Why do gas water heaters fail?

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My understanding is that gas water heaters are made with glass lined steel tanks and that they usually fail because the steel rusts out. What I want to know is: How does the water get to the steel if it is glass lined? Does the glass lining have holes and/or cracks in it when it is new? Do holes and/or cracks develop later? If the holes and/or cracks develop later, how and why do they appear?
I have read in this newsgroup that water heaters with 12 year warranties cost about $100 more than heaters with a 6 year warranty. How much more would a heater with a copper tank cost (if mass produced in reasonable quantities) and how long would it last if the water pH was reasonably high? (What is the minimum pH that copper can tolerate anyway? My guess would be about 5.5.) Thank you in advance for all replies.
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On 04 Jan 2004, Daniel Prince wrote:

A few different ways. Hopefully not. Quite possibly. Leaky internal/interface plumbing, chemical reactions caused by things like hard water, calcium buildup, etc.

Wise old man once explained it to me: There is no difference betwen those two water heaters, in a physical sense. Nothing except the model number and warranty length. Just like most things on earth, it's possible to generate mortality tables and *know* how long a water heater should last. The $100 is simply an extended warranty. It's all in the tables.
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How does hard water cause a water heater tank to leak?
How does calcium cause a water heater tank to leak?
What chemical reaction are you speaking of?
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«Wise old man once explained it to me: There is no difference betwen those two water heaters, in a physical sense. ... The $100 is simply an extended warranty»
Wise old man is not so wise. The difference is the warranty length AND the size/quality of the sacrificial anode that retards the corrosion of the tank. A longer warrantied gas water heater **will** last longer before it fails.
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Where is this anode? Is it replaceable? A friend has a WH in a cabin upstate and says he has to replace the WH every 3-4 years due to the mountain water. Would replacing the anode every year or 2 extend the life?
Thanks
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On Mon, 05 Jan 2004 02:30:37 GMT, "Marilyn and Bob"

The last cheep (sp) cheap tank I had, I just replaced after 16 years. I guess it is just a bit of luck maybe from one unit to the next plus as you say the size of the anode. joevan
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wrote:

Do gas water heaters have anodes?
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
wrote:

Mine has two.
Sacrificial anodes have nothing to do with the energy source. An electric unit's heating elements are insulated.
gerry
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Yes.
http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/water-heater-anodes.html
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I see that somebody else has suggested otherwise wrt water heaters, but I do recall car batteries being sold with varying-length warranties, and as far as I could see it was the same battery, but they punched a different warranty expiration date depending on the price paid.
MB
On 01/04/04 08:22 pm I-zheet M'drurz put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:<br>

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Hi, MB You just showed your ignorance. Battery has many different quality. Thay are not all same. First look at their rigidity of casing and weight. Are they same? Tony
Minnie Bannister wrote:

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Umm, no, that is not true about car batteries. If you compare same size batteries with different warrantees (same store), you will notice that the cranking power or whatever power measurement they use is different and increases with the length of the warrantee. A 36 month battery is different from a 60 month, which is different from a 72 month. You will note, however, if you compare batteries with the same warrantee, that the electrical rating varies with the size. So when you shop for a battery, if you pick a specific size, the longer warrantee will be a more powerful battery. In many cases several sizes will fit, so pick the largest size that will fit, not necessarily the original size or the size of the last replacement.
Minnie Bannister wrote:

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Hi, Largest does not necessarily mean the best for the application if alternator can't charge it full. Structure of battery and materials used makes the difference in quality. Tony
George E. Cawthon wrote:

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I can't imagine a car battery where higher capacity is not better or a car that couldn't fully charge it the same as it would a smaller capacity battery. If the alternator fully charges the smaller battery, then it will fully charge the larger battery assuming the same load. Structure and materials do make a difference but are largely the same in any manufacture's basic series of batteries. Anyway, no one needs more than a 5-year battery. The point is the length of time of the battery warranty relates to the battery capacity, not just some added on amount for a warrantee.
Tony Hwang wrote:

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On 05 Jan 2004, Minnie Bannister wrote:

Exactly. It's ALL number crunching, and anybody that believes differently is burying their head in the sand.
It's all sitting in an Excel file in a computer at the battery/water heater/? company:
They have historical data on how long the product lasts before failure.
With that data, they can calculate failure rates for the entire lifespan of an average battery.
With that data, they can calculate how muct to charge for the "extended warranty" (longer guarantee) so they still make money on the deal.
Economics 101. Capitalism 101. God Bless America.

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I-zheet M'drurz wrote:

Maybe they do that where Minnie shops, but not the places I shop. If it were just punching in new numbers then explain why the capacities of the batteries with the longer warrantees are larger or in some cases the number of plates and the weights are different.
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I no longer recall where I encountered this, but I distinctly remember the battery having been already taken off the shelf or brought from the storeroom, and *after that* I was asked how long a warranty I wanted.
Of course it is possible to find batteries with different capacities and different CCA ratings and perhaps correspondingly different warranty periods -- and that may even be the more common situation -- but I do not believe that it is universally and necessarily so
MB
On 01/06/04 08:49 pm George E. Cawthon put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:<br>

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Minnie Bannister wrote:

((Snipped))
Sorry for disputing you, but I've never seen it or heard of it and I've bought quite a few batteries at a lot of different places. In fact, the only auto item I know of where you buy different length warranties and the item doesn't physically change is extended service warranties on vehicles.
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I had read that the 12 year warranty models usually had to anodes vs the one anode in the 6 year warranty model. They know that you aren't going to actually replace the sacraficial anode.
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...etc.
Check out the following website.
http://www.waterheaterrescue.com /
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