Replaceing 36 year old Electric Hot Water

jtablerNovember 18, 2010

We moved in the spring to our 1974 built house. I just had an energy audit done to determine drafts. The guy was really pushing for a heat pump hot water heater due to tax credits and $300 rebate from the electric company, but our partially finished basement is usually a steady 68-62. I'm not sure the heat pump HWH would be a good choice for the premium, additional noise, and non-traditional requirements (space, drainage).

Our 36 year old Westinghouse 80 gallon tank works just fine. We've got hard water. I'm not sure if it's every been maintained. I'd like to replace it, but I'm reading really poor reviews of early failure of every model on sites like Lowes and Home Depot. Are these just cheap "builder's grade" choices. Does anyone have a brand/type that is really efficient to recommend? I'd like to be informed before I running to the plumber with any old choice. Perhaps I'll make it a DIY project.

I'm guessing everyone hear will say replace it now before it leaks, right? Maybe this thing will keep on running?

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That may be a world record for water heater life...but don't count on it not's long overdue and may not be very efficient at this stage after all this time. I won't advise you on a replacement brand, but you should think about putting in a new one soon.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 6:24PM
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I suggest you look into a Marathon hot water heaters if you feel inclined to replace yours. They are lifetime warrantied and highly efficient by today's standards. I replaced an AO Smith that was 30 years old (tank never did leak) with one of the Marathons. You can shut the power off to one of those for a week and have hot water when you get back. They are well insulated. Many utilities recommend them and some give rebates if you install one.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:07AM
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I definitely question the efficiency. As for lifespan, for all I know, the former owners drained it every year and replaced the heating elements several times. Maybe they did nothing, but it's definitely a work horse! I realize that I'm living on borrowed time with this thing.

I'll check out these Marathon hot water heaters.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:33AM
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