Skip to comments.Water heater replacement day!
Posted on 06/19/2013 4:27:16 AM PDT by djf
OK, my current water heater (mfg date 9545, YYWW) gave up the ghost and today it gets replaced.
It is a 50 gallon 240V electric model. I am pretty much convinced on a GE 40 or 50 gal 240V model, the 40 gal is making more sense since I live alone now.
Some of the sites talking water heater recommend a round drip pan underneath. I never heard of such a thing, anybody know about it?
I already have the complete set of Sharkbite fittings I will need.
Hints? Tips? Theories? Prayers? Thanks in advance!
The drip pan helps you to see that your water heater is failing before it floods your house. I would recommend a drip pan.
1) unbolt old water heater
2) bolt in new water heater
it doesn’t get much easier than that
If your water heater needs a drip pan then there is something wrong- if it is in the basement, I would not worry- if it is on a hardwood floor- than OK why not
It is the pressure relief valve and pipe that is usually the biggest drip concern
Codes some places *require* that drip pan nowadays. It’s just a round pan, a little bigger than the heater diameter, with sides a couple or three inches high. Metal or plastic. You can get ‘em at Home Depot.
I don’t have one on my water heater and it’s about as old as yours. I’d probably put it in if I redid mine — if the thing leaks the pan will catch it and save you damage.
The sharkbite stuff is good. Save you a lot of time.
Turn off the breaker and the water before you disconnect it. :-) j/k I’m sure you know that.
Drip pans are handy, I put my water heater up on cement blocks to assist in rust prevention from below as the Concrete pad sometimes “sweats” due to the high water level in the ground here.
Also I use a solar assisted model with an 80 gal tank. The more water that is heated by solar during the day the less electricity is used during the evening. I highly recommend solar assist for the Hot water heater no matter what your climate is.
Sounds like it would be wise if you familiarized yourself with the latest building codes in your area before proceeding.
Sharkbites are generally considered as ‘temporary’. I’d recommend good old fashioned soldered joints, which we know have consistently stood the test of time.
step one, drain water heater...
The point about the drip pan is it is sort of an easy warning system more than a preventative.
I knew my water heater is old, so have been checking it regularly, it is sitting on a hardwood floor, not a basement. I would say it could not have been leaking for more than 2 days before I saw it.
So if I get a pan, it’s almost like the next thing to add would be an audible alarm if a leak starts.
The GE I’m thinking about has 6 yrs warranty, the one going out the door had only a 5 year, but lasted for about 17 years. Can’t say I’m disappointed with that!
That’s why I sorta splurged on the Sharkbite fittings. I’m done messing with hose clamps!
I’ve heard in the past about just weird stuff happening when electrical items were placed on concrete.
Who knows. Might be something to it.
I believe water heater warranties these days are only honored if installed by a licensed plumber . . .
A cheap, high-decibel water leak alarm placed near the hot water heater would be a good investment. Costs around 20 bucks. Also, I learned the hard way that it’s a good idea to replace the heater around the time that the warranty expires, even though there are no signs of failure.
Can’t solder PEX.
The last one I installed had a 5 year on it, but lasted 17 years.
Must have just been luck, eh?
Perhaps an aside. If you are connected to a municipal water supply, there is probably a check valve at the connection to prevent Mohammad from back pumping poison into the water supply. So you get your new water heater, fill it with cold water and heat it up. Water expands, water pressure goes up because there is no where for water to expand to.
In this scenario, you need to install a small pressure tank with an air bladder in the supply line to absorb this pressure. Absent the bladder, you will have premature failure of the seals in your water heater.
Just went through water heater replacement. Went with a tankless and love it.
My comment is that it is wise to not install a large capacity water heater if you live alone. The cost of heating water is the second largest cost of electricity.
You get a tax credit on energy efficient improvements... and the water heater is included.
My only advice is to prepare for the old one to leak somewhat when it's being carted out, even after it's drained. I found out the hard way that sometimes all the water doesn't come out! At least not when they drain it. But it can leak out while being carted through the house to get it outside. Wrap the drain spigot near the bottom of the tank in plastic or something absorbent to keep discolored water from staining carpet. Or in my case, to keep it from making the stairs all wet. I had a NASTY fall last year after they carted out the old unit and I didn't realize how wet it had gotten the steps. Take it from a klutz, an ounce of prevention might save you months of pain ;)
On my water heater I have five attachment points that have to line up the chimney, the gas line (black iron pipe), inlet, outlet and pressure relief all 3/4 copper pipe. The most recent replacement I could line up the gas, the chimney, and the relief, but I had to use the two 45 deg coupling trick on the inlet and the oulet to get them lined up.
