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  1. #1
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    Default Hot water heater

    Had a call from a client that is buying a new hot waterheater. He is concerned that the sacrificial anode in the heater isaluminum and wonders if the aluminum contaminates the hot water. Any advice?

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Tell him that you honestly do not know but if it is a concern he could have the rod removed.

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Does one really think a company like Rheem or AO Smith would manufacture a 'water heater' with something that could contaminate water?

    Really?

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Tell him that you honestly do not know but if it is a concern he could have the rod removed.
    I hope you are kidding ... as that will cause the water heater tank to fail much sooner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    Does one really think a company like Rheem or AO Smith would manufacture a 'water heater' with something that could contaminate water?

    Really?
    That or replace the *sacrificial* (it is called that for a reason ) aluminum rod with a magnesium rod.

    I agree with Darren ... if it was a 'real' hazard then I seriously doubt the major water heater manufacturers would put those rods in there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I agree with Darren ... if it was a 'real' hazard then I seriously doubt the major water heater manufacturers would put those rods in there.
    Jerry,

    I found this pretty funny, given that you are one of the most cynical people that I have met.

    Would a major manufacturer do something that would expose their customers to hazards? Let me think here... Would Phillip-Morris squash information that smoking was hazardous, would Ford recommend underinflating tires on their Exploders, knowing it would reduce stability, would Merck release Vioxx knowing it would increase heart attack/stroke?

    Heavens no. Profits are secondary to the health and safety of the consumer!

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    It's very possible the person was not thinking clearly and was worried about the aluminum being in his drinking water as it is a known problem when people use aluminum to cook in etc.. obviously he won't be drinking from the hot water tap? But who knows?... BTW We have water heaters here.. not "hot" water heaters!


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    It's very possible the person was not thinking clearly and was worried about the aluminum being in his drinking water as it is a known problem when people use aluminum to cook in etc.. obviously he won't be drinking from the hot water tap? But who knows?... BTW We have water heaters here.. not "hot" water heaters!
    Is the annode really needed in a home that has other than copper piping?

    I have heard that in areas such as Florida, that have the rotten-egg smell from hydrogen sulfide, one thing to help alleviate the odor is to remove the anode.

    This also has been mentioned as a possible solution in a white paper from a major manufacturer of "Water Heaters" (OK Ken? ), as the hot water causes a greater release of the gas than cold water.

    You should keep the anode and should you need warranty service you put it back in the heater


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    Is the annode really needed in a home that has other than copper piping?

    I have heard that in areas such as Florida, that have the rotten-egg smell from hydrogen sulfide, one thing to help alleviate the odor is to remove the anode.

    This also has been mentioned as a possible solution in a white paper from a major manufacturer of "Water Heaters" (OK Ken? ), as the hot water causes a greater release of the gas than cold water.

    You should keep the anode and should you need warranty service you put it back in the heater
    thanks. Also found http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pag...er-anodes.html helpful


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Are you sure it's aluminum? As stated earlier, magnesium is normally used and it looks a lot like aluminum.


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    The www.waterheaterrescue.com site is wonderful. I recently bought their booklet, "The Water Heater Workbook" Water Heater Workbook, Larry and Suzanne Weingarten

    On page 17, under Anodes, it reads: ďAn anode is made from an alloy of magnesium, aluminum or zinc which is formed around a steel core wire. Magnesium rods are used most often. Tanks in hard water areas may have aluminum rods, and where hot water odor is a problem, the zinc alloy is usefulĒ

    I canít believe anyone would recommend removing the rod. The anode is what protects the impurities from attacking the steel of the tank and prevents rupture. If you donít maintain your water heater, the anode will deplete and you will have a major water damage issue.
    We have a paper on this subject, Understanding and Preventing Water Heater Failures
    Email me at carlm@sequoiains.com and I will send to you.
    But donít forget there is more to proper maintenance than the anode. Sediment flushing is another big one.


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Jerry,

    I found this pretty funny, given that you are one of the most cynical people that I have met.
    Gunnar,

    Guilty as charged ... ... but I'm not cynical, I am the ultimate 'eternal optimist' ...

    An 'eternal optimist' always see the positive side of things, such as: understanding that pessimists are essential to the equation (who else to compare optimists too?) and that realists know that they know everything so there is no optimism or pessimism ... except that what realists do not know is that the answers they know are to the wrong questions ...

