Keep a backup hot water heater?

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fortfun
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Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » 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?

ddurrett896
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by ddurrett896 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:11 pm

Install it when you buy it.

Teague
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Teague » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:13 pm

A cold water shower now and then builds character.
Semper Augustus

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:13 pm

ddurrett896 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:11 pm
Install it when you buy it.
I'm so cheap, it would be painful not to squeeze every minute out of them, but you are probably right :)

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » 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 :)

Starfish
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Starfish » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:14 pm

When mine broke I didn't have hot water for more than a week. My wife had no problem. If it's summer is not a big deal. In the winter it's a bit harder, I wouldn't do it for more than couple of days.
Unless you have the water heater safely in a pan with a drain I would not risk 10k$ worth of water damage to save a year from the life of a 600-700$ water heater.

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:19 pm

Starfish wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:14 pm
When mine broke I didn't have hot water for more than a week. My wife had no problem. If it's summer is not a big deal. In the winter even a day might be a problem.
Unless you have the water heater safely in a pan with a drain I would not risk 10k$ worth of water damage to save a year from the life of a 600-700$ water heater.
Well, it's snowing today :)
The hotwater heaters are sitting above the floor drain, so I don't think too much damage would be done. The mechanical room is framed with pressure treated sole plates.

ddurrett896
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by ddurrett896 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:20 pm

fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:13 pm
I'm so cheap, it would be painful not to squeeze every minute out of them, but you are probably right :)
Im almost afraid to ask what’s your process when replacing tires :confused

hirlaw
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by hirlaw » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:27 pm

My wife and I go to the gym to shower when the hot water heater has an issue (which is very infrequent). Actually, the showers at the gym are much nicer than ours! :happy

sport
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by sport » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:30 pm

If you change the anode in the tank every 5 years, or so, you will increase its life substantially.

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Watty
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Watty » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:31 pm

15 years is more than a good run for a water heater.

Go on and replace it now when it is convenient for you.

One thing to research though is that the code requirements may have changed since the last one was installed so there may be more to replacing the water heater than just swapping them. There could also be required permits and inspections. You insurance company will not be amused if there is a claim for damage for a water heater that was improperly installed.

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:34 pm

ddurrett896 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:20 pm
fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:13 pm
I'm so cheap, it would be painful not to squeeze every minute out of them, but you are probably right :)
Im almost afraid to ask what’s your process when replacing tires :confused
I'm a little more careful with those :)
Luckily, you can see when those need to replaced.

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:36 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:31 pm
15 years is more than a good run for a water heater.

Go on and replace it now when it is convenient for you.

One thing to research though is that the code requirements may have changed since the last one was installed so there may be more to replacing the water heater than just swapping them. There could also be required permits and inspections. You insurance company will not be amused if there is a claim for damage for a water heater that was improperly installed.
Good advice. Thanks Watty.

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fortfun
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by fortfun » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:37 pm

sport wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:30 pm
If you change the anode in the tank every 5 years, or so, you will increase its life substantially.
Yeah, I watched that on an epsiode of This Old House on that topic. Mine is under a ceiling, I'd need to find those "sausage link" anodes. Maybe I'll try that on the new ones. Thanks!

CurlyDave
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by CurlyDave » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:42 pm

sport wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:30 pm
If you change the anode in the tank every 5 years, or so, you will increase its life substantially.
+1

If others of about the same age are failing near you, now is the time to change the anode. Less than $50, less than an hour of time.

criticalmass
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by criticalmass » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:17 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:31 pm
15 years is more than a good run for a water heater.
As long as the anode(s) were changed per the instructions, the water heater should last much longer. If the rods are gone, the tank will begin to corrode, which is what kills tanks and causes leaks.

Drain sediment every 6 months. The junk that comes out is always interesting and the water is good for watering flower beds, etc. I do this after using hot water for wash, dishes, etc. so I’m not dumping heated water into my flower bed.

Cleaning the gas burner OR checking the electric elements for scale every few years is a good idea too.
Last edited by criticalmass on Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

neilpilot
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:34 pm

fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:09 pm
My hot water heaters (2-40 gallon) are approaching 15 years old. ........ 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). ...
First off, I can't see crisis since you have 2 water heaters when one does fail you will still have hot water.

