It didn't shit the bed, but it did piss the floor

Started by NT2C, September 05, 2023, 09:33:55 AM

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NT2C

Intellectually, I knew this day was coming, and that we weren't prepped for it.  Did I do anything about that, no, of course I didn't.  So when I woke to a wet floor in the pantry because our water heater was leaking (replaced 15 years ago with one that had a 9-year warranty) I had to count it as a prep fail.  Had I prepped for it I would have replaced it 2-3 years ago (about 25% beyond the warranty lifespan) and never needed to scramble like I did today.  Fortunately, my wife just got a cash award at work that will cover about 1/2 the cost of the replacement, and yesterday was her payday, so we had the funds available to order a replacement from Home Depot (12-year warranty Rheem) that will be delivered before 8 PM today.  I'll have it installed an hour or so after delivery and in 15 years or so it'll be scheduled for replacement if we're still living here by then.  And that's what we kept telling ourselves and using as justification for not prepping for this... we're planning to move.  we've been planning to move for 10 years now, but things like my coming down with shingles (just before we were to leave for Alaska) and Covid keep popping up to block us.  You'd think we'd learn.   :rolleyes1:
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Moab

Quote from: NT2C on September 05, 2023, 09:33:55 AMIntellectually, I knew this day was coming, and that we weren't prepped for it.  Did I do anything about that, no, of course I didn't.  So when I woke to a wet floor in the pantry because our water heater was leaking (replaced 15 years ago with one that had a 9-year warranty) I had to count it as a prep fail.  Had I prepped for it I would have replaced it 2-3 years ago (about 25% beyond the warranty lifespan) and never needed to scramble like I did today.  Fortunately, my wife just got a cash award at work that will cover about 1/2 the cost of the replacement, and yesterday was her payday, so we had the funds available to order a replacement from Home Depot (12-year warranty Rheem) that will be delivered before 8 PM today.  I'll have it installed an hour or so after delivery and in 15 years or so it'll be scheduled for replacement if we're still living here by then.  And that's what we kept telling ourselves and using as justification for not prepping for this... we're planning to move.  we've been planning to move for 10 years now, but things like my coming down with shingles (just before we were to leave for Alaska) and Covid keep popping up to block us.  You'd think we'd learn.  :rolleyes1:

I've been living life "ready to move" for longer than I care to admit. When my wife first wanted to move (when my son was young) I was to afraid to give up my business. Then when I felt comfortable moving, my son was entrenched in his school here. And we didn't want to move him. 

We tried for awhile to live part time here in CA and part time in WA. That only lasted for a couple years. Then my son went off to college. Attending an ivy league school and then graduating from UCLA. (So keeping him enrolled in this excellent school district paid off. The only silver lining to living here.) 

Then my wife had her heart attack and transplant. And everything has been on hold ever since. 

In the meantime I spent years in a town I did not want to live in. Failing to lay down any roots as I always felt like moving was just around the corner. Making few friends. Very few of the outdoor things I really like to do are accessible here. Not to mention its just a shit place to live. And getting worse by the day.

Someone once said "life is what you do while your making plans". Or something like that. 

I often feel like I should have moved when my wife wanted too. When my son was young. But then he probably would not have gotten as good an education. So who knows.

All I know is I'm sick of living in a holding pattern.

My wifes in the hospital as we speak. Rejecting her anti rejection drugs. 

I've spent 20 yrs in a city I hate. And getting tired of saying "I can't wait to move.". 

The last time our hot water heater went out. It cost several hundred to repair. The landlord promptly raised our rent by that exact amount - from that month forward. I think I have paid for about 30 hot water heaters at this point. Lol! 
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

Raptor

Did you install a catch basin underneath it. BTW that is no guarantee that the catch basin will not overflow...don't ask me why I know to do this. :clownshoes:

I put this in every water heater pan. Cheap insurance.

https://www.amazon.com/Glentronics-Inc-BWD-HWA-00895001498-Basement/dp/B000JOK11K


BTW my old house had new water heaters with pans...my new house...nope not a single catch basin in sight and they both ~ 15 years old. So yes they are on the R&R list for 2023.

I plan non replacing one that supplies only the kitchen & laundry with a tankless unit. I am told that these rarely leak. They fail but simply do not leak when that happens... sounds kinda like unsinkable as in the Titanic.
Folks you are on your own...Plan and act accordingly!

