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HW Heaters w/Glass Lining


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I came across a HW Heater yesterday that was 25+ yrs old. The pipes had heavy corrosion/oxidation. I recommended that it be replaced. The listing agent had a plumber come out and do an inspection. He determined that the HW Heater had a glass lining and it didn't need to be replaced.

What is the life expectancy of a Glass Lined Hot Water Heater?

Kevin Richardson

Richardson Home Inspection, LLC

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Anywhere from 8 to 30 years; there is no (apparent) standard lifespan. My own just failed after 10 years & 2 months.

Of course the listing agents plumber said that it didn't need to be replaced; plumbers always say stuff like that. If you called him after it leaked, he would say that anyone could have seen it needed replacement.

A 25 year old heater is @ the end of its lifespan; time for replacement.

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Hi,

Most of them are glass lined. There are 6 manufacturers producing more than 105 brands of water heater in the U.S. and a whole lot of 'em use glass lined tanks. So what? The constant heating/cooling over years causes the lining to spall and then the tank begins to rust. Kurt's right, the plumber will say whatever he believes he's expected to say by the folks paying him and then when it fails he'll say there was no visible evidence, so how could he possibly have predicted anything?

I cite an expected 10 to 15 year service life. When they're beyond 15 years and not leaking, I tell people, "Pop is still with us, but he's in the nursing home with tubes in his arms under 24 hour observation. He could go anytime and there's no way to know when that will be."

They always get it.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I typically recommend replacement around 15 - 20 years. I usually mention the likelyhood of scale and / or a sediment layer, and their affect on efficiency. Water heaters are relatively cheap compared to water damage and / or years of wasted energy. I lean harder on the gas units because there's so much more to go wrong when they get old (disaster potential).

Brian G.

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Around here, gas fired water heaters typically fail after 5-10 years, and only very rarely last 10 years or more.

Electric water heaters usually go no more than 15 years.

Every once in a while I see a 40+ year old copper unit still in use, but they are usually spilling combustion products into the basement at alarming levels. When was the last time anyone had a water heater serviced?

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Around here, gas fired water heaters typically fail after 5-10 years, and only very rarely last 10 years or more.

Electric water heaters usually go no more than 15 years.

Jeez, I've seen a handful here in the 30 - 40 year range (and looking it, but still working ). What's the story up there?

On a side note, I know where there's a package AC unit running right now, 1971 vintage.

Brian G.

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Originally posted by Kevin A. Richardson

I came across a HW Heater yesterday that was 25+ yrs old. The pipes had heavy corrosion/oxidation. I recommended that it be replaced. The listing agent had a plumber come out and do an inspection. He determined that the HW Heater had a glass lining and it didn't need to be replaced.

What is the life expectancy of a Glass Lined Hot Water Heater?

The life expectancy depends on the chemical makeup of the water, the temperature setting on the water heater and the stewardship of the tank both before and after it was installed.

If you really want to know how long tanks in your area last, I suggest a trip to the dump. Read the dates on a hundred or so water heaters an you'll have your answer. I'll bet you a dollar that every last one of them is glass lined too.

When most people hear "glass lined water heater" they imagine something akin to a glass thermos bottle. It's actually closer to a piece of graniteware. The "glass" is more like a very thin porcelain coating -- its thickness is best measured with a micrometer.

The tanks that last the longest are made of monel or copper. I occasionally see those things still going strong from the late '40s.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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The oldest I've seen so far was an electric "Glass Beauty"...the actual name...that I believe was 42 years old (barely legible sticker). And then my next door neighbor flooded his finished basement over the weekend with an 11 year old gas unit. He's still trying to get the carpets dry. In situations like basements where a drip pan can't be plumbed I've been recommending inexpensive ($12-$30)flood alarms with the sensor in the plugged drip pan.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif floodalarm.jpg

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Originally posted by Richard Moore, in part

In situations like basements where a drip pan can't be plumbed I've been recommending inexpensive ($12-$30)flood alarms with the sensor in the plugged drip pan.

Try using a marine bilge pump; they are made to sit in nasty areas & pump "skims" of shallow water out of bilges, kind of like drain pans. I like the Rule brand, as they have internal float switches, are small, & they don't break. A Rule pump in a 5 gallon bucket is the best damn condensate pump there is. Way, way, way better than the piece of crap plastic box types available @ the HVAC counter.

Only problem is they need 12 volts; you either have to have a transformer (no big deal), or run them off a battery on a trickle charge.

About $45 @ any marine supply.

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