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Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 25, 2016 02:43PM
Our 10-year-old hot water heater (gas A. O. Smith Promax 50 gallon) sprang a leak last night, and had to be replaced—just one month after the 10-year warranty expired! turbo naughty smiley

In 2005 we paid $550 for that heater, including installation and disposal. I called the same plumber, and his price was now $1,650, for the current version of the same heater, installed, with 10-year warranty (they go for about $700 on Amazon, so the rest is for labor, parts, disposal, and permit). That's over 300% inflation, or 30% a year.

I called another plumber we have used, and his price was $1,395, or about 250% increase over the 2005 price. Saved me a few bucks, so I went with him.

But I am appalled. This isn't 30 or 40 years; it's only 10!

/Mr Lynn



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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Rick-o
Date: January 25, 2016 02:51PM
Yeesh! Expensive!

As much as I hate plumbing, I WILL change out my own water heater. It's in a great location, breezeway to the garage. I can haul my new water heater from the store in my pickup, remove the old and install the new in a short time, and roll the old heater out to the street where a special unit of trash collection will haul it out for free. (unless the scrappers grab it first).

No permit required, and it's not that difficult of a job.



Mr. Lahey: A lot of people, don’t know how to drink. They drink against the grain of the liquor. And when you drink against the grain of the liquor? You lose.

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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: DP
Date: January 25, 2016 03:06PM
Next time I'm going with a tankless. There are just two of us here and it makes more sense.





A throwback image to celebrate Autumn.

Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: 3d
Date: January 25, 2016 03:07PM
Oof. Not sure I would mess around with a gas water heater install.
Electric, water AND GAS line project with no permit required? Where is this?!
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Todd's keyboard
Date: January 25, 2016 03:08PM
Sounds like you may be paying a premium for a "hot" water heater. Have you thought of just getting a regular water heater?

Todd's sorry-but-still-couldn't-help-itself-keyboard
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: DP
Date: January 25, 2016 03:14PM
Not just inflation, it's the Feds! From April 2015:

Your next water heater is going to cost more and take up more space.

Terry Petersen paid $900 for his new water heater. If he had waited another month or two longer it would have cost him $1,100.

"What really has happened is they've taken the old efficiency standard, for high efficiency and made that what the new standard is," said Chuck Gassmann of Bell Brothers Heating and AC.

The new rules go into effect on April 16, but manufactures are allowed to sell out their inventories after that. Once those water heaters are sold then new higher efficiency models will become the norm.

For an average 40-gallong water heater like the Petersen's just bought, the price will increase by 20-25 percent. If you have a larger model you will pay even more.

"If you have a 75-gallon water heater in your home, you can expect to pay as much as 50 percent more," said Gassmann.

If your current water heater is less than five years old or so, you might want to just wait and expect the next one to be quite a bit more expensive. If it's any older than that then you may want to seriously consider buying a new one now, while the older models are still available.



[www.kcci.com]





A throwback image to celebrate Autumn.

Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Bixby
Date: January 25, 2016 03:14PM
My plumber told me the extra you pay for a long-warranted water heater basically pays for their insurance against their own failures. Those heaters don't have better parts or thicker insulation. So a unit with a 6-year warranty is mechanically no better than one with a 10-year warranty.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: billb
Date: January 25, 2016 03:30PM
Quote
DP
Next time I'm going with a tankless. There are just two of us here and it makes more sense.


With relatively low natural gas prices you may save only $100/yr which doesn't quite cover the double to triple outlay cost of the tankless vs storage if it only has a lifetime of 20 years vs 10.

They are (more ) popular and cost effective where fuel costs are high.
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2016 03:51PM by billb.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 25, 2016 03:33PM
Quote
billb
Quote
DP
Next time I'm going with a tankless. There are just two of us here and it makes more sense.


With relatively low natural gas prices you may save only $100/yr which doesn't quite cover the double to triple outlay cost of the tankless vs storage if it only has a lifetime of 20 years vs 10.

They are (more ) popular and cost effective where fuel costs are high.

They're no long "double to triple" the cost either.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: rz
Date: January 25, 2016 03:40PM
We just went with a gas tankless heater. Takes a bit longer for the water to heat up, but then again, it never "runs out" of hot water. And it freed up the corner of our laundry room where the old tank used to be.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 25, 2016 03:43PM
Yes, there are definitely new rules mandating higher efficiency, which for this type of water heater means a little more insulation, meaning it takes up more space (not a problem for us, but some people have them in tight closets).

Don't get me started on the blankity-blank feds sticking their noses into every aspect of our lives.

You can buy this type on Amazon and elsewhere for c. $600-1,000. The ones they're now billing as 'high-efficiency' are priced at three times that.