I will never claim to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers. As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

EBuff75

Quote from: Raptor on September 05, 2023, 04:26:54 PMDid you install a catch basin underneath it. BTW that is no guarantee that the catch basin will not overflow...don't ask me why I know to do this. :clownshoes:

I put this in every water heater pan. Cheap insurance.

https://www.amazon.com/Glentronics-Inc-BWD-HWA-00895001498-Basement/dp/B000JOK11K


BTW my old house had new water heaters with pans...my new house...nope not a single catch basin in sight and they both ~ 15 years old. So yes they are on the R&R list for 2023.

I plan non replacing one that supplies only the kitchen & laundry with a tankless unit. I am told that these rarely leak. They fail but simply do not leak when that happens... sounds kinda like unsinkable as in the Titanic.
That water alarm is the exact same one that I use in my sump pump basin to warn me if the water levels are rising above where they should be (i.e. above the level at which the pump should have turned on and drained it).  I've thought about adding a second one on the floor under my water heater (I don't have a pan either) just in case, but haven't done so yet. 

When mine failed a few years back, it did so in a sort of odd manner.  The failure was at the pressure relief valve and it was squirting a thin stream of water several feet away and onto the floor.  So a pan wouldn't have done any good in that case. 
Information - it's all a battle for information. You have to know what's happening if you're going to do anything about it. - Tom Clancy, Patriot Games

Raptor

Quote from: EBuff75 on September 05, 2023, 04:38:18 PMWhen mine failed a few years back, it did so in a sort of odd manner.  The failure was at the pressure relief valve and it was squirting a thin stream of water several feet away and onto the floor.  So a pan wouldn't have done any good in that case. 
Just goes to show you that no prep is fool proof...that and God does have a sense of humor.

BTW the pan I had under mine had a clogged drain so it did not drain and at that time I had no alarm and the pan overflowed when it was full.  So every year when the batter gets changed I drop in a gallon of water to ensure the drain is not clogged.
Folks you are on your own...Plan and act accordingly!

I will never claim to have all the answers. Depending upon the subject; I am also aware that I may not have all the questions much less the answers. As a result I am always willing to listen to others and work with them to arrive at the right answers to the applicable questions.

NT2C

Those pans are required by code and have been for at least 20 years now.  The problem I have is that they weren't required when this house was built in 1995, so the space for the water heater is too small to put one.  It's a small space behind the door to the garage and next to the pantry.  I can't enlarge the space (firewall and the back of the shower in the master bath) and the pan prevents opening the door to the garage far enough to get through it.  Just the old water heater itself (24" wide) had the door smacking into it.  The new heater is 2" smaller in diameter but the smallest pan I can get is 24", which will get smacked by the door every time we open it.  I really wish they'd just put the heater in the garage or the utility room, and if I were willing to reroute plumbing and tear open walls that's where I'd stick it, but for today it's going where the old one was, sans pan.
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DarkAxel

Quote from: EBuff75 on September 05, 2023, 04:38:18 PM
Quote from: Raptor on September 05, 2023, 04:26:54 PMDid you install a catch basin underneath it. BTW that is no guarantee that the catch basin will not overflow...don't ask me why I know to do this. :clownshoes:

I put this in every water heater pan. Cheap insurance.

https://www.amazon.com/Glentronics-Inc-BWD-HWA-00895001498-Basement/dp/B000JOK11K


BTW my old house had new water heaters with pans...my new house...nope not a single catch basin in sight and they both ~ 15 years old. So yes they are on the R&R list for 2023.

I plan non replacing one that supplies only the kitchen & laundry with a tankless unit. I am told that these rarely leak. They fail but simply do not leak when that happens... sounds kinda like unsinkable as in the Titanic.
That water alarm is the exact same one that I use in my sump pump basin to warn me if the water levels are rising above where they should be (i.e. above the level at which the pump should have turned on and drained it).  I've thought about adding a second one on the floor under my water heater (I don't have a pan either) just in case, but haven't done so yet.

