Our 30-year old house has it's original A.O. Smith 52-gallon electric water
heater, which is still working fine. Is it a good idea to periodically
hook up a garden hose and drain some water from the bottom of the tank,
or should I leave well enough alone?
I'm getting worried about the age of this water heater. Should I replace before
something goes wrong...or wait until it does?
First, unless you have been doing some sort or regular maintenance, I
certainly would not start now and it would be more likely to start a problem
than prevent one.
Replace now or wait. Well I would guess that a good replacement would
last as long as the original, which is likely close to the end of its life.
30 years is a long time, but in some areas it is not too unusual. The water
quality and the use can make a big difference in life.
So if you plan on staying in that same home for say five years or more,
I would suggest getting it replaced now at your convenience and maybe even
taking advantage of a sale. Waiting will almost certainly mean sometime in
the next five years you will suddenly find a leaking water heater and it
will need immediate attention and may cause damage to your home.
I wouldn't try to flush the bottom of it at this age. If it hasn't been
done regularly, it'll probably fail shortly after you clean it out. If it's
still recovering in a reasonable length of time, i'd leave well enough
alone. If it seems to take forever to recover, then it's probably time to
consider a new one.
I agree with the above.
It's been my experience that water heaters made 30 plus years ago seem
to last almost indefinitely. They may eventually sludge up (lime up)
and become inefficient but they seem to not corrode through.
I contrast that to newer ones that seem to have a life of 6 to 12
years, typically a year or two after the warranty expires. They seem
to be made with a minimal life expectancy in mind.
Most electric water heaters fail by developing an initial leak that is
generally quite small. Unless it is in an area where a small amount of
leakage will really ruin things (such as a second floor utility room),
I'd leave it alone.
I agree. Whats the point of replacing it if it works. i still opt to
drain it though. If the valve leaks and you dont want to tear it
apart, that 99 cent hose cap works fine. I can almost guarantee you
wont get 30 years out of any new heater. They just are not made as
well these days, unless you were to buy a costly commercial model.
I am curious about one thing. Have you ever replaced a heating
element in it? I can see the tank lasting 30 years, or maybe 40
years, but not the element. Lightning and power surges like to ruin
elements as well as corrosion.
I haven't replaced the heating element or anything else. Once in awhile, the
thermostat seems to stick on, since I have to turn the shower valve to a cooler
setting. But most of the time, the temperature is where it should be. Some years
ago, I turned the thermostat down to it's lowest point, which I believe is 120.
I'll consider draining it, just to clean out the crud.
And, yes, it's a Permaglas I model, which must mean it has some kind of
We do have organic iron in our water, which necessitates maintenance on our water
softener every 6 months to clean out the clogs.
That needs to be fixed. If the t-stat is stuck on when you're not using the
heater, you could end up with an exploding heater....when was the last time
you tested the T&P valve? (comes out the side near the top, or on the top,
and drains down the outside of the heater) They need to be tested yearly
because they lime up.
Lift up on the tab. when you do that, HOT water will come out the tube so
don't have your feet right under it. ;-) It may be handy to have a hammer
or a block of wood with you, since the T&P valves tend to leak after being
tested. Bop it a few times, if that stops the leak you're good, if not it
needs to be replaced.
Change it..it's way beyond it's planned life, could leak and make a mess at
any time. An electric water heater isn't all that much money, so unless your
planning on moving change it. I wouldn't tinker with draining it now, you
might cause a problem by disturbing things at this late date, and there is a
pretty good chance you won't be able to drain it anyway, the drain is
probably clogged up if it hasn't been drained periodically. I just replaced
mine after 14 years and had a hell of a time getting the water ( and a ton
of sediment) out of the old one so I could get it up the stairs, there was a
solid plug behind the drain and even after I took the valve off the sediment
didn't let the water out without a lot of poking and prodding.
"Scott" < email@example.com> wrote in message
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