Old Water Heater

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?
Thanks! Scott
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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.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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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.
s

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on 9/21/2007 1:58 AM Scott said the following:

draining the tank.

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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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On Fri, 21 Sep 2007 00:58:45 -0500, Scott wrote:

Don't fix what aint broke.
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wrote:

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.
Doug
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wrote:

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.
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

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 fiberglass inside.
We do have organic iron in our water, which necessitates maintenance on our water softener every 6 months to clean out the clogs.
Scott
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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.
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"Bob M." wrote:

Bob,
How to I test the T&P valve?
Scott
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Quickly flick the tab on the unit up for 5 secounds with a pail under the dischage
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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.
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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.
--

Mike S.

"Scott" < snipped-for-privacy@uslink.net> wrote in message
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