Leaking, bulging tank- can’t afford replacement

Discussion in 'Water Heaters and Softeners' started by PaigeNeedsHelp, Jun 3, 2018.

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  1. Jun 3, 2018 #1

    PaigeNeedsHelp

    PaigeNeedsHelp

    PaigeNeedsHelp

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    I have a 26 year old tank in my garage that supplies my house. I noticed two days ago that it had been leaking for an unknown amount of time (could be two days, could be four months). Finally got a chance to look closer today and it looks like the seam of the cylinder is bulging and rusted, can’t tell exactly where the water is coming from but deductive reasoning says it’s near the bottom... It is gas heated. I do not have the funds to purchase a replacement right now but luckily it’s summer so hot water isn’t totally needed.
    I need to know: can I shut off the gas and continue to use my water in my house like normal just knowing I won’t get any hot water? Can I shut off the gas and the water flowing into the tank, drain it, and just continue without replacement for now? I obviously need to replace it, but I can’t afford several hundred dollars right now.
     

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  2. Jun 3, 2018 #2

    cmac2012

    cmac2012

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    Yes, if you shut off both you can continue using cold water in the house with no ill effects. 26 years is a remarkable run of service. I often see them ready for replacement from rust and leaking after 12 to 15 years.

    If it's not leaking too bad, I wouldn't drain it just yet, who knows, if a family member or someone visits and you want them to have a hot shower you could always fire it back up for a few days. About the only danger that a water heater could present is from a faulty or replaced-with-plug pressure relief valve. But with yours leaking, failure of the thermostat to shut of the flame would result in a large tea kettle shrieking as opposed to a missile through your roof.
     
  3. Jun 3, 2018 #3

    PaigeNeedsHelp

    PaigeNeedsHelp

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    Thank you. I will definitely be purchasing this brand as a replacement. I shut off the gas but left the water on, with it being warm outside the tank will at least hold warm water without the heating element on. My concern was with it being under enough pressure to bulge the seam that it could/would explode during heating one of these times.
     
  4. Jun 5, 2018 #4

    cmac2012

    cmac2012

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    Would have to get above boiling for any explosion to take place. And did that happen (shot thermostat), I suspect the slowly building pressure would force more and more water out through existing leaks gradually making them larger.

    You can find videos of water heaters exploding from plugged pressure relief valve ports. Apparently DIY nincompoops (some are) will sometimes put a plug in place of a faulty (and leaking) pressure relief valve. Will put a water heater sized hole in your roof. And maybe kill someone when it comes to earth.
     

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