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Common Water Heater Myths Answered | Ask This Old House

[Music]

Richard we asked folks for their water

heater questions and boy did they have a

lot of questions everybody's gotta want

either one apparently everyone's got a

question about it - I went through them

and it looks like the most popular

question had to do with when do I get

rid of my water heater because they buy

a new house or they look at the water

heater and they realize it's 5 10 50

gold and they're all terrified it's

gonna leak right yeah so a couple of

different types of common waters in

America in the tank type variety ones

Electric has a cover plate here and here

to cover over the electrical elements

that stick into the water a gas water

heater has a gas valve right here with a

flue pipe right here on any of these

tanks though there's a rating plate when

you go here and you can see what size

the tank is what the model number is and

the data manufacturer you can see this

was 2013 so then the question is when do

you change it so these things are glass

line steel tanks and they're gonna fail

usually 7 10 12 years so you get to that

10 or 12 year period you got to say okay

how much risk do I want and the other

thing is many people contemplate going

to a different type of method like a

tankless or instantaneous water heater

right in this case there is no big

storage tank it's sort of them heats it

up instantaneous right so with with that

if you're gonna have a water unit leaks

and all of a sudden fun in your basement

you're not going to slow down to take

the time to change it to this thing

because this the tankless needs bigger

gas piping it's a lot more work you're

just going to change that water this

you'd be locked into the same cycle so a

part of it is sort of you know how

risk-averse you are and where is it

right because in my house it's a

concrete floor is really finished

basement I don't want the leak so

that'll be okay someone has it upstairs

on the first floor it can cause total

catastrophe knows okay let's talk about

extending the life because people are

probably not gonna want to pay to change

if they don't have to but would like to

keep it going

well this glass line steel tank it used

to have a glass lining here that was

perfect and it used to have a rod right

here called an anode rod this is a

sacrificial rod made out of magnesium or

aluminum and it might have looked like

this at one time and that sits down

inside right here and it becomes the

sacrificial piece that

the aggressive water wants to eat so it

will eat this to send a life you yeah so

this thing can be replaced so you

they're made so that it can be bent and

put in now if somebody was to come along

and replace this anode every two to

three years you could make a glass line

steel tank last for picket twenty or

thirty years Wow okay right but nobody

does it okay okay and what happens also

is you might want to change the anode

rod but if you don't change in the first

two or three years of its operating life

this might fuse in here where you can't

even get it out of the top of the tech

gadget okay but this is something

interesting you could make a tank last a

long time I think there's a I don't know

if it's a rumor or a myth you tell us

this idea that if I periodically drain

the hot water heater that will extend

its life - is that true well a water

heater is a perfect collector of calcium

and magnesium and so it can sit right

down on the bottom right here

swing so a couple of tips every water he

does a drain at the bottom mm-hmm so if

you were gonna drain it down what I

would do is I would turn the water off

open up the drain now if you do that

what I would do is also turn this on

just a couple of times so think about

what you're doing you got to sort of

push and sort of spray it down through

this dip tube to sort of wash some of

that stuff down the drain if you didn't

do it that way and you left this on you

would actually just take water right out

of the bottom of this dip tube and go

right to the drain it would leave all

the that buildup in the bottom of the

tank gotcha okay if I come home and I

find that I've got a leak coming out of

my hot water tank I'm worried that it's

gonna blow and get worse first thing I

should do well this is the biggest panic

in most people's lives you know when

these waters goes they do not go like an

eggshell being smashed on the ground

it's usually a pinhole leak so the

control is important there's a shutoff

valve there's a cold water line on a hot

water line you got to get and turn the

water turn the water either off the cold

water side but and now over time the

pressure will relieve through the

pinhole leak but you still have water in

the tank and you have water up inside

the house right so put a hose on the

trough right here and open it up and

just relieve the

pressure and that'll just give you time

to exhale until you can call somebody to

replace the way perfect alright good

information and one thing if we want to

worry about why people so concerned

about the water heaters can you stop

scaring them no this is what it looks

like it's nice re thanks for watching

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