Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ah the fun of maintenance.

We have been in this house for about 1 year and I am slowly makning my way through a very large TO DO list. (It was a fixer upper and former rental)

Yesterday's mission - test the pressure relief valve on the natural gas water heater. It opened right up, spewed out the expected water, closed...and then dripped. :rolleyes: Turned it on again a couple times and got the drip to reduce significantly but not cease.

The water loss is not so bad, probably would take all day to fill a spray paint can lid, but pressing on the valve, banging on it gently a little with the back of my Buck 112, and glaring at it failed to stop the drip.

Of course the joints to this thing are soldered in place, and I do not feel comfortable doing that sort of work yet, so I'm thinking I may as well have the water heater given a general service, replace the annode rod and get the valve fixed. Cost - Oh about 150 bucks if I have it done by a local plumber.

So I look the serial number up on Rheem's website and find out the thing was manufactured in 1991... I question (because of age) if the water heater is nearing the end of its life anyhow... I drained a couple gallons from the bottom of it and saw litle sediment but once in a while I do hear slight popping noises...

Anyhow, decided to call up a few local plumbers. The prices varried wildly from about 550 to 695 dollars installed.

The only Water HEaters I am familiar with are Rheem as my family had those over the years.

One of the companies was going to install a "Bradford & White"
The next company was talking about "AO Smith"
And another was going to instal one made by "State"

I like to buy QUALITY goods that will last, but I DO NOT like to overspend. I'm interested in feedback here on 2 fronts.

1) The water heater is working fine except for not providing quite as much hot water as I'd like in the morning after its been inactive for 10 hours. Should I consider just doing maintenence on it or will this be throwing good money into something that is likely not to last much longer?

2) Of the brands listed above is there anyhting I'd like to know? Poor reputation, or particularly good reputation? Do you guys have any particular favorite brands that are known for being long lasting and decently priced?

3) Any other wisdom would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Charles
 

·
Commercial construction
Joined
·
627 Posts
MUCH more important than the price of the HWT is the efficiency. You will spend a lot more on energy than you will on the tank.

1991?... BYE! 10-14 years is pretty good for most tanks.

I've had good luck with A.O. Smith. I've installed hundreds of them, and I've never had a callback on one of them yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,471 Posts
I have a Rheem Standard dated 12/80, still working fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Guys, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.
Still ambivalent about what I am going to do.. the drip is so very slow and I really dont want to buy a new heater at this time. Since the outlet pipe is not normaly under pressure I may just decide to put in a new TP valve myself and wait for the water heater to die a natural death.

In any case, again thanks.
Charles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,407 Posts
If you dont feel comfortable soldering, drain water heater and cut off presure valve and unscrew it from tank top. Get appropriote fittings and thread it back together. Pretty easy/quik fix/cheap fix.

We just delt with this yesterday, finished bathremodel and never touched water heater. Just so happened it started leaking small amount of water ouot the discharge tube. Replaced pressure valve and called it a day. Tried the hammer tapping many times and it would just not seal, seems everything unrelated in a house always goes bad when your on site remodeling and it's always "our fault" stuff happens....like that relief valve :eek:
 

·
Commercial construction
Joined
·
627 Posts
Just a note:

I have seen T & P valves that were sealed shut from years of dripping hard water. This is a VERY dangerous situation. If your thermostat malfunctions (don't forget we're talking about an old tank), and your water temp goes over the boiling point you can have a disaster. Any breach of the tank at this point will cause spontaneous evaporation and a large explosion. I saw a video of a tank experiment that was set up like this. The tank went through the floor, ceiling, and roof, and landed in the neighbor's yard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I have seen T & P valves that were sealed shut from years of dripping hard water. This is a VERY dangerous situation. If your thermostat malfunctions (don't forget we're talking about an old tank), and your water temp goes over the boiling point you can have a disaster.
Ya know, just as I was begining to cosmically harmonize, accept without judgement, and indeed to love and tenderly accept my retarded pet water heater valve (now making a tiny drip once every 20 min or less) you had to go and say this didn't you?

Still, I am sure you are right...

