Replacing A Water Heater

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thermostats for gas fired water heaters are expensive, far more than 5 bucks
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I thought this was an electric water heater? Even then the thermostat will be a lot more than $5. That said, if it's 34 years old, what will fail next if he replaced that part? What I've observed with water heaters is that once one part wears out, the rest are not far behind. There's exceptions to the rule, but it seems he got his money's worth and then some out of that thing.
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around here some really old homes have gas stainless water heaters, they live aabout 50 years, but no doubt are inefficent, and few would spend enough to pay for one today, plus their recovery isnt as good.,
they are side arm heaters
a long life heater can be built.
sears sold and I believe grainger may still sell a lifetime electric water heater, it uses a PVC tank .......
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FWIW, I had two aunts who I am pretty sure had electric WHs that lasted at least 34 years. One from each side of the family and about 2000 miles apart-- my mother's sister in law in west Texas and my dad's sister in upstate NY. Both were finally replaced. I think the one in Tx did have a catastrophic failure (major leak), but as I recall the tank of the one in NY was actually still ok, but a pipe going to the heater leaked, and it broke off at the WH and could not be removed, at least easily, so they just replaced the whole thing. Larry
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Scott wrote:

I stand corrected! My wife just reminded me that our house was built in 1973. So, our water heater is actually 35 years old. Man, that's gotta be a record.
Scott
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Not really, those hot water heaters were built to last back then. You may have to replace a heating element or thermostat once in a while but the tanks were made to last forever.
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On Sun, 14 Dec 2008 12:25:05 -0800 (PST), JIMMIE

If it is a stone lined tank it could outlive you.
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Very interesting........... Our 52 gallon "Rheem" water heater from 1978 (30 years old - but you still have the record!) just went on us the other night. Same thing with the thermostat sticking but luckily I was able to catch it before the relief valve opened. Good thing it didn't open as it would have made a big mess because it was never piped down into a floor drain or sump. So we went to Home Depot and bought a new 40 gallon GE (manufactured by Rheem) model. So we got it home and I installed it myself. I was quite proud that when I got the system filled back up there were no leaks in any of my soldered joints! I turned the breaker back on and waited, and waited, and waited but the heater never made a sound and the water was just as cold coming out as it went in. So I double checked for power to the heater and also rechecked my connections inside the connector box of the heater and everything seemed to be right. Still no hot water...... So I called the GE service line and the tech guy comes on and says to troubleshoot I need a digital multimeter. I told him I have an analog multimeter only. He says I need a digital meter to troubleshoot. He said we need to check for resistance on the top element and only a digital multimeter will do this correctly. Longer story made shorter I finally asked him what about my warranty? He said on homeowner installs that they will mail me a new element if I can prove that there is a bad one. I said what about labor warranty. He said on homeowner installs all they can do is mail me a new element if I can prove there is a bad one. So I am stuck with a new Rheem manufactured for GE water heater that doesn't work and I'm expected to go and buy a new digital multimeter to troubleshoot the problem???? So I called Home Depot and they said if it doesn't work, to just bring it back and get a new one. Fine, after all my extra care taking work to install this one to just rip it back out and go get a new one.... I do know that things happen these days that aren't supposed to happen but it just goes to show they don't make them like they used to. Steve
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Borrow one. You must know someone with at least a cheapie. If there's a Harbor Freight nearby, they have super cheap ones not worth a damn. The battery will probably cost more than the meter.
...but, it's digital. That's all he said you needed. Said nothing about functions or impedence/resistance rating.
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wow no one mentioned that the lifetime of a water heater is moslty due to the sacrifical anode inside it. . Once the anode corrodes away, then the tank starts to corrode. THe best way to extend the life of the HW heater and save energy is to turn the temperature down as low as you can. Set it so that the shower temperature is just right with the hot alomst full on and the cold almost full off.
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On Dec 21, 12:18am, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yes; but washing dishes is supposed to be with water 'at least' 160 deg F! Lower than that is not approved by the health dept. here! At a local school the cafeteria was cited because the dish washing water was too cold. It came from the school furnace and had been turned low for the school washrooms! The school authorities then installed a separate hot water heater near the cafeteria, set to above 160 deg. And the health dept. checked that temperature during their next inspection. Maybe if dishes are 'always' put through a dishwasher; OK? But less than 160 deg. not really safe.
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wrote:

Any chance you didnt push the red reset button on the heating element thermostat? Now you know why they dont pay homeowner labor. Bubba
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Digital or analog. BS. You don't need a meter at all if you know what you are doing. A spare bulb, maybe a bulb socket and couple of wires to use as trouble tracer. If you are as unschooled in electricity as most of my neighbours go find one who knows what they are doing and allow them to help you trace it through. It sounds like something simple. Unlikely for a brand new tank to have a defective element! Could happen but having replaced quite a few (including our own personal ones roughly every ten years due to iron and other impurities in the water etc.) since 1956, never had a new tank with a defective element. Our last one was bought in Dec. 2006 for around $200 (40 US gal.) , plus a new pressure relief valve, now located on the side of tank for some reason? The tank, having the same dimensions etc. as the old one, we installed ourselves. Total cost; tank, valve and sales taxes around $240.
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t:
I did my own troubleshooting with my 20+ year old analog cheapo multimeter and determined the top element had an open circuit - ultra high ohms to infinity. In comparison, the lower element had about 6 ohms (RX10). So I called the Home Depot (electrical & plumbing depts) and told them what I had. They said I could either return the whole heater unit or just bring in the element and they could test it and / or replace it for free. I figured it's much easier to take out the element and go that way first. I was amazed to find that the top element was "fried" when I took it out..... I am absolutely certain that I had the tank full and the hot water lines full up to the 2nd story of the house (heater sits in the basement) before even connecting the wires to the heater and when I turned on the breaker for the first time there was no sound at all coming from the heater. When we took the heater from the shelf at the store it appeared the top of the box had been opened. We asked the clerk about it and she told us that people are always opening the top of the boxes to look inside or whatever. When we got it home, we pulled the box apart to get at the heater to remove it from the box and we noticed the plastic baggy that had been wrapped around the heater was laying in the bottom of the box - under the heater. That should have been a red flashing light right there but without thinking any more about it at the time we just took it into the basement and did the instal. That heater, without any doubt in my mind, was bought by someone else who screwed up the heater probably by not filling it completely with water and fried the top element. They then just brought it back to the store and it was put back on the shelf. I brought the fried element into the store and without questioning they gave me a new element. I installed the new element, filled up the heater exactly as I first did and when i turned on the breaker I could immediately hear that little hissing sound. Within 20 minutes we had all the hot water we could use. Moral of the story: Don't ever take a product out of a store that noticeably has had its container opened! Steve
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That sounds like a pretty good deal. If it's a straight out and in job you might consider doing it yourself depending on how comfortable you are with that stuff.
The last water heater I had installed cost over $900 but I had to have some upgrades done to the plumbing fittings too. Still I think that was a bit high. They tend to screw you when you need hot water!
Olddog
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