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T-stat setting on water heater


John Dirks Jr
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I was inspecting a 12 year old Sears & Robuck water heater. It is a gas fired power vented unit. The T-stat was cranked to the max (very hot). The max temp produced by the heater was 120 degrees. I know that 120 degrees is a good temperature. However, wouldn't you think the heater should produce a hotter temp when the T-stat is cranked like that? Is this indicative of impending failure?

It was full of rust scale in the bottom. I reported that it was near the end of its normal life expectancy etc.

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John,

I am thinking your question is not logical. The rust would inpact the performance, not the temp. 120degrees is 120degrees regardless of rust build-up.

Life expectancy is 12yrs regardless of temp or rust scale.

I have managed to stay away from predictions because I really do believe inspectors should be reporting conditions at this point in time only. I am well beyond the "hero" home inspector model.

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I'd guess that the bottom of the tank is covered with a layer of mud that's preventing it from heating up properly. Get them to flush the tank and then see if that makes a difference.

Also, it's in that date range where it might have one of those polypropylene dip tubes that's fallen off and needs to be replaced and the tank flushed.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I still don't get why you'd want to flush a 12 year old tank, would you pop the TPR? It's at the end of it's service life, and big surprise, it doesn't work right. I say tell 'em it's old and broken, and it's time to replace it.

Tom

Hi Tom,

Having grown up in upstate New York and knowing what kind of mineral content you see in water up that way, I can understand why you'd say at 12 years she's toast.

Out here, 10 to 15 is a good range. 10 years if you've never flushed it or replaced the anode - 15 or better if you have.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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You got that right. Just fill a glass from the tap and you can watch the minerals swirl around for 30 or 45 seconds, and that's after the filter. With out a filter you should see the mud the muni's have the nerve to charge for. I have a well but I wouldn't dare drink from it, it's exactly centered between two closely spaced septic tanks[:-yuck]

Tom

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I checked the temp at the closest fixture which was the kitchen sink.

Rust was piled up around the burner but not on top of it.

I heard no popping that would be related to build up in the bottom of the tank. I have heard that on other water heaters, so I know what you are talking about.

I just would expect a water heater with the T-stat cranked to the max to be putting out more than 120F.

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