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HAMP 02-08-2011 07:38 PM

Water Heater, wrong connections?
I recently bought a house. I noticed that the water heater is a 50 gallon tank by 'Richmond'. The tank looks pretty good, and I only say that, because to my surprise, I see a written date on the heater from 12/11/93.

On to my problem, what I noticed about the tank, is that the cold water is connected to the tanks hot water side, and the reverse, the hot water is connected to the cold side.

I don't know if this is connected wrong or maybe it was mislabeled and the installer installed correctly?

like I said, it is a 50gal, and believe me the hot water is hot, but does not last very long.

can someone tell me if it is connected wrong, am I still going to get hot water? Am I paying too much in gas to heat this?

rjniles 02-08-2011 07:47 PM

If the water starts hot and gets cold quickly, it is plumbed wrong and the incoming cold is mixing with the hot it the top of the tank. Change it.

broox 02-08-2011 08:06 PM

Exactly! If the hot and cold are reversed, you will run out of hot water quickly.

HAMP 02-08-2011 10:46 PM

I knew something was wrong, the hot water was not lasting long. It's a 50 gal, but it has felt like a 10-20 gallon tank with how fast the hot water ran out.

It's hard to believe who owned it before me, didn't realize.

Thanks guys for your help.

bbguy5 02-08-2011 10:48 PM

Richmond = rheem

oh'mike 02-09-2011 06:44 AM

Good spotting!---

NitroNate 02-09-2011 10:10 AM

yep, the only difference is the cold side dip tube runs to the very bottom of the tank and the hot side dip tube is near the top. hot water rises, so if you have the connections reversed you run out of hot water quickly because you are pulling the cooler water from the bottom of the tank.

iamrfixit 02-09-2011 10:57 AM

17 years old........ it might look fine but probably isn't. 50 years ago water heaters were made with thicker tanks, some were even lined and they would last a long time, but they haven't been made like that for many years. The tanks were made thinner to save materials and make heat transfer more efficient. Ten years is about all you can expect out of a basic water heater. It probably has a thick layer of sediment on the bottom insulating the water from the flame and killing the efficiency. I have even seen electric water heaters with the bottom element buried in sediment.

It is living on borrowed time and will likely develop a leak in the not too distant future, probably right after you leave for a couple days. Many times the dip tubes end up broken off after a few years, especially if the water heater or plumbing has been disturbed. If you are going to change the plumbing I would just replace the whole thing now and save the hassle a leak would cause.

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