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

Page 12 of 16  
On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 10:52:25 -0600, Vic Smith wrote:

Hi Vic,
I was thinking it was the condensation on the cold-water pipe (being in the unheated garage) that allowed the scaley white crust to build up only on the cold-water pipe.
We recently moved here so we don't know what the history is on the hot-water pipe; maybe it is simply newer.
Donna
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 17:26:01 GMT, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer

Could be. I was talking about the inside of the pipe, where condensation isn't an issue. I've seen some hot water pipes which were almost completely clogged with scale. I believe it's because the heat causes the mineral solution to more readily deposit on the steel.
--Vic
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It's mostly a matter of preference. When using teflon tape, there's yellow stuff rated for fuel use which is what you should use on gas lines, or you can use pipe dope. A book I have on plumbing which is written by a long time plumber recommends using both, and indeed I've started doing that on gas lines and have yet to have a leak. Put on a thin coat of pipe dope, wrap a couple layers of teflon tape tightly, then brush a little pipe dope over that and screw it in. Make sure the tape stays on the threads and doesn't scrunch back when you thread it in, and screw it down tight enough but not too tight, I know that's probably not very helpful but I don't know how to describe it. Use a pipe wrench, they're cheap. I use a pair of vice grip pliars to hold the existing pipe so I don't unscrew it while unscrewing fittings from that.
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wrote:

Don't use galvanized pipe; it rusts from the inside out after a few decades. Use copper.
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Bob M. wrote:

I agree, the OP is talking about a retrofit of a water heater in a house that already has galv. water pipes. They probably ought to be replaced with copper at some point, but one job at a time :)
nate
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Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

the nipples on the top of your new heater should already be dielectric, so adding a dielectric at the end of your water pipes would only protect the copper flex.
nate
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 06:19:34 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

Hi Nate, That dialectric stuff confuses me to no end.
The nipples already screwed into the top of the hot water heater seem to have blue plastic inside them but they look like steel. I was actually expecting two black steel female fittings in the top of the tank based on what I saw at the store but this tank, when we finally got it out of the box, has two whitish chromeyish nipples already screwed in.
Are you saying we can put the copper or stainless steel flex tubing directly onto those two nipples sticking out of the top of the new hot water heater?
Donna
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Dielectric unions are needed to prevent reactions between dissimilar metals, causing leaks years from now. This is why copper hanger brackets or straps should be used with copper pipe.
Sometimes though, unions are used simply to facilitate future disassembly; no desoldering required, just a big wrench.
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Could have saved a bundle on those items from a real plumbing supply. Only difference, they usually have a 15% restocking charges for returns.
.

Copper and brass are compatible. Brass is made with copper as an ingredient.

Don't need both. Careful putting an S bend as there is a minimum radius for them.

Won't really help much with todays's well insulated heaters.

If you have copper/steel you need them.
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On Feb 17, 12:02am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

I don't know why you continue to dismiss a 12 year warranty on the water heater as useless. You seem to be saying that because that is about the typical life of a water heater, that the warranty is of no value. Yet you value a 1 year warranty on labor? No manufacturer is ever going to give you a warranty for longer than the typical life of the item. Do auto manufacturers give you a 150,000 mile warranty on a car? Just because the typical water heater lasts about 13 years doesn't mean yours will. The biggest difference is in your water, which can vary greatly. In some areas, tanks frequently fail in only 8 years. And I'd rather have a warranty that is going to cover the unit itself, regardless of who pays for the labor. Since you're installing it yourself, there is no labor anyway, so why is that even an issue?
I have a State water heater. A few years ago, the thermocouple went when it was maybe 4 years old. I called them up and I had one here in 2 days, no questions asked. Didn't cost me a cent, not even shipping. Now the thermocouple is only a $15 part, but it could have been the valve assembly which is probably 6X or the tank which would have been $350.
Now, how much extra you may want to pay for a longer warranty is open to debate. But I don't get how you can dismiss a 12 year warranty on the unit as nearly useless.
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 05:44:55 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Hi Trader,
Thanks for keeping up on this. Maybe I'm wrong on the warrantee but I took logic in college and the warrantee seems like a useless marketing tool to me when I read through what I have to do in order to "make good" on it.
It's hard for me to write this reply because I feel the warranty is only an advertising gimmick which, to me, is only useful for the first year, mainly because I'm never going to take the water heater apart and bring it to the store to obtain the "free" replacement after the first year - and - the alternative is to pay as much for the labor as the entire water heater cost in the first place - so the "free" replacement costs just as much as the original parts if I have a plumber come to me to inspect, diagnose, and replace it. The warrantee seems absolutely useless to me, after the first year given those realistic concerns.
Worse than that, I read the entire text of the Sears "12-year limited warranty" which intimates Sears will replace parts that are defective and the water heater itself *only* if it develops a leak (no other replacement is warranted).

