Coping: Water Heater Recycling Challenge

Time for us to gavel-in another meeting of our Board of Directors.  Since you’re still reading, congratulations! You have just joined the Board.

A short agenda for this morning’s meeting: We have an old water heater that came out of the Brother-in-Law’s apartment when he noticed (before disaster struck thankfully) that there was water around the inlet and outlet pipes.  Tightening didn’t resolve it.

Sure enough, this cheaply made POS had started to leak exactly at the warranty expiration. Funny how that works, eh?


This is a short 110V tank that is ideal for our application.

But now that it leaks, what to do with it?

Elaine has been contemplating the problem: Best she’s come up with is to get some paint and turn it into some kind of yard art. I could weld on some re-bar and we could make a fake robot to guard the property…you know, fanciful stuff like that. Maybe get a fake head from a Halloween shop. Put that up with the robot-legs and arms. Silly, ain’t it? Hang a power cord of it, too…

Actually sounds like fun…but we DO have real projects with something more than a high-camp Art payoff to it. Things like money and food rank higher on my LOSTD (list of stuff to do).

But there are other ideas:

One is to tear it up and turn it into a smoker.

Maybe a small fire pit. But it’s hard to beat the 55-gallon drums for that, so don’t need it. And in terms of BBQ, we have a kick-butt stainless steel grill and this fall, I will set up the stainless steel propane stove with oven.  These may out live us.

Even have a spare rocket stove, too, so in terms of prepping, it’s hard to find a hole there.

In terms of water storage, we thought about a low pressure system for catching water. But we have a 500-gallon plastic unit for that, so no joy down that road.

We have a yet-to-be installed small cast iron box stove (and the ceiling pass-through kit) so no point in trying to weld it into a stove or burning device of any kind.

Which gets us to the real bottom line here for our Monday morning agenda: What should we do with it?

Post comments and suggestions: This is a free call, operators are standing by, void where prohibited, member FDIC, license number1234567u, see details at dealership.

Life-Span Warrantees?

My experience with this small water heater is more than somewhat problematic. We have another one in the “big house” which is also one of the compact variety. No, not because it was cheaper. It just made sense to us that we didn’t need to pay to keep 55-gallons of hot water hot all the time when 45 gallons would do us just fine. How much can two people (most of the time) use, anyway? We have never run out of hot water yet, even with guests.

Still, the failure of this one leads me to start shopping for a replacement. Know how you get the “itchy hairs on the back of your neck” when something is nearing the end of its lifespan? Had one of those…

The problem is everything I have found in the form-factor I want is in the five-year or seven-year warranty range.

A little shopping around the Home Depot website revealed something interesting: Watyer Heater manufacturers seem to have warranties based on price.

Rheem, for example offers (near as I can figure it):

  • A Performance line with a 6 year warranty.
  • A Performance Plus line with 9 years coverage.
  • A Platinum line which has 12-years worth.
  • And their Marathon line with a Lifetime Warranty.

Westinghouse marketing isn’t so spread-out: Cheapie unites with 5 or six years or Lifetime. Damned if I can remember when we put ours in which one we got. But I didn’t see a Rheem short Marathon unit at the time…but a few things have run on those neurons besides which water heaters warranty level, know what I mean? I think it’s Westinghouse which means it could fail any minute.

Our current water heater has been in five years…and value engineering is really P&L-speak for “things that break 10-minutes after the warranty poops out…

I sort of “get that” but I am troubled by companies turning out products that are likely to fail at 5 or 6 years (maybe they’d go 7, but we don’t know). The reason this is troublesome is that if we really live in a world where quality and consideration of the environment means something other than political jargon-spew, shouldn’t we all be on the Lifetime products bandwagon by now?

Elaine picked something off one of the channels she was watching last week that goes along the same line: France is about to become the first country in the world to outlaw plastic utensils and dishware for take-out by 2020.

I was shocked at this, but sure enough (Elaine is never wrong) the facts are revealed in an Associated Press story here.

This little run-in with the possibility of a new water heater got me to thinking seriously about whether we should – as a country – enact some minimum service life (MSL) requirements on certain kinds of products.

