Replace water heater early?

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mi.fago

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Hi everyone,

I have a Bradford White heater that is just a few months short of being 12 years old. I'm going to change my furnace soon, and it requires disconnecting and moving the water heater to get enough room to change the furnace, and then the water heater will be put back where it was.

The contractor is telling me that I should be changing the water heater since it's old and moving it will result in leaks with high certainty. The thing is the heater has no signs of damage, there is no rust, no heating issues, no weird sounds, no leaks, all normal. Googling longevity of Bradford White heaters I see they last around 15 years on average.

Does it make sense to change the water heater now, even though it has no signs of damage? Is it true that disconnecting it and reinstalling it will likely damage it?
 

Twowaxhack

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Because of the age, or the reinstall? If I can get 3 more years out of it that's like 30% off of the next heater.
I don’t agree that they last 15yrs on average. Keep it if you want, I’d replace it since it’s being moved. Disturbing the tank like that can start leaks on a near failing tank or rusty water.
 

CT18

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If your not going to be bothered when the tank let's go and starts to leak then ride it for what it's worth. If a possible large leak is going to cause issues, i would replace it. It's going to let go sooner rather than later
 

Twowaxhack

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If you maintain the water heater it can last 20+ years. Mine was put in, in September 2000.
Even if you don’t maintain the heater they can last that long or longer.

There are a lot of factors that determine a tanks life.

There’s nothing wrong with maintenance if it’s affordable and practical.

I wouldn’t advise you to drain your water heater, move it around and then reinstall it. Especially not if you’re paying a professional to do it.

Most heaters in my area last about 12 yrs. if properly sized.
 

TomFOhio

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I never recommend opening and closing the relief vale. One of these times when you do it the valve
won't shut off correctly. I'd replace it to if that was part of my maintenance program. Also when we
ever had to move a water heater we always recommended replacing the tank.
 

Ron6519

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I never recommend opening and closing the relief vale. One of these times when you do it the valve
won't shut off correctly. I'd replace it to if that was part of my maintenance program. Also when we
ever had to move a water heater we always recommended replacing the tank.
The owner's manual says check it once a year, so that's what I do. If it pisses over the floor after a release, I'll replace it. So far, in 21 years, it's held its water.
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Two things we're instructed (if not warned) never to do in a home inspection:

1. Pop the TP valve on a water heater to test it. Last thing in the world an inspector wants is one to not close, or start leaking, and then it's your fault...then you have to pay a licensed plumber to install a new one, and fix any damage. Nobody wins but the plumber. Homeowner mad, agent mad, everyone all upset.
2. Press the test button on a smoke detector. You never know if its somehow connected to a central alarm system, and or it won't shut off. If you leave it on, you're screwed. If you leave it disconnected, you're screwed. If the fire department comes for a false alarm, someone's getting a bill...
 

Twowaxhack

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Two things we're instructed (if not warned) never to do in a home inspection:

1. Pop the TP valve on a water heater to test it. Last thing in the world an inspector wants is one to not close, or start leaking, and then it's your fault...then you have to pay a licensed plumber to install a new one, and fix any damage. Nobody wins but the plumber. Homeowner mad, agent mad, everyone all upset.
2. Press the test button on a smoke detector. You never know if its somehow connected to a central alarm system, and or it won't shut off. If you leave it on, you're screwed. If you leave it disconnected, you're screwed. If the fire department comes for a false alarm, someone's getting a bill...

If you turn a faucet on and then it doesn’t shut off, is that your fault too ?

If you flush a toilet and it overflows and ruins the ceiling below, is that your fault ?

Asking for a friend
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Yes to both.

Here in NC there are mandatory things that must be done by state mandate in an inspection. These include “functional flow” of each faucet/sink combo. If the faucet doesn’t shut off most inspectors would go below and try the stops. If that doesn’t work, the whole house shutoff. Pray the drains work.

On the toilet, yes and that’s why we’re required to have a substantial amount of E&O insurance. If the homeowner (generally not your client) is stupid enough to have a toilet so plugged it’s going to cause damage, they’ve probably caused themselves a heap of trouble. They have now basically taken their house off the market waiting for a plumber, drywall repair, and paint. They lost the potential sale that the inspector was there for.

Damage is kind of unusual. But poorly maintained homes are common. People are penny wise and pound foolish and ignore almost everything until it breaks or there’s a leak.
 

Twowaxhack

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Seems to me the purpose for an inspection is to find out if things work or not.

Not checking if the water heaters main safety works because it might fail doesn’t seem legit.

That’s my personal opinion
 
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