Quick basic advice on a dripping gas 40-gal hot-water heater

Page 1 of 16  
Can I get some quick trusty advice on a dripping gas 40 gallon hot-water heater?
I noticed my hot-water heater leaking and my husband is out of town. He says wait until he comes back (1 week) but I am afraid something bad will happen. He also says maybe we should replace with an instant on tankless heater but I want to get it done today!
Do you have quick advice on hot-water heaters?
1. If it's leaking cold water from the bottom but still working, is it not repairable (I assume it's a throwaway item).
2. It's at least as new/old as when I moved into this house around 2000 and it has an energy efficiency sticker so it's not that old. But, would you replace it with a bigger (only two people in the small house as the kids are gone) one or even go tankless?
3. Is it a home repair or, due to gas, is it only by a qualified pro?
4. Do most of you go to Home Depot or the like and just pick one and have them install it or is there a "better" way?
5. I never did anything preventative but googling talks about a sacrificial anode and draining; should I have done that (I'm guessing yes).
6. If we go tankless, are there "gotchas" we need to watch out for?
Sorry for so many questions! But it would be nice to get your off-the-cuff advice again!
Donna
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Feb 10, 9:53 am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

Wait till he gets back
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
message

Yes, toss it.

If it works for you, size is OK. If yo ever runs short, go for bigger. For gas, is is probably plenty good as it has faster recovery than electric.

Depends on your skill level. If you have to ask, get a pro.

I'd rather use a local plumber, but, some of the big stores do a next day install.

I think that is more of an eectric thing than gas.

Yes, you need lots of power, venting etc. You may hot have allthe time needed to plan an install. Many people are also unhappy with them too as they are not as resposive as they'd like.
Chances of a catastrophic failure are slim, but I'd not wait very long. You can close the feed valve to the heater and limit any leaks to the 40 gallons inside of it.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 12:32:38 -0500, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I'm on Consumer Reports right now looking up how to buy a new one.

It's gas and it has always been fine with the water. We have even fewer people in the house now than ever before. The FHR (first hour rating) is 65 on the existing (leaking) water heater. It's 34,000 BTUs. I can't seem to find the EF (energy efficiency). I can't make out the brand but on the label, I can see a model "40HMEV" (whatever that is) that I'm looking up now. It's barely dripping ... just a puddle on the floor ... so I wonder how much time I have to research the right thing to do.
I guess I have a day or two?
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It applies equally to electric and gas heaters.
O.P. Don't panic over a small leak. Chances are it will survive till he gets back just fine.
Bob
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Feb 10, 10:53 am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

by "bottom" if you mean "bottom of tank" then yes, it needs to be replaced.

Depends on your exact situation. There's resources online to help you select the proper sized water heater. Do you have any issues with your old one? (running out of hot water mid-shower, etc.?) If no, it is probably at least as big as you need. I have no opinion on tankless, but be aware that you may have to do some gas plumbing to make it work, as well as your flue for the old WH may now be undersized. Tankless WH's have a much higher BTU/hr rating than tank style and therefore use gas at a much higher rate. You have to both feed and exhaust it properly (kind of like hot-rodding a car.)

Depends on how handy you are. If you're just replacing a tank style with another tank style you *may* be able to handle it yourself, but I'm hesitant to say for sure without knowing your skill set. I'd probably call a pro to convert to tankless.

I would avoid that orange colored circle of Hell like the plague and call a real plumber.

checking the anode and flushing the tank every hear is never a bad idea.

