hot water heaters use copper tanks?


I was looking at the website of a scrap metal merchant, and it had a page imploring home renovators to bring in their metal and make a few quid. One of their claims was that water heaters have 15 to 30 kg of copper in the tank, making it worthwhile to rip out the tank and put in the boot of the car. Well I had a look at 3 heaters: in our house, the granny flat and my shop. All are storage systems, but none has a copper tank. So is copper that common?
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Hot water cyclinders are always copper AFAIK. Old uninsulated ones can be quite thick copper. Nowadays it's more like copper foil and relies on the insulation to provide any stability for handling the thing when empty.
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Andrew Gabriel
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writes:

I think the OP was confusing cylinders with cisterns.
Cisterns are metal or plastic. Cylinders are copper as Andrew says. But more like 3 - 5Kg, not 15 - 30. The copper is wafer thin. Even old ones aren't going to be 30Kg, unless they're full of limescale. I once saw a scrapyard geezer take an axe to a cylinder and knock the scale out, it was 3" thick at the bottom and doubled the weight of the cylinder.
Steve
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That sounds about right. The cylinder in our last house started leaking at about 20 years old. When the plumber tried to remove it it was so thin it just tore apart revealing a similar build up of limescale. I remember carting four buckets full down from the airing cupboard for him and there was still plenty in what was left of the bottom of the tank.
Mike
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My parents' one lasted 40 years before springing a leak. Plumber managed to drag it out of the way to fit a new one, but had to get a mate over to actually help move the old one downstairs and outside, it was so heavy. I suspect most of that was scale, although the copper would have been very much thicker than a current one.
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