Rick-O, in this town (and state, I assume) a water heater has to be installed by a licensed electrician, and he has to pull a permit. Technically you can't even fix a faucet leak or change a light fixture in this town without a permit, but most of us ignore that. CH4, though—I'm happy to let a pro deal with it.

For years we've been told price inflation is a modest 2-3%. It's increasingly obvious how bogus those numbers are.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: decay
Date: January 25, 2016 03:48PM
But this isn't a case of inflation-related price increase, is it?

it's directly related to federal mandated efficiency.



---
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 25, 2016 03:52PM
Quote
Bixby
My plumber told me the extra you pay for a long-warranted water heater basically pays for their insurance against their own failures. Those heaters don't have better parts or thicker insulation. So a unit with a 6-year warranty is mechanically no better than one with a 10-year warranty.

Doubtless that is so, but the plumber's price for the 10-year warranty was just $100 over the price for a 6-year one, so I figured, what the heck: four cases of beer.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Acer
Date: January 25, 2016 03:55PM
I would really like to go tankless, but capacity was an issue last time I shopped. Mine would need to keep two showers happy simultaneously...even in winter when water from the public tap can be in the low 50s. And, with my short plumbing runs in my tickytacky house I have virtual instant hot at most sinks. I don't know if I can properly factor in the cost of Wife Aggro when we have to run water for 5 minutes just to wash hands in warm water.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 25, 2016 03:56PM
Quote
decay
But this isn't a case of inflation-related price increase, is it?

it's directly related to federal mandated efficiency.

I don't think we can attribute all the increase to fed mandates, though they are certainly a factor—nothing is better at driving up prices than the feds making rules. But the labor is also a very big part, methinks.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: January 25, 2016 03:57PM
I went to a gas tankless 6-7 years ago and have never regretted it. The install was easy although I had to have the gas company do the gas hookup for insurance reasons. It is an direct vent unit so I avoided about $500 in stainless steel exhaust venting.

My son asked about putting one in at his home but it would need to be electric and that means running upgrading all of his electric or about $3500 for installation. I told him to stay with a tank heater and we are in that hunt now, I'll do the install.



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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Black
Date: January 25, 2016 04:00PM
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
decay
But this isn't a case of inflation-related price increase, is it?

it's directly related to federal mandated efficiency.

I don't think we can attribute all the increase to fed mandates, though they are certainly a factor—nothing is better at driving up prices than the feds making rules. But the labor is also a very big part, methinks.

/Mr Lynn

There are so few players left in that game that price fixing is pretty much guaranteed to play some role.




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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: billb
Date: January 25, 2016 04:02PM
Quote
Paul F.
Quote
billb
Quote
DP
Next time I'm going with a tankless. There are just two of us here and it makes more sense.


With relatively low natural gas prices you may save only $100/yr which doesn't quite cover the double to triple outlay cost of the tankless vs storage if it only has a lifetime of 20 years vs 10.

They are (more ) popular and cost effective where fuel costs are high.

They're no long "double to triple" the cost either.


The cheapest Rheem storage tank (40 ) is $399.
The cheapest INDOOR Rheem tankless here is $1099.

There are OUTDOOR tankless units for $700.
No one installs water heaters outside here.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 25, 2016 04:07PM
Quote
Black
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
decay
But this isn't a case of inflation-related price increase, is it?

it's directly related to federal mandated efficiency.

I don't think we can attribute all the increase to fed mandates, though they are certainly a factor—nothing is better at driving up prices than the feds making rules. But the labor is also a very big part, methinks.

/Mr Lynn

There are so few players left in that game that price fixing is pretty much guaranteed to play some role.

You mean manufacturers? Yes, there are apparently only three, making units that sell under different brand names. But there does seem to be a good distribution of prices at retail. And if you mean plumbers, there is no shortage of them in our area. That there was a $250 difference between the two I called suggests a reasonable amount of competition.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Black
Date: January 25, 2016 04:20PM
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
Black
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
decay
But this isn't a case of inflation-related price increase, is it?

it's directly related to federal mandated efficiency.

I don't think we can attribute all the increase to fed mandates, though they are certainly a factor—nothing is better at driving up prices than the feds making rules. But the labor is also a very big part, methinks.

/Mr Lynn

There are so few players left in that game that price fixing is pretty much guaranteed to play some role.

You mean manufacturers? Yes, there are apparently only three, making units that sell under different brand names. But there does seem to be a good distribution of prices at retail. And if you mean plumbers, there is no shortage of them in our area. That there was a $250 difference between the two I called suggests a reasonable amount of competition.

