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Paul Alciatore
06-28-2011, 12:37 PM
I need a new water heater: gas type. Old one went 15 years but now leaks. I would appreciate any suggestions on brand and suggested warranty length.

The going rate for a standard install is about $250 to $300 so I am also considering installing it myself. Any suggestions on that would also be appreciated. I have already purchased an aluminum drip pan to place under it and some PVC pipe to drain that to the outside. But how hard can it be to connect two water pipes, a gas pipe, and an exhaust stack? Worst problem I see is drilling a hole for the drain hose and I found a carbide tiped drill for that.

JCHannum
06-28-2011, 01:14 PM
Worst case is that it will probably differ in height from the original heater. This will entail changing the length of the in & out piping and vent stack.

These are usually three trip jobs, being measured by the number of trips to the hardware or box store required to complete the project.

Cheeseking
06-28-2011, 01:32 PM
Worst case is that it will probably differ in height from the original heater. This will entail changing the length of the in & out piping and vent stack.

These are usually three trip jobs, being measured by the number of trips to the hardware or box store required to complete the project.

So true. :D

It is my understanding that what causes the tanks to leak is galvanic corrosion. A sacrificial anode rod in the tank protects against the effects but once the anode is consumed it starts on the tank and then come leaks. Some tanks are available that have replaceable anode rods where you can unscrew from the top and pop a new one in.

wierdscience
06-28-2011, 01:51 PM
If you can swing it Bosch tankless water heaters rock.

Arcane
06-28-2011, 01:54 PM
But how hard can it be to connect two water pipes, a gas pipe, and an exhaust stack? Worst problem I see is drilling a hole for the drain hose and I found a carbide tiped drill for that.
It's not hard at all but you have to remember, if it's a code requirement that all gas installs are to be done by a licensed installer where you live and if you ever have a house fire, chances are good that if your insurance company finds out you did the install yourself they will deny your claim. Just saying. :)

T.Hoffman
06-28-2011, 02:00 PM
Are you going to be needing dialectric plumbing unions for the incoming/outgoing water connections?

Does your current gas connection have a drip leg?

Rustybolt
06-28-2011, 02:53 PM
Paul, I don't know if you have iron water pipe or copper, but when I had to replace mine I sweated on some corrugated copper pigtails that screwed onto the hot water heater. I made it a lot easier to install the heater.
The black iron gas pipe only required a 4 inch extension. I think the height of the gas regulator from the floor is a standard.
I took longer to get the old one out of the basement than to hook up the new one. I had to cut it apart.

winchman
06-28-2011, 02:55 PM
I used flexible (corrugated) tubing with compression fittings to install my last WH. That made the job a LOT easier.

macona
06-28-2011, 03:33 PM
Also a good time to make sure the installation is up to spec. For a garage it should be 18" off the floor I believe and strapped.

Guido
06-28-2011, 03:37 PM
New code requiring new installations to be elevated 18 inches above the floor? Gas appliances of any kind, installed in a basement is a no-no??

--G

Evan
06-28-2011, 04:08 PM
Building codes are pretty similar aound North America. Here a homeowner can do any work they please as long as it passes inspection by the proper authority. I have done two complete natural gas installations as well as plenty of plumbing. For the gas installs I went to the inpector's office and talked to him before doing anyhting. I explained what I was going to do and asked him to tell me what he would pick on when inspecting. He was at first surprised at that question. I don't think anybody ever asked him that to his face before. Then he warmed up and began to tell me that he didn't think the code called for enough pipe hangers and he thought they should be spaced every 16 inches instead of every 32 or 48.

"Done" sez I to myself. Next he wanted 4 elbows on the gas meter instead of just three. "OK, add one dollar to the cost of the job" thinks I. Then he states that he likes to see a 24 hour leak down test of the installation instead of just an hour. "Cost=zero" I calculate.

When he came out to inspect a couple of months later he was pleased as punch as he saw all the things he likes to see and signed it off on the spot.