When mine failed a few years back, it did so in a sort of odd manner.  The failure was at the pressure relief valve and it was squirting a thin stream of water several feet away and onto the floor.  So a pan wouldn't have done any good in that case. 
At my old place I had a pipe threaded into the bottom of the T&P valve that emptied into a drain in the crawlspace under the house. Saved me a whole lot of work when the old water heater went tits-up and popped the valve.

NT2C

This new one has built in leak detection and water shut off.  :awesome:
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Uomo Senza Nome

QuoteI plan non replacing one that supplies only the kitchen & laundry with a tankless unit. I am told that these rarely leak. They fail but simply do not leak when that happens... sounds kinda like unsinkable as in the Titanic.
This is correct. It won't leak when the plumbing on the tank gives out because the valve isn't running and there is no tank to drain. It may leak a couple of inches of pipe and that is about it. Unless the shut off valve fails too, which is a bit of a rarity but you will have a full on water leak if that happens.

I have run tank less units at my last three dwellings including the current one. The first time I had one I did a propane install myself and had numerous issues. The issue I found out during the process was that TLHWH hate hard water. It can cause rapid catastrophic pipe failure due to the uneven heating of the excess minerals in the water. I installed a filter for the house and this resolved most of the problems but we went through three TLHWH before arriving there.
"It's what people know about themselves inside that makes 'em afraid. "

"There's plain few problems can't be solved with a little sweat and hard work."

NT2C

Day two of water heater hell:

I got the tank in place last night at 11 PM and knocked off for the night.  Went outside and turned the house water back on at the meter (I keep a "curb key" or two in my tools) and checked that nothing was leaking.  My house does have a wonderful ball-type shutoff valve to use for this.  It's oh so conveniently located in the furthest corner of the crawlspace under the house, back behind the air handler, and where the ground slopes up to the point a well-fed cat would have trouble squeezing in. Hence my preference for using the curb key (which may be an "illegal" act in some areas if you're not a licensed contractor). The gate valve that shuts off water to the heater sucks and is a little leaky (makes sweating pipe a chore) but I didn't have a replacement for it.  Instead, I've got a Shark-Bite braided stainless hose that incorporates a ball valve and that will have to do.  I needed an expansion tank though, so that went between the two valves on a sweated-in tee and 3/4" female FIP.  I left the wiring for today and did not fill the tank last night, wanting to check all my sweat work in the morning after some sleep.

Woke up this morning to a wet floor and constant drip from where I sweated the new tee to an old stub coming from the gate valve.

So... today it all gets ripped out, including that POS gate valve, and gets replaced with Shark-Bite fittings and a proper ball valve shutoff ahead of everything.  I'll be off to pick up the parts I need in about 30 minutes.
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NT2C

Oh, and why do I call this water heater hell...  The old 50-gallon unit (Westinghouse) that was 15 years old was so full of sediment that the drain valve would not work. The inlet and outlet on the unit had both badly corroded at the dielectric nipples, leaving the only way to drain the tank as hammering a length of 1/2" copper tubing down through the corrosion on the outlet side and then attaching a siphon tube to it and run that to the slop sink on the other side of the passageway.  That became a fight of keeping the plastic drain hose from kinking and holding the end of the pipe out of the sediment in the bottom of the tank.  Did that for an hour and finally got enough out to pull the tank out on a hand truck...which promptly tried to punch through the corroded bottom of the half-full tank.  Eventually, I just slid the tank closer to the sink, using vise grips to set the 1/2" tubing to the optimum height, did some creative work with sticks, old tubing, zip ties, and a wet towel to get the plastic hone to drain and not kink, and left it draining while I ate a very late breakfast/lunch/brunch/supper, my first meal of the day... at 9:30 PM.

It eventually drained almost completely and I was able to move it to the garage on the hand truck (ever thankful as usual for the ramp I built to replace the steep steps down to the garage floor - did that before we'd even moved in back when we bought the place).
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NT2C

The heater is installed and working for now but I'm still not happy with the hookup.  The problem is that the inlet and outlet pipes coming from the wall are too low, forcing me to use longer braided steel lines to connect than I would like, and having to make the lines loop.  I am also unable to get the expansion tank on now because Shark Bite fittings don't prevent pipes from spinning.  Normally, with sweated pipe, it's a rigid connection and the tank can't move.  I have a bracket being delivered tomorrow to get it mounted up on the wall.  We'll see how that goes.  At least the ball valve is holding well and I can take things apart pretty easy to try a different arrangement.
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MacWa77ace