This is the ENTIRE issue! If I have to remove the entire water heater in order to bring it to the store just to see if they'll warrant the parts or the leaking tank, that's absolutely crazy! Do people really remove their water heater, truck it in the back of their car to the store, have someone at the store look at it and decide whether or not to replace the parts, then, if they decide not to, you truck it back home and re-install it? Or, if they decide to replace the parts, they hand you the new parts and you truck the whole drippy thing back home to re-install it? I think not.
If I need to make good on the warrantee, the only way I'll ever do it is to call a Sears plumber at 800-469-4663 who will likely charge me as much for the visit as the thing cost in the first place. Sure, I'll get a new water heater - and it will cost me exactly what it cost when I bought it considering I MUST use their labor. I have no choice this second time around.
My whole point is the automobile analogy you provided is exactly opposite of reality! You can easily DRIVE the car to the dealership to get a part diagnosed and fixed but to drive your water heater to the Sears store would be ludicrous (for me).
Do you see why the automobile analogy doesn't apply for a water heater? Bringing the water heater to the dealer isn't an option. To bring the dealer to the water heater costs as much as the water heater. It's that simple to me.
Donna
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On Feb 17, 10:52am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

You don't have to take the water heater anywhere. As I said, when my State had the thermocouple fail, all I did was call State up. They looked it up on their database, determined it was under warranty, and I had a replacement on my doorstep in 2 days. No charge, no sending parts back.
Now, I don't know exactly how they handle the case where you have a leaking water heater. Perhaps they have a local rep or dealer take a look at it. But I'm sure they don't want you shipping the water heater back to them.
- and - the

If the water heater fails, then you need a new one, don't you? Without the warranty, you're out not only the labor, but also the cost of buying a new water heater, which is ~$400.
The warrantee seems absolutely useless to me, after the first

It fails in year seven. With a 10 year warranty, you get a either free parts or a new tank. Without it, you get zippos and the labor is the same.

Well, what did you expect? That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. If the thermocouple, valve, burner assembly, etc go, you get those parts. If the tank goes, you get a whole new unit.

Who said you have to bring it to the store?
Do people really remove their

If you read my previous post, I told you exactly how State handled my warranty claim.

Does anything in the warranty say you have to use a Sears plumber? My State warranty had no reqt as to who had to make the repair. I made the repair myself and State had no problem simply supplying the parts.

I didn't drive mine anywhere.

Even if it were true that you had to bring the water heater back to where you bought it, your statement still wouldn't be true. Let's see. Water heater is spewing water from a shot tank. It's under warranty. Either way it has to be removed. Once it's out, under your scenario, you could take it back to where you bought it and get a new one for free. How does it cost $400 to take it back? Or you could go buy a new one for $400 and then do what with the old one? Many places you have to take it somewhere anyway to get rid of it. If you're getting a new one, it seems you could certainly take the old one back to the store. But I don't think this is a realistic scenario. They aren't going to expect you to drag the old one to them and they don't want it.

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i was selling a home and the jerk home inspector failed the brand new hot water tanks gas valve, and required it be installed by a licensed plumber.
the tanks manufacturer sent out a whole new controller within 2 days.
the plumber reported no leak on the original one, just a home inspector wanting to justify his fee.
plumber who i know said that sort of thing is common
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I guess I must be lucky, the guy that did our home inspection was very nice and the only thing I can fault him on is the stuff he missed, and all of the stuff he missed he couldn't have seen without removing cover plates, moving ceiling tiles, etc. which he probably couldn't have done.
nate
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 11:04:53 -0500, clams_casino wrote: On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 11:04:53 -0500, clams_casino wrote:

Hi clams,
We *are* doing it right. That's why I'm here in the first place. To get it right. I do appreciate the help. From everyone. And, I'll give back by posting the tutorial for others like us to follow.
In fact, we feel we're possibly doing it *better* than a plumber might, at least in terms of raw material. It seems to us (unsubstantiated opinion) that a plumber might tend to maximize his *time* and not necessarily the quality of the materials - unless specifically asked to by the homeowner (who must correspondingly be willing to pay for the extra parts cost and labor).
Bill is in his final shower as we speak. The gas is off.
He can sing in that steaming hot shower for as long as he likes and, for once, I won't be on his back about wasting the hot water!
Donna
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Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

