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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Indirect Water Heater Failure

    I just experienced my first failure of an indirect water heater. The unit is a Bock and had been installed in 2000. The TPR on the boiler was discharging and flooded (1/8") the basement.
    It turns out the coil inside the water heater failed allowing city water (@ 85psi) to enter and over pressure the boiler.
    Looks like an anode got used up and corrosion caused the coil to deteriorate.
    The manufacturer requires periodic inspection of the anode rod in order to maintain the warranty.
    I will no longer tell clients that their indirect water heater is virtually maintenance free.
    Not much left of the anode.
    Prior to the failure the local water company was sold and we went from artesian well water to reservoir water. I know the Ph changed to slightly acid from slightly base.
    We also noticed a slight amount of gas (air) mixed with the water when first opening the kitchen tap. Quite a mess that could have been prevented by routine maintenance.
    Does anyone check their anode rods?


    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN

    Default Re: Indirect Water Heater Failure

    I don't know of any inspector that would check the anode rod, even those with a plumbing background. It is one of the many latent defects that home inspectors are faced with.

    But, as with any mechanical item it will breakdown at sometime. That water heater was 14 years old, regardless if it is a conventional tank type or tankless it had reached what I would call it's expected life.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado

    Default Re: Indirect Water Heater Failure

    Around here, 15 years is a safe average to use for the expected life of a water heater. My own WH was still in good shape at 19 years when I replaced it (I wanted a larger one) but I've seen them die at 6 years. So, when I tell clients what the average is, I add that averages are created by some dying sooner and some living longer.

    Conclusion, no news with your example dying at 14 years. It was time........say some words over it if you feel like you need to and toss it in the dump for burial.

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    New Mexico

    Default Re: Indirect Water Heater Failure

    Sounds mostly like a failure to allow for water coming out of the RV on the boiler. If it was piped outside or to a floor drain, the basement wouldn't have gotten flooded.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA


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