turn the compressor on and force the water out the hose.
I've done this many times on water heaters in a basement, works like a charm.
Do I actually thread the compressor air onto the water heater inlet or do I just blow air into the inlet? I just picked up a new Bradford and White today and we're gonna hook it up tomorrow so I need to drain my old one to get it out.
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:52 AM   #12
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


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Originally Posted by raleighthings
This is a basement? And there's no drain or door anywhere? I just swapped out my mother in laws tank and used about 75' of hose and put it out into the yard for an hour. But most basements have a drain somewhere.
There is no drain in the basement but I do have a dry well just outside the basement door. I have never tried dumping a large volume of water down it. It usually just catches rain water and prevents it from running into the basement.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:59 AM   #13
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


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Originally Posted by Ishmael View Post
The oldest water heater I've ever replaced was also a Sears; 80 gallon electric - 40 years old (in 2008). And it was only replaced as a precaution (and also because the drain valve was messed-up and I couldn't get it out in order to replace it), not because it was showing any real signs of impending failure!
I think mine is even older than 40 years. Here is a little more info. I peeled off the isulation and noticed that this logo looked like it came from an era before my time. Its a Homart that was manufactured for Sears and Roebuck. I'm replacing it tomorrow with a Bradford and White U1-40T6FRN 40 Gallon unit. My old heater is still working but I figured this will complete my repipe job. It cracks me up that this thing has lasted this long and its instructions say drain monthly. I don't think its ever been drained and its been running continuously since the Eisenhower administration.
LOGO

NAMEPLATE

WATER HEATER

VALVE CLOSE UP
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:45 AM   #14
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


Wow, those are some seriously OLD water heaters!

I installed isolation valves in on the inlet and outlet lines and a permanent union fitting to allow me to connect an air compressor hose to flush the water heater w/o disconnecting the lines. I pressurize the tank to ~50 psi then open the drain valve. Might be overkill but it gives it a bit more oomph than gravity draining.




Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbacoreShuffle View Post
To empty the tank I would do the following,
Turn water off and disconnect both the hot and cold supply's on top of the water heater.
Put a 3/4" galvanized cap on the nipple of the hot side.
Hook up a air compressor to the cold side.
Attach a hose to water heater drain and run the hose outside.
Turn the compressor on and force the water out the hose.
I've done this many times on water heaters in a basement, works like a charm.

Last edited by raylo32; 10-30-2011 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:37 AM   #15
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Should I Get a New Water Heater


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Originally Posted by raylo32 View Post
Wow, those are some seriously OLD water heaters!

I installed isolation valves in on the inlet and outlet lines and a permanent union fitting to allow me to connect an air compressor hose to flush the water heater w/o disconnecting the lines. I pressurize the tank to ~50 psi then open the drain valve. Might be overkill but it gives it a bit more oomph than gravity draining.

Thanks guys. I took that advice about pressurizing the tank and it worked like a charm I pumped that water at 40PSI out of my water heater and into my garden 10 feet above. It went slower than I thougth but it just continuously ran for about 20 minutes. I was in no hurry and was just happy that it worked. I even installed the permanent tee and a valve on my Hot side too so that I can easily flush in the future. Check it out below. Should I regularly flush my new heater using air to push out the water or should I flow fresh water through it using a a garden hose?

Tee on the cold water inlet


New Bradford White Installed Today


Old Homart Retired at Age 52

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