    I am 'positive' that there is always something worse that could happen, thus what 'is' is not 'that bad' - right?

    That's being optimistic in a pessimistic way ... or it that being pessimistic in an optimistic way??

    Getting run over by a pickup truck is not that bad - could have been an 18 wheeler ... oh, it was an 18 wheeler - could have been a freight train ... oh, it was a freight train - could have been weighted down with very heavy metal - oh, it was weighted down with a very heavy metal - could have been weighted down with gold (that's a very heavy metal) ... could have not had any of that gold fall on you (now you are not only crushed by the train, but you don't have any gold to pay for the doctor) ... bummer. That's the pessimist; the optimist says that being on top of the grass is better than being under the grass; i.e., it is better to be "seen" than "viewed".

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ottowitz View Post
    Had a call from a client that is buying a new hot waterheater. He is concerned that the sacrificial anode in the heater is aluminum and wonders if the aluminum contaminates the hot water. Any advice?
    Just tell him not to drink water from the hot tap. Not that people do, but they will sometimes fill kettles and pots from the hot side of the faucet. Bad practice. The water heater can incubate all kinds of unsavory stuff.

    Install a water filter on the cold water tap and don't worry about the anode rod. Most people don't even know they have one. Kinda like a pancreas or a spleen, eh?

    Gunnar, good point. We could carry on with examples, toxic lipstick, chalk in baby food, etc, but the point is, water from the water heater is not intended for consumption, IMO.

    Aluminum on the skin? A common ingredient in underarm deodorant is aluminum chlorohydrate. They wouldn't put it in there if it wasn't safe. Or would they?

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Drinking from a closed source like a water heater is not a very good idea, and removing the anode is a bad idea also, as it could lead to premature failure of the WH tank if removed.


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Last year, I read some things on the internet about how bad aluminum rods are. Your client may have stumbled onto some of that info and as we all know, you can't lie on the internet.........right?

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    but the point is, water from the water heater is not intended for consumption, IMO.
    Huh?

    The water in the water heater *IS* intended to be consumed. It is the same potable water that is in the cold water lines, only at a different temperature.

    That water from the hot water lines goes into food, is used to shower, wash dishes, make hot tea with, etc. ... Would you shower in a shower with non-potable water? Wash your clothes or dishes in that water?

    John, have you been drinking too much hot water passing through lead soldered pipes? It's not the water, it's what the water runs through (the pipes). The lead is picked up in cold water, just picked up in greater quantities in hot water as the hot water not only cleans clothes and dishes better, but cleans the inside of the pipes off better too (which is where the residue from lead solder accumulates as it is gradually washed down the pipes from the joints).

    One should run the cold water a some before using it if there are lead soldered copper piping, and letting it run a bit longer when going to use the hot water.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Huh?

    The water in the water heater *IS* intended to be consumed. It is the same potable water that is in the cold water lines, only at a different temperature.

    That water from the hot water lines goes into food, is used to shower, wash dishes, make hot tea with, etc. ... Would you shower in a shower with non-potable water? Wash your clothes or dishes in that water?

    John, have you been drinking too much hot water passing through lead soldered pipes? It's not the water, it's what the water runs through (the pipes). The lead is picked up in cold water, just picked up in greater quantities in hot water as the hot water not only cleans clothes and dishes better, but cleans the inside of the pipes off better too (which is where the residue from lead solder accumulates as it is gradually washed down the pipes from the joints).

    One should run the cold water a some before using it if there are lead soldered copper piping, and letting it run a bit longer when going to use the hot water.


    ??? I have read all my life never to drink from the hot water tank for numerous reasons not to mention the bacterial growth known to harbor inside when temps are not kept to above 165 degrees.. here is just one of many sites giving several reasons why. You Shouldn?t Drink Hot Water From Your Tap | Broken Secrets The sacrificial rod breakdown also creates a hazard in aluminum which is a known health hazard and why you should throw away your aluminum cooking pots..


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    ??? I have read all my life never to drink from the hot water tank for numerous reasons not to mention the bacterial growth known to harbor inside when temps are not kept to above 165 degrees.
    Sooo ... don't drink the water but use it for cooking ... ???