/Mr Lynn
Manufacturers. I have a number of resources for getting a hwh replaced for around $300 labor if I need to.




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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: January 25, 2016 04:28PM
Huh...I bought one at Lowe's for $350 and installed it myself in an afternoon. Hauled the old one to the dump for $5.



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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 25, 2016 04:35PM
Quote
ztirffritz
Huh...I bought one at Lowe's for $350 and installed it myself in an afternoon. Hauled the old one to the dump for $5.

The plumbers say the water heaters (and other appliances) you buy at home centers are crap. True? I've heard from many contractors that even with the same model name, at Lowes or Home Depot you're getting a lesser product. Of course they have an incentive to say that.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: January 25, 2016 04:41PM
Quote
3d
Oof. Not sure I would mess around with a gas water heater install.
Electric, water AND GAS line project with no permit required? Where is this?!

If the last one was installed correctly, it's a matter of moving connections. I've replaced my water heater 3 times over 26 years. I put shut-off valves on both water connections with flex line to the water heater. Gas is hard piped with a flex connection. I replace the gas flex line every time I replace the water heater. It takes longer to drain a water heater than it does to install it.

Permits don't make it safer. In many places the sole purpose is revenue generation. They usually don't have the staff to inspect water heater, toilet and other installs. They focus on the big things like major electrical reno or installs, structural items and major plumbing.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Speedy
Date: January 25, 2016 04:47PM
[forums.macresource.com]

Good info in this recent thread. davester has a link with some great info, especially about the sacrificial anode.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Racer X
Date: January 25, 2016 05:49PM
Quote
Bixby
My plumber told me the extra you pay for a long-warranted water heater basically pays for their insurance against their own failures. Those heaters don't have better parts or thicker insulation. So a unit with a 6-year warranty is mechanically no better than one with a 10-year warranty.

Usually the longer warranty ones have a second anode in them. But yes, the same. Mine has a 6 year warranty. Install the second anode, and the warranty doubles.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 25, 2016 06:39PM
What's all this about anodes? I have a gas heater. No electricity (except some kind of thermocouple that keeps a battery in the pilot control powered).

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Speedy
Date: January 25, 2016 06:48PM
A sacrificial anode protects any exposed steel inside the tank from corroding. Doesn't matter the type of heat source.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 25, 2016 07:49PM
Quote
Speedy
A sacrificial anode protects any exposed steel inside the tank from corroding. Doesn't matter the type of heat source.

Guess I should look into replacing ours in a few years. Would that have prevented the rust-out that killed our tank after 10 years?

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 25, 2016 08:08PM
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
Speedy
A sacrificial anode protects any exposed steel inside the tank from corroding. Doesn't matter the type of heat source.

Guess I should look into replacing ours in a few years. Would that have prevented the rust-out that killed our tank after 10 years?

/Mr Lynn

Quite probably, yes... It would have.
When you connect a steel tanked water heater to copper piping, you create a battery, which creates corrossion. The sacraficial anode is put there to be the part that corrodes away to protect the expensive bits from corroding away.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Racer X
Date: January 25, 2016 09:24PM
I even added sacrificial anodes to my Buick engines.

Aluminum timing cover/water pump rear, iron water pump, iron block and heads, aluminum intake, copper, brass and solder in the radiator and heater core. That's one heck of a battery waiting to melt down. The only thing to protect it is the buffering agents in the coolant preventing it from becoming an electrolytic bridge. And my anodes in the intakes.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: January 25, 2016 11:12PM
The 75% efficient replacement water heater for the previous model, could likely be hooked up to the previous vent with minimal work.

A 96% efficient replacement water heater needs electricity hooked up, a new PVC fresh outside air supply vent and new PVC combustion exhaust vent. I would wager that if you replace the 96% efficient water heater in 10 years with an identical model, the labor charge would be a little more in line with inflation.



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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 26, 2016 06:35AM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
The 75% efficient replacement water heater for the previous model, could likely be hooked up to the previous vent with minimal work.

A 96% efficient replacement water heater needs electricity hooked up, a new PVC fresh outside air supply vent and new PVC combustion exhaust vent. I would wager that if you replace the 96% efficient water heater in 10 years with an identical model, the labor charge would be a little more in line with inflation.

My new water heater did not require a new exhaust vent, nor an outside air supply vent, nor any electrical connection. The plumber did cut the water pipes near the heater and installed new fittings; not sure if this was required by the change in size (it's fatter than the old one, but connections look to be in the same positions).

/Mr Lynn



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/26/2016 06:37AM by mrlynn.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: January 26, 2016 08:43AM
Thankfully condensing water heaters aren't yet required, at least here.

