Keep a backup hot water heater?

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:48 pm

Get one with a lifetime warranty.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by sunny_socal » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:31 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:48 pm
Get one with a lifetime warranty.
Like the 'lifetime' fluid in my transmission? :mrgreen:

I read somewhere that the only difference between water heaters and their warranty is the price. They're basically all the same. I buy the cheapest heater I can find in the size I want and replace it before it pops.

neilpilot
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by neilpilot » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:58 pm

sunny_socal wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:31 pm




I read somewhere that the only difference between water heaters and their warranty is the price. They're basically all the same. I buy the cheapest heater I can find in the size I want and replace it before it pops.
Actually the longer warranty unit is typically identical EXCEPT it has either 2 anodes or a longer anode.

sport
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by sport » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:03 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:58 pm
sunny_socal wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:31 pm




I read somewhere that the only difference between water heaters and their warranty is the price. They're basically all the same. I buy the cheapest heater I can find in the size I want and replace it before it pops.
Actually the longer warranty unit is typically identical EXCEPT it has either 2 anodes or a longer anode.
It's interesting that you mention the length of the anode. When I had the anode in my tank replaced, at age 7 years, it seemed to be completely gone in a small section near the top of the tank. (There was a central wire keeping it from breaking off.) The rest of the rod seemed to be in good shape. Does this mean anything about the anode installation? Presumably it was installed at the factory when the tank was produced.

neilpilot
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by neilpilot » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:15 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:03 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:58 pm
sunny_socal wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:31 pm




I read somewhere that the only difference between water heaters and their warranty is the price. They're basically all the same. I buy the cheapest heater I can find in the size I want and replace it before it pops.
Actually the longer warranty unit is typically identical EXCEPT it has either 2 anodes or a longer anode.
It's interesting that you mention the length of the anode. When I had the anode in my tank replaced, at age 7 years, it seemed to be completely gone in a small section near the top of the tank. (There was a central wire keeping it from breaking off.) The rest of the rod seemed to be in good shape. Does this mean anything about the anode installation? Presumably it was installed at the factory when the tank was produced.
Seems strange, unless the lower portion of the rod had poor continuity. Some installers use teflon tape on the top threads, which can insulate the rod and makes it ineffective unless the lower threads are left bare for continuity. Maybe the factory had an inexperienced or sloppy assembler who used tape incorrectly.

Once the small section at the top was spent, the lower portion of the rod wouldn't be active unless that small wire maintained electrical continuity with the fitting at the top of the tank.

KJVanguard
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by KJVanguard » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:49 pm

That spare could be waiting a long time to see use. When I bought my home it came with a 25-year-old water heater.

I replaced it the next year as my home inspector did identify its age as an issue (that got me a lower price).

I only have one 75 gallon model in my basement with no spare for 14 years in the future. Of course, I also do not have the skill set to replace my own water heater, so I wouldn't have a spare even if I had an old model.

Starfish
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Starfish » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:12 pm

livesoft wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:02 am
You have two water heaters. We have two water heaters. When one fails, replace it. Use the hot water from the other heater for showering, bathing, whatever. That is, unless your two water heaters are plumbed to the same bathroom which doesn't make much sense to me.

Then when the other fails, replace it.

What is it with bogleheads.org and water heaters anyways?

PS: We used HD when each of our heaters failed. Easy. Inexpensive. Quick.
The problem with HD is that they charge upwards of 500$ per hour of work to install your water heater. I thought is because they use lawyers and doctors but no...

Starfish
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Starfish » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:16 pm

dratkinson wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:05 pm
Cold shower. Heat water in a metal dishpan on kitchen stove top. Carry dishpan into shower. Stand over dishpan and take a warm sponge bath. It's not that bad, and certainly beats the alternative.
I am amazed that somebody has to explain this... are people nowadays that helpless?

livesoft
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by livesoft » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:58 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:12 pm
The problem with HD is that they charge upwards of 500$ per hour of work to install your water heater. I thought is because they use lawyers and doctors but no...
That's not the way my interaction with HD worked. Clearly, they have local plumbers who do the work of picking up new heater, taking old one out, putting new one in. The charge received over the phone included all that and was only about $600 for me for both times I had HD do it.

