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Hot water heater flooded

old_diy_guy
old_diy_guy Member Posts: 8
edited May 2019 in Domestic Hot Water
Hi, I have a standard 40 gal tank type hot water heater, fired by natural gas. Basement flooded Friday, above the level of the burner, but below the gas valve. I pumped out the basement on Sunday, relit the pilot on the water heater, and then turned the valve on. Main flame came on, heated tank up to the 140 degrees I have it set to, and then shut off. Is this thing safe to keep using?

Comments

  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,076
    No. According to FEMA, it should be replaced.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,785
    edited May 2019
    Hello, You'll get mixed opinions. If it were a heater in my house, I'd probably do what you've done and then keep a very close eye on it. But then, I've specialized in servicing water heaters for over thirty years. For a client, I would never try to keep such a heater going. Any chance you can get insurance to help out?

    Yours, Larry
    ethicalpaul
  • old_diy_guy
    old_diy_guy Member Posts: 8
    No, the flood was caused by ground water, not covered. I'm too old to replace it myself(I installed this one 20 years ago) and I just want it to last the couple more years I'll be in this house
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,208
    You would be OK selling the place with a 22 year old water heater that had been flooded?

    Replace it now, you’re going to have to for the buyer anyway, their inspector will see it’s 20 years old. That’s my feeling.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    IronmanAlan (California Radiant) Forbesdelta T
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,477
    As @Larry Weingarten says, you'll get mixed opinions. Technically, it has to be replaced. And @ethicalpaul says, you'll have to replace it when you sell anyway.

    But there's another factor: your insurance won't replace it now, but... you're insurance may not cover any other damage related to it, either, in the future, should it do something evil to you down the line -- and they will try very hard to claim that whatever you are trying to get covered for was related to it. Just saying...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,785
    Hi, @old_diy_guy, The average life of water heaters is 9-12 years, so you've done well. Even if you don't replace it, the inspector for your home buyer will see the age and chances are good the buyer will ask for a discount on sales price to cover a new heater. So, it becomes one of those pay now or later scenarios. If you're using a Realtor, there is a good chance you'll need to mention the flooding in the disclosures. The problem becomes that if it leaks before you sell the house, you get to deal with that cost, inconvenience and any more water damage. If the heater were younger and had not been flooded, I'd suggest replacing the anode rod in it to prevent further damage. Not so sure that's a good idea now taking it all into consideration.

    Yours, Larry
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,868
    If you're "too old" to replace it yourself, then don't. There are many trades people who will be happy to accommodate you. Update from 3" to a 4" flue if it hasn't already been done.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,417
    Best thing to do at this point is replace the water heater. Considering the age and the recent flood damage, and the fact that you plan on moving in the next few years. Simply put, it's time to change it. Better safe than sorry.
  • old_diy_guy
    old_diy_guy Member Posts: 8
    Larry, thanks for weighing.in. The unit is a GE brand with a 6 year warranty. I'm sure there is.no anode rod left. In addition, I stopped draining sediment after the first couple years. When I sell this place, there are plenty more issues that will be found upon inspection. I'll give the buyer credits but I will not fix anything. The house will probably be sold as a tear down anyway. No one in this area wants a 55 year old tract house. I just don't want the place to blow up while I'm still in it.
    ethicalpaul
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,868
    > @old_diy_guy said:
    >
    I just don't want the place to blow up while I'm still in it.

    Nobody does. That's why most said to get it replaced. I recommend tomorrow.
    IronmanSTEAM DOCTOR
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,785
    edited May 2019
    Hi @old_diy_guy , One thing I would do is to check the T&P valve. Be prepared to replace it though as in my area 1/4 of the valves fail testing. The test is simply to flip the lever, let it run a second and let it flip back down on spring pressure. If it doesn't open, or drips after testing, replace it. Make sure there is a discharge line on it before playing with it. With that taken care of, you should sleep better, knowing the tank will not literally blow up. B)

    Yours, Larry
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,076
    Larry, that addresses the water side, but not the fire side.

    The burner's been flooded; how does anyone know if there's proper combustion? That thing could be producing unsafe levels of CO.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    STEAM DOCTORZman
  • old_diy_guy
    old_diy_guy Member Posts: 8
    edited May 2019
    I've got a friend coming by with a Bacharach insight tomorrow to check combustion.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,785
    Hello @old_diy_guy, I'll be curious to know what you find. B)

    Yours, Larry
  • old_diy_guy
    old_diy_guy Member Posts: 8
    I'm in my office, test results are home, but all values were essentially the same as a year ago when we last tested.