Just look at how many water heaters or mowers or OMG drills you buy in a lifetime.  WTF?  Even cars, OMG cars…don’t start me there.

It would be good for the environment and while a bit of pain at first, it would actually change how the world of manufacturing (and their value engineering BS) as well as maximum consumption marketing work.

I’ll give you another one: Familiar whine with me: After four years of use my Briggs and Stratton powered Husqvarna riding mower wouldn’t start. Not being that guy who takes everything to a specialist (which no one but God could afford, anyway), I got to the root of the problem.

It was a $9 gear that is made of plastic and sits on top of the starter motor.


I called Briggs and asked for their PR department (this was a couple of year back, but I’ve sworn off B&S products until they get this fixed) I was given some gibberish about how a “metal gear wouldn’t work.:

Horse crap.

My car, truck, airplane, tractor, generator and so forth all managed to figure out how to use a METAL starting gear…so why couldn’t they?

One of our readers works for Kubota over in Georgia…I offered to hook them up so they could learn something. No bites.

But this all folds-in to a Monday whine of mine: we have a global economy that is about to be flushed, just as soon as the Big Money people pull off this charade of an election.

Once that happens, they will trash the economy, we will all become even more the tax slaves we are (like we’re not already) and be beholden even more to the rich who will crap down hill on us. (If the you miss the reference, drink more coffee…)  Then a “bail-in” because they will convince the stupid it is needed – just like you need a car-jacking, too.

Some things,  like national health care good ideas – if you get insurance profiteers out of the middle of it.

Same with good pharmacology: It’s a fine thing if you bar statistical consultants from twisting the math to “prove efficacy” (You didn’t know they were out there?  Yeah, they’re really out there…) then MAYBE we could get on with getting some things fixed.

But seriously?

  • A phone with a 7-month useful life?
  • Riding mowers trying to die at five?
  • Water heaters that go out at 6-years?
  • Big screens that last three or four?

I’m blessed with some technical ability so my three matching 28-inch monitors I’ve had about six years are all working fine with rebuilt power supplies.  How many people do you know who have a soldering station, solder wick, and can work on things at t5he board level.  I mean besides you and me?  This is the great planet wrecker…building stuff to break.

Imagine:  If things all lasted twice as long, we could work half as hard…that sure appeals to me…

So answer me this:Why isn’t there a MSL (minimum service life, remember?) requirement that forbids manufacturers from making things that are designed to fail?

It could be phased in…and yes, that would mean we would have to amp up an arts and spiritual products approach to replace the designed-to-fail economy.

But it’s about to fail anyway, so why not just buy super quality, so when collapse happens, you will still have quality stuff that works and can be used for a while…

OK, don’t wind me up too much: Anger is bad, blood pressure is high enough, and it’s Monday. Time to rise and shine and put on the thin verneer of civilization that makes it possible to get through the day for the crowds that take Paxil, Welbutrin, and carry concealed.

Did I mention my (trial balloon) idea that no one on mood altering drugs should be allowed access to firearms? “If you can’t cope, you can’t carry” would be a decent slogan. Go possession of firearms with a blood alcohol level same as driving, too, while we’re talking common sense.

Ah…too hard these questions for a Monday. We’ll save that rap for a rainy day this winter.

Write when you get rich,

53 thoughts on “Coping: Water Heater Recycling Challenge”

  1. Careful with the water heater cut up…they have a thin glass coating inside (at least mine did) that sure makes cutting them “interesting”. I cut the ends off, slit the side and scrunched it smaller to slide into a culvert pipe that was damaged by a heavy truck. Made a great form to pour concrete for repair. Been there @ 20 years and still hasn’t rusted away.

  2. “Life-Span Warrantees?”

