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

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more expensive heater tend to have better materials, like brass drain valves rater than plastic ones. plastics only job is to drain once at end of life.. helped a buddy his plastic valves stem snapped off trying to open it.....
we pushed the heater over on its side, and drained thru the fill lines and T&P valve
a full 50 gallon tank is heavy,,,,,
400 pounds of water and at least a couple hundred for tank
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for
a
depending
covers
I think it matters no matter who does the installation - either way, you didn't have pay for a new heater.
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Bob Shuman wrote:

The gas water heater in my house was old when I bought the place in 1998...and it is still running fine. I think it is about twenty years old - no leaks so far! And I had three teenagers living here for a number of years...
John :-#)#

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Nope.
Yup.
The smaller heater will be cheaper to run -- but it may not provide enough hot water when you need it.
But the difference (between 40 and 50 gal) isn't going to be that great provided the heater has good insulation.
The energy factor tells you how well much of the gas is converted into hot water. A low rating on a gas heater means lots of therms (energy) are going up the flue.

If your current heater is 40gal and meets your demands, I see absolutely no reason to upgrade to a 50gal tank.
I'm in Northern CA and a 50 gal tank is just about adequate for my home -- with 2500 sq ft, two adults and three kids. We run a little low on hot water if everyone takes a shower or bath in really quick succession while doing laundry. It's a very minor problem about once a year. 99% of the time, 50 gals is just fine.
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snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Yes they do. Basic physics says that it takes the same amount of energy to heat the same water, regardless of the container size.

But not because it takes more energy to heat the water, because the heat loss from the tank is slightly higher.
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On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 04:16:34 GMT, Malcolm Hoar wrote:

Hi Malcolm,
I did more research. Apparently, all GE water heaters sold by HD are made by Rheem who also makes a water heater with an EF of 0.62 but it's hard to find in a HD store. I'm gonna try Sears at 800-877-6420.
$360 ($675 installed) GG40T06TVG/182-785 FHRh gal EF=0.62 40,000 BTUs The nearly meaningless specs are 40-gallon capacity & 6-year warranty.
$420 ($730 installed) GG50T06TVG/184-045 FHR gal EF=0.62 40,000 BTUs The nearly meaningless specs are 50-gallon capacity & 6-year warranty.
I am trying to figure out the calculation for the payback time given the difference between an EF of 0.59 and the EF of 0.62.
Do you think it's worth it to pay (how much) more and go to more trouble to find a residential gas hot water heater with the EF of 0.62 (given my current cost per therm of $1.33)?
Donna PS I'm gonna try the math for FHR & ER payback calculations here http://www.gamanet.org/gama/inforesources.nsf/vAllDocs/Education?OpenDocument
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For the same water use, yes. Efficiency refers to non-electric heaters (electrics are 100% efficient), and accounts for the heat loss up the vent pipe. In other words, heat that doesn't heat the water.

Not to heat the water, but over the lifetime, yes.

True.
Although both units will use the same amount of energy to heat water, the larger heater has a larger tank, which in turn means it has more surface exposed to the outside. The greater the surface area, the greater the heat loss when you aren't using water, which means the larger heater will use more energy to maintain the hot water.
Now, if you live north of the Mason Dixon line and your water heater is inside the house, then that isn't a total loss as you heat that escapes goes to warm your house. It only becomes a problem when you want to run the A/C.
OTOH, if you live south of the Mason Dixon line or your water heater is in the garage, then yes, you will pay a little more to run a 50 gal heater than a 40 gal. one. Is it significant? Look at the energy tag on the two heaters, but I suspect the difference is less than $20/year. OTOH, you may find the larger unit has better insulation, which may compensate.
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message

Why a major chain? They don't give very good service. Try a local plumber and plumbing supply house for a better deal and usually better units.
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The only number that really matters to you is the capacity, get one close to the original capacity and assuming you were happy with the performance before, you should be with the new one. I recently replaced the water heater in my mom's house with the last one on the list there, it was 20 bucks more for double the warranty, seems like a no brainer. Can't advise much on the labor cost as I've always done all that stuff myself.
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On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:28:11 GMT, James Sweet wrote: On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:28:11 GMT, James Sweet wrote:

Hi James, I don't wish to argue and I certainly appreciate any help but I think that's bad advice based on what I read.
For example, look here: http://www.candcheat.com/webapp/GetPage?pid 9
Where it says: Although many consumers make water heater purchase decisions based only on the size of the storage tank, the first-hour rating (FHR), provided on the Energy Guide label, is actually more important. The FHR is a measure of how much hot water the heater will deliver during a busy hour. The FHR is required by law to appear on the unit's Energy Guide label. Therefore, before you buy a water heater, estimate your household's peak-hour demand and look for a unit with an FHR in that range. And beware that a larger tank doesn't necessarily mean a higher FHR.
The point is that the volume of the water heater is, apparently, meaningless from a standpoint of delivering enough hot water to meet our needs. The volume is merely (apparently) a starting point - just like the warranty is as meaningless as the volume.
So, it seems, based on my research, that to buy by volume and warranty are exactly what the manufacturers want you to do to keep you as far away from meaningful critera as possible.
What's really important, it seems, is the FHR and the EF. The only thing I'm really confused about is whether two equal efficiency (to simplify the argument) hot water heaters of two different sizes cost the same or different amounts.
Do you know?
Donna
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At the risk of repeating myself... and the insulation.
Think about it. How many hours per day do you actually spend with the hot water faucets turned on?
The tank is "leaking" heat 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. A well insulated tank will store the energy you used and paid for. A poorly insulated tank will throw it away.
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On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 04:23:57 GMT, Malcolm Hoar wrote:

Another good point.
Does the Efficiency Factor take this heat leakage into account? Or is the ONLY way to research the insulation thickness (which doesn't seem to be on the energy star label).
What's the easiest way to compare heat leakage between two water heaters?
Donna
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Look at the yellow energy label on the heaters. The annual cost to operate printed there can be compared on different models.
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 21:49:53 -0700, Rick Blaine wrote:

Are you sure?
Isn't the Energy Factor a more pure number than the annual costs? That is, the energy costs depend, of course, on the price of energy and volume of water assumed while the Energy Factor should be independent of those two numbers.
So, it seems to me the EF already takes into account the insulation (and whatever other factors matter).
Doesn't it?
Donna
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Yes
Yes.
Do you care? Consider the case where one heater has poor insulation and a very efficient burner, and the other has a poor burner and better insulation. Both have the same EF, both cost the same to operate over a year. Which one do you buy?
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 22:20:41 -0700, Rick Blaine wrote:

Hi Rick, I don't wish to argue ... just to understand ... so please bear with me.
I've said a lot that is wrong (e.g., I called the EF an "efficiency" factor) and at first I was choosing by size and warranty (which is about as opposite of the true selection process as is possible) ... so I'm learning from all you guys and trying to truly understand how to properly select a real water heater out of the real selections and choices truly available today in my area.
It seems like I'm not the only one confused as some people said to buy a water heater by CAPACITY (which seems nearly meaningless except for overall mechanical size reasons) instead of by FHR, for example.
The web site you recommended was better for FHR than those I tried: http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic990
As that web site CLEARLY said the FHR is the most important VOLUME number. "To properly size a storage water heater ... use the water heater's first hour rating (FHR). The first hour rating is the amount of hot water in gallons the heater can supply per hour (starting with a tank full of hot water). It depends on the tank capacity, source of heat (burner or element), and the size of the burner or element."
So, I now know that the volume (e.g., 40 gallon or 50 gallon is a nearly meaningless number when the actual FHR is known).
But, I'm still confused about the EF.
That same web site: http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic000
Says "the energy factor (EF) indicates a water heater's overall energy efficiency based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed over a typical day. This includes ... how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water ... the percentage of heat loss per hour from the stored water compared to the heat content of the water ... [and] the loss of heat as the water circulates through a water heater tank, and/or inlet and outlet pipes."
So, if I understand it correctly, all we need is the EF and the FHR and the actual size (e.g., 40 gallons, 50 gallons, or 60 gallons) is meaningless from the standpoint of how much hot water it delivers or how much it costs to operate.
This seems so counterintuitive that no wonder a lot of people are confused, even me. But then, like countersteering on a bicycle, sometimes you do turn left to go right.
At the moment, it seems that the actual capacity of the tank is a nearly meaningless number (except for dimensional reasons) - as is the warranty - based on that web page (since both the FHR and ER already take into account the tanks' size).
Donna
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On Feb 10, 11:43pm, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