Shut off the gas to the WH and shut off the water to your house before you leave to go anywhere. If you don't know how to do all of this, or relight the pilot (assuming you have one) post back. Does the room in which the heater is located have a floor drain? Can you tell where the water is leaking from? (is it coming from the T&P valve pipe? If so you can fix this yourself without buying a new WH.)
I wouldn't rush into replacing the water heater; there's real savings to be had from carefully shopping and selecting one that is a) sized right for your house and b) as efficient as possible. Unfortunately the typical water heater purchase sounds a lot like yours, so there's typically some sense of urgency behind it and people don't make the best decisions.
If it is well and truly failed, and you have to replace it, take a look at waterheaterrescue.com (I think I got that right) I would definitely install a ball valve in place of the factory plastic drain valve on your new heater, and they also offer other helpful advice there. If you have someone install it you probably won't have the opportunity to install a curved dip tube as they recommend, but that is really only important for high sediment areas. You don't need to buy from WHR (although I did buy new anodes for my heaters from them as I was unable to find any source locally that sold magnesium anodes) just to do the ball valve thing; a threaded 3/4" ball valve, a dielectric nipple, and a 3/4" NPT male to garden hose male adapter is all you need (and pipe wrenches and dope, of course) pick up a brass garden hose fitting cap while you're shopping in case someone kicks the ball valve unintentionally. It is, however, WAY easier to do this before the water is turned on to your new heater; it's a bit messier if you have to retrofit an old heater due to a busted drain valve. (ask me how I know this.)
good luck.
nate
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 09:32:59 -0800 (PST), N8N wrote:

I was scared that I had to replace it this instant! But, I like to think a bit if I have the time to think.
I think I'm giving up on the tankless idea because of what you said. This is what Consumer Reports has to say about tankless. I think I'll replace my "40HMEV" with an equivalent one with a tank!
"Tankless water heaters claim to save money by heating water only when you turn on the faucet. But smaller, cheaper units probably won't produce enough hot water to serve a typical family. Larger, gas-fired units cost $1,000 or more and are expensive to install because they often require larger gas supply lines and special venting."
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, I went to the HD and bought one and installed it myself. They sell a nice self-install kit with steel-braided lines, adapters (if you need them), etc. They have reasonably priced GE models, priced by the level of insulation, efficiency and other reasonable criteria.
After hours of cursing and sweating to remove the old plumbing, draining and lugging the old one out, installing and leak-testing the new one, I thought the around $300 installation price they had wanted wasn't unreasonable. IIRC, it was around $700 installed next day for their top-of-the-line heater.
Beats leaving messages on answering services for so-called 24x7x365 plumbers, and the uncertainty. That said, I would shop Sears too, what is a few phone calls here and there?
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 11:19:50 -0800 (PST), Nexus7 wrote:

Hi Nexus, I took your lead and went to the Home Depot myself. The guy there was very helpful; he said don't buy there.
He said write down the prices and the models and choose one. Then, call the 800-HOME-DEPOT number to buy.
The installation is $309 & it changes the warranty period in strange ways.
BTW, according to Consumer Reports, the MOST IMPORTANT figure, the "First Hour Rating" (FHR) was MISSING at Home Depot. So was the second most important buying figure, the efficiency rating (EF).
This is disapointing. Home Depot talked about warranty and price and gallonage but skipped the important criteria (according to my quick ressearch today). So, I'm trying to put it together now so we can comparison shop.
You had to open each and every box to get that information right off the unit - and the orange-vested guy didn't want me to do that so may I ask WHERE I'm supposed to get the critical numbers missing below in order to do a proper home hot water heater installation comparison decision?
Here's what they had (price, UPC, FHR, EF, BTU, gal, Warranty): $280, 514017, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 34K, 40gal, 3yr $290, 509501, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 36K, 40gal, 6yr $350, 519005, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 38K, 40gal, 9yr $350, 431048, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 38K, 50gal, 6yr $360, 494272, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 40K, 40gal, 6yr $370, 551821, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 40K, 40gal, 9yr $380, 569840, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 34K, 40gal, 6yr $410, 431055, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 38K, 50gal, 9yr $420, 518411, ??gal FHR, .59EF, 40K, 40gal, 12yr $420, 494302, 68gal FHR, .??EF, 40K, 50gal, 6yr $440, 518435, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 40K, 40gal, 12yr
Do you know where I can get the FHR and EF ratings for the Home Depot water heaters currently on sale? (I'll call the 800 number after this message.)
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

I think the ones HD sells are made by GE, try their web site.
Also since you have gas, make sure you buy a unit the same height or shorter than your existing unit, unless you have a flue that you are certain you can shorten safely (that is, maintaining a reasonable slope where it runs horizontally if anywhere) don't want to install the new heater and then find you have to rip it out because it's backdrafting!
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 19:41:50 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