Secondly, I seriously doubt that you actually have hot water heaters. If you do, just use the hot water you're heating while waiting for the replacement.

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Nicolas
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Nicolas » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:53 pm

If it fails order a replacement and heat water on the stove for sponge baths and wash your clothes in cold water until it's installed, or just wear different clothes. Sounds rough but you will survive.

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".

Starfish
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Starfish » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:14 pm

fortfun wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:19 pm
Starfish wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:14 pm
When mine broke I didn't have hot water for more than a week. My wife had no problem. If it's summer is not a big deal. In the winter even a day might be a problem.
Unless you have the water heater safely in a pan with a drain I would not risk 10k$ worth of water damage to save a year from the life of a 600-700$ water heater.
Well, it's snowing today :)
The hotwater heaters are sitting above the floor drain, so I don't think too much damage would be done. The mechanical room is framed with pressure treated sole plates.
I was fooled by the picture under your nickname :)
My water heater is next to the kitchen and I did a preventive change.
I have another one for another building on a concrete floor in a shed outside the house. That one is leaking for weeks now.
I had a smallish flood in the past (a connection broke) and the insurance payed ~40k$ for drying, drywall repair, and carpet change on ~750 sq ft. I am paranoid since.

Smoke
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Smoke » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:47 am

Replace it now, and don't forget an expansion tank, unless you have a well tank.

mrgeeze
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by mrgeeze » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:08 am

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?
Forget about it till it breaks. Then be inconvenienced for a day or two.

My experience with modern appliances is that they are mostly low quality.
This includes high dollar ones as well.

If you have one that's been chugging along for 15 years, it might go 20.
Water heaters have done this before...
I believe the new one you buy will be lucky to go 10.

Remain calm.
Fix it when it breaks.

tev9876
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by tev9876 » 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.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by cheese_breath » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:57 am

You probably should keep a backup furnace too to protect against those cold winter days, or backup AC if you live down South.

Maybe a backup stove for holiday dinners? (That actually happened to me. The coil started sparking inside the oven, and we ended up buying already baked turkey breasts from the Kroger deli. Good thing they were open.)
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

livesoft
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by livesoft » 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.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

moehoward
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by moehoward » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:24 am

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?
If this is keeping you up at night, replace it now. So you might be off a year so.

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lthenderson
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:36 am

In today's world where big box stores that sell water heaters are open seven days a week and you plan on installing it yourself, why worry about storing one?

Technologies, efficiencies and installation rules have all changed dramatically over the last 30 years with water heaters. Why store something that might be obsolete by the time you need it?

criticalmass
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by criticalmass » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:48 am

Duplicate post

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hand
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by hand » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:25 am

Nicolas wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:53 pm
If it fails order a replacement and heat water on the stove for sponge baths and wash your clothes in cold water until it's installed, or just wear different clothes. Sounds rough but you will survive.

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".
If you are going to be pedantic, at least get it right...

Of course water heaters heat hot water - the point at issue is whether it is helpfull to qualify that they heat hot water when they also (and more importantly) heat other temperatures of water.

Some points of reference:
  • 116 degrees Farenheit is the approximate pain threshold - "hot" by any reasonable standard
  • 120 degrees Farenheit is the (US) Department of Energy reccomended set temperature (can cause a permanant burn in 9 minutes, mild burn in 3 min)
  • 135-140 degrees Farenheit is American Society of Sanitary Engineering reccomended set temperature (to destroy bacteria such as Legionella)
  • 140 degrees Farenheit is rumored to be the default set temperature for most water heater manufacturers

Typical storage tank water heaters work as follows - 1) Tank of cold water is heated to set temperature, 2) when tank temperature drops below set temperature (from scalding to merely hot), the water in the tank is reheated. For all reasonable set temperatures (140F-120F), the water heater kicks on well before temperature drops below 116 degrees Farenheit - adding heat to the allready painfully hot water.

