Help. I bought a new home 14.5 years ago. Since then, I've had 6
(electric) water heater failures. My early heaters would leak at the
top. Lately, the failures start with "brown water" thru the house at
each hot water outlet which progressively gets darker. After replacing
the heater, the water is clear. I've purchased quality name brand
units with dual heating elements and even increased the total gallon
capacity (now 80gal). I have a water softener ahead of the unit as
well as a hot water recirculating pump (on a timer) to circulate the
hot water through the long runs in the house. I drain the water heater
once a year and flush it as well as remove and clean the heating
elements. I started to do this around failure #4. I'm now getting
light brown water at the taps so I know I'm facing #7 real soon! By
the way, my neighbors to each side and across the street don't
experience this problem.
Just jumping in here...
What temp is it set at? Maybe you're running it too hot?
Any filters or water softeners before the water heater?
Also, just a poke in the dark, but could a loose wiring connection (not
necessarily at the water heater) cause the unit to pull more amps and
buy a non-conductive (plastic) water heater and be done with it. No
sacrifical rod, because its not needed. Ours has been going strong for the
past 5 years of so without any problem. Don't remember the brand, but we
bought it at one of the home chain stores (Knox, Home Depot, Menards, ets).
I could look for the make and model if you are really interested. It cost
about 50% more than the standard conductive water heaters.
Perhaps you have a grounding problem with your electrical service where
you are circulating ground current through your water supply system.
(If this is the case, this is a dangerous condition.) Installing
dielectric unions at the inlet and outlet to your water heater may
help, but insuring your electric supply panel is properly grounded is
With your track record, I would flush your water heater more frequently
than one a year!!
On 14 Jul 2006 15:53:45 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
I'd go with the anode solution. Find a unit that has easy access
for anode replacement and you will only have to replace the anodes
rather than the whole water heater.
Some anodes are easier to replace than others Check out which would
work best in your house.
My first guess would be a water quality problem. Water Softeners
generally just neutralize the minerals in the water. You could still have
really acidic water which could be corroding your water heaters and
You may also have lots of rust and/or sediment in your water. I recommend
you install a whole house water filter on your cold water supply.
Maybe you have some kind of bacterial or other contamination. Your water
softener company should be able to test for this, or your local health
department could test your water as well.
What kind of piping is in your house? Copper, CPVC, PEX, Galvanized? My
in-laws had terrible water quality because of their old galvanized
piping. After I replaced their piping, their water runs clear and fresh.
Have you inspected the anode rods of the water heaters when you replace
them? They're supposed to reduce tank corrosion by sacrificing themselves
instead of the tank.
You may want to search for a tank with a liner that can handle harsh
water conditions. They usually cost more, but should be cheaper than
replacing your tank every couple of years.
One last thought, though I'm not sure if it would affect the tank or
water. Check to make sure your water heater is grounded to the electrical
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