I am also being a real candy @$$ about this soldering thing... I'ts on a pipe that will see use 2 times a YEAR at the most (unless there is a disaster), there is a LOT of ventilation, I wont be screwing with the gas line, and sweating a stupid pipe really shouln't be THAT hard... especially if I buy a few fittings and play around with it on my workbench before hand just to make sure I can do it.

Combined with what IHI said "Get appropriote fittings and thread it back together. Pretty easy/quik fix/cheap fix." I think that I can muster this without too much agony.

Hell, I've taught myself so many other things this last year - why am I pussing out over this?

I still am gonna keep my hands the hell off of gas, inside the wall plumbing, and most electrical though...

Thanks guys.
Charles
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,407 Posts
Even sweating joints is'nt all that bad. I'm not a plumber and dont claim or care to be, but in a pinch I'll take care of the problem. I've used the compression fittings in some cases and solder in others, so long as you clean fittings real good, use flux, dont overheat the pipe/fitting and use the correct solder it's pretty easy and yes, you'll kick yourself in the butt for not trying it before:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,471 Posts
You may want to do a few practice runs on the workbench, it will cost you a couple of bucks and make you more confident when doing it in the real world.
I use Mapp gas, it's faster and limits heat flow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,471 Posts
When working next to a valve, propane is so cold that by the time the sweat is made the seals in the valve are compromised if not destroyed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Water heaters

CGofMP said:
Ah the fun of maintenance.

We have been in this house for about 1 year and I am slowly makning my way through a very large TO DO list. (It was a fixer upper and former rental)

Yesterday's mission - test the pressure relief valve on the natural gas water heater. It opened right up, spewed out the expected water, closed...and then dripped. :rolleyes: Turned it on again a couple times and got the drip to reduce significantly but not cease.

The water loss is not so bad, probably would take all day to fill a spray paint can lid, but pressing on the valve, banging on it gently a little with the back of my Buck 112, and glaring at it failed to stop the drip.

Of course the joints to this thing are soldered in place, and I do not feel comfortable doing that sort of work yet, so I'm thinking I may as well have the water heater given a general service, replace the annode rod and get the valve fixed. Cost - Oh about 150 bucks if I have it done by a local plumber.

So I look the serial number up on Rheem's website and find out the thing was manufactured in 1991... I question (because of age) if the water heater is nearing the end of its life anyhow... I drained a couple gallons from the bottom of it and saw litle sediment but once in a while I do hear slight popping noises...

Anyhow, decided to call up a few local plumbers. The prices varried wildly from about 550 to 695 dollars installed.

The only Water HEaters I am familiar with are Rheem as my family had those over the years.

One of the companies was going to install a "Bradford & White"
The next company was talking about "AO Smith"
And another was going to instal one made by "State"

I like to buy QUALITY goods that will last, but I DO NOT like to overspend. I'm interested in feedback here on 2 fronts.

1) The water heater is working fine except for not providing quite as much hot water as I'd like in the morning after its been inactive for 10 hours. Should I consider just doing maintenence on it or will this be throwing good money into something that is likely not to last much longer?

2) Of the brands listed above is there anyhting I'd like to know? Poor reputation, or particularly good reputation? Do you guys have any particular favorite brands that are known for being long lasting and decently priced?

3) Any other wisdom would be appreciated.

Thanks!
Charles
I find that A.O.Smith is about the best out there,I've installed many of them haven't had a problem yet with any of them, once a year run maintance on it you'll be fine. You said you heard a popping sound!! Dont take any chances that T&P valve maybe bad, also the thermostat. They have been known to blow up!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,079 Posts
CGofMP said:
Thanks Teetor - I concur.
Thats what I meant by playing with it on my workbench.

Have never played with mapp - just propane and butane for making glass animals years ago....

Will look into that.

It isn't bad. Just remember this basic rule of thumb...heat draws solder. So, heat the fitting and it will suck the solder into it. Don't go over board with the solder either. My friend is a plumber and he always tells me how he can tell homeowner solder job because there is sooo much solder in the joint.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,471 Posts
I'll see if I can post some pics tomorrow.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top