The next install I did at this house and he never bothered to inspect. He just signed it off at the office after I described exactly what I had done.

aboard_epsilon
06-28-2011, 04:22 PM
If you can swing it Bosch tankless water heaters rock.

if its a condensing one dont expect it to last 15 years ..you'll be lucky to hit 4 years before the fan packs up ..the rest will follow in short order .

all the best.markj

Paul Alciatore
06-28-2011, 05:03 PM
So true. :D

It is my understanding that what causes the tanks to leak is galvanic corrosion. A sacrificial anode rod in the tank protects against the effects but once the anode is consumed it starts on the tank and then come leaks. Some tanks are available that have replaceable anode rods where you can unscrew from the top and pop a new one in.

Thanks, I didn't know that.

Got any brand names?

Paul Alciatore
06-28-2011, 05:07 PM
It's not hard at all but you have to remember, if it's a code requirement that all gas installs are to be done by a licensed installer where you live and if you ever have a house fire, chances are good that if your insurance company finds out you did the install yourself they will deny your claim. Just saying. :)

How would they know? I'm not telling.

Paul Alciatore
06-28-2011, 05:10 PM
Are you going to be needing dialectric plumbing unions for the incoming/outgoing water connections?

Does your current gas connection have a drip leg?


Copper pipes in wall and to the heater. I expect I would read the directions to see what's needed.

Drip leg? It is a flexable tube and has at least two low points. I plan to replace it with a new one and will surely do a neater job of it. But it is an indoor heater so why would I need a drip loop? In case the tank leaks?

Evan
06-28-2011, 05:14 PM
I had to remove the anode on my new tank because our hard water was causing a nasty smell by corroding it at a very fast rate.

It it extremely difficult to unscrew that plug. I had major problems trying to prevent the entire tank from rotating. I ended up making a heavy duty socket on my mill and using a six foot cheater to get it undone. Nothing else even began to budge it, not even my air powered lug nut impact wrench.

sch
06-28-2011, 05:15 PM
If your old WH is copper pipe use a union (compression fit) to connect
the hot and cold pipes to the WH rather than a sweat fit. Unions come
in variety of lengths and slide up on one pipe far enough to align the
pipes and then slide down to make the connex. Also flex fittings to the
gas line are available to make that connex easy as well. My one and
only swap was on 1/1/05, fortunately Home Depot and Lowes are open
on New Years day and it was warm enough to allow a doorway fan to
help dry out the basement. Old heater was from 1978.
Google replacement anodes for water heaters for info about those.

Paul Alciatore
06-28-2011, 05:19 PM
New code requiring new installations to be elevated 18 inches above the floor? Gas appliances of any kind, installed in a basement is a no-no??

--G

What's this 18" thing? I mean what is the purpose? My heater is not exactly in the garage, but in a utility room that opens from the garage. It's a slab house and this room's floor is the same level as the other rooms in the house. The garage is 3 or 4 inches lower.

Sounds like I will be making a trip to the local inspector's office.

macona
06-28-2011, 05:47 PM
Gas fumes sink, whether they are gasoline or natural so to lessen the chance of them building up and being ignited by the heater the tank is elevated. Also in case someone spills something flammable like gasoline or paint thinner. You will see this with gas heaters installed in garages as well. They are raised.

Duffy
06-28-2011, 05:47 PM
Paul, my heater went, after about 15 years, on Dec 23. I found an installer but the problem was that HE could not get a tank as the wholesalers quit early on the 24th. I rushed out to Home Depot that evening and bought a GE gas heater. The choice was between a 9-year warranty and a 12-year, and the difference was over $100.00. He installed it the next morning. The boxes were identical except for the warranty printing. It turns out that these are manufactured by Rheem, who apparently make most of the tanks in North America.
As far as I can determine, the two tanks are IDENTICAL. GE agrees to warrant one line for an extra three years for an extra hundred bucks.
What that REALLY means, is that if, in say the seventh year, the tank fails, they will absorb 2/9 of the purchase price for a 9-year warranty, or 5/12 of the purchase price for the twelve-year warranty. Remember, YOU eat the removal/installation cost in EITHER case. For the extra hundred bucks, as far as they are concerned it is money for old rope! AND they will probably NEVER pay.
As far as all the good free advice on the board, only one thing really matters:-be sure that it is installed in conformance with the applicable gas code. If you are smart, you will instal nylon Insulbushings between the copper pipe and the steel tank. Most people dont, and the world STILL revolves, but there is a chance that the tank will last the warranty if you do.

