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boaterbob
Premium
join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC
reply to Bob4

Re: Flush an old hot water heater?

Some things to consider -
Probably the sacrificial anode rod has never been changed, thus 15 years is past the point (by only a couple of years) where it is protecting the tank from rust. And you probably would never get the old plug loose to put a new rod in (if you can find the plug as sometimes they are under the top metal cover). When buying a new heater, make sure the 'plug' is visible and, while new and before heating for the first time, unscrew the plug and reinstall with tape - unless you don't plan on checking the anode rod every 2 years or so.

Are you proficient in gas and water plumbing (esp if the water lines are soldered rather than using fittings you can unscrew).

Is the tank downstairs in a basement or in the garage? If the tank is in a basement and you can not get it to drain, it would be a heck of a chore to get it up the stairs while full of water. Never poke anything into the drain if it is plugged AND full of hot water. If the plug comes open and hot water sprays out onto you, well ...

Leaking drains can sometimes be fixed by getting a hose bibb metal or plastic screw on cap. So if you can't get a drain to stop dripping, just screw on a bibb cap. That often solves the drip problem.


TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI

1 recommendation

said by boaterbob:

Are you proficient in gas and water plumbing (esp if the water lines are soldered rather than using fittings you can unscrew).

I've seen it done a few times, and I plan to have guidance from someone who has done it a few times in the past. Gotta learn somehow.

The more I think about it, the more I think I should just replace it. Anything else would just be throwing good money and time after bad. I'll see how the current heater works after I close and decide if it's worth replacing right away or waiting.

At least it's not leaking...


Bamafan2277

join:2008-09-20
Jeffersonville, IN

At least it's not leaking...

Yet! You will probably be much better off going ahead and replacing it with a new energy efficent unit. The savings will be quite noticeable if you are having to heat the water to almost max in the old one to get warm water.


Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1
reply to boaterbob

said by boaterbob:

Some things to consider -
Probably the sacrificial anode rod has never been changed, thus 15 years is past the point (by only a couple of years) where it is protecting the tank from rust. And you probably would never get the old plug loose to put a new rod in (if you can find the plug as sometimes they are under the top metal cover). When buying a new heater, make sure the 'plug' is visible and, while new and before heating for the first time, unscrew the plug and reinstall with tape - unless you don't plan on checking the anode rod every 2 years or so.

So many people overlook this, they just install the heater and be done with it.. I do have a question if say you change the rod (I assume you can get them local?) do you need to allow the tank to cool?
--
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jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1

said by Subaru:

do you need to allow the tank to cool?

Not really, just turn off the water supply and depressurize it, is all.
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~

boaterbob
Premium
join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC

Well ... If you had left the water to the heater turned on, it would spray out the hole once you removed the anode (guess you figured that); if the water was HOT, guess what would spray out!

But, no you do not need for the water to be cool before you remove the anode provided, of course, that you turned OFF the water AND turned off the electricity if your heater is electric. If power is ON and the tank water level drops below the level of the heating elements AND they were still ON, then the elements would be destroyed and you'd need to buy and install new elements.

The bigger question is, can you even get the old anode bolt unscrewed. I just did a 4 year old electric water heater and I used a pneumatic wrench (didn't work), a socket breaker bar (didn't work) a 3# hammer against the breaker bar (didn't work) and a 4ft long water pipe over the breaker bar with a lot of force (and it finally came loose). TIP: if you tank is soldered to the water pipes, do not let the tank twist or turn too much as you try to loosen the anode nut as you do not want to break any solder joints (or tip over the take full of water).


laserfan

join:2005-01-14
Texas

said by boaterbob:

The bigger question is, can you even get the old anode bolt unscrewed. I just did a 4 year old electric water heater and I used a pneumatic wrench (didn't work), a socket breaker bar (didn't work) a 3# hammer against the breaker bar (didn't work) and a 4ft long water pipe over the breaker bar with a lot of force (and it finally came loose).

Yeah, you need first of all the right sized socket (usually 3/4"), but then what works reliably is a 1/2" electric impact wrench (see harborfreight.com). I have 3 water heaters and this wrench works every time, with continuous short hard strokes that are better even than that 4ft breaker bar which, yes, will turn the WH on its base! Best $40 bucks I've spent on tools--it's been a godsend for a number of other purposes as well.

AFAICT with even the best water, an anode rod should be replaced every few years--the last one I took-out at 3 years was only mostly inner steel wire--very little sacrifical metal left to it.

BTW my WHs are all electric; I'm surprised to learn there are anode rods in gas WHs too and wonder if they deteriorate at a similar rate to electric...?


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

Gas/electric should not matter - the rods are there to "An anode rod is necessary because it prevents any corrosion of a water heater's metal lining."

