Small internal leak in water heater

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Old 07-24-16, 08:59 AM
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Small internal leak in water heater

I have a 40 gal electric water heater that's about 10 years old. Last year showers were quickly turning cold so I replaced the lower heating element. That fixed the problem.

A month or so ago I started getting a brief spurt of cold water when taking a shower, lasting 1-2 seconds. So yesterday I tested the upper element with a meter. It tested OK. I then went to test the newer lower element and found a little bit of water and corrosion on the inside of the lower hatch cover. There was also slime that I washed off. The outer side of the insulation was moist with small spots of water damage. The symptoms are on the OUTSIDE face of the insulation, not the side facing the element, so I don't think I screwed down the new gasket too much or too little when replacing that element. Any ideas on where the water is coming from? Recent weather here has been abnormally hot but there are no signs of condensation on the utility room pipes. Thanks.
 
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Old 07-24-16, 09:03 AM
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If the insulation is dry at the top thermostat then the element is leaking or the tank had sprung a hole.

Since the water appears to be on the outside of the insulation... that would lead me to believe it's coming from somewhere above.

At 10 years old your water heater is nearing the end of its useful life.
 
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Old 07-25-16, 12:34 PM
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Small internal leak

Thank you. Our electricity provider is offering to cover 40% of the cost, to $800, of replacing our water heater with a heat pump water heater. The promotional material at http://hydroone.com/hpa-waterheating/pages/default.aspx says the heat pump water heater uses 50% less electricity with payback over 4-5 years. They say the new unit should last at least 15 years.

Do you know if heat pump water heaters are that good?
 
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Old 07-28-16, 05:02 PM
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The efficiency of a heat pump depends on the temperature at the evaporating unit (the machinery and tubing outside the tank). In a very cold climate area you might choose to install the evaporating unit indoors and let it sap room heat to heat the domestic water with. In summer the effect will be cooling of the room but in winter the house furnace will have to make up the difference by supplying more heat.

If the air temperature at the evaporator is too low then the heater switches to resistance heating elements of the same kind as in ordinary electric water heaters.
 
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