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Old 11-29-2019, 04:24 PM   #1
Buck Shot
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Default Water heater replacement question!

So we have a 50 gallon electric water heater that needs to be replaced (its original to the 15 year old house we recently bought. The height of the heater is 54, and all the ones at the hardware stores are either 48 or 60 high.

Any advice for which size to buy? Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-29-2019, 04:36 PM   #2
twosixteens
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If the 48 is 50 gallon or larger and fits the available space I would go that route should make it easier to plumb
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:01 PM   #3
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The 60 is probably skinnier than the 48.
Different areas require different sizes. Some places have height restrictions. Mine is in the garage and so I went with the tallest skinniest one available.
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:11 PM   #4
bboswell
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Ummm, how much space is above your old heater?
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:19 PM   #5
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The water lines come out of the wall 12” above the top of the heater, so if i went 60”, I’d need much shorter lines. I’m afraid if i went with the 48” that the existing 24” lines won’t reach the shorter heater...I haven’t seen lines longer than 24”...
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:22 PM   #6
Texas Grown
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So the water heater is 15 years old? And in good working order? So why replace it?


The one I've got has a born on date of 1974 (NG). I know they don't make them like they used to. And read a discussion on here a couple years ago about them being replaced every 5 years or so with the new models. Being the new models are not designed to last. Just don't' see why not wait a bit if it's in good shape and working properly.
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:27 PM   #7
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It’s starting to trip the reset button so it’ll go sometime soon.
I’m a bit gun-shy because i had one fail a few years ago...split at the seam and flooded the house...woke up to 3” water in the house. It was also 15 years old
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:33 PM   #8
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Mine was 15 years old when I replaced the thermostat, It started to leak about a year later.
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Shot View Post
Its starting to trip the reset button so itll go sometime soon.
Im a bit gun-shy because i had one fail a few years ago...split at the seam and flooded the house...woke up to 3 water in the house. It was also 15 years old
Heating elements are probably starting to "lime" up and cause hot spots in the cal-rod. You might could just replace the element(s) and get by for a few more years. Most plumbing supply houses would have replacement elements. Just need heater MFG and nomenclature.

Gas heaters build up calcium carbonate in the bottom and then burn thru from the flame against the tank bottom because the water is no longer in contact with the inside due to the build up. The "lime" or calcium carbonate build up acts as an insulator and keep the heat from transferring to the water. Similar happens to elect. elements. The heat is trapped underneath the buildup and causes the element to have hot spots and burn thru or short out.
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:16 PM   #10
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Is it hard pipe or flex pipe to the hot water tank?

Assuming you have CPVC (usually gray plastic) I’d simply cut the CPVC back, use a plastic to threaded copper adapter, and connect to my water heater using flexible copper pipe/tubing.

Then it doesn’t matter which height you get as long as it fits in the space. Just remember there is a limit to how much flex a flexible copper can tolerate. Post a picture and you’d get more help.
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:33 PM   #11
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:33 PM   #12
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:34 PM   #13
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:35 PM   #14
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:37 PM   #15
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The supply lines are flex copper. The relief line is a combination of both
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:46 PM   #16
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Looking at that I’d go with the 60” because there doesn’t appear to be a ton of slack in your electrical supply. Be sure and measure the height of the relief from the floor on the existing vs new as that doesn’t have a ton of slack either - although you might be able to spin the tank clockwise a bit to make it line up. One end of your relief is soldered - I think shark bite make a fitting where you could cut off the flex on the relief and attach the shark bite to the hard copper pipe to allow you to use a copper flex pipe that is threaded at both ends.Then you could just get a longer flex if need be.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:01 PM   #17
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Thanks for the advice!
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muzzlebrake View Post
Heating elements are probably starting to "lime" up and cause hot spots in the cal-rod. You might could just replace the element(s) and get by for a few more years. Most plumbing supply houses would have replacement elements. Just need heater MFG and nomenclature.

Gas heaters build up calcium carbonate in the bottom and then burn thru from the flame against the tank bottom because the water is no longer in contact with the inside due to the build up. The "lime" or calcium carbonate build up acts as an insulator and keep the heat from transferring to the water. Similar happens to elect. elements. The heat is trapped underneath the buildup and causes the element to have hot spots and burn thru or short out.
Replace the elements, tank is probably good
Turn off the breaker, let cool , hook up the water hose , drain and flush the tank with safety valve open , remove/ replace elements, Refill, flip on breaker
Last hot water heater lasted 55 years the newer ones are easy to work on
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:02 PM   #19
Leverhunter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Grown View Post
So the water heater is 15 years old? And in good working order? So why replace it?


The one I've got has a born on date of 1974 (NG). I know they don't make them like they used to. And read a discussion on here a couple years ago about them being replaced every 5 years or so with the new models. Being the new models are not designed to last. Just don't' see why not wait a bit if it's in good shape and working properly.
Ours was 14 years old and looked like new from the outside. One evening my wife was walking across the family room and water squished up. Heater in the garage sprung a leak and leaked into 3 rooms before we found it. Now we replace before they fail.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:37 PM   #20
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Don't disconnect that ground wire next to the valve.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:46 PM   #21
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Can you get the shorter one and build up a base to whatever height you need? Just replumb the drain line.
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:03 PM   #22
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Put the new heater (shorter) on the base and re-plumb the piping. Work smart, not hard.
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