Time to Replace 30-Year-Old Electric Water Heater?


My 30-year-old 80-gallon electric water heater has begun to not work very well. When taking a shower, after about five (5) minutes, the water begins to lose its heat, and I have to turn the cold water almost completely off in order for the water to remain warm.
The thermostat on my water heater is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I have troubleshooted online and I've read where the dip tube could be cracked or have some sort of other problem. I just recently drained out my water heater to remove sediment that was built up, thinking that this might fix the problem, but the same problem still exists. I don't think that the previous home owner ever did this.
Is it worth the money to call a repair person to investigate the problem, or should I shell out the bucks for a new one?
Thanks for any advice, Kevin
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Hi Kevin,
Thirty years for an electric hot water tank puts it well beyond its natural life. Average life expectancy is ten to twelve years and in areas with exceptionally hard water, five to seven is more the norm. I would be inclined to replace it now before it begins to leak.
Cheers, Paul
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Paul M. Eldridge wrote:

Ask around among your neighbors. If you don't find any older, I would plan sooner than later to replace it. That is about it in most areas.
Water conditions and usage as well as the temperature setting all come into play, but they all had to be fairly good or you would not have made it that far.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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You probably have a massive amount of buildup in the tank, and 120 degrees is just a very minimum for hot water. I'd crank 'er up to 150-160 (this is where the dishwasher guys like it anyway), then you might see more normal performance. If there is a clean out drain on the bottom of it, you might try flushing it out. But be prepared for it to start leaking if you do this at this age.
steve

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Good possibility the dip tube inside is broken. After 30 years, time for a new heater as you are on borrowed time.
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Thanks, everyone, for your replies. I might talk to my neighbors about their water heaters, but I'm leaning toward purchasing a new one as I see where my local Lowe's has a sale on Whirlpool 50-gallon Energy Smart™ electric water heaters.
I feel fortunate that the water heater last this long.
Thanks again, Kevin

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