    Boy tell me about it.. five years ago I bought a major brand that advertises how wonderful they are.. best dish washing unit they made.. right off the four dollar gasket was leaking.. during manufacture they put the wrong one in.. so call the company seems that they don’t have any reps in our area so they had to send a repairmant three hundred and fifty miles to check it out find out it was a four dollar item then order it.. drive back wait for it to get there then three weeks later drive down put it in.. three months after that.. it just stop’s.. so I called again.. this time the guy from 350 miles couldn’t make it so they got one that is over four hundred miles to make the journey.. it was the circuit board.. again they make the journey back and a month or so later come back put the circuit board in.. three months after that.. the same thing happened this time there was a huge fight since none of the representitives wanted to make that kind of drive to fix the unit.. finally they guy from chicago came.. and yes it was the circuit board..thats when he said yes they have a design flaw with this model of dishwasher..where their is moisture that gets on the board..well luckily the major company said it wasn’t worth fixing and gave us our money back.. we went and bought the cheapest model on the market and its been a work horse.. I bought the extended warrenty..
    the same year I bought that expensive dishwasher that was worthless.. I bought another major appliance three years ago a new washing machine and dryer.. I bought the most expensive one they sold but like a fool didn’t get the extended warranty .. a month after we got it..something was lodged in the pump.. so a guy came out and discovered when they built the pump something must have fallen out of the assemblyman’s work apron and was in it.. I figured shoot I better get the extended warranty only to discover I had to buy it the moment I got it.. well two weeks ago.. I had a coin or something in my pocket.. it got lodged in the pump stopping it from going through the cycle.. a simple fix for someone that knows how to get at the pump but since this darn thing has to be totally dissasembled to get at it.. I had to call a repairman.. he of course tells me what the charges will be.. two hundred to get to the door.. a hundred an hour with an hour being charged for the first hour whether they are there ten minutes etc.. then half hour increments.. plus parts.. if they have to order the part.. then it is another hundred plus for revisit and another hour minimum ..if they have to take it into the shop there is another fee for bench work.. so at the least it was going to be over five hundred dollars on a machine I paid over a thousand for three years ago to take a coin of screw out of the pump.. needless to say the wife and I sat down and talked.. and decided the heck with that noise went out and bought the cheapest washer they make bought the five year extended warranty on it for under a hundred dollars and let them drag the thousand plus dollar beautiful unit away..
    Now I still have an old wringer washer that is almost as old as me.. that sits in the garage.. you know if I put a hose on it.. it still works like the day it was bought..

    • Those old wringer washers are priceless and you can water the garden with them. Thanks for sharing your experiences. We can learn from them. Buy old, buy refurbished, fix it ourselves.

  3. Three years ago our fridge, dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, water softener and water heater all failed during a six month period. All 6.5 to 7 years old. As angry as I was I couldn’t help but admire how good they have become with planned obsolescence. This has created another problem for the economy that might be going unseen. People like me are becoming minimalists, choosing to purchase many multiples less “stuff” and moving toward a much more Spartan lifestyle of higher quality “stuff” at least partially to avoid the frustration of things for failing way to soon. Example, I have a very simple flip-phone. No desktop, no laptop, just a tablet. Designing a small, zero energy home for “empty nesting” Which means getting rid of the 3500 square foot house in the suburbs we where foolish enough to purchase back when we still bought into the BS version of the American dream we are all being sold.

    • I have downsized over the years. Like you, I had a big house with lots of “stuff”. Most of what I really care about at this point in life would fit in the back of my old pick up truck or around my kitchen table. I found as I shed stuff and scraped off people who drove me crazy (buried a few) I have been much happier.

      Hope others catch on and get off the treadmill.

      • I have been divorced a couple of times. Cleaned out every time. Its a most liberating feeling to be rid of all the “stuff” you accumulate.

    • We are downsizing, too, going from a 1640 sq. ft house to an 1150 sq. ft. house but with an acre of land for a garden and some chickens.

      We have been done with consumption for quite some time but it does pay to cultivate relationships with a mechanic, a plumber, an electrician, and a nurse or doctor and get familiar with your local farmers market producers including local beekeepers. I just got a full annual physical with complete blood work including sugar, thyroid panel, hormones, and Vitamin D for $326.00. No insurance. We cannot afford what The State is pushing ( like a pusher) – there is ALWAYS another way. Oh AND my cholesterol dropped 120 points WITHOUT cholesterol lowering drugs!!!

