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Old 12-02-2015, 06:12 AM   #1
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replacing tabletop water heater


My water heater broke yesterday. No leaks, just cold water. It was a Sears The Economizer 5 table-top. It (the cabinet) is 21" across and 36" high, about 33 gallons. It was rusted and at least 18 years old.

The only replacement table-top I could find is three inches wider, same height, and 40 gallons. (I forgot to measure how deep; mine is 25"; I'm hoping that's standard). Can the new table-top still be hooked up to the existing plumbing and electric connections? In other words, just take out the old one and hook up the new one without any major modifications to the plumbing and wiring?


I am guessing that if I got a really different kind of water heater -- tankless, for instance -- that new connections might have to be made for the tankless and then I'd have to remove the old pipes/wires and repair the holes in the wall (more money). This is why I'm sticking to the tabletop model but wondering if the difference in gallons, width of cabinet, and year of the new one might create a big installation deal?

I was thinking of just buying a new tank and keeping the cabinet, but someone said the tank is welded? to the floor of the cabinet and the cab would have to be all cut up and cut out.

Thank you from Florida.

P.S. I've never actually seen the tank inside the cabinet. I can't take pictures.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:44 AM   #2
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I assume by table top you mean the water heater is in a cabinet that kind of resembles a washing machine like shape. Are these even made any more? A tankless water heater is a whole different device and if gas may require substantial upgrades to your gas piping not to
Mention plumbing and venting. Where I live the cost of electricity would make a tankless electric model very expensive . You may have to settle for a standard tank model. The codes for water heaters installs have likely changed since yours was installed so you may have some minor plumbing and electrical changes as part of the install.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:48 PM   #3
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With slight modification you should be able to install the new tabletop hot water tank.

The new one is 36 inches tall 25 inches wide.
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Old 12-03-2015, 07:50 AM   #4
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Slight modifications to the connections or what

As far as the width of the cabinet, I could go as wide as 29 inches. I'm going from a 27 gal to a 40 gal. One plumber told me that the tank inside is connected to the floor of the cab and the cab (?) has to be cut out. That sounds scary and expensive. That's when I looked at the removal-of- old/uninstall part of manual, which says nothing about cutting out anything.
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:01 AM   #5
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:01 AM   #6
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You need to show a picture of you actual installation.
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:25 PM   #7
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What state do you live in if it's a warm weather state then replace it with an Electric instantaneous unit.
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Old 12-03-2015, 07:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
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What state do you live in if it's a warm weather state then replace it with an Electric instantaneous unit.
See said she was from Florida. With that type water heater I doubt she has an electric service to support it.
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:09 PM   #9
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By "electric instantaneous unit," do you mean tankless?

"I don't think she has an electric service to support it." The busted one I have now is on its own circuit and is the only thing on it. Here is what it says on its own box in the closet:

QO Load Center (Square D Company)
120v, 1PH, 2W
120/240v, 1PH, 3W
240v, 2PH, 3W
CAT QO-2-4AS
70 AMP MAINS MAX

Is that enough info for you to tell me if what I have could support an electric instantaneous unit? I might get one of those instead, but I want to keep the electric service low, simple, whatever the word is, as the house is 75 years old, if that means anything. Thank you.
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:34 AM   #10
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I have to keep electric. No gas.

I found the manual for my earlier model (same tabletop but not an Economizer). In the installation record, it is handwritten 240 volts, 3500 watts. No manual for the busted one I have now (Economizer 5) but the stats for the Econ 5 were handwritten there as 240 volts.

A picture shows where the cab is put together as plates with screws. I could probably take the cab apart easy enough and take a picture of the tank. Then the question would be how complicated a switch from that tank to the electric instant unit would be....

Last edited by DIherself; 12-04-2015 at 07:36 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 12-04-2015, 09:52 AM   #11
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Even a small tank-less electric water heater would require a 200 amp service with 2 40 amp feeders. You would require a electric service upgrade that would cost a minimum of $2000.

You would be better off to find a different location for a standard WH in lieu of that cabinet mount.
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Old 12-04-2015, 12:55 PM   #12
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If I understand, I have a 70 amp service now? If the answer is yes and I need to upgrade for a tankless, then forget the tankless.

Also if I understand, isn't the tank inside the cabinet just a "standard water heater" with a cabinet around it? Why do I need a different location?

Are you saying keep the tank, and nix the cabinet? Yeah, that cabinet is a pain in the neck for access, but it serves as a counter.

But I can use the new tabletop 240v, 40 gallon to replace the 240v 27 gallon, yes, if I had to? Oh, to just connect to the pipes and wires that are already there! without a $2000 upgrade no way. jeez.
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Old 12-04-2015, 01:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DIherself View Post
If I understand, I have a 70 amp service now? If the answer is yes and I need to upgrade for a tankless, then forget the tankless.

Also if I understand, isn't the tank inside the cabinet just a "standard water heater" with a cabinet around it? Why do I need a different location?

Are you saying keep the tank, and nix the cabinet? Yeah, that cabinet is a pain in the neck for access, but it serves as a counter.

But I can use the new tabletop 240v, 40 gallon to replace the 240v 27 gallon, yes, if I had to? Oh, to just connect to the pipes and wires that are already there! without a $2000 upgrade no way. jeez.

Your existing WH is not a standard WH with a cabinet around it. It is made a complete unit, the tank can not be separated from the metal box. (well it could but you would destroy it.) You might be able it install a standard Low boy WH in your existing space. You need to show us a picture showing the location.
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Old 12-04-2015, 01:55 PM   #14
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All right, I am approaching an understanding. Now I know that the tank and cabinet are Siamese twins. I will take off whatever of the cabinet I can. I should be left with the tank stuck to the floor of the cabinet for the picture, if I understand and according to the pic in the old manual.

It might take me a couple of days; I have to peel off the contact paper that I covered the rusty cabinet with, years ago. That's so I can find the screws. I'll be back....
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Old 12-04-2015, 02:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DIherself View Post
All right, I am approaching an understanding. Now I know that the tank and cabinet are Siamese twins. I will take off whatever of the cabinet I can. I should be left with the tank stuck to the floor of the cabinet for the picture, if I understand and according to the pic in the old manual.

It might take me a couple of days; I have to peel off the contact paper that I covered the rusty cabinet with, years ago. That's so I can find the screws. I'll be back....
Don't take anything apart. Just show us what you have from the outside.
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