Water Heater Life expectancy?

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A few questions:
1. What's the life expectancy of of a typical 50 Gallon gas water heater?.
2. What are the signs it's going bad if any? Less heat? Leaking water? Or do they just stop?
Mine is 15 years old, and I am just not sure what to look for.
Thanks
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I found that mine just started to leak. I try to look at it everyday because it is over 10 years old.
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We had one in our home that died at 14 years. Everything seemed to be fine and then one evening while sleeping we heard a loud pop coming from it. Went in and saw a bit of smoke coming from the thermostat area.
So, at least in my experience, everything can seem great one minute and then it dies suddenly.
Tony

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Bill wrote:

up and the thing is full of water deposits(mineral deposits), depend on how bad the water is in your location... i remember putting in a 40 gallon heater and then when 5-7 yrs. went by it had to be replaced.. drained the water out and cut the copper pipes to get it out.. it was about twice the weight of what it was when i put it in.. it was loaded with mineral deposits.. i guess it was only moving about 20 gallons of water through it at this time.. so the water would heat up and be used alot faster than the 40 gallons it was rated for.... if yuo get a leak in the tank replace it.. diminished hot water might or might not be a sign of needing a new one(depends on if you have it set correctly)..no they dont just stop, they either leak, dont give you as much hot water as they are plugged up with mineral deposits or you could get a bad gas control part(which is just as cheap as getting a new unit.
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I would change it soon. VERY SOON. Walk out and look at the heater. Imagine where the 50 gallons of water would go if this thing dumped. Imagine how much more water would run out if you were away for the weekend, on vacation, or just away for the day, and this thing decided to blow an artery. (Water heaters have a tendency to blow when you are on vacation, and that is a well known fact.) Could be a couple of thousand gallons of water.
Change the heater. Don't wait for a disaster, especially heading into winter as we are now. When you do change it, use threaded connectors if not already in use. It will make it easier next time, or if there is a problem with the heater. Just unscrew it instead of sweating and resweating pipes.
Or wait until it fails ...........................
Steve
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And if you have a car over 5 years old, replace it, too.
At last check, a couple thousand gallons of water costs, including a sewer bill that's based on consumption, all of 10 dollars.
Water heaters start to leak. When their bodies leak, it's time to haul their sorry asses outta there. They don't "blow" unless that T & P relief valve is faulty.

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I guess that explains the two inches of water in the house and the torrent flowing down the street that happened at one of my rentals. Yep. The water was cheap. And I didn't have to pay anyone to take the carpet and padding out and let it dry. And I didn't have to pay anyone to vacuum up all the water. And it was only a minor inconvenience to let the thing dry out for two weeks. Yep. It was cheap. Almost free. My son-in-law and I did it.
So, whether or not your water heater "blows" or merely leaks, don't worry about it. Don't plan ahead and replace an OLD heater before it dies on its own. Water is almost free, and you can get friends and relatives help you with all that soggy carpet. And the smell and mustiness goes away.....................eventually. And you probably won't have any sheetrock damage either.
I don't agree with you about replacing the five year old car, though.
Steve
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yeah, but if the water heater is in your house, and youre on vacation, how much does it cost to repair the damage from a couple thousand gallons of water? more than $!0.
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SoCalMike wrote:

If you're that concerned about it, install something like a watercop to shut off the water main if the heater springs a leak. This will provide much better protection than trying to guess when a water heater is going to fail. Even 5 year old ones can go. While you're at it, don't forget the washing machine, ice maker, dishwasher, toilets, etc.
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Sorry, my mistake in not mentioning that as an option. I had one at another house and was very satisfied with it. http://www.smarthome.com/7165.html

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Michael Baugh wrote:

No big deal. I am evaluating my options in this area, so I thought I would mention it. Since I've installed my own security system, I'll probably go for a solution which goes through it. This gives me the ability to have the system call someone if a leak is detected.
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If you flush it regularly and change the sacraficial anode often enough, then it should last a very long time, even if it is only a 6 year model. The main difference between the 6 and 12 year models is that the 12 year models have 2 anodes because they know that you aren't going to change it.
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outlived 3 or 4 if they were on a regular replacement cycle, and might go a few more.
On the downside, it might leak. But my whole basement is slanted to the sewer drain pit. It would just flow downhill into the pit, down the floor drain, and no damage would result.
So, for me waiting makes sense. But if I had a water damage risk, I'd replace it in a second.

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My town has a high mineral content. Water heater last only 5 to 10 years. Open the drain and let the accumulated sludge run out several times a year to preserve them a bit longer. The stuff acts as an insulator, making the burner stay on longer to heat the water. This burns through the boiler faster.

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Tried emptying it and putting in a few gallons of vinegar water for a while?

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Really it depends. Local water conditions, the amount of hot water you use and how high you have the temperature set.
Ask your neighbors. Especially if this is your first water heater for the home and the other homes were built at about the same time.
Some areas consider 5 years good and some get 20 or more years with no problem.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Bill wrote:

Boy are you getting a lot of BS. 15-20 years is pretty standard, and replacing one every 6 years is just crazy. They don't suddenly burts, and an element burning out doesn't mean you replace the tank. If you suddenly can't get enough hot water or get it hot enough, it's time to check the elements and the thermostats (two of each). If an element burns out, just replace it, costs about $10 and takes less than an hour to replace it. If a thermostat goes bad, its even easier to replace but may cost a buck or two more.
The main reason you replace a water heater is that the tank begins to leak and you will see water at the base of the tank. It doesn't suddenly gush out the whole 50 gallons, more like a cup or so every day or two. When you see it leaking you need to replace it in a week or so.
If you want to worry about something, worry about a washing machine hose that bursts from old age. But then they usually last 15 years also if not mistreated. Just be sure you turn the valves off when you go on vacation.
Some of these guy are as bad as the people that suggest you buy a new car every time the ashtray gets filled up.
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My electric water heater is 26 years old (instaled 1977). Exactly every 5 years I remove the zinc anode and replace it with a new one. Each time I replace it the old one appears to be about 90% worn out. A new anode costs about $20. Takes about 30 minutes to drain the tank down slightly and replace the screw-in anode located at the top of the tank. Steve
On Sun, 30 Nov 2003 00:56:30 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

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heaters? Was it a simple issue of economics? They tended to last forever. Or was it some other problem with the technology?
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Copper tanks are still available. I have one in an oil fired hot water heater I installed about 12 years ago. Can't recall the brand but I do recall that it was manufactured in Massachusetts.
Boden
Rob wrote:

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