Pedanticaly, the reason to prefer "water heater" to "hot water heater" is that "water heater" more clearly (and more efficiently) indicates that the water heater also heats water that is not hot.

Alternately, one could just accept the coloquialism...

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dm200
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:34 am

I would not do so.

I see two risks if the water heater fails:

1. No hot water - cold shower - just a bit inconvenient
2. Water heater bursts and floods part of your house - could be a bigger problem.

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hand
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by hand » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:35 am

And... in response to the original question.

Use the time to figure out exactly what water heater(s) are best fit for your current and future needs.
(Consider whether a single high recovery rate water heater might meet your needs).

Buy a replacement water heater when you can get a good deal on exactly the model you're looking for.
DIY replace one of the old water heaters at your convienence.

Relagate old water heater to emergency spare status (if you absolutely must) until you replace the second water heater either with your well-used spare, or hopefully with brand new. Dispose of both old water heaters in a single run to the dump/recycler.

Hope your spouse / kids / friends don't find out you're hoarding old water heaters.

Admiral
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Admiral » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:40 am

Mine is 13 years old, though it's one of those "lifetime" (riiight) Phase II water heaters with a plastic or PVC type exterior (the inside is still metal) that supposedly keeps it from bursting.

What I've done is placed one of those $5 leak detectors on the floor next to it--on the hope/assumption that it will leak first and not fail catastrophically. Thus, I will buy some time to get it replaced when it starts to leak.

dsmclone
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by dsmclone » 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.

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Nicolas
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Nicolas » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:30 am

hand wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:25 am
Nicolas wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:53 pm
If it fails order a replacement and heat water on the stove for sponge baths and wash your clothes in cold water until it's installed, or just wear different clothes. Sounds rough but you will survive.

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".
If you are going to be pedantic, at least get it right...

Of course water heaters heat hot water - the point at issue is whether it is helpfull to qualify that they heat hot water when they also (and more importantly) heat other temperatures of water.

Some points of reference:
  • 116 degrees Farenheit is the approximate pain threshold - "hot" by any reasonable standard
  • 120 degrees Farenheit is the (US) Department of Energy reccomended set temperature (can cause a permanant burn in 9 minutes, mild burn in 3 min)
  • 135-140 degrees Farenheit is American Society of Sanitary Engineering reccomended set temperature (to destroy bacteria such as Legionella)
  • 140 degrees Farenheit is rumored to be the default set temperature for most water heater manufacturers

Typical storage tank water heaters work as follows - 1) Tank of cold water is heated to set temperature, 2) when tank temperature drops below set temperature (from scalding to merely hot), the water in the tank is reheated. For all reasonable set temperatures (140F-120F), the water heater kicks on well before temperature drops below 116 degrees Farenheit - adding heat to the allready painfully hot water.

Pedanticaly, the reason to prefer "water heater" to "hot water heater" is that "water heater" more clearly (and more efficiently) indicates that the water heater also heats water that is not hot.

Alternately, one could just accept the coloquialism...
Then maybe it should be called a hot water reheater. Just kidding. My apologies for being pedantic.

Admiral
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Admiral » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:32 am

Nicolas wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:30 am
hand wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:25 am
Nicolas wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:53 pm
If it fails order a replacement and heat water on the stove for sponge baths and wash your clothes in cold water until it's installed, or just wear different clothes. Sounds rough but you will survive.

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".
If you are going to be pedantic, at least get it right...

Of course water heaters heat hot water - the point at issue is whether it is helpfull to qualify that they heat hot water when they also (and more importantly) heat other temperatures of water.

Some points of reference:
  • 116 degrees Farenheit is the approximate pain threshold - "hot" by any reasonable standard
  • 120 degrees Farenheit is the (US) Department of Energy reccomended set temperature (can cause a permanant burn in 9 minutes, mild burn in 3 min)
  • 135-140 degrees Farenheit is American Society of Sanitary Engineering reccomended set temperature (to destroy bacteria such as Legionella)
  • 140 degrees Farenheit is rumored to be the default set temperature for most water heater manufacturers

Typical storage tank water heaters work as follows - 1) Tank of cold water is heated to set temperature, 2) when tank temperature drops below set temperature (from scalding to merely hot), the water in the tank is reheated. For all reasonable set temperatures (140F-120F), the water heater kicks on well before temperature drops below 116 degrees Farenheit - adding heat to the allready painfully hot water.