  4. “ice life, remember?) requirement that forbids manufacturers from making things that are designed to fail?
    It could be phased in”

    It use to be like that..It use to be you bought a tv when it went out you took it to the tv repairman to be fixed.. then nafta went into being.. high profits for those at the top.. why not increase our profits by selling more..
    the one percent are dancing on the grave of american industry for the almighty dollar..and I think every once in a while whipping out their little willy and wizzing on the laborers and middle class that are crying for jobs to come back.. well take see if we care.. the legislators are in our pockets..
    That is why I like the Donald.. tax incoming goods and services, tax those that choose to hide their riches in offshore accounts you make a dollar here you pay tax here..and give tax breaks to american industry and limit benefits to those that aren’t citizens.. make sure those coming to stay are hear because they want a safe place to live and not some wolf in sheeps clothing bent on destroying our country.. Keep the money in our own communities not someone elses community.. now some say.. heck he is just promoting his motels.. so what.. it is in his best interest to keep american laborers working and making money if our economy is strong so is the value of his wealth..

    • Common sense which sadly has been propaGANGSTAized right out from under us through the merciless 6 corporation owned media. They are not going to stop their criminal activity until their electricity goes out.

  5. A Rheem is a bad choice, period. Had one, lasted maybe five years. never, ever buy one. I bought a water heater at Sears probably 15 years ago now and it is still going strong. Don’t know about them today, just got lucky I suppose.

  6. Planned Obsolescence has been with us since auto makers figured out they could push newer models by changing the style – back in the 20’s. They took a page from the fashion design industry that had convinced people they needed new clothes every twenty minutes.

    It is the same reason we abandoned “population control”. I remember when the pill came out how people discussed the ability to control fertility – worldwide. Then the manufacturers of goods figured out that fewer people = fewer purchases.

    Now we have a situation where wages and jobs have been depressed for so long that it doesn’t matter how many people we have, nobody can afford to buy!

    • Well, the deadbeats and baby Momma’s can afford to buy AND have babies cause they are living off of the ones that work. It is the honest workers that can’t afford babies and new products.

  7. Our clothes dryer that was almost 5 years old decided to stop drying the clothes, gas dryer, called one company that was cheaper, he came out spent all of 15 min, took it apart did the electrical thing, said he could not find the problem, he didnt charge me. Without a warranty, its 75 to 100.00 or more for someone just to check out the issue, and that doesnt include parts, does reduce the labor? Got a new dryer on sale at best buy for 399.00, total cost ended up being 515.00. Then the man who installed it try to rip me off for 60.00 bucks saying that I had not paid to have it installed.called the store and talked to a sales rep in that dept,had it on speaker phone, the store clerk said I owed him 0. He made up some wxcuse and promptly left in a huff, knowing he got caught. I later called.the store manager and filed a complaint. Installers are not associated with said company.

    • My good old 1995 Maytag W/D set are still wkg great, plan to keep them for the rest of my life. Ditto for my Montgomery Ward 1994 Amana fridge. Notice, all pre- NAFTA products. I am also keeping my 1984 sleeper sofa, does not show a hint of wear, it was made in America OF American parts. Another site where hot water heaters fail is the connections, ask for and make sure you use BRASS connections. Saves the big bucks, cost pennies.

  8. George:
    As t the price range vs. Quality:
    I found buying industrial fan bearings (big 400HP fans) that when ordered the 100K hr life bearing vs the 50K hr bearing, the BEARING was exactly the same. Sometimes, not always, the pillow block casing was larger and stiffer, and held more grease, but you have to know over greasing and not leaving room for expansion on heating of the grease will burn up a bearing too.
    Talking about it, what we figured out was that the manufacturers just build the same stuff but price in the warranty cost for a longer service life.
    Consider a tankless unit if you don’t want to store constantly reheating water.
    On the B&S, you have a lathe don’t you?
    Google Gear +ID+OD+teeth=steel and see what you get.
    if you get one slightly bigger turn down the OD, if you cant get the ID either bore it slightly or make an adapter, it must be light duty anyway or they wouldn’t have made it plastic to begin with.Winter is coming, we will all need some indoor projects. The home machinist mags I subscribe to say winter is the best time to build stuff like that.
    But as an engineer, i’ll ask. how long would that take, and what is your time worth, verses going to the local small engine shop and buying a couple of plastic gears?
    What you have to price in is the “fun” part.
    There are a lot of of tools I have acquire over the years, and I used to do most anything at home because I could do it myself cheaper, I did a better job, and it was kinda fun. I remember about 8 years ago my 16 year old son broke a U-joint on his jeep on the way to school. He and his friends looked ant the parts hanging down and thought it was a goner.
    When we fixed it over the weekend and he drove it in Monday, his friends were all certain I was a mechanical genius.
    The best tool I have now acquired, still living upstairs, is a 260 lb, 6′-4″ ASE certified Mechanic. All those sessions on my back in the driveway did pay off somehow.