    Don't you see the missing link in that logic - as Dr. Spock would say (and be quite correct too) "That's illogical.", or, as Billy Bob would say "Huh? Wha' yo' meen?"

    ... here is just one of many sites giving several reasons why. You Shouldn?t Drink Hot Water From Your Tap | Broken Secrets The sacrificial rod breakdown also creates a hazard in aluminum which is a known health hazard and why you should throw away your aluminum cooking pots..
    So let's put all that stuff on the noodles when you rinse the noodles off, or in the pie or other food when you add water, or how about in your tea?

    We all drink chlorine ... at least those of us on municipal water systems ...
    Dr. Spock "That's illogical."
    Billy Bob "Huh? Wha' yo' meen?"

    Yeah, why would we drink a known poison?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Oops! I meant 155 degrees to kill bacteria best.. I never nor anyone I know uses hot water from the tap for any cooking or tea or anything consumed unless it goes through a heating system under the sink from the cold tap? We use the microwave or gas top to heat it up.. Must be something in your water where you live!?


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Come on Guys,

    Single spigot Faucet.

    Hot Water Bad.

    Cold Water Good.

    So after washing your hands, Dishes , Rinsing Your Coffee Cup in this Bacteria Laden Water just by switching to the Cold Water Supply all those Supposed Bacteria Go Away or is Miraculously Transformed to Clean, Clear Drinkable Water out of the very same Spigot?

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Works for me. It's like Mexican beer. You can't drink the water but somehow the beer's OK?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Works for me. It's like Mexican beer. You can't drink the water but somehow the beer's OK?
    The Beer is Distilled. ( is the Cold Water? )
    *Better Stick with Wally World Natural Spring ( New Orleans Tap? ) Water.
    ** Mexican Beer gives me the $$$$$.

    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 03-26-2013 at 08:52 PM.
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Huh?

    The water in the water heater *IS* intended to be consumed. It is the same potable water that is in the cold water lines, only at a different temperature.



    One should run the cold water a some before using it if there are lead soldered copper piping, and letting it run a bit longer when going to use the hot water.
    Lots of people drink bottled water. Are you saying they should bathe in it too?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    The Beer is Distilled. ( is the Cold Water? )
    *Better Stick with Wally World Natural Spring ( New Orleans Tap? ) Water.
    ** Mexican Beer gives me the $$$$$.
    No the beer is brewed, with additives and who knows what. Mouse turds in the hops, no doubt. Yes, I know about bottled water, and I drink filtered cold water because my filter removes some of the chlorine.

    Anyway we were talking about the Al anode in the water heater, and whether it is a health hazard. Are we saying it is, then?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I hope you are kidding ... as that will cause the water heater tank to fail much sooner.....
    Not to be too pickey Jerry, but do you have any test data on that, especially some that shows the effect of metal vs plastic piping?


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Lots of people drink bottled water. Are you saying they should bathe in it too?
    Only Kanucks.
    No the beer is brewed, ?
    Still gives me the $$$$$.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

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    Cool Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    Not to be too pickey Jerry, but do you have any test data on that, especially some that shows the effect of metal vs plastic piping?
    Hot water heater anodes and rust protection

    Not test data but a good overall piece on anode rods. If anodes aren't necessary then why do mfrs put them in and why do those WHs with longer warranties usually have two rods?

    If you pull the anode, you'll have to plug it with brass so the plug won't corrode.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Hot water heater anodes and rust protection

    Not test data but a good overall piece on anode rods. If anodes aren't necessary then why do mfrs put them in and why do those WHs with longer warranties usually have two rods?

    If you pull the anode, you'll have to plug it with brass so the plug won't corrode.
    To answer your first question, as the mfrs don't know where the WH will be installed, they have to allow for the electrolysis action and include sacrificial anodes.

    It would be interesting to see test data using plastic piping. All test data that I have seen, including the references you stated, refer to copper piping.


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    To answer your first question, as the mfrs don't know where the WH will be installed, they have to allow for the electrolysis action and include sacrificial anodes.

    It would be interesting to see test data using plastic piping. All test data that I have seen, including the references you stated, refer to copper piping.
    Rich, are you talking about anodic protection of the system or of the tank? The mfrs. are concerned primarily with protecting any exposed steel in the tank itself. Even with glass lined tanks there are always a few places with exposed steel such as at threaded tappings for the drain, TPR, water pipes and the anode itself if separate. Those areas will corrode without an anode rod regardless of the piping material.