This has been a very informative thread. I didn't appreciate that our 15-year old water heater (61 gallon - State / 0.55 ER) is likely on borrowed time. The first one in our home was replaced after just 8 years (previous owner). As someone pointed out, now is probably a good time to start researching a replacement.
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i take a different view, after having one start leaking with house guests coming right before christmas.
i replace mine at the time of my choosing, on my schedule.
peace of mind and lack of hassles plus no worry about water leak damage, and can shop around for best deal, and get better efficency from new tank and i went larger with a high output tank.
do you wait for everything you own to totally quit before replacing?
hot water tanks are low cost.
my current one is 7 years old. its on borrowed time
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Generally speaking, yes. I tend to drive cars until they get to the point (providing regular maintenance) of requiring significant repairs (as a second car, always maintaining a good first car).
I don't expect to replace appliances (vacuum cleaner, dish washer, stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, toaster, etc) until they are in need of repair. It's at that point when I typically determine if its cost effective to replace or repair (typically it's best to toss at that point). I also wait for light bulbs to burn out, etc. My three lawn mowers each last about 15 years... till they died.
What other items do you replace on a regular basis?
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I have repaired machines my entire life, i am 51 my vans are mid 90s but try to maintain them I dont buy new vehicles. I prefer to fix non critical appliances
mostly i have 2 of everything so when one breaks i use the back up.
2 washers, 2 dryers, 2 vans, 2 lawn mowers, spare tools, spare everything. if it werent for space i would have 2 hot water tanks, and 2 dishwashers
my basement where the hot water tank lives is my shop for my business, i sell and service office equiptement.
so i really dont want a basement full of water even a foot would be bad, and the moisture ruin inventory.
having had a hot water tank fail on christmas eve, in a snow storm with family coming to stay i would much prefer to replace a tank early in the morning on a spring day:)
warm dry comfy. no stress.
now lets look at the economics of tank replacement:)
DIY a 400 buck tank thats replaced in 8 years nets a cost of 50 bucks a year.
thats less than a decent candy bar a week...........
plus the new tank has better efficency and doesnt boil when heating. my current tank has started doing that......... wife doesnt like the noise, it can be heard upstairs.
did you know a person who buys a brand new mid priced car every 5 years, in a lifetime spends about $250,000 just on new car purchase.
now does my 400 buck purchase compare?
incidently we have some tough to get at light fixtures here, when one bulb burns out i replace them all. I prefer all fixtures to have multiple bulbs, when one burns out theres still enough light to see
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Generally, yes.

I guess I take a different tack; probably has to do with my upbringing (whole family is from rural PA, very, um, frugal...) I figure inspecting the anode regularly will tell me what I need to know about the tank condition and I can make an informed decision from there.
You may recall from my previous posts that I just replaced the anodes back in November on two ancient (80's) water heaters in my basement; it turns out that they were both still in good shape despite the solar one appearing to be near failure - the outside shell is very rusty and looking to be in poor condition but the anode was still intact enough that it appears it was never unprotected on the inside. Also I had thought that the solar one was leaking intermittently but it now appears that that was due to dry rotted condensate drain lines in the furnace and the slope of the floor (solar HWH is located near a low spot) repairing the furnace drain seems to have fixed the issue.
Basically, when you live in an area like I do where the housing costs are so high, you can't afford to simply replace stuff on a schedule, you replace it when it really needs to be replaced. I'll continue flushing and inspecting the anode; when this anode is gone (if I'm still living in the same place) then maybe I'll consider replacing the tank, as it'll be 30-40 years old by then :) (and hopefully I'll be making enough money by then that the mortgage won't be eating up half my take-home every month)
Yes, I "shop" for light fixtures and other supplies in the "free" section of Craigslist as well, and just bought a couple paneled doors for $12 each from the home salvage place up in Edmonton.
I'd like to think that when it does come time for me to move out of this house, despite the fact that I'm replacing very little, that the new owners will still find far fewer problems than I did upon moving in simply because I do address problems as they arise, and I do everything I can myself so I know it's done right.
nate
(officially licensed and certified cheap b*****d)
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