    • George
      One more thing, about the no drugs/no alcohol/no carry idea:
      The fine print on the back of my Alabama permit says “Not valid if the permittee is consuming beverage alcohol.”
      They could and should amend this to say “or any mood altering substance.”

  9. I’m surprised you, George, or anyone else hasn’t mentioned “The Light Bulb Conspiracy” yet. Planned Obsolescence has been at the heart of industry since the big wigs realized they’d make much more with things that wear out faster. Without it American manufacturing would waste entirely too much capability. Light bulbs, in the beginning, when our economy was void and without form, would last for 2500 hours! Even the fluorescent jokes they foist on us burn out just about as fast as the incandescent ones do.
    BTW, that 120v water heater is almost exactly the same one that is in the hunters’ cabin at the ranch and probably the same age. I’ve always wondered if it would heat enough water for a shower. What was the breaker amperage it was on? I’m also replacing a lot of undersized wiring before hunting season this year, like ALL of the service entry wire, new distribution boxes and such. I’m surprised I haven’t come down with something crawling through almost century-old dust in the attic.

  10. A client of ours is a master plumber. He replaced a water heater years ago, and I asked him what the difference was between the long and short warranty gadgets. The main difference is the sacrificial anodes. 12 year heaters have two. 6 year heaters have one. They screw into the top on most models. They are about $30 or less, but I insist on magnesium instead of aluminum, based on biochemistry issues.

    I have a spare one, and noticed the other day that rust was appearing on my heater. Dang. May have waited too long.

  11. best way to extend your water heater life is to drain it annually. The sediment that collects at the bottom is what does them in.

    Still got Daddy’s Sears Roebuck drill. Must be 50 years old by now. Metal case. Still runs like a top. I think he replaced the motor brushes once…

  12. Turn the old water heater into a solar-hot-water-pre-heater.
    Or use it to make an outdoor solar shower.

    use tin snips (wear gloves) and take off the external metal skin and insulation, and ta-da, a black metal thing you can place in the sun.

  13. Turn that little hot water heater into an R2-D2 unit. :)
    Yes, I am a Star Wars fan and I see it everywhere….

  14. Since food is one of your top priorities I would suggest finding a place in the yard and planting this thing about halfway down or maybe not and then put and saw all around it and some Mulch and grow something and then make an access point where you can just like cut for the top off or the side and when you water your plants all you do is fill the tank up and let it slowly by its leaks distribute water among the plants that way when you go off on vacation those plants will still get watered

    • Buy some miniature cows , and make a miniature feeding trough, yes it’s true there are miniature cows being raised and sold,plus they give miniature amounts of milk and make miniature steaks,NOW I WANT steak and eggs

    • Cut it in half and use the halves for a covered light and conversation piece over the pool table or in the music room , of course have it modified in looks to fit the mood of the room ////////ANOTHER IDEA is install it on a 20 ft pole next to your mailbox and put AIRMAIL on it

  15. We lived in Jamaica for a couple of years in the ’80’s. Our house was equipped with a gas device that heated up the hot water pipe as you used it. No storage of hot water at all. Worked great! I’d love to have one again.