    As for leaks in the system, electrolysis induced leaks are going to be limited to those places where susceptible metals are exposed. If the grid is all plastic, then no electrolysis in the grid but you still have the tank itself to worry about.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Rich, are you talking about anodic protection of the system or of the tank? The mfrs. are concerned primarily with protecting any exposed steel in the tank itself. Even with glass lined tanks there are always a few places with exposed steel such as at threaded tappings for the drain, TPR, water pipes and the anode itself if separate. Those areas will corrode without an anode rod regardless of the piping material.

    As for leaks in the system, electrolysis induced leaks are going to be limited to those places where susceptible metals are exposed. If the grid is all plastic, then no electrolysis in the grid but you still have the tank itself to worry about.
    The sacrificial galvanic action to anode affords cathodic (charged) protection to the storage tank. The process is galvanic corrosion, not electrolysis.

    the "sacrificial" Anode - designed to be sacrificed lower on the galvanic scale.

    No, you never want to be ingesting the products of the sacrificed anode, or aspirating spray or mist from a water heater kept at incubation temperatures.


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post

    No, you never want to be ingesting the products of the sacrificed anode, or aspirating spray or mist from a water heater kept at incubation temperatures.
    But we do everytime we take a shower.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Wink Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Sooo ... don't drink the water but use it for cooking ... ???

    Don't you see the missing link in that logic - as Dr. Spock would say (and be quite correct too) "That's illogical.", or, as Billy Bob would say "Huh? Wha' yo' meen?"



    So let's put all that stuff on the noodles when you rinse the noodles off, or in the pie or other food when you add water, or how about in your tea?

    We all drink chlorine ... at least those of us on municipal water systems ...
    Dr. Spock "That's illogical."
    Billy Bob "Huh? Wha' yo' meen?"

    Yeah, why would we drink a known poison?

    Hi Jerry,

    At the risk to "going-geek" Dr. Spock probably didn't say "That's illogical" or at least not as a noteworthy phrase. Dr. Benjamin Spock 1902-1998 is the famous pediatric pyschoanalyist was born 328 years prior to Mr. Spock, the famous Vulcan. I believe it was Mr. Spock who often used the phrase "that's illogical".

    Be Well and may the force be with you.... oh wait, that's wrong.

    Corey


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    99% of the water heaters come with a magnesium anode rod. In areas where the water has a sulfur content, it will react with the magnesium to create hydrogen sulfide, which gives that distinct rotten egg smell. In most cases plumbers will replace the magnesium rod with an aluminum rod. This will still protect the water heater from corroding from the inside out. It does not matter what piping you have, the tank can and will still corrode. Anode rods should be checked and changed regularly to extend the life of the tank. There are some cases no matter what type of anode rod you have it still will react with the minerals in the water and cause a foul odor. For example in my mothers home, we put an aluminum rod in she still gets a faint odor, but the tank will last her roughly 10 years. When we removed the anode rod completely, she no longer had the smell but the tanks always failed in 5 to 7 years.

    Now to as the location of the anode rod, some brands have the rod attached to a plug located on the top of the heater. Lots of manufactures though wanting to have less tapping's in the tank have attached the anode rod to the supplied nipple on the hot water outlet. The heaters with two anode rods have the tapped hole for one and the other is attached to the hot side nipple.


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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Corey Friedman View Post
    Hi Jerry,

    At the risk to "going-geek" Dr. Spock probably didn't say "That's illogical" or at least not as a noteworthy phrase. Dr. Benjamin Spock 1902-1998 is the famous pediatric pyschoanalyist was born 328 years prior to Mr. Spock, the famous Vulcan. I believe it was Mr. Spock who often used the phrase "that's illogical".

    Be Well and may the force be with you.... oh wait, that's wrong.

    Corey
    Corey,

    You are correct - that would be *Mr.* Spock I am referring to ... oh, and I guess I really need "The Force" to be with me today as I've now made 3 mistakes today here on this forum - Yikes!

