water heater lasted 3 months, had titanium anode rod installed

The Tank water heater lasted 3 months, had titanium anode rod installed

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  • #21792
    mikef135
    Participant

    Hi Guys,

    Replaced my old water heater recently (3 months ago). It started leaking out of the top and yesterday replaced it with the same model. I swapped out the anode rod with the titanium rod in the one that died after 3 months. The titanium rod has been in 3 water heaters now – old house, new house (had existing water heater but was good for 1 year). The green light was on the whole time indicating it should be good BUT I remember asking a question awhile back where you guys found there were some units that were solid green but yet still bad. Is there anyway I can “bench test” the unit before re-installing in my replacement heater? I am a EE so if you have a bench test circuit I can put together (or I would be willing to even buy an “external” tester from you) just to be sure this thing is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Could also ship it back to double check too – if that is the path of least resistance here let me know although would like to be able to externally test locally.

    I also have another titanium rod in the smaller water heater in my kitchen that has been running w/o issue for a couple years now. I soften the water down to 0 GPG as well (which I know you guys don’t agree with) but did install a mixer when I transported over the softener to our new place so if I have to turn that on to avoid quickly dying water heaters I may do that.

    I suspect the Rheem was just poorly constructed but exploring options at this point as something went horribly wrong here and I don’t have the standard “hard water” configuration.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rheem-Performance-Platinum-50-gal-Tall-12-Year-40-000-BTU-Energy-Star-Natural-Gas-Water-Heater-XG50T12DM40U0/204318411

    Thanks guys,

    -Mike

    #21793
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    There can be other factors in a water heater’s demise beside the anode and I should run down those with you, but I totally agree that you need to test it, and I do have a set of instructions for that. Could you e-mail me so that I can attach them, as well as discuss this further? This is not normal. I’ve sold several thousand of these and it’s very rare to have a tank fail.

    Just for the edification of everybody here, though, I’ll add a little more. I wouldn’t blame Rheem especially, but all the manufacturers expect to have some heaters fail due to defect. They call them leakers, and it’s one reason they offer a warranty.

    I fully assume that every powered anode is going into a water heater where the water is softened to zero, because most softening techs won’t go to the trouble of adding plumbing to mix in some unsoftened water. They have also told me directly that they think zero is a good thing.

    It’s now seven hours after I first posted this and having thought some more, I decided I ought to elaborate here rather than privately by e-mail. My guess is that the third water heater was indeed a leaker because any water heater, even without any anode at all, would last longer than three months.

    That said, I’d like you to test for pressure and thermal expansion, because the middle water heater should have lasted a lot longer than one year. You can do that by using the Tanklets link on the left side of the Tank topics index and then clicking on Temperature/Pressure Relief Valves. The test is fairly easy to make. Pressure is a hidden killer of water heaters that nobody usually thinks about.

    Randy Schuyler

    #21799
    mikef135
    Participant

    Hi Randy,

    Thanks for sending me those test instructions. Looking them over I think you may have sent these a long time ago as they look familiar!

    The “middle” water heater lasted just over 6 years in total. After I got around to re-installing the softener I put the powered anode rod and the heater lasted a year or so beyond that before it failed. The water heater had a 6 year warranty.

    I have an expansion tank that I charged to line PSI. I have house pressure set to 60 PSI and can tell from the toilets and such that that is still valid. The 6 year lasting water heater also had a hard life as the pressure from the city was 120 before I added the pressure regulator.

    I tend to agree with you that I just got a bad water heater. Without any anode at all it should have enough metal to rust thru a lot longer before leaking I would think. I also pulled out the cold water inlet nipple and saw no rust (in an attempt to possibly repair it). The anode rod threads looked rust free as well.

    I will report back when I get a chance to revisit – may be awhile though – am stable for now and have a 1 year old to contend with!

    Thanks for the excellent support over the years.

    #21800
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    Thank you. When it comes to the powered anode I sell, I have a high-enough degree of confidence in it that I’m not afraid to confront possible issues. I really DISlike appearing as if I’m hiding something or just trying to make excuses.

    If I had bought the thing, and had had it in three heaters, all of which broke, I’d be madder than a hornet and be here saying kinds of awful things about junk. So thank you for your forebearance.

    All of these, almost, go into water softened to zero, and there is no way to know, most of the time, the condition of a tank at the time of installation. I might discount the first heater on that. I might discount the third one as a leaker. It was the middle one that was bothering me. High pressure could account for that one.

    Now, however, when you get the warranty replacement for the leaker, test with the meter and tell me what you find. For a 50-gallon, I don’t think anything special will need to be done, but I want to be sure.

    Randy Schuyler

    #21801
    mikef135
    Participant

    Note the first water heater the powered anode rod was in for a few years at our old place (now a rental) is still running strong. I moved the softener, took my powered anode rod and stuck the original rod back in that heater before I moved. So just the 2nd (last year of 6) and 3rd (3 mo) heaters it was in are in question. My mini-electric one has the powered anode rod and it has been good for 5 years with a year downtime during the move and still working great for instant hot in the kitchen.

    I have the replacement Rheem now with the stock anode rod. Just need to find the time to air impact wrench the stock anode rod out and get some data. I will post back what I find.

    Thanks again Randy,

    -Mike

    #21802
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    Thank you. I understand better now. It made a lot of sense to take the anode with you, considering what it costs.

    Randy Schuyler

    #21962
    mikef135
    Participant

    To all following this thread. I wanted to share the final outcome here.

    * The powered anode rod (with green light on) field tested bad. It was a version #2 powered anode rod

    * Randy replaced the powered anode rod under 7 year warranty and I installed it. I field tested it (simply just read two voltages – I think the voltages correlate to input vs output voltage but that is just a hunch)

    * I asked if it was ok to continuously monitor the powered anode rod (IE: always field testing). I got the ok from Randy and his engineer. I also drew up a test circuit diagram and got the ok on that for the Version #4 rod.

    * I implemented this continuous monitoring circuit today and feel much better that I can just look on the back wall where my water heater is located and quickly tell the health of the powered anode rod.

    Other points:

    * I strongly believe the bad powered anode rod took out the last two tanks.

    * I run my home with 0GPG softened water

    * I think with 0GPG soft water and a Rheem 50 Gallon tank, w/o a working anode rod the tank will leak in 3 months. In my case it didn’t leak clean (like from the bottom as usual). It leaked from the top, avoided the pan and caused some staining of the drywall – I caught the leak relatively quickly so thankfully not too much damage. Irritating though as I have a drain pan underneath the heater and a pipe to route the water off the platform. No guarantees the water will follow the path you want!

    All in all am now happy with my new setup. I will update this thread if anyone asks for more info or I have it myself. Hopefully the new powered anode outlives me but will be watching it like a hawk from here on out.

    -Mike

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