Can I get some quick trusty advice on a dripping gas 40 gallon hot-water
I noticed my hot-water heater leaking and my husband is out of town.
He says wait until he comes back (1 week) but I am afraid something bad
will happen. He also says maybe we should replace with an instant on
tankless heater but I want to get it done today!
Do you have quick advice on hot-water heaters?
1. If it's leaking cold water from the bottom but still working, is it not
repairable (I assume it's a throwaway item).
2. It's at least as new/old as when I moved into this house around 2000 and
it has an energy efficiency sticker so it's not that old. But, would you
replace it with a bigger (only two people in the small house as the kids
are gone) one or even go tankless?
3. Is it a home repair or, due to gas, is it only by a qualified pro?
4. Do most of you go to Home Depot or the like and just pick one and have
them install it or is there a "better" way?
5. I never did anything preventative but googling talks about a sacrificial
anode and draining; should I have done that (I'm guessing yes).
6. If we go tankless, are there "gotchas" we need to watch out for?
Sorry for so many questions!
But it would be nice to get your off-the-cuff advice again!
If it works for you, size is OK. If yo ever runs short, go for bigger. For
gas, is is probably plenty good as it has faster recovery than electric.
Depends on your skill level. If you have to ask, get a pro.
I'd rather use a local plumber, but, some of the big stores do a next day
I think that is more of an eectric thing than gas.
Yes, you need lots of power, venting etc. You may hot have allthe time
needed to plan an install. Many people are also unhappy with them too as
they are not as resposive as they'd like.
Chances of a catastrophic failure are slim, but I'd not wait very long. You
can close the feed valve to the heater and limit any leaks to the 40 gallons
inside of it.
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 12:32:38 -0500, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:
I'm on Consumer Reports right now looking up how to buy a new one.
It's gas and it has always been fine with the water.
We have even fewer people in the house now than ever before.
The FHR (first hour rating) is 65 on the existing (leaking) water heater.
It's 34,000 BTUs.
I can't seem to find the EF (energy efficiency).
I can't make out the brand but on the label, I can see a model "40HMEV"
(whatever that is) that I'm looking up now.
It's barely dripping ... just a puddle on the floor ... so I wonder how
much time I have to research the right thing to do.
I guess I have a day or two?
On Feb 10, 10:53 am, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"
by "bottom" if you mean "bottom of tank" then yes, it needs to be
Depends on your exact situation. There's resources online to help you
select the proper sized water heater. Do you have any issues with
your old one? (running out of hot water mid-shower, etc.?) If no, it
is probably at least as big as you need. I have no opinion on
tankless, but be aware that you may have to do some gas plumbing to
make it work, as well as your flue for the old WH may now be
undersized. Tankless WH's have a much higher BTU/hr rating than tank
style and therefore use gas at a much higher rate. You have to both
feed and exhaust it properly (kind of like hot-rodding a car.)
Depends on how handy you are. If you're just replacing a tank style
with another tank style you *may* be able to handle it yourself, but
I'm hesitant to say for sure without knowing your skill set. I'd
probably call a pro to convert to tankless.
I would avoid that orange colored circle of Hell like the plague and
call a real plumber.
checking the anode and flushing the tank every hear is never a bad
Shut off the gas to the WH and shut off the water to your house before
you leave to go anywhere. If you don't know how to do all of this, or
relight the pilot (assuming you have one) post back. Does the room in
which the heater is located have a floor drain? Can you tell where
the water is leaking from? (is it coming from the T&P valve pipe? If
so you can fix this yourself without buying a new WH.)
I wouldn't rush into replacing the water heater; there's real savings
to be had from carefully shopping and selecting one that is a) sized
right for your house and b) as efficient as possible. Unfortunately
the typical water heater purchase sounds a lot like yours, so there's
typically some sense of urgency behind it and people don't make the
If it is well and truly failed, and you have to replace it, take a
look at waterheaterrescue.com (I think I got that right) I would
definitely install a ball valve in place of the factory plastic drain
valve on your new heater, and they also offer other helpful advice
there. If you have someone install it you probably won't have the
opportunity to install a curved dip tube as they recommend, but that
is really only important for high sediment areas. You don't need to
buy from WHR (although I did buy new anodes for my heaters from them
as I was unable to find any source locally that sold magnesium anodes)
just to do the ball valve thing; a threaded 3/4" ball valve, a
dielectric nipple, and a 3/4" NPT male to garden hose male adapter is
all you need (and pipe wrenches and dope, of course) pick up a brass
garden hose fitting cap while you're shopping in case someone kicks
the ball valve unintentionally. It is, however, WAY easier to do this
before the water is turned on to your new heater; it's a bit messier
if you have to retrofit an old heater due to a busted drain valve.
(ask me how I know this.)
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 09:32:59 -0800 (PST), N8N wrote:
I was scared that I had to replace it this instant!
But, I like to think a bit if I have the time to think.
I think I'm giving up on the tankless idea because of what you said.
This is what Consumer Reports has to say about tankless.
I think I'll replace my "40HMEV" with an equivalent one with a tank!
"Tankless water heaters claim to save money by heating water only when you
turn on the faucet. But smaller, cheaper units probably won't produce
enough hot water to serve a typical family. Larger, gas-fired units cost
$1,000 or more and are expensive to install because they often require
larger gas supply lines and special venting."
Well, I went to the HD and bought one and installed it myself. They
sell a nice self-install kit with steel-braided lines, adapters (if
you need them), etc. They have reasonably priced GE models, priced by
the level of insulation, efficiency and other reasonable criteria.
After hours of cursing and sweating to remove the old plumbing,
draining and lugging the old one out, installing and leak-testing the
new one, I thought the around $300 installation price they had wanted
wasn't unreasonable. IIRC, it was around $700 installed next day for
their top-of-the-line heater.
