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

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On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:19:25 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I don't want to burst anyone's bubble but realize that it's a ONE TIME lifetime warranty that Home Depot offers! That's fine as long as you realize it won't be the last water heater you'll ever replace.
For example, say that, in five years, the first water heater goes kaput. They will come out and replace it (if they installed it - otherwise you have to bring it to them - soaking wet in the back seat of your Lexus) ... but ... that's it!
Your lifetime is up. They will NOT replace the second water heater if it goes out, say, in another five years.
This isn't to say that the first water heater didn't have a lifetime warranty; it's just to remonstrate that the lifetimes is a one-shot deal.
Just to clarify, Donna
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First, don't leave it long but spend a few days doing your homework. Do it today and you'll likely get talked into something you'll regret.
I prefer a tank to tankless. Get one with really good insulation and it will be just as energy efficient.
I dislike Home Depot. A good local independent is a better bet if you can find one with strong recommendations. Ask your neighbors, co-workers etc. I'd go to Sears rather then stick a pin in the Yellow Pages.
Check locally for permit issues. Some cities actually require a permit to replace a water heater (just silly IMO, but it's the law).
--
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 17:37:04 GMT, Malcolm Hoar wrote:

This is what I was most worried about! I didn't know if was going to explode or anything. The sticker says it has a 300 psi pressure valve or something like that. I dont' know what 300 psi looks like plastered all over my garage, but I'll bet it isn't pretty!
Donna
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A HWT tank explosion requires at least two things - the thermstat sticks on, the overpressure valve seizes shut (and likely that you have a non-return valve in the supply). A leak implies none of these.
An explosion is nothing to joke about. It _can_ completely demolish a house. But that's _not_ a concern with a simple leak.
The hazard with a leak is that the leak may abruptly get bigger and dump a lot more water a lot faster. It's probably not going to do this any time soon, but you never know. So, don't leave it long. You could turn off the inlet supply valve if you're away for any protracted periods.
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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On Feb 10, 10:53 am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

Forgot to mention, that is no guarantee that it hasn't outlived its design life.
Most water heaters have a 6 year warranty; that means that anything over 10 years or so without regular maintenance is borrowed time. My water heater was installed circa 1990 or so, judging from the data sticker on it, and it still has one of those yellow "energyguide" stickers on it. (yes, I'm still using it, although its T&P valve failed and stuck slightly open while I was out of town and caused a horrid mess in my basement. I caught it just as it was starting to soak the carpet on the other side of the basement...)
I probably should have replaced it by now, but the anode looked OK so I stuck a new anode, T&P valve, and ball valve drain assembly on it and kept using it, because I'm a cheap b*****d. I figure if it does fail I can save all the stuff I've replaced and at least get my money's worth out of them in the future. The PO's of the house never did any maintenance on the thing (as evidenced by a drain valve that failed the first time I tried to flush it, and an anode that required a 3/4" breaker bar and cheater pipe to bust loose) but it's still kicking. just goes to show you that there is wide variation in the life of a WH probably primarily due to local water conditions.
nate
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 09:45:37 -0800 (PST), N8N wrote:

Hi Nate, Thanks for the continued advice. This "warranty" stuff always confused me. On the one hand, Consumer Reports says never buy the extended warranties for electronics and the like and on the other hand, for their hot-water heaters, they say get the ones with the longest warrantee because they "tend to be insulated better".
Since a warrantee is merely a marketing gimmick, I find the fact that there is any correlation between warrantee and actual product quality suspicious.
I'm an old(er) woman and I've *never* made good on any warrantee for anything sizeable ever. I remember muffler warrantees in the 80's where by the time I needed a new muffler, I didn't even remember where I bought the last one. Same with automotive batteries and brake pads. Sure, they're warranted, but, when your tire blows, you need a new tire and you can't shop around for the store that sold you the warrantee.
Since a warrantee is merely a marketing gimmick, how can there be *any* correlation between warrantee and actual quality?
Donna
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On Feb 10, 12:25 pm, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

As far as water heaters go, the only difference I'm aware of is extra anodes for the 10 or 12 year warranty models. If you're checking them every year when you flush and replacing when necessary, it doesn't matter. I'd pick 'em based on efficiency ratings, BTU/hr ratings, and price.
nate
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 12:09:51 -0800 (PST), N8N wrote:

Hi Nate,
Good advice,
I'm on the (1-800-HOME-DEP) line waiting to ask for the all-important FHR and EF numbers for the dozen available hot water heaters.
- 1-800-466-3337 - Press 1 for installation services - Ask for "water heater" assistance - Give them your zip code - They transfer you to the water heater department - 1-800-79DEPOT - Press 2 for water heaters - Press 2 for water heaters (not tankless) - Home Depot Home Services (exclusive suppliers of GE hot water heaters) - The operator, a David Kershaw, didn't even know what FHR stood for! - Not a good sign ... I'm gonna call their Water Heater Services at - 877-467-0542
I'm still waiting on the phone to get someone who knows what it is they are selling; but this is disconcerting they don't even know the first thing about what it is they supposedly specialize in at that number.
Donna
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kicking. just goes to show you that there is wide variation in the life of a WH probably primarily due to local water conditions.
nate
My gas-fired tank is 30 years old & still working fine. Unlike yours though, I think the previous owners did at least drain it occasionally, as evidenced by the well-hacked-up edges of the plastic drain valve being attacked by water pump pliers or whatever. But if it does ever leak, it's going to the landfill. Since it's right over the floor drain, I don't worry about it much.
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more expensive longer life tanks tend to have better insulation, brass rather than plastic drain valves and built in pilot igniters.
I prefer the higher 75K BTU larger tank, to avoid running out of hot water....
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I am not sure why it would be leaking cold water if it is working and therefore the water in the tank would be hot. Check above the hot water heater to see if any cold water pipes or any valves are dripping a little, and if the dripping water is then running down the outside to the bottom, making it look like the tank is leaking when it isn't.
If it's definitely the tank that is leaking (but leaking "cold" water makes me wonder about that), there is a risk that it will leak more in the next few days and be a big mess. Depending on where the tank is located, that could be a problem. If it's in a basement with a drain, and/or with nothing around on the floor that could be damaged by water, a bigger leak may not be a huge problem.
To be safer, when you leave the house, you can turn off the main water valve to the house, or if you know where the cold water feeds into the top of the hot water heater, you could just turn that valve off. Then, if there is a big leak, mostly only the water in the tank will leak out rather than having an unending flow of water running out of the bottom of the tank.
Skip the tankless water heater idea -- lot's of problems and not worth it.
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 13:16:47 -0500, BETA-33 wrote:

It is definately not-hot water (i,e., cool) leaking at the bottom of the tank. I'll snap a photo and show you. The top has the two pipes coming in, one is cold; the other is hot. It's working.
It is a good idea to shut off the water coming in (that limits my risk to 40 gallons max); but you didn't state whether I should turn off the gas also.
I suspect that I must - but can you confirm that the gas goes off with the water inlet getting shut off?
Donna
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Be sue the water is not hot water that cooled on the trip to where you see it.
If you shut the water off, you do not have to shut the gas off as long as you keep water in the tank.
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 13:53:59 -0500, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Hi Edwin,
Thank you for this home water heater gas line shut off tidbit as it's not obvious to me the heater can have no water coming in but the gas can be left running - but it makes it easier for me so I'm glad to know that.
Donna
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Doing this can cause drips at the safety valve, since water expands when heated, and the inlet pipe may be the direction the pressure thus developed is normally relieved.
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Call al local plumber and save a bundle of money. The flex pipe should be replaced with every installation though. As a plumber EH if passes leak test and in good shape no Also it is not a good Idea to leave the gas on and burner going if tank is leaking with the cold feed off shut it off as the tank is pressurizing Amatures will do anything .
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Get a plumber as most of the Bob Villas on here are wrong gas is something you should not play with and to the idiot that doesn't pull permits. Most insurance companies will not cover a fire if you have one and the tank had no permit pulled so it is your house and your pocket book but I err on the correct way. My Licence has taught the right way and correcting the Bob Villas of the world when it comes to gas
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jim wrote:

Strange, what few gas explosions I hear about are in jurisdictions that require permits (my city, the 4th largest in the nation) does not.
A 1/2" disconnected gas pipe in an average house (18,000 cu ft) will cause a low explosion level (LEL) in about 5 hours. This is sufficient time to evacuate to the next STATE, no matter where the house is located.
As the article from which I gleaned the above points out, a broken water heater gas line in a typical gargage will reach LEL in only six minutes. But it's only the garage...
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its happened here a cable crew hit a natural gas line and left the area.
later some kids came home, turned on light and BOOM.
schools should be required to have a safety class, on all sorts of hazards, smell of gas, dont use electric around a pool, touch downed power lines, etc etc
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