So costs must vary across the nation and I understand that your costs could be much different than mine.
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Starfish
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Starfish » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:58 pm

But even 600$ for 1h job is too much. In my case the water heater could replaced in 1h by a professional. Yes, they bring a new one and dispose the old one in a truck with several others, but it sounds too lucrative. For them.

Chip
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Chip » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:17 am

neilpilot wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:15 pm
Seems strange, unless the lower portion of the rod had poor continuity. Some installers use teflon tape on the top threads, which can insulate the rod and makes it ineffective unless the lower threads are left bare for continuity. Maybe the factory had an inexperienced or sloppy assembler who used tape incorrectly.
I've read this about teflon tape on anode rods in multiple places on the internet, but it makes no sense to me. Every time I use teflon tape the threads on the fitting cut through a lot of the tape upon installation. Clearly there would still be plenty of electrical conductivity. So when I installed my new anode rod I used teflon tape. After installation I checked the conductivity between the top of the rod and the receiving fitting (which is the water heater tank) with an ohmmeter. There was essentially no resistance.

For what it's worth, the factory original rod I removed had the most severe corrosion at the top of the rod, say the top 8". It was probably 3-4x the level of corrosion on the rest of the rod. I would guess that there is some temperature stratification in the WH, which could result in a higher reaction (corrosion) rate at the top of the heater.

lazydavid
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by lazydavid » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:32 am

Nicolas wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:53 pm
Also "hot water heater" is a redundant misnomer. Why would you have a device to heat water that's already hot? It's really a cold water heater but why even specify? Just call it a "water heater".
We actually used to have a "hot water heater". When we bought our house, it had two water heaters, piped in series. So one ran frequently to heat up incoming cold water, and the other infrequently to maintain the hot water it received.

One was really old and we replaced it 2 months after buying the house. Don't remember if it failed, but it probably did. when we had our plumber install the new one, he re-piped everything so they were independent, including shutoff valves on both inputs and outputs so either can be fully isolated without turning off the main water supply. When the other one goes, we'll still have hot water even during the replacement.
livesoft wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:02 am
You have two water heaters. We have two water heaters. When one fails, replace it. Use the hot water from the other heater for showering, bathing, whatever. That is, unless your two water heaters are plumbed to the same bathroom which doesn't make much sense to me.
See above. We have two right next to each other, and both feed the entire house. It's just extra capacity.

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GoldStar
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by GoldStar » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:38 am

sunny_socal wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:31 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:48 pm
Get one with a lifetime warranty.
Like the 'lifetime' fluid in my transmission? :mrgreen:

I read somewhere that the only difference between water heaters and their warranty is the price. They're basically all the same. I buy the cheapest heater I can find in the size I want and replace it before it pops.
If you have a reference I'd love to see it.
The ones with the lifetime warranties are typically made with far better material so they don't rust/corrode. I came back from a vacation and my cheap water heated had corroded/rusted and caused a mess. I will gladly pay a few extra dollars for one that is guaranteed to last forever and not give out while I'm away.

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GoldStar
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by GoldStar » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:42 am

lazydavid wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:32 am
Nicolas wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:53 pm
Also "hot water heater" is a redundant misnomer. Why would you have a device to heat water that's already hot? It's really a cold water heater but why even specify? Just call it a "water heater".
We actually used to have a "hot water heater". When we bought our house, it had two water heaters, piped in series. So one ran frequently to heat up incoming cold water, and the other infrequently to maintain the hot water it received.
[/quote]

LOL - I only have one and it essentially is a "Cold Water Heater" in the winter and a "room-temperature Water Heater" in the summer. :D

livesoft
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by livesoft » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:15 am

lazydavid wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:32 am
See above. We have two right next to each other, and both feed the entire house. It's just extra capacity.
Then either there is a way to bypass either heater or not. If not, then make a way.
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lazydavid
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by lazydavid » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:53 am

livesoft wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:15 am
lazydavid wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:32 am
See above. We have two right next to each other, and both feed the entire house. It's just extra capacity.
Then either there is a way to bypass either heater or not. If not, then make a way.
Again, read above :sharebeer
lazydavid wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:32 am
when we had our plumber install the new one, he re-piped everything so they were independent, including shutoff valves on both inputs and outputs so either can be fully isolated without turning off the main water supply. When the other one goes, we'll still have hot water even during the replacement.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:25 am

