Mfgr Warranty question

The Tank Mfgr Warranty question

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    I love this site! Like most people, I was completely ignorant of tank maintenance until I found waterheater rescue. This is why I am writing now…

    I am contemplating replacing an unmaintained (my ignorance of such matters) 10 year old (installed 1098) natural gas Reliance 501 40 gal tank and was wondering about making modifications to a brand new tank. Specifically, has anybody had difficulty with a manufacturer about warranty work on a modified tank?

    I have read extensively on this site and looked into seeing if I needed to replace the tank. My problem is the location of the tank in the closet and access to the hex rod. Space is very cramped and it would be almost impossible to use a breaker bar to loosen the oreiginal rod.

    We have had some issues with the water temperature not staying constant. Recently we’ver been getting warm water for a few minutes and then cold water. If we let the tank sit for about an hour, the temperature comes up to normal and works fine for the rest of the day. Next day, same problem. I am wondering if there may be issues with the dip tube deteriorating.

    I’ve checked the burner flame and it is strong, blue and even, no yellow to speak of. The bottom of the tank looks to be in god shape as described in your inspection section. There is obviously some sediment in the tank since it pops and burbles while heating. I see no signs of leakage anywhere. Output water is clear and has no odor.

    I intend to attempt to flush some of the sediment out as soon as I get the parts to replace the plastic drain valve with a ball valve. I will also test the T&P valve (with a replacement valve in hand.

    To make this long story short(er), I am weighing the matter of simply replacing the tank and starting out fresh with all the recommended mods, versus going through the process of inspecting, diagnosing and repairing/modifying the Reliance tank.

    Cost is not an issue here, I have sufficient funds saved to replace and modify a new tank, this is more a matter of convenience since I am partially handicapped. I am still able to do many of the things I used to do, but I tend to look for easier, more convenient ways to accomplish difficult tasks. I have the skills to repair or replace; I just need an assistant to help with the heavy lifting.

    So what do you folks think? Inspect/repair/modify, or replace with a modified new tank?

    Any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Randy Schuyler

    First the warranty issue, then everything else. I once asked a Rheem rep if adding a second anode and curved dip tube would void the warranty. He said it would only if you did something to the tank that would shorten its life, like not tightening the fittings enough so that they leaked. Beyond that, though, the only thing that would be noticeably altered would be the drain valve. The anode and curved dip tube have plastic-lined nipples that look exactly like factory nipples except that they don’t have heat traps in them, and sometimes those are troublesome and people remove them anyway.

    But it doesn’t sound as if you really need to replace this tank unless you just want to. You might consider renting or buying an impact wrench. Those will usually take out a hex anode and don’t take up as much space as a breaker bar. If you have 12 inches overhead clearance, you can use a flex anode to replace what’s in there.

    As to the warm water problem, that is not a dip tube issue but a deadband issue, which is described in detail under Temperature Fluctuations in Tanklets. You’re kind of stuck with it, but it’s not a hundred percent certain that you wouldn’t get it again with a new tank. If you simply run hot water somewhere for a little about 10 minutes before you shower, that will solve it.

    Randy Schuyler


    Thanks for the fast reply!

    I will do my detective work before committing to buy a new tank. As for the deadband issue, how much of an issue is it to buy a replacement thermostat and swap it out?

    As far as headroom, the closet is pretty much open to the attic, so I doubt that a rigid anode rod would be a problem.

    If I decide top keep the old tank I’ll probably go ahead and modify the input and output plumbing to have a shutoff and a heat trap.

    I’ve notice so talk of in-line filters for the cold water input. have you had any experience with these? Seems to me that one may impact the flow rate a bit.

    Larry Weingarten

    Hello: Checking the condition of the anode in your current tank will let you know if it’s time to repair or replace. As to filters, if there is actually sand or grit coming into the tank and cold plumbing a whole house filter could help. Sediment forms in the tank because heating drives dissoived solids out of suspension. A normal filter doesn’t remove dissolved solids. Softening or reverse osmosis can, but there are side effects like faster anode consumption with softened water or high cost of a whole house RO system. And, you’re right that filters, particularly dirty ones, can reduce available flow. Hope that helps 😉

    Yours, Larry

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