Beats leaving messages on answering services for so-called 24x7x365
plumbers, and the uncertainty. That said, I would shop Sears too, what
is a few phone calls here and there?
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 11:19:50 -0800 (PST), Nexus7 wrote:
I took your lead and went to the Home Depot myself.
The guy there was very helpful; he said don't buy there.
He said write down the prices and the models and choose one.
Then, call the 800-HOME-DEPOT number to buy.
The installation is $309 & it changes the warranty period in strange ways.
BTW, according to Consumer Reports, the MOST IMPORTANT figure, the "First
Hour Rating" (FHR) was MISSING at Home Depot. So was the second most
important buying figure, the efficiency rating (EF).
This is disapointing. Home Depot talked about warranty and price and
gallonage but skipped the important criteria (according to my quick
ressearch today). So, I'm trying to put it together now so we can
You had to open each and every box to get that information right off the
unit - and the orange-vested guy didn't want me to do that so may I ask
WHERE I'm supposed to get the critical numbers missing below in order to do
a proper home hot water heater installation comparison decision?
Here's what they had (price, UPC, FHR, EF, BTU, gal, Warranty):
$280, 514017, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 34K, 40gal, 3yr
$290, 509501, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 36K, 40gal, 6yr
$350, 519005, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 38K, 40gal, 9yr
$350, 431048, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 38K, 50gal, 6yr
$360, 494272, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 40K, 40gal, 6yr
$370, 551821, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 40K, 40gal, 9yr
$380, 569840, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 34K, 40gal, 6yr
$410, 431055, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 38K, 50gal, 9yr
$420, 518411, ??gal FHR, .59EF, 40K, 40gal, 12yr
$420, 494302, 68gal FHR, .??EF, 40K, 50gal, 6yr
$440, 518435, ??gal FHR, .??EF, 40K, 40gal, 12yr
Do you know where I can get the FHR and EF ratings for the Home Depot water
heaters currently on sale? (I'll call the 800 number after this message.)
I think the ones HD sells are made by GE, try their web site.
Also since you have gas, make sure you buy a unit the same height or
shorter than your existing unit, unless you have a flue that you are
certain you can shorten safely (that is, maintaining a reasonable slope
where it runs horizontally if anywhere) don't want to install the new
heater and then find you have to rip it out because it's backdrafting!
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 19:41:50 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:
I should note the new hot water heaters are taller (about 58 and 59 inches
versus 50 inches for the existing water heater) and wider (about 19.75 to
21.75 inches in diameter as opposed to about 18 inches for the existing hot
The guy on the phone said it wouldn't be a problem. There is about an inch
of space between the top of the existing 50" tall water heater and the
3-inch or so wide vertical vent pipe with a hat on top to gather in the
fumes (I guess).
The hot water coiled pipes are about a foot long currently and bent like a
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 20:40:55 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:
Thanks for asking. I appreciate the help.
Since the hot water heater is in a garage, there is a foot and a half
"bench" it's sitting on, then the 50 inches of hot water heater, then at
least a few feet of vertical pipe to get near the cieling which is way up
So, I would guess they can cut off 8 or 9 inches and the vertical
three-inch wide pipe would still be a few feet vertically.
I'm a bit more worried about the hot-water pipes as the S-shaped coiled
pipes are only about a foot long but if we take 9 inches out of that, it
leaves them only being about 3 inches long which doesn't seem like enough
for an "S" dont'cha think?
On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 21:12:41 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:
Yes, I was referring to the corrugated flexible copper pipes connected to
the rigid galvanized steel pipes coming out of the wall near the garage
I guess they can cut the galvanized pipes because they are at least 18
inches or so vertical.
But I don't know if Home Depot includes cutting the galvanized pipes in the
cost. Should I call them back and order a shorter (50 inch vs 58 inch) hot
water heater so as to preserve the S coil without having to cut the
galvanized steel water pipes?
I wouldn't bother. If the installers can't deal with cutting your water
pipes shorter, you shouldn't let them install your heater (you have
galvanized water lines? how old is this house, anyway? Mine was built
in '48 and has copper.)
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
On Feb 10, 6:29 pm, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"
I'm not sure that the FHR is really all that essential. The hot water
available in the first hour is going to depend upon the following -
inlet water temp, burner BTU/hr input and efficiency, tank size,
outlet temp. Once you set a certain outlet temp (using the dial in the
front), you can get an idea of the FHR with the efficiency and
burner input. I see however that your table only has efficiency for
only 1 model, although it has burner BTU for all. I have the 9 yr 40
gal model, its efficiency rating is 0.59 per the label. I was able to
find a little more info on the net using the model number (not UPC).
The model number on mine is PG40T09AVH00. I believe the 12 yr model's
number starts with 'S'.
Oh, I just saw that you can get the efficiency and burner BTU numbers
at the HD web site. Put in your zip code, then it shows more models.
If you are getting the thing installed, and by HD, I wasn't aware you
could pick the model; they only offered me the 12 yr. IIRC, the
warranty lengths increase if they install it?
Oh, just to muddy things up a bit, I remember once I has bought and
installed the heater from HD, I had looked at the Sears site, and
found a minor advantage to buying there. I can't remember why.
However, models, etc. change quite often, so I don't think that
difference would be still valid.
just to muddy the water a little more.............
the hotter you keep the water the greater the energy loss. often
people try to compensate for a too small tank by keeping water very
this has 2 bad effects, greater standby losses, so operating costs are
plus the higher temperature is harder on the tank, leading to a
shorter overall life.
now put a llarger tank in such a situation and the operating costs can
actually be less for a larger tank if you turn down its temperature
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