GoldStar wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:38 am
sunny_socal wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:31 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:48 pm
Get one with a lifetime warranty.
Like the 'lifetime' fluid in my transmission? :mrgreen:

I read somewhere that the only difference between water heaters and their warranty is the price. They're basically all the same. I buy the cheapest heater I can find in the size I want and replace it before it pops.
If you have a reference I'd love to see it.
The ones with the lifetime warranties are typically made with far better material so they don't rust/corrode. I came back from a vacation and my cheap water heated had corroded/rusted and caused a mess. I will gladly pay a few extra dollars for one that is guaranteed to last forever and not give out while I'm away.
Probably written by the maker of a cheap water heater.
I guess if you can replace it yourself and don't have flooding concerns buying the cheapest might be the way to go.
After having a cheap one fail on me in just 7 years I decided to buy a better model with a lifetime warranty.
Its the same reason I buy a better more reliable cars even if it costs me a few dollars more - peace of mind is worth something.

CurlyDave
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by CurlyDave » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:12 am

Starfish wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:16 pm
dratkinson wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:05 pm
Cold shower. Heat water in a metal dishpan on kitchen stove top. Carry dishpan into shower. Stand over dishpan and take a warm sponge bath. It's not that bad, and certainly beats the alternative.
I am amazed that somebody has to explain this... are people nowadays that helpless?
Actually there is an enhancement to this that few people think of.

Use a small electric heater to raise the temperature in the bathroom to 80+ degrees. It is a lot more comfortable to be wet with lukewarm water when the air temp is higher. This makes it almost pleasant...

HoosierJim
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by HoosierJim » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:20 am

Embarrassed to admit but was troubleshooting our hot water heater a few years ago - no hot water. Symptom was pilot & flame would run for a short period but then go out. Replaced the thermocouple. Then the gas valve. Finally said screw it and bought another hot water heater. Put that one in – same problem – realized the gas regulator/meter might be bad - called gas company - they said they have had a number of these freeze up and let just enough gas through to exhibit this problem. Gas company replaced their meter/regulator.

Not one of my best troubleshooting days... So I have a new hot water heater spare waiting for the next problem but I would not have done this on purpose.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:41 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:58 pm
But even 600$ for 1h job is too much. In my case the water heater could replaced in 1h by a professional. Yes, they bring a new one and dispose the old one in a truck with several others, but it sounds too lucrative. For them.
That's certainly your opinion. You can call around and find a plumber that might do all of that cheaper, or do it yourself if capable. That's not a job I wanted to tackle. As Livesoft mentioned, the Home Depot install is a flat price. In my case, the local contractor had most of the popular models in-stock at their place and didn't even need to pick them up from a store.

In my case there was lots of other fun to be had.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:07 pm

You could plumb it in next to the old one with cutoff valves. Then the down time in the event of failure could be just a few minutes.

balbrec2
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by balbrec2 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:06 pm

Probably more important to keep a spare sump pump if your dwelling has one and runs regularly

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dm200
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:07 pm

Maybe have two, separate water heaters to supply different bathrooms? :happy

Starfish
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Starfish » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:20 pm

Chip wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:17 am
neilpilot wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:15 pm
Seems strange, unless the lower portion of the rod had poor continuity. Some installers use teflon tape on the top threads, which can insulate the rod and makes it ineffective unless the lower threads are left bare for continuity. Maybe the factory had an inexperienced or sloppy assembler who used tape incorrectly.
I've read this about teflon tape on anode rods in multiple places on the internet, but it makes no sense to me. Every time I use teflon tape the threads on the fitting cut through a lot of the tape upon installation. Clearly there would still be plenty of electrical conductivity. So when I installed my new anode rod I used teflon tape. After installation I checked the conductivity between the top of the rod and the receiving fitting (which is the water heater tank) with an ohmmeter. There was essentially no resistance.
Is the anode really meant to be installed with teflon tape? Standard installation of a water heater requires no teflon tape on water connection (it's optional on the pressure valve). Only on the gas connection requires teflon tape and even there only on one side.
People - even plumbers - overuse the teflon tape.
It seem improbable to me that the anode is build with the idea of having teflon tape anywhere.

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:25 pm

dsmclone wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:21 am
I'm struggling with this as well.

