Last week I had a plumber install a new gas water heater. His helper
had the heater standing up on the driveway and was sliding it onto a
hand truck, when it fell over. The gray metal shield sticking out
under the red thermostat got bent a little, and there's a little dent
in the sheet metal about halfway up the tank, and the release valve
got dinged. I didn't hear any broken glass sound, and the plumber
replaced the release valve. The heater works ok, no noises, no gas
smell. I realize the glass might have cracks that will shorten the
lifespan of the heater, but my concern is just gas safety. Since I
smell no gas, and since the gas-related parts are at the bottom of the
tank (which didn't hit the ground - it seems the release valve got the
most damage, and was replaced) is the heater safe to use? (I realize
in hindsight I probably should have told him not to install it, but
that's hindsight now...) Thanks.
It will probably be OK, especially the gas train if it is functioning OK
now. A fall over is fairly gentle in the scheme of things.
The glass lining is not something you'd hear break. It is not glass as in
window glass or a tumbler, but a coating on top of steel. Sort of like the
enamel coating in a pot or the coating on a steel sink. Worst case scenario
is a crack will allow the steel to rust out prematurely, but there is a good
chance nothing happened since it was not a direct hit. The outer shell and
insulation took a lot of the shock.
Overall, you are probably in good shape. Well, your heater probably is in
good shape, I have no way of knowing how good a shape you are in.
I would have asked for a new one. Any number of things could have gone out
of whack during that tumble. It's not like they cost an arm and a leg, but
even still - premature rusting, temp sensors banged up, pressure release
banged up, drain valve banged up, burner knocked around. I think the others
are right in that most likely nothing's wrong with it but some scratches and
dents - but still.
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