hot water tank corrosion

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    • #273243
      Avatar photoAnonymous

        I am on well water with a high iron content. I have two electric hot water tanks. The elements burn out regularly. The tanks corrode through every five years. The annode in the current leaky tank looks fine except for a thick coating of rust. Is there any relief from having to change the tanks regularly?
        [Edited by NelsA on 22 July 2000]

      • #287176
        Avatar photoSylvanLMP

          As much as I am against fly by nights selling filtration “systems”

          I strongly suggest you have a simple filter installed PRIOR to going into the heaters.

          A carbon type or other MINERAL removing type should work wonders.

          I am not that concerned about the elements getting encrusted BUT the relief valve having the probe encapsulated would be a real safety concern.

          By having the probe “insulated” with mineral deposits the T&P cannot operate properly as designed for the following reasons.

          1- The element (probe) can no longer get an accurate temperature reading

          2- The T&P outlet (inside) the tank maybe reduced in diameter due to deposits on the inside of the relief causing a very severe restriction in case your relief valve has to go off for a pressure related problem.

          This is something that should be addressed ASAP

        • #287177
          Avatar photoNelsA

            I have been manualy opening the relief valve every week or two for just that reason, to clear the hole of any deposits. I’ll get a filter, and a new relief valve when I get the new tank tommorrow. Do you think this will slow the corrosion factor? Does the coating on the annode inhibit it’s performace? Much thanks for the help.

          • #287178
            Avatar photoSylvanLMP

              The filter is the key to protecting your tank. You may have to go for a duel cartridge type. One to remove sediment and the other to remove finer particles. TRY to get a clear case filter so you can see when it needs to be replaced.

              When I install a filter system I use 2 gauges one prior to the filters and one after them so I know my pressure loss for a clean filter and for a blocked up one so YOU know you will have a constant supply of water to the tanks.

              You should also get your water tested. Not only for
              iron it might also be acid.

              If that is the problem you may have to neutralize the water with a calcium bed and then soften
              with salt and sodium bisulfilte (super iron out) to get that water clear as the iron could be
              in ionic form and may not be filtered out. If all else fails CALL the culligan man .

              GOOD LUCK and have a great week end.

            • #287179
              Avatar photoGuest

                Hey Sylvan. The Culligan man was my nephew. That stuff is marvelous. When you live with the water in those areas, it causes much destress to the pipes. You continue to amaze me. When all else fails, you know that the elements of plumbing may be more in depth than plumbing. The Water and the water filtration systems make sense in this case. Who was that guy that recently was selling those systems for hospitals. He may come in handy now. Hard water, soft water and mineral water. they all have their bad points. You are a very brilliant dude, even if you weren’t a plumber. Just a closing note to let you know that I certainly enjoy your writing. Your content is excellent. If the persons reading your posts are highly intelligent, they will read between the lines with your humor. You know what you are talking about 99.9% of the time. The other .01% of the time, you’re just yanking their chain. I hope they smarten up and learn to learn from you. It’s great having free lessons from an expert. Wish I had you around in my younger years. You make me realize that I was just a mediocre plumber.
                Never to old to learn

              • #287180
                Avatar photoSylvanLMP

                  Thank you “Pops”..

                  Your great knowing I love pulling the chains to get folks thinking.

                  POPS Your a SWELL guy for saying all those kind words thank you.

                  Actually you and I both know NO ONE can learn everything there is to know about plumbing BUT it is fun trying.

                  I am positive you are a fantastic plumber and set the pace for the new comers.

                  No matter how much we try plumbing is one of the few professions we just scratch the surface learning as we cannot learn it all ever.

                  Thank you again. Sylvan

                • #287181
                  Avatar photoNelsA

                    I got the new tank. It’s glass lined so hopefuly it will last longer. I’m going to install a duel filter on the whole water system. I’ll check into the softener, as we have the hydrogen ion problem (sulfer smell)
                    I’m well aware of what sacrificial anodes are for as I’m a machinist for a marine company. My concern is that the anode in the old tank looks as good as the day it was made, except that it was coated with rust. It might as well have been made of stainless steel for all the good it did.
                    Thanks again for your advice.
                    [Edited by NelsA on 24 July 2000]

                  • #287182
                    Avatar photoSylvanLMP

                      Hi NelsA,

                      If you don’t mind a suggestion. Don’t bother filtering the whole system as your only going to use over 50% for your toilet WHY Filter toilet water?

                      Now I would suggest point of use filters OR a dedicated line for the toilets.

                      I have some great shower head type filters that remove chlorine and sediment from the water BUT that’s only part of it, You could filter only the hot water and water leading to your kitchen sink OR a point of use on your kitchen sink with its own spout.

                      I find whole house filtration systems a complete waste of money ESPECIALLY if your also using this same water for gardening. Hey its just another option LOL Have a great one.

                    • #287183
                      Avatar photoNelsA

                        The hot water tank corrosion and iron clogging are only part of the problem. I have copper and plastic lines in my house. The plastic lines have been converted from plastic to copper connectors some years back and one connection has corroded through already. I get green stains in my shower from the copper pipe being eaten away by the water (this happens mainly in winter). On top of this when the rainy season starts in the fall the water turns murky. This doesn’t bother us as I have a filter on the water for the fridge. It does however plug the washing machine lines.
                        I am mostly concerned about the copper lines being eaten away. I figure if I solve that problem the hot water tank problem will also be solved. It’s like sitting on a time bomb. It’s just a matter of time til the lines start leeking.
                        I’ve been looking into filtration a bit. Reverse osmosis looks like it might help the problem, but so far it looks more like a commercial option rather than domestic.
                        Once I get a little background knowledge I’ll talk to the Culligan man.
                        Any info you can throw my way on this will help me make an intelligent choice.

                      • #287184
                        Avatar photoSylvanLMP

                          Be careful who you buy your filtration system from.
                          A lot of mutts try to over sell filters using scare tactics.

                          Every plumbing supply sells some type of filter and I found point of use works wonders.

                          Imagine the poor slobs who installed an RO system cause some sales man scared the wife saying her kids were drinking poison ONLY later to find out that the cause of the high lead content was from the distribution piping after the filters.

                          Try to keep the filter system as simple as possible only going after the actual stuff you want removed. Good luck

                        • #287185
                          Avatar photoGuest

                            I see in the Grainier catalog a plastic tank electric water heater made by Marathon. It is guarenteed never to leak. Since it is plastic, it doesn’t need an anode rod. Seems well insulated and efficient. The bad news is that it carries about a $150 premium over a conventional water heater.

                            Don’t know if this would be good for your problem or not. Has anybody had any experience with these? Are they worth the extra money? Or are they only worth it if you have corrosive water?

                            One recommendation for elements is to use the premimum grade, extra long type. The kind that fold back on themselves. In theory, some of these never fail. I haven’t tested that theory.


                          • #287186
                            Avatar photohj

                              They are not guaranteed never to leak, they are lifetime guaranteed. There is a big difference. The connections will crack at which time they will give you a new tank, but you have to pay to have it installed or install it yourself. I had a customer who bought a house partly because it had a Sears Lifetime water heater. After about 6 months, the plastic connectors began leaking inside the shell. Sears’ lifetime warrantee ended when the original buyer sold the house.

                            • #287187
                              Avatar photoNelsA

                                I’ve used the longer folded back type elements and had them blow holes right through them. But then I have a real problem with iron buildup in the tank

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