Water Heater is 14 years old
Never had an issue with it
Never have done anything to it
In the next room over(Basement) is my home theater that I'd rather not ruin

I'm not worried about a slow leak but I am worried about the bottom dropping out. So if this happens will the water continue to run? I'm not worried about the 40 gallons, I'm worried about what comes after.
I guess it will. I do have a water detector next to mine also. Hopefully, that sounds, and someone is home before catastrophe. On second hand, the replace NOW is sounding better and better.

Starfish
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Starfish » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:27 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:41 pm
Starfish wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:58 pm
But even 600$ for 1h job is too much. In my case the water heater could replaced in 1h by a professional. Yes, they bring a new one and dispose the old one in a truck with several others, but it sounds too lucrative. For them.
That's certainly your opinion. You can call around and find a plumber that might do all of that cheaper, or do it yourself if capable. That's not a job I wanted to tackle. As Livesoft mentioned, the Home Depot install is a flat price. In my case, the local contractor had most of the popular models in-stock at their place and didn't even need to pick them up from a store.

In my case there was lots of other fun to be had.
Not an opinion, is based on doing it by myself. It's one of the easiest DYI jobs I can imagine, and I not much of a DIYer. It took me a while only because I had to do several trips to Home Depot for getting what I needed.
I brought home the water heater in a VW Golf. It's also pretty light, I can move it around by myself (my wife helped me for couple of steps).
Of course I understand not all houses are build like mine, you might need a body to help.

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:35 pm

tev9876 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:48 am
Murphy's law says it will fail, catastrophically, the morning that you have a big wedding the entire family must get ready for, during preparation for Thanksgiving dinner for 60 people, while you are on vacation dumping 1000s of gallons of water into the sewer, etc. Just pick a day where it is convenient to be without water for a couple hours and replace it. Storing one "just in case" would be a bad idea. If it turns out it is defective you may be beyond the return period. Seems like you always miss one fitting, a shutoff valve starts leaking, or something else goes wrong on a project like this so you end up making another run to store anyway. Whatever money you lose on the remaining life of the existing one is much less than the hassle you will deal with when it fails at a bad time.
LOL, made my day!

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daytona084
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by daytona084 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:38 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:29 pm
Whoever heard of a "backup hot water heater"? Nobody does that.
It is actually done ... A friend owns a 12 bedroom vacation rental that rents for over $1200 per night. The renters would not be happy if the hot water went out. He has the two water heaters plumbed such that either or both can be active. If one fails, it can be isolated from the system and the whole building can be served by the remaining good unit.

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:38 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:07 pm
You could plumb it in next to the old one with cutoff valves. Then the down time in the event of failure could be just a few minutes.
I think I will do this. Get to practice my soldering skills again :) Wish this was PEX!

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:42 pm

moehoward wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:26 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:29 pm
Whoever heard of a "backup hot water heater"? Nobody does that.
I like your reply. A whole post on a "backup water heater", you gotta love it.
This IS bogleheads. Anything to save a buck for investing :)

brianH
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by brianH » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:27 pm

Starfish wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:27 pm
Of course I understand not all houses are build like mine, you might need a body to help.
I think that's probably the biggest issue: many plumbers don't do time and materials, so they have to price for the worst-case scenario.

I just put in a hybrid 50 gal myself, and let me say, I would've charged myself $600 to do it. I'm a strong guy, but getting a 250lb+ heater into my basement with an appliance handtruck darn near killed me, and draining the old 80gal with a bucket (no drains/windows down there) and getting it up the stairs was a struggle. On top of all that, I had to get creative with PEX to hook up the new hybrid, since they don't put the inlet/outlet on top on those.

If it was just a same size electric to electric swap in a garage, yeah, that shouldn't take a competent plumber more than an hour or $150.

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Cycle
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Cycle » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:19 pm

fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:14 pm
Teague wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:13 pm
A cold water shower now and then builds character.
I agree but I'm afraid my wife and daughter might disagree :)
Katherine Hepburn took cold showers

Btw definitely wait till it blows. No big deal. Ours blew this summer and we were blessed with cold showers for a few days, it was glorious.

Chip
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Chip » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:13 am

Starfish wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:20 pm
Is the anode really meant to be installed with teflon tape? Standard installation of a water heater requires no teflon tape on water connection (it's optional on the pressure valve). Only on the gas connection requires teflon tape and even there only on one side.
People - even plumbers - overuse the teflon tape.
It seem improbable to me that the anode is build with the idea of having teflon tape anywhere.
It's a tapered thread steel pipe joint, which is an extremely common usage for pipe tape or dope. The goal is generally to prevent leaks without overtightening the joint. In my case I was also hoping it will help with making disassembly easier down the road, as removing the factory install was quite difficult.