They are a terrible idea - many more potential points of failure, & pointless given the amount of gas used for heating water is a rounding error compared to gas used for space heating.

Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
The 75% efficient replacement water heater for the previous model, could likely be hooked up to the previous vent with minimal work.

A 96% efficient replacement water heater needs electricity hooked up, a new PVC fresh outside air supply vent and new PVC combustion exhaust vent. I would wager that if you replace the 96% efficient water heater in 10 years with an identical model, the labor charge would be a little more in line with inflation.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: billb
Date: January 26, 2016 08:51AM
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
Speedy
A sacrificial anode protects any exposed steel inside the tank from corroding. Doesn't matter the type of heat source.

Guess I should look into replacing ours in a few years. Would that have prevented the rust-out that killed our tank after 10 years?

/Mr Lynn

Take the anode out of the one with the rust hole in it and see what's left.
Your local plumber should be familiar with the water supply in your area and if it is extremely hard would recommend checking the rod for calcification ( one of the maintenance issues with tankless ) or if it is extremely soft the rapid deterioration of the rod.
If the tank rotted from the outside in on the bottom from proximity to the damp basement concrete floor like so many do here ....



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
BOYCOTT YOPLAIT [www.noyoplait.com]
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: January 26, 2016 10:07AM
Quote
billb
Take the anode out of the one with the rust hole in it and see what's left.

It's long gone. The plumber stuffed it in his van and off it went to a scrap-metal yard in a nearby town.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Black
Date: January 26, 2016 12:25PM
Quote
Paul F.
When you connect a steel tanked water heater to copper piping, you create a battery, which creates corrossion. The sacraficial anode is put there to be the part that corrodes away to protect the expensive bits from corroding away.

Hmmm.... not sure that battery analogy applies here. The di-electric couplings should take care of this. I think the anode just draws off the corrosion from the steel tank by being more corrosive.




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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: 3d
Date: January 26, 2016 01:59PM
Quote
macphanatic
Quote
3d
Oof. Not sure I would mess around with a gas water heater install.
Electric, water AND GAS line project with no permit required? Where is this?!

If the last one was installed correctly, it's a matter of moving connections. I've replaced my water heater 3 times over 26 years. I put shut-off valves on both water connections with flex line to the water heater. Gas is hard piped with a flex connection. I replace the gas flex line every time I replace the water heater. It takes longer to drain a water heater than it does to install it.

Permits don't make it safer. In many places the sole purpose is revenue generation. They usually don't have the staff to inspect water heater, toilet and other installs. They focus on the big things like major electrical reno or installs, structural items and major plumbing.

I guess I'm a newbie. I've only been a homeowner for 3 years. Had boiler, water heater, gas dryer, gas stove replaced/moved/upgraded. With permit. When it was time to close the permit a couple of guys came out and checked out everything. There were issues that needed to be fixed. Plumbers came out again to fix. Inspectors came out again and closed the permit. Where I live in Long Island it's pretty micro managed. I live in a Village, which is part of a Town, all within a County. If you ask me in 25 years I might feel differently about pulling a permit and having professionals do the install.

For a property line fence install a also got a permit. In hindsight this one was useless. No one came out to inspect after the work was done.
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 26, 2016 02:33PM
Quote
Black
Quote
Paul F.
When you connect a steel tanked water heater to copper piping, you create a battery, which creates corrossion. The sacraficial anode is put there to be the part that corrodes away to protect the expensive bits from corroding away.

Hmmm.... not sure that battery analogy applies here. The di-electric couplings should take care of this. I think the anode just draws off the corrosion from the steel tank by being more corrosive.

Water (specifically, water with crud in it like minerals, etc) is conductive enough to complete the circuit... which is where the corrosion comes in.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Who Says There's No Inflation? Hot Water Heater 300% in 10 Years!
Posted by: davester
Date: January 27, 2016 10:59PM
Quote
3d
I guess I'm a newbie. I've only been a homeowner for 3 years. Had boiler, water heater, gas dryer, gas stove replaced/moved/upgraded. With permit. When it was time to close the permit a couple of guys came out and checked out everything. There were issues that needed to be fixed. Plumbers came out again to fix. Inspectors came out again and closed the permit. Where I live in Long Island it's pretty micro managed. I live in a Village, which is part of a Town, all within a County. If you ask me in 25 years I might feel differently about pulling a permit and having professionals do the install.

For a property line fence install a also got a permit. In hindsight this one was useless. No one came out to inspect after the work was done.

Permit inspections only cover health and safety issues. That's why there was no inspection for your fence. They do not inspect to determine whether a good job was done.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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