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Old 05-06-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
crashbumper
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Default Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Hi guys,
The water heater (electric) in my house just went out. Less than two years old! I am typing this from my parents house, where we are using the hot water. I will get more info shortly, but I wanted to know if anyone has some recommended brands or tips before I go buy a new one (probably tomorrow)

I'm not sure of the current brand, although given it's performance I am betting there is a Pittsburgh, Central Pneumatic, U.S. General sticker on it somewhere.

I am most interested in an efficient unit, without converting to something different like a tankless/on-demand system.

2 bathrooms/showers
2 adults, 1 toddler.

Thanks for any help guys!
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:27 PM   #2
rickairmedic
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Crash my first suggestion would be a pricey one and thats a tankless . After that I would suggest anything from a plumbing supply house not Homie Desperate or Lowes . The water heaters at box stores are not of the same quality as the ones sold at supply houses .


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Old 05-06-2009, 11:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickairmedic View Post
Crash my first suggestion would be a pricey one and thats a tankless . After that I would suggest anything from a plumbing supply house not Homie Desperate or Lowes . The water heaters at box stores are not of the same quality as the ones sold at supply houses .
You're recommending a whole house tankless water heater? I hope he realizes he'll most likely need to upgrade his service to handle it!$$$

Quote:
Originally Posted by crashbumper View Post
Hi guys,
The water heater (electric) in my house just went out. Less than two years old! I am typing this from my parents house, where we are using the hot water.
What does that mean? I hope you're not replacing an entire water heater just because the elements/thermostats quit working. They sell those parts at Ace...

Last edited by Aceman; 05-06-2009 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Well, I am not sure what happened. No noises, no tripped breakers, power still getting to unit. My dad is going to get more into it tomorrow to see if it is something easy; but having it go out this soon is a little bit strange. This is a unit in the house, in an air conditioned laundry room sitting on a tile floor.

I was considering just getting a better heater as I don't have a good feeling about this unit anymore.

Tankless is not an option now, cost and timing are too much. My toddler needs some hot water for baths, but luckily the grandparents are down the street.

Unit is an EverKleer (Rheem) #PE2-40-2. Manufacture date is 11/2006
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

As ace pointed, it likely a dead thermostat or heating element. - $20-40 dollar parts. I don't know how hard your water is in AZ but in many cases (especially if you don't flush your water heater 1x - 2x a year), hard water combined with sediment will ruin the heating element or cover the thermostat probe (thereby killing the element) within the time period you mentioned. Besides, with a 2.5 year old unit, you may still have some time on warranty.
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Water heaters have a typical service life of 7-10 years. Typical failure cause is leakage, not failure to heat. Suggest that you check the thermostat and element(s), plus any "energy saving" devices that may have been installed.

Hard water can cause sediment build up that will prevent heat transfer. Recommended maintenance includes annual drain down of a couple cups of water to drain sediment from bottom of tank, and checking the anode - especially if you have a lot of minerals in the water.

State Mfg. is my favorite residential water heater, though Rudd, Rheem and A.O.Smith seem to be equally good products.

Until you have an unrepairable leak in the tank (and most leaks are unrepairable), repair is the cost effective way to go providing that the heat output of the heater is sufficient.

Just out of curiousity, I am guessing that you have a 52 gal. storage tank and 4500 watt element. Is that correct?

As always, offered only as opinion
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

I would concur with previous posts that unless your current water heater is leaking, repairing it is far more expediant than replacing it. It is even possible that the over-temperature cutout has tripped (not supposed to trip until 180F)--there is typically a red reset button above the upper element (inside the access cover.) Make sure to turn off power before removing any access covers!

With very hard water, it is possible for the elements to go bad in two years. If you are getting no hot water, then both elements may need to be replaced. In fact, if you were unhappy with the performance before, it is possible the bottom element was bad all along and now the top element (which was doing all the work and only heating the top 1/2 of the tank) has now gone out as well.

If for some reason you do need a new water heater, then I would agree with getting a quality brand from a professional plumbing supply store. I like Bradford White and A.O. Smith. These are well-built and well-insulated units. In fact, a new high quality electric tank heater with 2" of foam insullation has such low standby losses that there is little benefit as far as operating costs go in going to an electric tankless unit.

I currently have a 50 gallon Marathon electric water heater. The Marathon is unique in that it has a plastic tank surrounded by by 4" of foam insulation. It is like a giant plastic Thermos bottle... it will keep water warm for a week with the power turned off! Also comes with a lifetime warranty as there is nothing to rust out. The Marathons are expensive (around $850), but many utility companies have programs that will provide you a Marathon at significantly reduced cost.

Last edited by VHF; 05-07-2009 at 01:25 PM. Reason: added comment about previous performance
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

most likely the element... We have ton of point of use water heaters around our plant. I have only seen a stat go out a hand full of times, but it happens.
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Most of the water heaters that Lowes and HD sell come with a warranty. Check to see if yours is still covered. Also, it's easy to check the elements before removing them. 1st check for voltage at the element. If it's not present, could be the breaker or the t-stat. If you have voltage, turn off the breaker and remove the wires from the heating element. Ohm out the element. If it's open circuit or high resistance you've found the problem.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by redsky49 View Post
Hard water can cause sediment build up that will prevent heat transfer. Recommended maintenance includes annual drain down of a couple cups of water to drain sediment from bottom of tank, and checking the anode - especially if you have a lot of minerals in the water.
Most commercial and industrial businesses that I provide maintenance too get a monthly draining into a 5 gallon bucket and the water heaters seem to go on for ever ( 20 years is not uncommon even with 80 to 100 gallon tanks (some places have up to 4, 100 gallon tanks in series).