Please explain "overuse" of pipe tape on these types of joints and how it might be harmful.

sport
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by sport » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:26 am

Chip wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:13 am
Please explain "overuse" of pipe tape on these types of joints and how it might be harmful.
In order to function as a protective device, the anode has to make electrical contact with the steel inner tank. If the anode is insulated from the tank, it will not prevent corrosion of the tank.

Chip
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Chip » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:53 am

sport wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:26 am
In order to function as a protective device, the anode has to make electrical contact with the steel inner tank. If the anode is insulated from the tank, it will not prevent corrosion of the tank.
You must have missed my earlier post. In my experience such tape is ALWAYS cut substantially by the pipe threads when installed. It prevents leaks by plugging areas where there are gaps and imperfections in the thread contact areas. So large parts of the joint still have metal to metal contact. I think I proved that in my particular case by using an ohmmeter to measure resistance from the head of the installed anode rod to the shell of the water heater. There was essentially no resistance.

So, in my opinion and experience, most of the warnings I've seen on the internet about not using pipe tape on anode rod installations aren't grounded :) in reality. In fact, I challenge anyone to put together a 1" tapered thread steel pipe joint, using pipe tape, where the joint is NOT electrically conductive.

michaeljc70
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:16 pm

I would not store a hot water heater. What if there is a problem with it in 2 years when you install it?

My water heater is almost 20 years old. I am planning on replacing it in the next month even though it still works. I think it is not worth the hassle of waiting until it breaks since it is already probably 2x past its normal life. Not to mention if it is located somewhere where it could destroy part of your home.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Smoke
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Smoke » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:34 pm

fortfun wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:38 pm
adamthesmythe wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:07 pm
You could plumb it in next to the old one with cutoff valves. Then the down time in the event of failure could be just a few minutes.
I think I will do this. Get to practice my soldering skills again :) Wish this was PEX!
Never run pex right to the water heater stubs, always keep pex 18" from the stubs. They will leak over time if connected directly to the stubs.
Sharkbite connector from existing copper to pex, sharkbite connector from pex to hand tight flexible hot water heater connector 18" to WH stub.
No sodering.
Don't forget an expansion tank :beer

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cheese_breath
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:50 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:48 pm
Get one with a lifetime warranty.
Whose lifetime? His or the water heater's?
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Smoke
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Smoke » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:17 pm

I'm not going to quote who said what, just general comment about some of the stuff I read.

There are Lifetime water heaters Marathon comes to mind, it's a completely different animal vs the typical HW heater does not have an anode rod due to the tank being non metal. No metal, no Rust.

Typically the difference between a 6 yr guarantee WH and a 12yr guarantee WH is the 12 yr has 2 (two) anode rods.
2 will last aprox twice as long as one.
That is how important an anode rod is in a typical WH.
Depending on how hot you cook the water, water chemical makeup, one anode rod will last about 5 yrs, more or less.

A 6 yr tank is the same as a 12 yr tank, just the number of anode rods are different.

Either completely drain a WH once per yr, (turn OFF circuit breaker before draining) Pour one gallon of apple cider vinegar into empty tank and let sit for an hour, drain, refill, drain, refill, Turn on circuit breaker when completely refilled.
or drain 5 gal once per month, to remove sediment.

Replace anode rod every 4 yrs, adjust according to how the original rod looked the first time replaced.
DO NOT use a impact tool to remove the anode rod, it will shatter and fall to the bottom of the tank.
Breaker bar, or pipe extension for added torque to remove.
Leave tank mostly full so that tank does not turn from weight when removing old rod.

Or just replace the tank every 6 to 8 yrs, trying to squeeze another yr or 2 risking a major flood out of an "old" tank is not worth the risk, imo.