Electric does not cause more issues with the corrosion of the tank nor does gas prevent corrosion.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain



Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1

I was going to ask about the socket size because the one I tried to get to all I had was metric impact sockets and they were all too fat to fit down and the smallest size is 10mm and the largest is 24mm I think some of the foam insulation was in the way as well.



jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1
reply to boaterbob

said by boaterbob:

Well ... If you had left the water to the heater turned on, it would spray out the hole once you removed the anode (guess you figured that); if the water was HOT, guess what would spray out!

Well... as with any advice given here, it's sometimes wise not to assume a certain level of skill of the reader who asks a question.
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~


ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
kudos:2
Reviews:
·voip.ms
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reply to Subaru

said by Subaru:

all I had was metric impact sockets and they were all too fat to fit down and the smallest size is 10mm and the largest is 24mm I think some of the foam insulation was in the way as well.

I have an AOSmith and I've used a 27mm non-impact three times with no trouble at all. It's very close to 1-1/16 actual size.

The first time, when the heater was about three years old, I put an eye bolt in a stud and wrapped a ratcheting cable puller around the T&P valve. I then used a 2' pipe on a 1/2" breaker handle.

My water heater was installed in March 2000 and I'm on my third anode rod. I get the flexible, cabled style due to low clearance.

$50 every four years doesn't seem unreasonable for my heater arrangement, which will require some re-engineering when it is finally replaced.
--
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Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1

Yeah this one was a 80 gallon AOSmith as well it had never been changed and at this time it was 7 years in.. Oh well not worried about it now.


lutful
... of ideas
Premium
join:2005-06-16
Ottawa, ON
kudos:1
reply to CylonRed

said by CylonRed:

Gas/electric should not matter - the rods are there to "An anode rod is necessary because it prevents any corrosion of a water heater's metal lining."

Our gas water heater was installed Dec/1989 when the home was built and I never thought about cathodic protection. The hot water output and quality still seems to be fine.

Anyway the anode, if present, must be 23 years old. Where should I look for it? You can see bottom part of the blue heater here:
»noisy furnace fan


Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1

most would be on the top it looks like a huge hex bolt but recessed, the AoSmith I think had a plastic cover over it I can't remember right now.. If yours does not have it maybe the outlet pipe is the anode?


boaterbob
Premium
join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC

So, back to the OPs hot water issue - by now you've read the suggested links - correct?

If by chance you skipped that part, you missed the #1 cause of your issue - read Sediment Control (about 2/3 of the way down at -

»www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/···nce.html

Also, on the same page are pics of anodes and where they are typically located.



Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1

did you mean to reply to me? I was referring to the poster above me.


boaterbob
Premium
join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC

Sorry - I was simply summarizing this thread and leading the OP to maybe consider that a dissolved/broken dip tube could be his reason for not as much hot water as he wanted.



Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1

said by boaterbob:

Sorry - I was simply summarizing this thread and leading the OP to maybe consider that a dissolved/broken dip tube could be his reason for not as much hot water as he wanted.

interesting I was just looking and did not know back in the mid to early 90's they had an issue with them breaking off.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

In Canada, the water heaters have the cold inlet at the bottom of the tank (on the side). No dip tube. That makes so much sense to me, I don't know why we don't see that type here.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to lutful

»www.howtodothings.com/home-garde···-heaters
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain


TheSMJ

join:2009-08-19
Farmington, MI
reply to boaterbob

said by boaterbob:

So, back to the OPs hot water issue - by now you've read the suggested links - correct?

...

Yes, I've read those links. I'm still not sure if it's worth doing all this to an old tank which AFAIK was never properly maintained.

As far as flushing goes, it's possible I could open the valve and never get it to close right again, assuming it doesn't clog with sediment the moment I open the valve.

Before I was sure I'd have to replace it. Now, I'm on the fence.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
reply to Bob4

I live in Canada, and I have never seen anything like that.
--
The talented hawk speaks French.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

said by Cho Baka:

I live in Canada, and I have never seen anything like that.

Here you go... Bottom entry... "Proudly Canadian"
»www.giantinc.com/english/product···cade.htm


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2

I don't doubt they exist, my point is that they aren't universal like you seemed to imply in your previous post.
--
The talented hawk speaks French.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

Regardless, I don't understand why manufacturers don't get rid of dip tubes and use "bottom entry" tanks.



ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
kudos:2
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·AT&T Midwest
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Bob4

said by Bob4:

In Canada, the water heaters have the cold inlet at the bottom of the tank (on the side). No dip tube. That makes so much sense to me, I don't know why we don't see that type here.

Could it be because they are easier to replace if the bottom feed pipe doesn't have to be moved out of the way to get a new heater into position?

Could be just "the way it is" but I'd be interested if anybody can give a historical perspective.

Regarding the copper conductor used to bond hot and cold pipes, it's a good idea even if those pipes are not relied upon for ground. With few exceptions, every pipe in the house should be grounded to ensure it does not become HOT.
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USNG:
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Find your USNG coordinates:
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