  16. Water heater thoughts:
    1 Make an aluminum melting furnace out of it – plans are available free online at a few sites.
    2 Take it to the dump, maybe if enough of these unrecyclable pieces of junk stack up, some regulation of longevity will happen.

    btw, that rusted-on hex bolt on top of the heater is the sacrificial anode and if you unscrew it you will probably see nothing but wires hanging from it since the zinc chunks corrode away to save the other metals in your plumbing system. New anodes can be bought at most hardware stores and keeping it functioning will extend the life of the heater as well as the rest of the house plumbing unless it’s plastic.

    After practicing on the junk heater, inspect the anode on your other tank. And while the heating element is turned off, drain and flush the sediment out of the tank once per year.

    I’ve never had to replace a water heater, so far 12 years on on the 5 year unit.

  17. Call the local steel recycler to make sure they’ll take it. If so they’ll give you a buck or two. Go buy a cup of coffee.

    • $1 or $2? $150 a ton for “tin” last time I was selling some scrap. 39 more of ’em and he’d have a ton. So $1 or even $2 is a tad short based on the last time I was at the scrapyard.

  18. Someone else mentioned the anode and draining. I concur! The buildup affects efficiency in a big way.

    The big deal would be to insist on buying only a stainless steel water heater. If you can’t buy one, you can probably make one out of a beer keg or something(I trust you have or know someone with TIG). Insulate the crap out of it, install an anode or two, and you have a lifetime product. I do believe that China builds stainless steel water heaters for domestic use, but I’ve never seen one in the USA.

    BTW, I use a Paloma gas tankless unit from Japan that is connected via washing machine hoses. Quick and easy to remove and repair, but I never had to. Lightweight too. It works just fine for my lonely only.

  19. Dear George, Because the Hot water is important, please think about getting two units, and installing with a “manifold” set up, so if one fails, you can use the other. Nothing worse than -0- hot water. Forget about the cheep units, buy 2 of the best.
    Regards, Walter Wilmanski.

  20. Dear George, You might want to look at electric on-demand water heaters, too. We recently replaced a propane on-demand with a Bosch electric on-demand heater. Obviously not an EMP prep, but when you look inside the thing and see no moving parts to fail, it’s positively elegant! The installation cost would be offset by your electrical skills. Can’t yet speak to obsolescence but very pleased with it so far, and not nearly the impact on the electricity bill that we were expecting. I second Joel on the steel recycler and cup of coffee solution to the old heater; after you’ve stored it for 5 years in your yard, of course, just in case you can use it for something…

  21. Hi George,
    When I was a little girl in the 1950’s, my dad turned an old gas water heater into an air compressor. He was born in 1914–the generation that could adapt to the circumstances.

  22. In the late 70’s I was on a flight back to the West coast, seated next to another engineer. I found out he was the leader of a 6 man team. Their primary goal for the year was to redesign the heating element of their steam irons to fail in 14 months instead of the current failure point of 18 months. He said his company could not survive if they were not selling replacements for failed products.

  23. In 1970’s St. Louis, a Nationally know professor in the environmental movement (Darn, wish I could remember his name)(As I finished typing I remembered – Barry Commoner – I bet your pal Kunstler has the plans) gave away plans for a simple solar water heater:

    Take the heater apart – strip off the sheet metal and take out the elements, etc. Take the bare tank and paint it black. Set it in the Sunlight and pipe up to the water system. Voila! To enhance performance, put it in a stick and plywood box with glass top and fill with black dyed paraffin. The paraffin will melt and act as phase change storage on the heater, prolonging the hot water availability.

    I bet you have all the materials in the scrap pile. this may take a long afternoon, but the hot water, and pride of pointing at it and bragging about how you did it yourself is ample payment.

    • We moved to NM some years ago and had a mobile home set up on our lot. We hadn’t had a well drilled at that point, so we ran water across the road from a friend’s house to ours with black irrigation pipe. Worked fine, except you had to turn the water on for awhile to let the heat escape! We had live steam on “warm” days. Made me think that in a lot of areas we over think the hot water problem.