That’s what I’m thinking. Doing everything I can do now BEFORE installation, all the things I would think if it failed, “Damn! I wish I did that when I put it in...”
yeah a drip pan won’t hurt and it can be very useful
I just could not understand the major importance of the question - is jut not that big a deal, UNLESS you are on a hardwood floor, then I put many layers of drip pans under everything- espeically all my house plants
you want a drip pan- put a drip pan! by all means
No matter where you live spend the extra $10 and put an earthquake bracket on it.
Sharkbite makes a steel lined 24 in 3/4 flex hose that goes from a nipple to copper or pex.
It’s a bit pricey, but way better than messing with all the aggravation of trying to get things all lined up!
LOL! I know!
You got it down to a science.
No hot water... no food... no clothing...
Just the necessities!
Remember to replace the tank anode every year, new ones are about twenty bucks or so.
Avoid Rennai at all costs, if the experiences of our two sets of pals are any guide. Waaay over-rated, and waaay underperforming.
Years ago we had to replace a water heater that had lasted for 22 years. The installation guys laughed and assured us the new one would not be lasting anywhere near that long. (sigh)
Code or not, definitely get the drip pan. Depending on the water quality where you live, I’ve seen quite a few start leaking just after the warranty expires, but then again the areas I work have terrible water (minerals, hardness, etc.). Warranty claims for a self-install usually involve the homeowner removing and returning the tank to the store.
Up to you to have the code official sign off on the install, I didn’t for my own, but at work we are required to pull the permit.
Don’t think you mentioned pex, just tryin’ to help.
As far as how long it may last, I’m not saying you’re not capable of installing it, I’m just saying they may not honor any warranty if you do.
Sometimes the biggest problem is draining the water from the tank. My old heater had about a two gallon bucket of mineral scale in the bottom and I had a job of work getting the thing to drain.
I had replaced the lower heating element a couple of years before and extended it’s life a bit but I don’t really recommend doing that since the heater is failing otherwise too.
So go for it! What can happen? Electrocution? Flooding your entire house? Tens of thousands of dollars in damage? A hernia from trying to move a half full tank?
Got rid of standard water heater for a tankless years ago....one of smartest decisions I’ve ever made....endless hot water and I only heat it when I use it!!!
Really look at a tankless. Especially with an electric, since electric HWH is much less efficient than a gas one. Should save you big bucks, and you should be able to install it yourself. The Big Box improvement stores carry them.
Tips? If you're not confident sweating pipes, buy some extra copper fittings and practice. Proper cleaning and heating of both parts is the majority of that. Oh, and don't burn your house down if the pipes are close to wood. You can probably pick up a small scrap of concrete board at a lumber yard to use as a heat shield. Good luck!
You’re so right. When I cut the old tank open for a flower planter the anode was completely gone and probably had been since I moved into the house.
For most people if hot water comes out, that’s enough.
the cold water tripped the gas heat on and result was the house filled with steam....and water condensation everywhere.....took a week with air blowers on to get everything dry.
Lowes carries a water heater timer made by intermatic - cost is about $50. I installed one, it runs from 5am to 9am and again from 4pm to 9pm. I don’t need to have hot-hot water available 24/7 so I don’t pay for it. The weekend settings are different from the weekday settings.
I agree about going tankless it has been over ten years since we went that route and the wife and I love it. However I’m not sure it is something the OP could DIY.
But that includes a woman, right?
In Ohio here. I rent an electric heater from AEP, pay 18.00 p/month. I have nothing to do with the heater. They hook it up, free repairs when needed. When the heater needed replaced they did it all. Hauling in, hauling out. 105 gallons of hot water. Don’t need that now, but it sure came in handy when we did. If I had to do it over, I would do the same thing. Great deal for me. Good luck
In the past I’ve had trouble getting a good seal sweating copper— most of the time I was using butane. Lately I use MAP gas, but— would you recommend oxygen with it?
Another thing— some of the new solders are more difficult to use— they don’t seem to flow as readily.
If you’ve got any tips, I’m all ears.
Thanks. This is a great thread.