The most common problem with theses tanks is a simple replacement of the main gas valve (usually Honeywell: under 100 bucks).

I imagine that where gas is not allowed the draining of the sediment will help just the same. I was told by a company rep/ engineer that the metals in the water cause galvanic corrosion which the anode cannot neutralize or collect by itself-- thus the need for a monthly drain off.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:58 AM   #11
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

A great source for information & parts is http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/.

The main difference between a water heater with a 10 year warranty and a 5 year warranty is the former has *two* sacrificial anode rods dangling inside the water tank rather than one and of course it costs a bunch more. You can get the same benefit from buying a 5 year warranty tank & just replacing the sacrificial anode rod every few years -- that's what I do.

When the steel *tank* fails, it is because the *sacrificial anode* rode has already been sacrificed completely. The anode rode is typicallly made of aluminum or magnesium & decays inside the tank, thereby saving the steel of the tank from being eaten away. Once the anode rod is gone, then the steel tank will start to go.

I've installed straight ball-valve drains at the bottom, hook up a hose, and drain 5 gallons or so each month. You would be amazed at the amount of crud that comes out.
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Old 05-16-2009, 04:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaguar Fan View Post
A great source for information & parts is http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/.

The main difference between a water heater with a 10 year warranty and a 5 year warranty is the former has *two* sacrificial anode rods dangling inside the water tank rather than one and of course it costs a bunch more. You can get the same benefit from buying a 5 year warranty tank & just replacing the sacrificial anode rod every few years -- that's what I do.

When the steel *tank* fails, it is because the *sacrificial anode* rode has already been sacrificed completely. The anode rode is typicallly made of aluminum or magnesium & decays inside the tank, thereby saving the steel of the tank from being eaten away. Once the anode rod is gone, then the steel tank will start to go.
I can't say I agree.....

The following is from Consumers Reports..
Quote:
Look for a long warranty. Most cover 6, 9, or 12 years. Heaters with the lowest and highest warranties differ by just $60 to $80 for electric models and $50 to $100 for gas units. But we found much bigger differences inside.

Electric water heaters with 9- and 12-year warranties typically had larger heating elements, thicker insulation, and thicker or longer corrosion-fighting metal rods, referred to as anodes.

Most higher-warranty gas heaters had bigger burners and better heat transfer for faster water heating, along with more anode material and thicker insulation. An exception: Whirlpool’s 40-gallon gas heaters, whose 9- and 12-year models are identical inside.

Longer coverage is especially important considering that warranties typically cover only the heater, not the $200 to $300 you’ll pay a pro to install a new one. You’ll also welcome a longer warranty if you have hard water and use water softeners. These softeners can speed up the rate of anode corrosion. While anodes can be replaced if there’s enough clearance to remove them, you’ll need a plumber unless you’re handy.

Measure before you buy. Recent tougher federal energy standards require about 10 percent higher efficiency for gas water heaters and about 5 percent for electric models. But the insulation addded to meet those standards has made some heaters up to 4 inches fatter, a potential problem for closets and other tight spots.

Consider gas. Based on national average fuel costs, gas heaters cost roughly half as much to run as electric models and can pay for their higher up-front cost in as little as a year. Factor in the cost of running a gas line to your home if you don’t have one. Also consider adding insulation to hot-water pipes and the cold water pipe exiting the water heater.

You may have heard about tankless water heaters, which save energy by heating only the water you draw. Many factors will dictate the energy savings including how much and how often you use hot water. However, our recent tests of tankless water heaters show that while they are more energy-efficient than conventional water heaters, they are not necessarily more economical over the long run
So, assuming the 10 year model is only $100 more than the 5 year model.....my time is worth more than $100 to be swaping out a heater....not to mention the higher effeciency of the better model......

I've been doing research on the tankless....and what I concluded is that they are only worth the money if you are already using electric...but if you have gas...not worth the money.

But I do agree with the following....
Quote:
I've installed straight ball-valve drains at the bottom, hook up a hose, and drain 5 gallons or so each month. You would be amazed at the amount of crud that comes out.
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:35 PM   #13
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Hey Crash,

How did you end up resolving your water heater issue? Not still taking showers at your parents' house, I hope!
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Well, issued was semi-resolved. Called the company on Thursday morning/afternoon, and rep verified unit was under warranty. He stated the upper heating elements have been going bad, so he sent one out to replace it. Received it Friday morning (<24hrs!) but I was leaving town when fedex showed up.

Replaced it that Sunday (Mothers day) and it seemed to be ok; except that the length of time with hot water has decreased dramatically. Before, I could take a shower and have the dishwasher/washing machine running or have two showers going with no problem. The temperature is still fine, but the amount is far less.

Now, there is only enough hot water for a ten minute shower, and then an hour before there is enough for another ten minute shower!

I have a feeling the lower element is bad also, so I am going to call the company again tomorrow. We have hot water, but barely.
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

Running out of hot water way too early is the classic symptom of the lower element being burned out. The top element only heats the top 1/3 or so of the tank.

Normally, the bottom element does most of the work, heating cold water at the bottom of the tank (which rises as it is heated).

The top element's purpose is to provide quick recovery after using up all the hot water. By heating just the water at the top, it will reheat 15-20 gallons to give you *some* hot water ASAP as opposed to waiting an hour for the bottom element to reheat the whole tankful.

Replacing the bottom element is the same as the top, except you have to wait longer for the water to drain down to that level of the tank!
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

What did the original element that you removed look like?
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:20 AM   #17
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Default Re: Water heater replacement recommendations? (House, not garage)

If the bottom element is good...check the dip tube.
it may have broken off.

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