Should I replace this water heater?

Electric water heater is an A.O. Smith 40 gallon "low-boy" (short and fat) about 10 years old. It's in a Florida condo unit, and from what I see, no dielectric unions on the copper water lines to and from the heater. I see a moderate amount of corrosion where the copper fittings connect to the heater. No leaks. I don't see any rust or particles in the water at the taps. I think it's a little slow to get hot water out, but not that unreasonable.
Since this is a winter vacation place and I won't be there 24/7 I'm a little nervous about the tank letting loose when I'm not there, although it is on a first floor slab and a drain pan is installed...
If I do replace it, dielectric unions are supposed to be used, correct?
Home Depot's selection all seem to have only a 6 year warranty which seems to be on the low end. Consumer Reports said that brand doesn't matter, that the warranty does, i.e., more years = heavier duty tank linings, insulation, etc.
Your input appreciated !
Thanks.
-- Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is Turtle.
I could never really figure out when I was suppose to change something till it broke and then I knew for sure. Now till all the manufactor start stating in writting that they should change their stuff out in X number of years. i'm going to just run my stuff till it breaks and then buy me a new one. Now there is things that you can't do without but hot water is one you can do without it for a while.
Now I will say this. the tank you have now [ 10 years old ] is probley in better condition than any new one you would buy today. Why trade off a good piece of equipment to install the newer piece of trash they have today.
TURTLE
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TURTLE wrote:

What have they done to the newer heaters to make them worse? I just replaced a leaky Rheem from the early 1990s with a State. :(
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is Turtle.
Around 1990 rheem started out with a new type glass liner in hot water tanks and also in the tried it out on the 1980 to the 1988 model gas furnaces for high salt water areas and the glass lining of the furnaces would rust out in less than 10 years. So this glass lining did not work for furnaces , So They decided to use it on the hot water tanks to keep them from rusting out. they call it now the Guardian and use to be the Dyno-Glass Something. Now I don't know about the others too much but i see a bunch of newer model hot water tank being changed out but see a bunch of old tanks 20 to 40 years of age still running fine. My fathers and my aunt's tank is a 1973 and a bunch of other people with old tanks still running good. I also bought a rent house with a Rheem 1968 model hot water tank in it and it still running fine. I bought my house about 25 years ago and changed the tank out about 1990 and is now on my 3 th hot water tank since that time , all Rheem. I , the only one out of the bunch was the dummy who changed out my good running old Rheem Hot water tank for the sake of heading off trouble with problem and leaks. Hindsight is alway better than farsight.
TURTLE
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
TURTLE wrote:

Yes, there is no reason to replace it. The OP should turn the supply valve (at the tank) off and turn the electricity off to the tank if he is going to be gone for days (mainly for peace of mind). Tanks don't suddenly burst and blow water all over, they start leaking, so just check it periodically for leaks. If you want to worry about something worry about a washer hose bursting.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 13 Feb 2005 02:05:04 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

I don't know aobut the above statement. Prerhaps electric water heaters are less likely to burst but I've had gas water heaters really let go with a gusher. One blew out thru its flu and a conical shower occured as the water geysered up to the draft diverter and then showered a circle of water all over the basement. It was rather impressive, especially when I was standing in the middle of the shower trying to reach the shutoff walve to the tank....
A "Turtle" has said, they don't make water heaters like they used to.
I've replaced water heaters made prior to 1970 mainly for reasons of efficiency as sediment built up in them. One of my places had a water heater dating back to 1950 that I replaced in 1995. The A.O. Smith replacement only lasted 7 years before leaking.
It seems that the old one were made of heavier gauge steel.
Stuff today seems to be designed mainly via computer analysis using just enough material to do the job. Overall like span is a secondary consideration.
I saw the same analogy in the maritime world. Older ships used very thick hull plating. Even after 30 years of wastage, the plating was often still sound.
Modern ships use high tensile strength steel - thick enough to do the job but not thick enough to survice years of wasting or corrosion.
Doug
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for another A.O. Smith data point. Seems like 7-10 years is the magic number. I am now leaning towards replacing it since:
1. This is an A.O. Smith water heater manufactured about 1993 -- about the same era as your unit which failed.
2. I had a similar A.O. Smith water heater tank fail in my main home in year 2000. IIRC it was also manufactured in the early nineties.
-- Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul wrote:

Here's my experience over some years. Copper male adapters directly into the tank threaded bosses will corrode the boss over time. I've seen them nearly dissolved.
Dielectric Unions work to prevent that failure, but they do tend to foul up inside.
So-called dieletric "heater nipples" which have a smooth plastic interior seem to be as effective as the unions and don't clog as often.
Electric heaters last a long time but that varies with water quality. Failure at the supply inlet/outlet isn't going to be caught by the pan and you could have a mess. Your call...
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 12 Feb 2005 15:51:30 -0500, "Paul"

10 yrs is certainly worth looking at to replace, especially in a vacation home not occupied all the time. I would also turn the electric off to the heater and the water supply too when I left the place. I think the di-electric unions are a waste of time and money. They usually are clogged and corroded when I take the old water heaters out. Have your water pressure to the home checked and add a pressure reducing valve to the incoming water line to reduce the water pressure to a lower workable pressure if it is too high now. You might also install an expansion tank on the water heater. I dont like any of the Home Depot water heaters. Find a professional series water heater or have a plumber install one for you. Bubba
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Vacation home Go Tankless. Bosch , Takagi and Rinnai are tops
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
As you can tell there is no one right answer for this one.
I suggest you can turn off the power and drain the tank when you are going to be gone for very long. Just refill it and then turn it back on when you next return. Not a lot of work and that is safer than a new tank.
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
  Click to see the full signature.
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.