Water heater rust through in 3 years

The Tank Water heater rust through in 3 years

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  • #23134
    brad6040
    Participant

    I installed 2 new Bradford electric 50 gallon water heaters AND a water softener. 3 years later both water heaters had rusted through at the top where the hot water exits the tank. We pulled the anode and they were basically gone. I replaced 2 Bradford units that were 6 years old (prior to the water softener.) They had no issues I just replaced them out of maintenance thinking they were on the way out.

    The water softener is set to about 150ppm TDS average over the month.

    I also noticed I have 94 mV when measuring the voltage from cold to hot on the outbound heater (the water heaters are in series with a recirculating system) and 45mV from cold to hot on the inbound heater. From cold to ground wire is 94mV and 0mV for hot to ground wire. Same deal for the inbound heater – 45mV from cold to ground and 0mV from hot to ground.

    Do you think the voltage potential could be destroying the heaters or is it the water softener? I wonder if the voltage is created by the water/tanks or externally?

    I’m thinking about the powered anode as the labor for a plumber to replace the rods could cost hundreds of $ every 2 years to avoid the rust out.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    #23135
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello: It seems that as the prior set of heaters lasted six years without failing, it’s unlikely that stray current is the culprit, unless some electrical work was done that is putting current into the lines. Even so, I’d make sure the tanks are bonded and grounded all the way back to the main electrical panel. With that, you should not be able to read any significant current.

    More likely is the softener ate up the anodes quickly and the tanks had no choice but to rust. 😕 I’ve seen anodes completely used up in six months with softened water, though usually they last more like two years.

    I do think powered anodes are a good solution, but the job of replacing anodes is not difficult if you take the time with new tanks to unscrew the anodes, apply teflon tape and reinstall before they are put into service. This will make replacement later rather simple. Still, the costs do add up if you need to replace sacrificial rods every two years.

    Yours, Larry

    #23137
    brad6040
    Participant

    Thanks Larry. You pretty much confirmed my fears – the stray current might accelerate the issue but the culprit is the softener.

    I plan to do the deal on the powered anode. I can take another leak as they are I the attic and the damage last time was almost as expensive as the heater replacement labor. It’s been a year so I may as well get going on it before the damage is done.

    I think I saw the product for sale on their web site.

    #23138
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hi: Randy sells powered rods elsewhere on this site, so I’d look at that. Heaters in the attic really want to be on drain pans! 😎

    Yours, Larry

    #23140
    KULTULZ
    Participant

    A water softener also changes the pH of the water and the water may become acidic if not monitored and/or the water softener is not calibrated correctly (there is no plug and play).

    #23185
    brad6040
    Participant

    I noticed these guys sell an anode monitoring kit.

    http://www.performancemetals.com/waterheaters/WHProducts.shtml#powersupply

    I wonder if it would actually work.

    #23186
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    It doesn’t much matter whether it does or not. I tried to market this some years back. Nobody was interested, and at the price, I could see their point. It’s far cheaper to use regular anodes and check them yearly, or to use a powered anode.

    Randy Schuyler

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