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Water Heater Question

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Roland_18
Roland_18 Member Posts: 147
HI All,

What are the common causes for water heater leakage? Are gas-fired more or less likely to leak compared to electric ?

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  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
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    gas HWH leak sooner

    Because the flame applied directly to the bottom of the tank causes stresses and the tank leaks sooner. Electrics apply heat into the water with the "element" and the tanks remain mostly unstressed.



    Either type will die from the outside if there is a leak above it that drops water onto the tank. This is most commonly a connector joint or a valve. Not too hard to figure out and fix but most of us don't hug our HWH very often...



    Cheers, Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • Roland_18
    Roland_18 Member Posts: 147
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    w h question

    Thanks Rufus,

    How about if the W/H is used as a place to store hot (180*F) water with the electric elements or gas burner not used, hence, less thermal stress? Could a typical "glass lined" tank last many years?
  • not a tech

    but from life experience i bet higher temp does result in earlier failure. 1 lp water heater i can remember leaked near the top in the vent hole.

    current thought is , i think, to keep water as not so hot & crank it up every 6 weeks for however long so to sanitize the tank. I forget the details & dont even do so myself...my water is municipally treated _ i prefer beer
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
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    Electric HWHs

    Are often used for storage tanks. There have been several posts about this on the forum, most recently by icesailor IIRC. AFAIK heat per se isn't a problem for the tanks - it's the changes of temperature that induces stress. The larger and more frequent the swing the more expansion/contraction the tank undergoes.



    Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,335
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    causes

    Hello:  The most common cause of failure is not replacing the anode rod when it wants to be replaced.  I've had good heaters last over fifty years by doing anode replacement. After that, water pressure being too high and too variable causes damage to heaters.  Dirty air getting burned in combustion produces acidic condensation at the unprotected flue in the heater and rusts it out.  Generally, chemical reactions double with every twenty degree F rise.  That's not good in a water heater where temperatures under sediment can reach 1000 degrees in severe conditions.  And, as Rufus said, overhead leaks are a problem for the poor un-paid-attention-to heater.



    Generally, electric heaters last a few more years than gas, but that's only an average.



    Yours,  Larry
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