Water Heater

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Lately my hot water cools down before I'm finished showering. It never used to do this. Wondering if it is a symptom of a fading element. The heater is a 30gal Ruud Pacemaker Ruudglass but can only estimate age to be approx. 30yrs. A tankless heater will be its replacement. Is it time?? Bill
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On Sat, 26 Dec 2009 07:44:03 -0800 (PST), FlaBill

30 years? Replace it. Probably filled with sediment reducing the amount of water by 30% or more.
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If you got 30 years out of an electric water heater, you got your money's worth. It is time. I don't know about an electric tankless as a replacement though, I'd probably stick with something similar to what you have
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I wanted tankless to replace mine. You need a big power feed to do it. If you replace with another regular one, get a good one, put a catch pan, an earthquake strap, use flex hoses with threaded connectors, and put a blanket. The savings will pile up.
Steve
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Assuming you have an electric water heater, yes. Failure of the lower element can lead to limited hot water quantity. Failure of the upper element can lead to long recovery times. If you aren't up to checking the element continuity yourself, you can have a plumber stop by.

Not if you are concerned about economics and performance. The most inexpensive solution will be to replace the heater with a modern unit.
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I agree with the sediment in the bottom. Also quite probable that one of the two elements has died.
An element replacement does not justify a new heater but 30 years old does in my mind.
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It could be likely impossible to replace the element due to galling and corrosion anyway.
Steve
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Ditto
Ditto ditto
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It's past time. The biggest thing with the tankless ones are having the electricity available at that location. They take a lot of juice.
Steve
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Electric? probably one of 2 bad elements or just a bad thermostat, there are 2. Can you go gas its usualy 20-50% cheaper to run, an electric tankless big enough for a house may need its own 100+ amp circuit and special wiring. Did you try adjustng the upper and lower thermostat or test it with a meter
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Others have commented well on tankless.
If you tinker at all, I'd recomend tinker unless you're extremely pressed for time.
It has a drain spout? Get a pan, drain some to get a handle on sediment.
If it has an anode rod, I'd carefully finesse it out for inspection.
Etc, etc.
While it's a good candidate for immediate replacement, you don't really know what the current problem is. It's possible you could get another 5+ years of use from it. Unless it's extremely inefficient energy-wise, I'd guess it's worth investigating.
P

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Good advice, I will add to be sure if you are going to drain the WH, don't have the power on when the elements are not submerged, this will kill them in short order.
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Roger Shoaf wrote:

And do it while your local hardware store is open, in case the drain valve doesn't shut again. (have had that problem several times.)
nate
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wrote:

Just make sure you have a "cap" that fits the thread on the valve to seal it off if it doesn't close properly. And if it doesn't - don't try to REPLACE the leaking valve - just get fittings to put a second valve in series with the defective one. Attempting to remove the original drain valve UWSUALLY proved futile.
When I drain sediment from a water heater I GENERALLY use a garden hose to direct the sediment/water either to a drain or outside - so a small leak when shut off can be temorarily dealt with by sticking the end of the hose down the drain.
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On Sat, 26 Dec 2009 22:34:51 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I have nasty water and scale is a regular thing. I figured out on about my second water heater that the drain valve they use will screw up right away and probably won't pass the big chunks anyway. I put in a short 3/4" pipe nipple and a gate valve before I even installed the next new one. You screw in a 3/4 to hose adapter on the output side. A gate valve opens to the full pipe size and you can take it apart easily if it cruds up, but that hasn't happened.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I've read of recommendations for changing the drain valve to a metal one, but I have also heard that the valves can be difficult to impossible to remove after the unit has any age on it. If the valve stem breaks off, can the remaining fragments be coaxed out, or is the water heater toast?
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I managed to get the valve out of my old one but I think I was just lucky. I put in a nipple and gate valve in a brand new one last time. If your old valve is leaking you can just get a hose thread cap for it.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I prefer a ball valve over a gate valve. It seems that every gate valve I've ever come across will leak. On every hot water circulating system I've ever repaired or installed, I will use ball valves.
TDD
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That is a very wise thing to do. I replaced my hot water heater a couple years ago, and should have done just exactly that.
Maybe I should put a full flow drain on my cold water heater, too?
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On Sat, 26 Dec 2009 14:26:51 -0600, Puddin' Man wrote:

My situation on a 12yo tank (after consulting here and getting some good advice!):
Both heater elements checked good on a meter (about 13ohms across terminals, nothing between terminals and tank)
Lower element jammed in solid; even with something like 6' of breaker bar on it, it still wouldn't come out.
Tank very badly silted up; lower element completely buried.
Lower thermostat showing severe signs of overheating (to the point that contacts were sticking). Presumably due to lower element running almost constantly and never tripping the thermostat, but just creating a local hot spot on the tank body.
... the thing was, the drain valve is a completely stupid design that just can't allow larger bits of sediment out - so with it fully open clear water would come out even if there was a whole pile of sediment in there. Looking at new designs, they seem to be no different, so are prone to gradual build-up in the same way.
Anyway, I pulled the upper element (that one would come out) and could then get a bent bit of bar inside to dislodge sediment from above. I took the drain valve (just the handle and valve stem, not the body) off and could then get a bit of bar inside that way and drag sediment out. With some poking around (and a lot of patience) I got a few buckets worth of sediment out of the thing.
It's been working fine ever since (after replacing the lower thermostat) - but one day that lower element will die and then it'll be new tank time because there's no way I can replace it.
If the OP has a couple of hours to kill then they might try the same - but I'd question how close a 30yo tank is to just rusting out anyway...
cheers
Jules
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