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Help water heater leaking on bottom

zvalve Member Posts: 83
I have a natural gas Reliance 5-50 Norto that is slowly dripping from the bottom and am afraid the tank is bad. It's over 20 years old. Should I test the pressure first? Is there any other trouble shooting to do? No leaks from pressure relief valve. Line in and out are dry. What are the options for new high efficiency tankless or tank domestic hot water heaters? Is stand alone tankless a viable option for domestic hot water around latitude 41 N


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
    I've never known such a leak to get better with time... and sometimes abruptly catastrophically worse. Time for it to go...

    Your options are first -- and simplest -- a new gas fired stand alone tank type hot water heater. Minimal fuss and bother for the installation. You could also go electric tank type, but electricity is usually a good bit more expensive, and the recovery is slower.

    Tankless water heaters are perfectly viable, but the question there is whether your gas service can accommodate the gas demand of the water heater, which is a lot greater than a tank type or even most heating boilers etc. You might find you needed all new gas lines -- and possibly a new meter.

    On the whole, I'd replace what you have.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    You should check incoming pressure to see if a pressure reducing valve and/or domestic expansion tank is needed.
    No leaks from the relief valve could mean the relief valve isn't working.
    We all know to exercise that valve annually and replace when it doesn't seat...wink wink...

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