aboard_epsilon
06-28-2011, 05:50 PM
natural gas is methane is it not ...this gathers in the roofs of mines .

propane sinks though

all the best.markj

JCHannum
06-28-2011, 06:18 PM
Take a good look at the existing installation and duplicate it. It is just a water heater after all. It helps to set the new heater in place to confirm dimensional requirements and to verify the needed pipe sizes as these vary.

The new water heater will come with basic instructions.

Cheeseking
06-28-2011, 07:02 PM
Paul, the drip leg is on the black iron gas line for catching debris and moisture. Should be vertical off a T prior to the gas valve.

Arcane
06-28-2011, 07:03 PM
How would they know? I'm not telling.
Just don't get to bragging in the coffee shop about how much money you saved doing it all yourself...you never know just might be listening! :D

Years ago, a friend was in the side business of doing concrete garage pads and he got called by a prospective customer to come over and give an estimate. He went and looked it over and proceeded to give the guy a dollar figure. The guy looked at it and asked how much if he paid in cash. My friend told him it would be exactly the same price because he always claimed whatever he was paid as income and paid income tax on it. The guy then informed him he was glad he did, because he worked for Revenue Canada...the Canadian equivalent of your IRS.

"Loose lips sink ships", eh? :)

Paul Alciatore
06-28-2011, 08:42 PM
Just don't get to bragging in the coffee shop about how much money you saved doing it all yourself...you never know just might be listening! :D

Years ago, a friend was in the side business of doing concrete garage pads and he got called by a prospective customer to come over and give an estimate. He went and looked it over and proceeded to give the guy a dollar figure. The guy looked at it and asked how much if he paid in cash. My friend told him it would be exactly the same price because he always claimed whatever he was paid as income and paid income tax on it. The guy then informed him he was glad he did, because he worked for Revenue Canada...the Canadian equivalent of your IRS.

"Loose lips sink ships", eh? :)

Nice story.

Can you say E N T R A P M E N T ?
Perhaps that is allowed under Canadian law.

I do not work for the IRS or the Revenue Canada or any other government agency. And I also always report all income and pay all due taxes. Always.

But I do have issues with insurance companies. Don't get me started. I spent two hours this morning trying to get an insurance problem straightened out. Still not sure about it.

Evan
06-28-2011, 08:55 PM
Methane is lighter than air.

Cheeseking
06-28-2011, 09:49 PM
I think with garages at the same level as living spaces on a slab gasoline fumes are the concern. At least around here almost always a 4-6" step up (gas curb) in garages. If you put a gas fired furnace/WH in or near a garage I can see the 18" requirement making sense but in a basement:confused: I dunno.

aostling
06-29-2011, 12:10 AM
My electric water heater rusted out last month. I called my landlord and got permission to get it replaced.

Are you sure you want to do this yourself? After the plumber removed the rusted tank he called in a specialist to rebuild the ruined platform. In about an hour the specialist did what it would take you a day to do. Then the plumber came back and finished the installation.

Here is the ruined platform, after the plumber removed the old tank. The damage was caused because there was no drip pan.

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/platform.jpg


Here's the lift. This plumber says gas heaters are much heavier.

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/thelift.jpg


Oh, the vise? My father bought that for me in the 1940s when I was eight, and I have kept it ever since.

