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  #1  
Old 03-04-2013, 09:04 AM
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Life of a water heater...

What is the average lifespan of a water heater?? The one we have was put in about 18 months before we moved in 2 years ago last month...That means it's only 3.5 years old.

My son went to the basement yesterday and came back up telling me that the floor was damp around the water tank, but there wasn't a stream. I went down there to look, and saw that it was wet, but nothing bad enough to panic...it could wait 'til today.

I filed a claim online with HSA, my home warranty company, at 7:30...20 minutes later a plumber called back and said they could replace it today, and said that my deductible was only $50. Cool...new water heater for $50, installed...I can afford that.

How long can I expect one of today's water heaters to last? I remember dad replacing one about 30 years ago, and my brother just replaced that one 6 months ago...it had a 29.5 year lifespan. I was impressed, and envy him on that!

I want to add that it's a 50 gallon Whirlpool gas water heater.

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  #2  
Old 03-04-2013, 09:17 AM
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Depends on location and use. Here in AZ, it's 7-10. Back in Hawaii, it was a bit longer, likely due to different water chemistry and usage. The heater that a home warranty insurer installs is typically a bargain unit, new but the warranty period is likely minimal.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2013, 09:20 AM
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Some of our water heaters do go thirty years. One place especially needs changed out about every five years. The variable is what is in the water supply in our case. You may just have gotten a poorly built tank. You will not really know the answer until it is determined how long the second tank lasts.

I have always figured when they glass coat them inside they might be missing areas. Almost certain actually as the tanks develop leaks well away from fittings usually.

Unprotected steel probably can get them well past the warranty periods. To get the glass coating applied right would be a better solution for the consumer. I will ask around to see if a stainless steel tank is available for the house that seems to require a new tank about every five years. We use electric water heaters and there seems to be but one brand basically sold in our region. If you can get a free water test it might indicate something.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:49 AM
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ours was original to the house when we replaced it, 26 years old. our new one both elements quit on me, but since replacing them, not bad. if you Flush it twice a year, to keep the crap from accumulating in it, they should go a long long time
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:56 AM
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Few know that water heaters need maintenance. Electric ones, for certain, have sacrificial metal rods. Such as those blocks found on the hulls of ships.

How To Replace Your Water Heater Anode Rod - YouTube
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:57 AM
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And how much did you pay the home warranty clowns in the first place? They're in it to make money -- make sure that the plumber they send isn't a cut-rate cretin.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:39 AM
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I would say that the life of a water heater is pretty boring. All it does is heat water all day.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:48 AM
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I recently replaced an electric one that was 20 years old, originally had a 4 yr. warranty. My water is harder than heck. The key I think is semi-annual drain, vacuum out the scale and replace elements as needed. I typically have scale up to the level of the bottom element in 6 months or so. Calcium carbonate I believe, it fizzes when I pour vinegar on it. The chickens love it.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:50 AM
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I was recently told by a plumber that all the various regional and national brands are made by only a handful of companies and you don't necessarily get what you paid for. YMMV.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:59 AM
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The guy is in the basement at this moment. The insulation around the tank is drenched, and water is seeping out of the top exit pipe and the valve on the exit pipe leaks when the water is running. It's going to be replaced today.

So far, I've paid $450 a year for the warranty, and I've used it 4 times...$50 each time used. My furnace needed a new blower, my fridge died, etc...it's been worth it so far. I'll pay for another years worth of coverage, then probably dump it afterwards. Having a 113 year old house, it's been nice to have that coverage to have work done that I am physically unable to do on my own.
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  #11  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elchivito View Post
I was recently told by a plumber that all the various regional and national brands are made by only a handful of companies and you don't necessarily get what you paid for. YMMV.
My home had an AO Smith water heater which lasted just short of 30 years. AO Smith manufactures their own units.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:32 AM
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Well...just found out it's going to cost an additional $150 for an expansion tank and install to bring it up to code. It's still cheaper than buying it and paying someone else to do it.
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Meet on the level, leave on the square. Great words to live by

Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread. - Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821.
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2013, 12:10 PM
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Up to code? You dont have to, thats only for new construction and remodel. You may as well since it cheap, but contractors LOVE to pull the "up to code" line way too much. Retroactive codes, like asbestos removal, are far and few.
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  #14  
Old 03-04-2013, 12:24 PM
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I've had one last at least 40 yrs. Current water heaters seem to have a much shorter life span.
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  #15  
Old 03-04-2013, 12:25 PM
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We have two AO Smith 50? 60? gallon units at home. They were installed in 2003, so they're 10 years old now.

I've had to clean that heat sensor thing a few times. I had to replace it on the one. I think I had to replace the draft blower once maybe..

I remember one time we were having trouble and the plumber was called in...they wanted to "fix it" for $600 or replace it for $1200.... They said it was the draft blower, which was only $200 online... It ended up being the flame sensor thing..

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