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Dear experts,

I am about to but a house that has natural gas water heaters. I wonder if I should buy a plan for regular service? At my current home, I have for many years an electric water heater, and never bothered to have a special service. So do people usually buy service plans for gas water heaters?

Thanks,
Dmitriy
 

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About the only thing you need to do with gas water heaters is to drain the sediment from the bottom of the tank once or twice a year, and you should be fine. It is smart to check the anode occasionally to make sure that it has not been consumed. I have well water with a water softener. My well water is high in TDS (total dissolved solids,) which consumes the anode quickly. I checked the anode 2-1/2 years after the water heater was installed, and it was already totally consumed! My water heater would have failed in a few months if I had not checked and replaced it.
Removing the anode to inspect it is quite a project. You have to wrap the tank with a large ratchet strap and brace the strap against a wall to prevent the tank from twisting. Then you use a 1-1/8" socket and a long 1/2" breaker bar (and several feet of pipe extension slid over the breaker bar) to break the anode loose. The manufacturers purposely overtighten the anode onto the tank with pneumatic equipment that develops so much torque, to discourage DIY-ers from checking the anode periodically. Replacing a depleted anode extends the service life of a water heater by years, which isn't in the best interests of the water heater manufacturers. A visual explanation of how to remove an anode rod is available on Youtube:
 

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I've always had gas water heaters and drained the tank to remove sediment many years ago. After I did that, the drain valve developed a steady slow leak. I mentioned it to my dad who said the same thing happened to him. My water heaters seem to last about 10 years without changing the anode rod, but I'd bet if I did that they would last twice as long. I have city water too.
 

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The type of fuel used to create the heat has nothing at all to do with service of the equipment per-se. That is due to the water itself. One should always drain and clean the water heater tank. Check the condition of the burner, replace the thermo-couple if needed, replace the sacrificial rod, etc... If you want to ensure that you have good water being heated, then place the correct filter on the supply line. There are many types of filters, all depends on what you want to filter away, or add to the water.


I service my two water heaters every 6 months. But I paid high dollar for each of them, and they are designed to last a good 40 years or so with proper maintenance. I never purchase or use cheap quality equipment or parts.
 

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So, House Designer, are you recommending that when buying a new HW heater, while it's on the ground and not installed, crack that anode rod loose and then retighten so it's easier to check in the future? Never would have thunk it.
 

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The AO Smith units have a extended warranty but to get it you must install a second anode rod.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

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So, House Designer, are you recommending that when buying a new HW heater, while it's on the ground and not installed, crack that anode rod loose and then retighten so it's easier to check in the future? Never would have thunk it.
Yes, that would probably be a good idea. You probably would want to add some teflon tape to the threads so that it seals again.
 
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There is 0 reason to drain a water heater unless it's going to be replaced.
You only need to drain a few gal. out of the bottom of the heater about every 6 months to flush out the sediment and this holds true for gas or electric.
If you where to "drain" the tank and refill you can count on sediment being flushed up into the plumbing system and causing issues with anything down line from there.
The fastest way to remove an anode is to use a 1/2 impact gun, might take a whole 10 sec, to get it loose, no straps needed.
 

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The fastest way to remove an anode is to use a 1/2 impact gun, might take a whole 10 sec, to get it loose, no straps needed.
1) I don't recommend using impact tools on a water heater anode. The water heater is lined with glass (porcelain) and you are liable to cause cracks in the glass which compromise the protection it offers from corrosion.

2) Average 1/2" impact gun only provides about 250 ft-lb of torque, which is not nearly enough to loosen a stubborn anode that has never been removed before. I speak from experience, having tried a 1/2" impact gun on my second 2-1/2 yr. old electric water heater, which had already consumed its anode and failed. The impact gun did not budge it; it took a 4 ft. long cheater bar.
 
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Would you mind explaining briefly the difference? Thanks.

To my mind, 'drain' means to empty ('drain the bathtub'). For a water heater, that means turning off the heat source and water supply then open the drain tap and an upstream hot tap to allow air into the tank, and let it empty under gravity.
'Flush' means to open the drain tap and let the system's water pressure flush out any sediment lying in the bottom of the tank. You can turn the heat source off if you want but it really isn't necessary since the tank remains full.
 

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To my mind, 'drain' means to empty ('drain the bathtub'). For a water heater, that means turning off the heat source and water supply then open the drain tap and an upstream hot tap to allow air into the tank, and let it empty under gravity.
'Flush' means to open the drain tap and let the system's water pressure flush out any sediment lying in the bottom of the tank. You can turn the heat source off if you want but it really isn't necessary since the tank remains full.
Thank you for your explanation. It seems like flushing is what is actually needed, right, as it is all about getting rid of sediments?
 

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Sorry I'm late to the party,

My tank is a rental, since new house build (15 years now)

I have, on another forum I got butt raped for even suggesting I had a rental.
For us it's POM, company has to maintain and or replace, for us it's $30 a month and you dont want a blown tank in Canada in the middle of winter.

Which funnily enough happened !

It for me is insurance, we also get a yearly checkup, and any probs we ring there 24/7 hot line

We also had to call them in for a disintegrated Dip tube and a leaky drain valve.

Not exactly good value for money, but for us it is worth it

Dear experts,

I am about to but a house that has natural gas water heaters. I wonder if I should buy a plan for regular service? At my current home, I have for many years an electric water heater, and never bothered to have a special service. So do people usually buy service plans for gas water heaters?

Thanks,
Dmitriy
 

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Once in a while I drain some water out. Other than that, I ignore it. They have always outlived their warranty and that is all I expect. I am 2 years into my 4th unit in 40 years.
 
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