Baffled

The Tank Baffled

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  • #23298
    Crouch
    Participant

    Is it safe to keep operating a water heater if two pieces (one medium sized, one small) of the baffle were found on the floor of the combustion chamber? Does the baffle assembly even need to be replaced?

    I have an AO Smith GPS 75 200 that’s about 10 years old. It has a power vent on top and recirculating hot water connections.

    When I looked into the combustion chamber to sandpaper the flame arrestor when we didn’t have hot water a couple of months ago, I noticed two burned reddish pieces of metal at the bottom of the combustion chamber.

    Since then the water heater has been working fine, and I’d prefer to keep using it until it dies (it’s an expensive unit – prob about $1800 with installation).

    Since it’s ten years old, I’d also prefer not to spend money on it replacing the baffle (the replacement baffle and flue assembly goes for $120 online, plus plumber cost of another $150 or so?) but would do that if you experienced people think that replacement is important and that there’s likely a few more years in the water heater (which has been very reliable to date despite little to no maintenance by me).

    I realize it might be slightly less efficient without those small baffle pieces but if that’s the only real downside of keeping everything the way it is now, I’m ok with that. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    #23303
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    It’s probably not dangerous. It may lower the efficiency of the heater a little because the baffle slows heat transfer. But you ought to be thinking about replacing the anode. If you do that regularly, the heater will last much, much longer and spending $44 to avoid spending $1800 is a pretty good bargain.

    Randy Schuyler

    #23306
    Crouch
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply. You think it’s worth replacing the anode despite the unit being 10 years old already? If so, I’ll give it a try and hope that I don’t break something that right now doesn’t seem to need fixing.

    Not sure how easy it is to replace the anode on this tank for a non-handy person but if I can get a few more years of use on the tank that’d be great.

    Assuming I’m able to change the anode successfully, would you also suggest me trying to change the baffle and flue assembly myself for the cost of the part ($120), or is that likely an order of magnitude more difficult esp. considering the blower on top?

    #23309
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    Just do the anode. Again, you’re talking about a $40 part or an $1800 water heater. If you question why it needs to be done, it’s time to educate yourself a bit. Using the Water Heater Basics link at the left side of the Tank topics index, go there and read the Anodes and Sediment pages. As to getting the anode out, use the Tanklets link and read Removing Stubborn Anodes.

    Randy Schuyler

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