Starfish
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Starfish » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:22 pm

Chip wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:13 am
Starfish wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:20 pm
Is the anode really meant to be installed with teflon tape? Standard installation of a water heater requires no teflon tape on water connection (it's optional on the pressure valve). Only on the gas connection requires teflon tape and even there only on one side.
People - even plumbers - overuse the teflon tape.
It seem improbable to me that the anode is build with the idea of having teflon tape anywhere.
It's a tapered thread steel pipe joint, which is an extremely common usage for pipe tape or dope. The goal is generally to prevent leaks without overtightening the joint. In my case I was also hoping it will help with making disassembly easier down the road, as removing the factory install was quite difficult.

Please explain "overuse" of pipe tape on these types of joints and how it might be harmful.

I don't disagree with you, it was just a question given that I don't see teflon tape on the factory install.
Plumbers (or DIY videos) tend to put teflon tape in places where is not supposed to be (like in places with a rubber seal).

criticalmass
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by criticalmass » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:49 am

Starfish wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:22 pm
Chip wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:13 am
Starfish wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:20 pm
Is the anode really meant to be installed with teflon tape? Standard installation of a water heater requires no teflon tape on water connection (it's optional on the pressure valve). Only on the gas connection requires teflon tape and even there only on one side.
People - even plumbers - overuse the teflon tape.
It seem improbable to me that the anode is build with the idea of having teflon tape anywhere.
It's a tapered thread steel pipe joint, which is an extremely common usage for pipe tape or dope. The goal is generally to prevent leaks without overtightening the joint. In my case I was also hoping it will help with making disassembly easier down the road, as removing the factory install was quite difficult.

Please explain "overuse" of pipe tape on these types of joints and how it might be harmful.

I don't disagree with you, it was just a question given that I don't see teflon tape on the factory install.
Plumbers (or DIY videos) tend to put teflon tape in places where is not supposed to be (like in places with a rubber seal).

The Teflon tape will tear enough during tightening that you will still have an electric connection between tank and rod. You can verify this with an ohmmeter but would need to drain the tank to ensure you aren’t measuring current flowing through water between the tank and anode.

criticalmass
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by criticalmass » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:52 am

Chip wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:53 am
sport wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:26 am
In order to function as a protective device, the anode has to make electrical contact with the steel inner tank. If the anode is insulated from the tank, it will not prevent corrosion of the tank.
You must have missed my earlier post. In my experience such tape is ALWAYS cut substantially by the pipe threads when installed. It prevents leaks by plugging areas where there are gaps and imperfections in the thread contact areas. So large parts of the joint still have metal to metal contact. I think I proved that in my particular case by using an ohmmeter to measure resistance from the head of the installed anode rod to the shell of the water heater. There was essentially no resistance.

So, in my opinion and experience, most of the warnings I've seen on the internet about not using pipe tape on anode rod installations aren't grounded :) in reality. In fact, I challenge anyone to put together a 1" tapered thread steel pipe joint, using pipe tape, where the joint is NOT electrically conductive.
Correct. Just ensure that there isn’t water between the tank and rod (e.g. in a full tank) or you could be measuring ohms through water to the rod.

In my case the rod gets full of calcium, preventing it from doing its job well.

Housedoc
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Location: Alabama

Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Housedoc » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:30 am

Anode life dependant on water quality. I replaced my 22YO Rheem earlier this year. Cut old one open and anode still had usable life in it. If you have hard water, well water, etc replace more aggressively.

Chip
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Chip » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:09 am

Starfish wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:22 pm
I don't disagree with you, it was just a question given that I don't see teflon tape on the factory install.
Plumbers (or DIY videos) tend to put teflon tape in places where is not supposed to be (like in places with a rubber seal).
Got it. I definitely agree that plumbers and DIY videos often get it wrong. As a serious DIYer a fair amount of work that I do is correcting things done by so-called professionals. Though I make tremendous use of youtube videos and DIY forums, there is a lot of misinformation out there which then seems to be mindlessly repeated. That's part of why I brought up the use of teflon tape on this particular joint. You can find dozens of "references" telling you not to put tape on this joint because it will electrically insulate the rod from the tank. It's nonsense because the tape is guaranteed to be cut by the threads. Anyone who has used this type of tape on a steel pipe joint AND thought about it how it works would realize it. And if they still had concerns, they could test the resistance, like I did.