The water heater is a Rheem, expensive but supposed to be a good one according to a friend who researched this.

gmatov
06-29-2011, 01:53 AM
Replaced my daughter's this past Saturday. 6 year GE from HD, 323, 6 year from Lowes is Whirlpool, 323.

Gas.You COPULD measure the height of the tankl to see which you should buy, BUT, GE measures, on the outside of the box, height from floor to top of tank.

Whirlpool measures to top of draft diverter. So, 3 inches different. Could make you think you should buy one or the other.

Biggest thing is getting the old one out. My kid never cleaned the scale out of the old one,and that plugs the drain valve. That means you have about 320 pounds of water IN that SOB to lug outside, plus the weight OF the tank, gas, about 115 pounds.

My S'inlaw and G'son hauled out the old one, with a decent dolly, put the new, empty one in place, and I connected it to the water circuit.

I don't like that they put galvanized nipples in their tanks, now. I plumbed her whole house with Swage-Lok fittings, years ago, and had to cut and solder to fit the new tank in, same as Evan saying he could not get the nipples out. Went home to get some cast unions to replace the Swage-Lok, and the goddam** thing were porous, leaked. Wound up soldering most of it in, BUT, still Swage-Lok on the main line to remove, if needed.

This tank, 6 year, probably lasted 7 or 8, but no more. They absolutely know how long their product will last.

Cheers,

George

DFMiller
06-29-2011, 02:06 AM
We are very pleased with our Tankless Rinnai.
We have had it for over 5 years.
Dave

Arcane
06-29-2011, 03:48 AM
Nice story.

Can you say E N T R A P M E N T ?
Perhaps that is allowed under Canadian law.

I do not work for the IRS or the Revenue Canada or any other government agency. And I also always report all income and pay all due taxes. Always.

But I do have issues with insurance companies. Don't get me started. I spent two hours this morning trying to get an insurance problem straightened out. Still not sure about it.
It's not a "story".

Have a nice day.

Boostinjdm
06-29-2011, 04:04 AM
Biggest thing is getting the old one out. My kid never cleaned the scale out of the old one,and that plugs the drain valve. That means you have about 320 pounds of water IN that SOB to lug outside, plus the weight OF the tank, gas, about 115 pounds.

That's what they make long drill bits and floor drains for.;)

gary350
06-29-2011, 07:50 AM
If you install it yourself you do not have to comply with codes but it is a very good idea that you do. If your house burns and the fire was caused by the hot water heater the insurance will not pay. If you want to sell your house the new buyer can not get a loan if it is not installed by code.

Hot water heaters are designed to self distruct in 5 years. The manufacture wants you to buy another one it keeps them in business. I own several rental houses it is making me MAD I have to install new hot water heaters about every 5 1/2 years. The manufacture has the self distruct rate down to a science.

Buy a pack of those 2 flexable lines to connect your hot water heater. The things seem expensive but considering they speed the job up and make it extremely easy to replace the hot water heater again 5 years from now it is worth it.

Black_Moons
06-29-2011, 07:57 AM
Just don't get to bragging in the coffee shop about how much money you saved doing it all yourself...you never know just might be listening! :D

Years ago, a friend was in the side business of doing concrete garage pads and he got called by a prospective customer to come over and give an estimate. He went and looked it over and proceeded to give the guy a dollar figure. The guy looked at it and asked how much if he paid in cash. My friend told him it would be exactly the same price because he always claimed whatever he was paid as income and paid income tax on it. The guy then informed him he was glad he did, because he worked for Revenue Canada...the Canadian equivalent of your IRS.

"Loose lips sink ships", eh? :)

I have gotten discounts for paying cash, but I don't allways attribute it to 'under the table' unreported income.

For one, Credit card companys often charge 2% iirc. So thats 2% they can pay you right there for paying cash. (American express IIRC charges 4%, Hence why they can give you 2% cashback. Also why so few places accept american express)

Second, some companys like getting SOME cash in as credit cards are being used so often, they can sometimes not even have cash for petty expenses like lunchs for the staff, or office supplys, etc. As well as paying any workers who happen to be short and in need of money a few days early.