Pedanticaly, the reason to prefer "water heater" to "hot water heater" is that "water heater" more clearly (and more efficiently) indicates that the water heater also heats water that is not hot.

Alternately, one could just accept the coloquialism...
Then maybe it should be called a hot water reheater. Just kidding. My apologies for being pedantic.
:oops: Only on Bogleheads...

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BoglePaul
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by BoglePaul » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:39 am

Admiral wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:40 am
Mine is 13 years old, though it's one of those "lifetime" (riiight) Phase II water heaters with a plastic or PVC type exterior (the inside is still metal) that supposedly keeps it from bursting.

What I've done is placed one of those $5 leak detectors on the floor next to it--on the hope/assumption that it will leak first and not fail catastrophically. Thus, I will buy some time to get it replaced when it starts to leak.
Those simple $5 leak detectors should sell for $50k because they are worth it. Had at least two colleagues detects leaks with them (one from the humidifier tap line and one from heavy rain). Go to home depot right away (maybe amazon?) and get one.

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BoglePaul
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by BoglePaul » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:42 am

Consider replacing the anode rod to extend the life of the water heater.

dsmclone
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by dsmclone » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:44 am

BoglePaul wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:39 am
Admiral wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:40 am
Mine is 13 years old, though it's one of those "lifetime" (riiight) Phase II water heaters with a plastic or PVC type exterior (the inside is still metal) that supposedly keeps it from bursting.

What I've done is placed one of those $5 leak detectors on the floor next to it--on the hope/assumption that it will leak first and not fail catastrophically. Thus, I will buy some time to get it replaced when it starts to leak.
Those simple $5 leak detectors should sell for $50k because they are worth it. Had at least two colleagues detects leaks with them (one from the humidifier tap line and one from heavy rain). Go to home depot right away (maybe amazon?) and get one.
Leak detectors are great if they can actually shut off the water.

neilpilot
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by neilpilot » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:46 am

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 This isn't good; i.e. your anode(s) protecting the tank from corrosion is likely gone
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? the water will continue to run until you close the supply valve I'm not worried about the 40 gallons, I'm worried about what comes after.
see comments above

iamlucky13
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:57 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:42 pm
sport wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:30 pm
If you change the anode in the tank every 5 years, or so, you will increase its life substantially.
+1

If others of about the same age are failing near you, now is the time to change the anode. Less than $50, less than an hour of time.
If others are failing, and the anode has not previously been changed, I would expect it is too late for changing it now to make much difference. The original anode material was probably entirely consumed several years ago, so corrosion has probably been working on the tank walls since then.

It can be tried, but if the water heater is in a location where there is any risk of water damage if there is a major leak, I would advise just replacing the entire tank now. You're talking about maybe $50 per year worth of life cycle value from continued use, but could be risking thousands of dollars in damage. Usually it starts with a pinhole leak, but it is possible for a larger hole to form suddenly.

If it's in a garage or unfinished basement or in a leak pan that is plumbed to the outside or a drain, on the other hand, the consequences of waiting until a failure should be much lower.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:01 am

If others' water heaters are failing then go ahead and replace yours. They're likely not going to last much longer anyway. Not only will it save you inconvenience but but it could possibly save you damage depending on how and where yours are installed.

Edit: I see you beat me to it iamlucky13......so +1 on what iamlucky said. :happy
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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dm200
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:05 am

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:01 am
If others' water heaters are failing then go ahead and replace yours. They're likely not going to last much longer anyway. Not only will it save you inconvenience but but it could possibly save you damage depending on how and where yours are installed.

Edit: I see you beat me to it iamlucky13......so +1 on what iamlucky said. :happy
yes - and, perhaps, a new one could be more energy efficient as well.