Plus I don't necessarily trust that the factory assembles things in the optimal manner for my needs. Cost is the driver. For example, the nuts and bolts on the exhaust system on my car weren't coated with anti-seize at the factory. But I will sure wish they had been when I need to remove them. With the anode rod it appears it was easier for the factory to tighten it as tight as they could, plus a quarter turn, to make sure it didn't leak. They don't worry about what I would have to go through to remove it.

dsmclone
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by dsmclone » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:09 am

I did a little more research on water heaters this weekend. I realized that my water heater uses a "power vent", which adds about $400 to the price. So we'e looking at a minimum price of $1,500. At that price, I'm wondering if I should start considering tankless but it sounds like there are major drawbacks with those as well. Space isn't an issue.

tesuzuki2002
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:18 pm

fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:09 pm
My hot water heaters (2-40 gallon) are approaching 15 years old. Some of my neighbor's have already failed (same age). Has anyone kept a spare in case of failure? I plan to install it myself and this would save me a trip to the Home Depot during a morning family crisis (I can imagine it now). I know we might not have hot water for several hours but at least I'd have a head start on the job. I guess the main downside is losing out on the warranty. Who knows, it could die tonight or last ten more years. If it makes any difference, it would probably be about a one hour round trip to pickup and purchase a hot water heater (assuming this happens when the store is open, which it almost certainly will not be). Or, should I just make everyone suffer a bit?
My water heater is currently 12 years old... never had a single problem. I am waiting until 2019.. but already have estimates done and will replace in January. Not that big of a deal to avoid dealing with a hassle. I fully recognize it could last another 5 years easy...

michaeljc70
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:04 pm

tesuzuki2002 wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:18 pm
fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:09 pm
My hot water heaters (2-40 gallon) are approaching 15 years old. Some of my neighbor's have already failed (same age). Has anyone kept a spare in case of failure? I plan to install it myself and this would save me a trip to the Home Depot during a morning family crisis (I can imagine it now). I know we might not have hot water for several hours but at least I'd have a head start on the job. I guess the main downside is losing out on the warranty. Who knows, it could die tonight or last ten more years. If it makes any difference, it would probably be about a one hour round trip to pickup and purchase a hot water heater (assuming this happens when the store is open, which it almost certainly will not be). Or, should I just make everyone suffer a bit?
My water heater is currently 12 years old... never had a single problem. I am waiting until 2019.. but already have estimates done and will replace in January. Not that big of a deal to avoid dealing with a hassle. I fully recognize it could last another 5 years easy...
Yes. Like I said above, I think if it is well past its normal life, being proactive is smart. The water in the winter coming into my house is around 40 degrees here. Plumbers are expensive as it is. Emergency plumbing is more expensive.

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dm200
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by dm200 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:24 pm

Sometimes - there are sales and good deals on water heaters as well. They may include (or discount) the installation.

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:44 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:32 am
Nicolas wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:53 pm
Also "hot water heater" is a redundant misnomer. Why would you have a device to heat water that's already hot? It's really a cold water heater but why even specify? Just call it a "water heater".
We actually used to have a "hot water heater". When we bought our house, it had two water heaters, piped in series. So one ran frequently to heat up incoming cold water, and the other infrequently to maintain the hot water it received.

One was really old and we replaced it 2 months after buying the house. Don't remember if it failed, but it probably did. when we had our plumber install the new one, he re-piped everything so they were independent, including shutoff valves on both inputs and outputs so either can be fully isolated without turning off the main water supply. When the other one goes, we'll still have hot water even during the replacement.
livesoft wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:02 am
You have two water heaters. We have two water heaters. When one fails, replace it. Use the hot water from the other heater for showering, bathing, whatever. That is, unless your two water heaters are plumbed to the same bathroom which doesn't make much sense to me.
See above. We have two right next to each other, and both feed the entire house. It's just extra capacity.
Just finished adding 4 slip sharkbite valves to accomplish what you described. I also caulked around the entire mechanical room. That way if there is a leak, the surrounding rooms/carpet should not be damaged. Now, when the first water heater goes, we can shut off the in and out valve on it independent from the second water heater and still have hot water from the working one!

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:50 pm

For anyone keeping up with my water heater dilemma:

I just added 4 slip sharkbite valves so that the two water heaters can be completely isolated. When the first fails, I'll turn off the in and out valves on that one and the second water heater will continue to heat water. I also caulked the sill plate around the entire mechanical room. That way, if there is a leak, the water will go down the floor drain before it damages the surrounding rooms/carpet. We'll see how much longer I get out of these two water heaters!

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