I wouldn't call this a prep fail for not replacing something before it breaks, even though its recommended lifespan has been exceeded. This isn't minority report. Your story shows that you knew where to go to get the replacement unit relatively fast. That you had developed the skills, knowledge and had the tools to do the job yourself and had them onhand. [climbing equipment, parachutes, and oil changes might be the exceptions]

I wait until stuff breaks before replacing and have spare parts ready for most items. 'Cause I usually get more life out of the recommended lifespan of products. As for water heaters I have replacement elements, but not anodes. And I wait until they go before replacing. But I don't have to worry much about leaks where mine is located.

Um, not sure if you're doing this but the only thing i would have suggested is that you change your pipes that connect to the heater to the screw on type on both ends. that way next time you don't have to do any soldering.
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NT2C

#13
Quote from: MacWa77ace on September 07, 2023, 10:23:45 AMUm, not sure if you're doing this but the only thing i would have suggested is that you change your pipes that connect to the heater to the screw on type on both ends. that way next time you don't have to do any soldering.

Nah, the Shark Bite fittings go right on the bare pipe and are removable.

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The right side above is the supply side.  That's where the old gate valve was and where I still need to add in the expansion tank.

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This is the little alcove it sits in, next to the pantry and behind the garage door.

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As you can see, even with a 22" heater the door hits it.  (Adding a door stop today. Miss Betty was just in the garage inspecting the old heater.)

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Inlet and outlet of the old heater (mfg 34th week of 2009 with a 12-year warranty, we got 14 out of it) showing how badly the galvanized inlet/outlet fittings that came pre-installed had gotten.  The top one is where I rammed in a section of 1/2" pipe to siphon it.
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MacWa77ace

#14
LOL, when I changed my water heater out last year, I hooked up the drain hose and let it drain out into my driveway while I went to HomeDepot to buy and pickup the new one. Released the pressure release valve and cut off the water. I did it that way the time before when I had to change the elements.

When I got back home I looked at the puddle at the end of my driveway and said to myself, that doesn't look like enough water.

I disconnected the HWH, grabbed my hand truck slid it under and then pulled it back leaning it onto the truck. DAaaamnn, that's heavy, WTF?!? We'll I'd already got it back on the handtruck so I went ahead and wheeled it out into the driveway. And then I drained the other 60 gallons out.  :headbang:

All told it took about 3 hrs from noticing the leak in the morning and turning on the new HWH. And that was with my wife getting quotes for an hours from plumbers for ridiculous amounts with days to weeks to install. She does that, but that's ok 'cause it lets me know how much money i'm saving doing it myself.

WTF is in your water? Mine did not look like that. I'm thinking mine was from 2008 or 09.

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NT2C

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Asparagus

Can you get stainless steel water heaters over there? They are the standard here, and the tanks themself never fail. Heating elements, thermostats and safety valves do thought, but they are replaceable. Expected lifetime of water heaters here is 20 years, but they easily last 40 if taken care of. I really recommend a stainless tank if you can get one!

I replaced my water heater from 2007 in february before i moved in, turns out the old one was so full of deposits from the hard water that the safety valve was stuck shut and one heating element had burned out. Replaced it with a new one since the old was a less common make and hard to get parts for, new one i can maintain better and replace anything that can break. Hoping it will last me a good long time with some regular maintenance!

NT2C

Stainless steel water heaters are uncommon and head to get, not to mention crazy expensive.  Plastic tanks are more common but it would have taken a month to get one.
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Asparagus

Well, I've never even heard of a plastic hot water tank! Stainless steel is more expensive for sure, but maybe even more so over there? A standard brand name 200L 2000w stainless hot water tank is around 800-1000$ here, a non stainless unknown brand equivalent is around 500-600$ (if you can even find one).

NT2C

Quote from: Asparagus on September 11, 2023, 07:29:43 AMWell, I've never even heard of a plastic hot water tank! Stainless steel is more expensive for sure, but maybe even more so over there? A standard brand name 200L 2000w stainless hot water tank is around 800-1000$ here, a non stainless unknown brand equivalent is around 500-600$ (if you can even find one).
Here's a plastic example.  We almost bought this one: Rheem 50 gallon plastic
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