Hi Nate,
I should note the new hot water heaters are taller (about 58 and 59 inches versus 50 inches for the existing water heater) and wider (about 19.75 to 21.75 inches in diameter as opposed to about 18 inches for the existing hot water heater).
The guy on the phone said it wouldn't be a problem. There is about an inch of space between the top of the existing 50" tall water heater and the 3-inch or so wide vertical vent pipe with a hat on top to gather in the fumes (I guess).
The hot water coiled pipes are about a foot long currently and bent like a U shape.
Donna
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

as long as you have the space...

that gap is normal, and you say "vertical" making me think that you could just cut some off and still be OK, yes?

you mean more like an "S" laying on its side? That's good. those bends act like a heat trap, and most installers don't bother to put them in.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 20:40:55 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

Hi Nate, Thanks for asking. I appreciate the help. Since the hot water heater is in a garage, there is a foot and a half "bench" it's sitting on, then the 50 inches of hot water heater, then at least a few feet of vertical pipe to get near the cieling which is way up there.
So, I would guess they can cut off 8 or 9 inches and the vertical three-inch wide pipe would still be a few feet vertically.
I'm a bit more worried about the hot-water pipes as the S-shaped coiled pipes are only about a foot long but if we take 9 inches out of that, it leaves them only being about 3 inches long which doesn't seem like enough for an "S" dont'cha think?
Donna
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

that's fine, no worries there then.

I wouldn't worry about that at all. you can just take it out of the copper hard lines if you have to. (I'm assuming that you're referring to corrugated flexible copper connectors above.)
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 21:12:41 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

Hi Nate, Yes, I was referring to the corrugated flexible copper pipes connected to the rigid galvanized steel pipes coming out of the wall near the garage ceiling.
I guess they can cut the galvanized pipes because they are at least 18 inches or so vertical.
But I don't know if Home Depot includes cutting the galvanized pipes in the cost. Should I call them back and order a shorter (50 inch vs 58 inch) hot water heater so as to preserve the S coil without having to cut the galvanized steel water pipes?
Donna
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

I wouldn't bother. If the installers can't deal with cutting your water pipes shorter, you shouldn't let them install your heater (you have galvanized water lines? how old is this house, anyway? Mine was built in '48 and has copper.)
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
message

If you have galvanized water pipes you may run into additional cost. You may want to consider re-plumbing the house too if that is what you have.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in

I wouldn't suggest that worry unless there is some problem with the existing galvanized pipes. They last many, many years many places.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Feb 10, 6:29 pm, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

I'm not sure that the FHR is really all that essential. The hot water available in the first hour is going to depend upon the following - inlet water temp, burner BTU/hr input and efficiency, tank size, outlet temp. Once you set a certain outlet temp (using the dial in the front), you can get an idea of the FHR with the efficiency and burner input. I see however that your table only has efficiency for only 1 model, although it has burner BTU for all. I have the 9 yr 40 gal model, its efficiency rating is 0.59 per the label. I was able to find a little more info on the net using the model number (not UPC). The model number on mine is PG40T09AVH00. I believe the 12 yr model's number starts with 'S'.
Oh, I just saw that you can get the efficiency and burner BTU numbers at the HD web site. Put in your zip code, then it shows more models.
If you are getting the thing installed, and by HD, I wasn't aware you could pick the model; they only offered me the 12 yr. IIRC, the warranty lengths increase if they install it?
Oh, just to muddy things up a bit, I remember once I has bought and installed the heater from HD, I had looked at the Sears site, and found a minor advantage to buying there. I can't remember why. However, models, etc. change quite often, so I don't think that difference would be still valid.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
just to muddy the water a little more.............
the hotter you keep the water the greater the energy loss. often people try to compensate for a too small tank by keeping water very hot.
this has 2 bad effects, greater standby losses, so operating costs are higher.
plus the higher temperature is harder on the tank, leading to a shorter overall life.
now put a llarger tank in such a situation and the operating costs can actually be less for a larger tank if you turn down its temperature
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.