Depends on how you look at it. The tank size is a basic number. It won't change, the tank is what it is. The FHR is a number calculated with certain assumptions. It may be that these assumptions are not applicable to you, but since most consumer heaters are rated for the real world, FHR is meaningful to most people. By the same token however, heaters of different tank sizes are sold in the real world too, and no one is going to push say a 200 gal heater for home use; so as I had mentioned earlier, using just the tank and burner sizes (and ER to a lesser extent, since they aren't that different unless you pay a heck of a lot more) is sufficient.
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On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 07:17:25 -0800 (PST), Nexus7 wrote:

Hi Nexus, I understand your point and it is sound advice to buy "roughly" by tank and burner size and ER. For me, that correlates to FHR and ER.
This seemingly well thought out discussion I found in my water heater research seems to have similarly practical advice (e.g., it says all water heaters of similar size & type are basically equal) http://hkentcraig.com/2WHarticle.html
Some salient points from that article are: - Four manufacturers make almost all the water heaters - Almost nobody flushes their tanks periodically - Average lifespan is 13 years - Virtually all water heaters perform similarly - It's easy to install (2 to 4 hours in toto)
I wish someone had pointed me to that article (http://hkentcraig.com/2WHarticle.html ) as the FIRST one I read instead of all the ones touting the patented sedimentation-prevention system, the R-factor of the insulation, the years of warranty (worst of all meaningless numbers)!
The good news is that, in the future, if YOUR water heater needs replacement, you'll read this thread and know that the FIRST article I recommend, one who went through the hoops for a day, is this one!
Good luck everyone! Donna
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BTW, this was meant for the newbie (like I am) who researches their water heater, not Nexus (who already knows his stuff).
The hope is that we pump enough real-world useful information into this thread so that the archives are available to us and others in the future.
Otherwise, the next person will be duped into buying a water heater by tank size and warranty and sedimention patents - which is just what the manufacturers want you to do.
It seems they don't want you concentrating on the "real" items that matter, which seem more and more to boil down to the calculations inherent in the FHR and ER numbers which I'm struggling through now.
What it seems to boil down to, for me, is to buy by: - FHR (65 to 75 gallons in an hour seem appropriate for me) - ER (I'd really like to get a 0.62 or better but have NOT found any yet) - PRICE (I have plenty of money but I don't want to waste it needlessly) - SERVICE (I want to trust that the plumber does the job well)
Donna
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 22:20:41 -0700, Rick Blaine wrote:

I thought MORE about what you wrote and you're ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!
The insulation was suggested by someone else (not me). I agree with you, the thickness of the insulation, in and of itself, is as meaningless as the volume of the tank, in and of itself.
What seems meaningful isn't the warranty. It's not the volume of the tank. It's not the thickness of the insulation. It's not even the total energy costs (since they make assumptions which might not be true).
What seems meaningful is the ER and the FHR which take into account ALL those factors (and more).
So my conclusion (open for discussion) is that what matters is: - Get the desired FHR needed (e.g., 65 to 75 gallons is fine for me - Get the desired ER (I wish I could find a .62 instead of .59 ERs) - Get the right PHYSICAL SIZE (e.g., a 40-gallon tank is 50 inches tall)
Some other factors which _might_ be interesting are: - Your article said try to get an ELECTRONIC flame igniter - The Home Depot guy tried to sell me on the maintenance-free ones (He said they had a fan that stirred up the sediment) - Some folks recommended "better" valves for cleaning out the sediment
Donna
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