      • I had 400 feet of that black pipe run back and forth along a fence line and into the house it worked until freezing time came

      • The alternative to straight plastic pipe along the fence would be to put it in a barrel container around and round and round and then have it covered with a plexiglass or glass and then in the wintertime have a thermostatic heater in there that keeps it just above freezing with a electric,. it wouldn’t cost much to keep it above freezing plus you would have the ground heat helping

      • better yet would be to dig a hole circular hole deep enough to put four to six hundred feet of pipe in it then cover it with plexiglass so that even in the winter when it’s freezing the ground from all sides around would keep the pipes from freezing in a course you can have an auxiliary heater just in case to keep the pipes from freezing

  24. With a $200 to $1000 3D printer (the low end would probably work for your purposes right now) your replacement gear could be ready in a day – IF you know any CG/CAD software. Almost all of them will output the needed .STL files. Measure/scan the gear, model it, and print one or more out – in a plastic sturdier than the original. It might be a little ragged but it will work

  25. couple of options to add on the heater,
    you could mount it over a suitable drain so the drips aren’t an issue
    or whip the element out and resin coat the inside of the tank and installed fittings, then reassemble and carry on…..

  26. Use as retort for making charcoal to add the charcoal to the soil in the garden. One the burn-through is too much, place in scrap metal pile.
    Use as the holder of the fire-brick “cement” and make a small foundry.

  27. No one here has mentioned that damaged, old appliances can cause fires – particularly old water heaters. Be safe and make sure that your old ‘friend’ or new ‘refurbished’ deal doesn’t have problems like worn out electrical cords etc. A ‘version’ of that insurance ad with the exploding water heater actually happened.

    A ‘bargain’ can be bad in the long run.

  28. R/T that water heater with the life time warranty. Make sure you determine who’s life?? Your cat, Panama, your wife, the CEO of the company? I know, I know they mean the life of the water heater. So, once the water heater breaks , then that is the life of the water heater and the warranty is then expired.

  29. My ca. 1937 Sunbeam Mixmaster and ca. 1950 Sunbeam toaster work flawlessly…

    A manufacturer of a new product will strive for perfection until they create a product that’s as near it as possible. They will then systematically cheapen every facet of the build until they attain the point at which profit is maximized. Those who come later, simply build on the experiences of the inventor or innovator. F’r instance: LG doesn’t have to cheapen its washing machine build because GE, Whirlpool, Westinghouse, Amana, Speed Queen, Maytag, and a hundred others located the ideal profit point through 60 years of trial & error.

    Only an all-invasive government can enforce a piece of MSL legislation — no thanks! The two ways to obtain a long service-life, manufactured product in the real world are:

    1. Buy a version of the product which was manufactured during the product’s “window of perfection,” then [if necessary] refurbish it, or

    2. Buy a new, “quality” product, disassemble, re-engineer, and replace everything which can wear, break, or burn-out, with actual quality components, then seal everything that’s electrical or electronic.

    I’ve done both, and each works well.

    That said, a new mechanical device’s projected longevity, regardless of manufacturer or type, diminishes significantly as its transistor count rises. IOW the more unnecessary “gofaster” electronics with which a machine is burdened, the greater the burden on the machine’s intended function.

    What to do with a dead water heater:

    Turn the top and bottom into planter-holders for large potted plants.

    Strip the heating element and store it on your “Neat Stuff I Don’t Currently Have A Use For” shelf (the “hobby rack”)

    Take the cosmetic housing apart at its seam — satellite antenna reflector

    Shelf the petcock and thermal valve, scrap the rest of the plumbing and the anode

    Flush the tank, then dump in a couple gallons of water and some muriatic acid. Rotate occasionally until all calcium, lime, rust, and loose zinc have been dissolved. Dump, flush with water, flush with alcohol & air-dry, then seal with POR-15. Install in your truck bed as an auxiliary fuel tank…

  30. My water heater and my twin V craftsman 25 horse garden tractor are 16 years old. Still working fine. Just ignore previous sentence. As soon as I say it, one or both of these things will crap out on me. LOL

  31. Talked to the Rheem rep at our store. The tanks are the same on all heaters. You are paying mostly for the warranty, a bit for better anodes, controls/elements (higher wattage/stainless on the elements, confidence lights that show element status (on, off, burnt out) and fittings (brass drain valve instead of plastic).

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