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    Now to as the location of the anode rod, some brands have the rod attached to a plug located on the top of the heater. Lots of manufactures though wanting to have less tapping's in the tank have attached the anode rod to the supplied nipple on the hot water outlet. The heaters with two anode rods have the tapped hole for one and the other is attached to the hot side nipple.
    Thanks, Ron. Tanks here last about 11 years. We have soft water from a chain of lakes a big lake. But I am told that the chlorine is what rusts out the tank. I'd like to check if there is any anode left in those 10-12 year old rusted tanks.

    Lots of condo associations order everybody to change out the tank on its 10th anniversary. In that case, why mess with trying to replace the anode.

    Half the time, the rod will hit a shelf and you'd have to go find a rod with hinges on it.

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Ron,
    I am on well water. The water at my mother-in-law apartment developed a strong rotten egg smell. I fixed it by flushing bleach through the system. A house that I stay at when hunting in Wyoming had the same problem and the rancher fixed it by doing the same thing.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Thanks, Ron. Tanks here last about 11 years. We have soft water from a chain of lakes a big lake. But I am told that the chlorine is what rusts out the tank. I'd like to check if there is any anode left in those 10-12 year old rusted tanks.

    Lots of condo associations order everybody to change out the tank on its 10th anniversary. In that case, why mess with trying to replace the anode.

    Half the time, the rod will hit a shelf and you'd have to go find a rod with hinges on it.
    Around here, our water is very hard. Water heaters regularly last 15-19 years. Mine is 16 years old. I found a 40 year old water heater that was still chugging, but of course, I've seen a couple of 5 year old water heaters that were falling apart.

    I've always questioned the benefit of replacing anode rods when by the time a heater is fifteen years old, there always seems to be other issues that recommend replacing it anyway.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Around here, our water is very hard. Water heaters regularly last 15-19 years. Mine is 16 years old. I found a 40 year old water heater that was still chugging, but of course, I've seen a couple of 5 year old water heaters that were falling apart.

    I've always questioned the benefit of replacing anode rods when by the time a heater is fifteen years old, there always seems to be other issues that recommend replacing it anyway.
    pH of the water. Acid side of neutral (esp. with chlorinated by-products) + steel = fast corrosion. Alkaline such as what you describe (and is common to your region) = less corrosion.

    disolved minerals and alkaline pH =less potential difference (as in voltage, electrical charge) = less corrosion (happy steel) .

    Finally, older storage vessels different steel alloys, not necessarily steel, and "glass" (enamel) lining/finish better, in the good-old days, when made-in-the-USA meant something, a brand reputation meant something, and "planned deterioration"/replacement as a corporate income strategy wasn't yet developed. We have since become a consumer-only society, throw-away, and our economy upside down regarding import/export and no where near self-supplying/supporting.

    P.S. regards earlier dicussion wanderings - storage type WH maintain higher bacteria deterring temperature, then route to tempering (mixing) valve at safer to prevent scalding temperature set-point nearer points of use such as faucets, etc. for distribution within home, has been THE recommended method to void incubation of nasties in the system. Reliance on the thermostat for a storage type WH for safe non-scalding hot water temperatures for distribution is not code-compliant, nor safe.

    The EPA, HUD, and public heath authorities have been cautioning AGAINST using HOT WATER for drinking or cooking for DECADES. They have been consistantly advised to flush faucets with cold water before collecting to drink OR cook with. Lead leaching from throughout the distribution to and through the homes and concentrations in addition to the byproducts of sacrificed anodes within WHs and storage tanks as well as copper and a host of other health effects, aggrivated by the use of water which has been stored, or "made hot" concentrated (or just incubated) then distributed.

    Stagnant (essentially dead-end) plumbing renders the system non-potable and considered contaminated. There are different methods for flushing and sanitizing (disinfection) of plumbing system. Hydrogen Peroxide and Hypochlorite (bleach) are two methods, both have differing concentrtions depending on the time the system will be held with same prior to flushing. If your well or well head is (or became) contamated , simply "shocking" may not be the source of the problem, nor adequate correction health-wise.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-24-2013 at 11:43 AM.

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: Hot water heater

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    .....'Stagnant (essentially dead-end) plumbing renders the system non-potable and considered contaminated.....
    H.G. Would be very interested in any references you may on this statement as I am having a similar discussion off-line with others.


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