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Old 05-16-2010, 08:13 PM   #1
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Water Heater Soaked


My copper flex pipe idea did not work so good and after 3 years, it has failed. Plenty of water ran down it into the insulation that is between the exterior metal jacket and the tank. The top is definitely soaked and I believe it has also run down the sides, as it is moist at the bottom also. I plan to disconnect the heater, drag it outside, pry the top off and let it dry out for a day or two. I'm concerned that the tank will rust from the outside in. Will this work? I know it sounds a bit drastic, but I guess I could also pry off all of the sheet metal casing and get one of those energy wraps, doesn't matter to me if it looks funny. Heater was $300, this is not a cheapie, got a 12 year warranty on it.

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Old 05-16-2010, 08:53 PM   #2
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Water Heater Soaked


Won't it dry faster if its hot? Leave it running. If you can pop the top loose to facilitate drying that will help. Otherwise it will likely dry pretty fast on its own if the tank stays at 120 degrees or more.

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Old 05-16-2010, 08:59 PM   #3
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Water Heater Soaked


I've worked on numerous water heaters which leaked somewhere on the top and soaked all of the insulation. IF, IF again, the unit is in an area that is or can be well ventilated, I let them dry themselves out. I only work on electric units so I make sure that none of the wet insulation can touch the thermostats or electric wiring in any way. On most modern water heaters you will have a hard time getting the top off. The insulation they inject in between the tank and outer shell is like a glue and bonds to them well. This stuff doesn't absorb water well at all. IF you have the old fiberglass insulation you can leave off the thermostat covers --IF you can do this safely-- to facilitate drying. Welcome to the world of those flexible copper pipes. Replace them with hard copper or PEX. David
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:58 PM   #4
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Water Heater Soaked


Not enough water to rust out the tank from the outside in, and with some care, the insulation will be dried out long before significant rust occurs.

Don't disconnect the heater and drag it outside, just ventilate the basement well or use a dehumidifier, that will dry out the heater faster.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:21 PM   #5
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Water Heater Soaked


Here are a couple of pics. The grouchy plumber I called in says he recommends replacement, that it will fail in a few years. Thing is that it is only about 5 years old and I spent extra for a 12 year warranty. Therefore, I'd like to keep it going. I tried prying off the top, and I think if I drag it out (can't get to either side or back) I could probably get it off, but it will sure bugger it up. It's stuck on good. The insulation seems to crush with my fingers, I don't think its polyurethane (blown in) type, but it certainly feels like the top is glued in. If the tank is going to hold, I will go ahead and add a shutoff, replace the dielectric couplings at the heater, and solder things up.

Last edited by smata67; 05-17-2010 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:27 PM   #6
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Water Heater Soaked


Sorry, forgot to post pics...
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:09 PM   #7
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Water Heater Soaked


Leave it connected & let it dry out
I've never heard of anyone trying to take the outer shell off to dry out a WH
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:19 PM   #8
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Water Heater Soaked


A 12 year warrenty is a 12 year warrenty, If you take it apart you are going to void your warrenty. Leave it alone, the insulation will be just fine and if you have a problem in the next 7 years your coverd
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:40 PM   #9
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Water Heater Soaked


I would guess that the warranty would be void due to the rust caused by MY leaky installation. Is this correct, or has corporate America developed a heart while I wasn't watching?
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Old 05-17-2010, 07:54 PM   #10
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Water Heater Soaked


Put a dehumidifier next to it.

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