6 Water Heater failures in 14 years!

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well or city water? Sounds like something in your water is rotting them out.
aem sends....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It is City Water -- that's why it is perplexing that my neighbors don't have such problems. I contacted the city's Water Services Engineering group and they had no recommendations for me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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 overworking it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I had that problem when I had a water softener. I'm not sure that the softener was what caused it but when I sold the house and moved to another I no longer had the problem.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Dan
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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 foremost.
With your track record, I would flush your water heater more frequently than one a year!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Check the condition of the anode, to see if it is still there or severly corroded. This could help with a fix.
Darrell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yup, check your ground, but if you're on a well it might be something in your water as well. Either condition could cause what you describe. One of them (or both!) could be fatal!
HTH
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 14 Jul 2006 15:53:45 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

The next one that fails, cut it open and find out the real story.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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 plumbing.
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 system.
Good luck!
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.