Personaly, I like paying in cash. Theres no chance of them stealing my 'cash' details and emptying out my wallet. Or having there 'cash reader' altered by theifs. it works when the powers out, when the computers are down, and when the phone lines are having a fit. Never affected by nearby magnets, Never magicly disappeared without me knowing... And never taken without my consent by the goverment (Allready had my bank account cleaned out once without so much as a "Thank you for the money" letter form the goverment, just some crypic lock code on my account that told the bank clerk not to touch the acount)

I did once get offered $50 off to pay in cash and not get a recite however, that was a little weird. I did accept however.... (Was on a $1000 bill mind you)

Paul Alciatore
06-29-2011, 02:58 PM
The Sears repair person was out this morning and guess what? When he turned the water back on, the stupid thing did not leak. He relit it and waited. Still no leaks. It has been going for at least four hours now with no leaks.

?????

Here's a summary of the facts.

Several days into a vacation trip it started leaking bad enough to run out of the utility room, about 20 feet across the garage, and down the driveway. Not a flood, but a good leak.

The water was shut off at the street and after a day my son-in-law checked it inside and found no water. It was completely dried up. I was surprised that it was completely dry. For safety he turned the gas off at the heater.

About 10 to 14 days later, I returned home and turned the water back on. It leaked within a minute or two at a slow rate. It seemed to be comming from both the safety release valve pipe and from the bottom. I turned the water off at the cold water line to the heater. The leaks stopped in 5 - 10 minutes. Again, I was surprised at how fast it stopped. The tank could not have completely emptied and I incorrectly assumed it was almost empty.

This morning the repair man opened the water valve and no leaks. Also no sounds of the tank filling. We waited. No leaks. He relit it. Waited. No leaks. We opened a hot water faucet and instantly got water. No air or gas. And it ran continously with no air coming out. The tank had been full all along.

Can anybody explain this? I am afraid it may leak again at any time. But I would feel a lot better if I could understand what happened. And have a better idea of what to do. Keep it? Replace it? What?

I definitely plan to install a drip pan under it.

macona
06-29-2011, 07:27 PM
When was the last time the T&P valve was replaced?

Paul Alciatore
06-30-2011, 12:34 AM
When was the last time the T&P valve was replaced?

Never. I did not mention it above, but it does leak a few drops in a minute. The tech said it should be replaced if I keep the heater, but he didn't recommend doing so until I decide on that. The leak I observed several days ago was apparently from two places, a drop by drop leak from this valve and a much faster one from the bottom of the heater. They were not apparently from the same source.

lakeside53
06-30-2011, 01:05 AM
Your T&P can leak even if it's in good shape. Most water meters have a soft-seat check valve. When your water heats up it expands. If you don't have an expansion tank it has few places to go, and often that's via the T&P valve. This continous cycling can mess up the valve.



Buy the best tank you can. I buy GE 12 year warranty tanks and expect to exceed that... I got 18 on my last one.

Joel
06-30-2011, 06:34 AM
Replace it now, while you can do so at your convenience. The little particles of crud jammed themselves in the formerly leaking pit(s), most likely. When you had everything shut off, life was easier for the appliance - no pressure and no heat. It WILL leak again very soon and 15 years is about as much longevity as you get these days out of a standard water heater anyway. Putting it off will only ensure a bigger hassle for you at an inconvenient time.

It is an easy job to do yourself and I have replaced many without any drama. The easiest way without having to sweat the pipes is to be sure to get a replacement cold water heater close to the same height, measure for and get the right length of corrugated copper connector pipes (don't bend them until everything else is in place and only bend them once - they don't tolerate repeated bending very well), use compression fittings on clean pipe (install carefully and don't over-tighten them). Replace the inlet valve too, as they are a leak waiting to spoil an otherwise good day. I use a quality ball valve and haven't had one leak since.