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DanMahowny
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by DanMahowny » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:10 am

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 :)
Exactly. Both of you are correct. Well done.
Funding secured

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pennstater2005
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by pennstater2005 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:13 am

This was a good reminder to drain my tank and check the anode. Thanks!
“If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson

Admiral
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by Admiral » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:31 am

dsmclone wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:44 am
BoglePaul wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:39 am
Admiral wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:40 am
Mine is 13 years old, though it's one of those "lifetime" (riiight) Phase II water heaters with a plastic or PVC type exterior (the inside is still metal) that supposedly keeps it from bursting.

What I've done is placed one of those $5 leak detectors on the floor next to it--on the hope/assumption that it will leak first and not fail catastrophically. Thus, I will buy some time to get it replaced when it starts to leak.
Those simple $5 leak detectors should sell for $50k because they are worth it. Had at least two colleagues detects leaks with them (one from the humidifier tap line and one from heavy rain). Go to home depot right away (maybe amazon?) and get one.
Leak detectors are great if they can actually shut off the water.
The purpose is to detect leaks, not stop them. Obvi a catastrophic failure is a problem under most conditions, with or without detection. Our leak detectors run on a 9 volt battery and sound like a house alarm going off and I have no doubt that should one function as designed, AND I was not home, a neighbor would alert me. They do have ones that have Wifi connectivity as well.

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dratkinson
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Location: Centennial CO

Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by dratkinson » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:05 pm

Replace your WH now if it worries you. If long outside of its warranty period, it may be too late to try to extend its life by replacing anode now*.

* Tried to have my anode replaced when I bought house. Plumber wanted to know age of WH (manufacture date on metal tag) and its warranty period (model lookup). Wouldn't touch it when learned it was long outside of warranty period and we both assumed anode had not been replaced.



Buy a new WH that has (1) only one anode and in a third port, (2a) a ball valve drain valve, and (2b) a dip tube that swirls entering water at the bottom of the tank. Why? Cheaper to buy. (1) Easier/cheaper to replace anode. (2) Does a better job when flushing tank sediment.

Read your WH owners manual.
--Replace anode* when warranty period ends. Then every 5yrs after that**.
--Drain sediment annually when you service your furnace for fall startup.
--Ignore manual and don't touch the TPR (temperature pressure relief) valve. More likely to start leaking, so will need replacing. (If you need to break tank vacuum, open a HW faucet, instead.)

* A 6yr WH has one anode (under a water port, or in a third port), a 10yr WH has two anodes (one under a water port, and one in a third port). Assuming you hire the work done: An anode under a water port is more difficult/expensive to change (~$400) vs changing an anode in a third port (~$200). So the cheapest WH to buy/maintain has only one anode, and in a third port. Magnesium anode preferred over aluminum.

** If you do this job yourself, have heard it recommended that anode be installed with pipe dope, not Teflon tape. Why? Teflon tape is an insulator and anode works best with good electrical connection to tank.

See: http://www.google.com/search?q=water+he ... eflon+tape



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.



Whole house automatic water shutoff valve. They make devices that will shut off house water if a leak is detected. Couple that with a water alarm and you may come home to find the water alarm sounding, WH has emptied contents onto floor, but the house water is off. (Recall some automatic valves have a built-in alarm.)

See: http://www.google.com/search?q=whole+ho ... +off+valve
Last edited by dratkinson on Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
d.r.a, not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

mak1277
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by mak1277 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:21 pm

I see no reason to keep a backup. Mine failed and I drove to Home Depot, bought a new one, rented a truck from HD to get it home, installed it and returned the truck all within about 2 hours.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:29 pm

Whoever heard of a "backup hot water heater"? Nobody does that.

open_circuit
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by open_circuit » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:04 pm

Replace it today if you're worried it will fail soon. An ounce of maintenance...

moehoward
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Re: Keep a backup hot water heater?

Post by moehoward » 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.

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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 1:46 pm

open_circuit wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:04 pm
Replace it today if you're worried it will fail soon. An ounce of maintenance...
This.

On the next heater:
- Drain annually to get the white sand/sludge out
- Replace the anode if possible (you can keep the heater running for a very long time this way, anode = $50)

If you can't replace the anode, budget for replacing the heater soon after the warranty runs out.

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