Replace old water heater


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Old 09-28-19, 04:51 PM
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Replace old water heater

I want to replace my almost 30 year old electric water heater. It is still working fine but donít want to risk having it fail at the wrong time, like when guests arrive for a weekend. It is a 50 gal tank and is located in a small cellar that is only accessible by steps that are inside the house. The tank has never been drained so I have a feeling that the drain valve will be very clogged. If that is the case can I cut a hole in the top of the tank and pump the water out? And once empty of water can I cut the tank in half to reduce the weight to carry up the steps?
I am looking at a rheem at home depot and a ao smith at lowes 50 gal, both about 400.00 Each place wants 800-1000 to install it. That seems pretty high to me. Should not take over 2 hours for a real plumber thatís about 4-5 hundred an hour. Is that normal rate for installing a water heater?
I would like to install it myself and am capable of the plumbing and electrical connections but worry about the weight of the old heater. The new one would weigh about 100 lbs and Iím sure I could get a couple of neighbors to get it down the steps and in place to hook up.
Do you have an opinion about the rheem vs the ao smith
 
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Old 10-10-19, 04:03 PM
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Old 10-10-19, 04:10 PM
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Start by turning the water heater heat off.

If you can pump air into the hot side of a washing machine hookup with the house main water valve turned off, the valve(s) above the water heater still open, and a cold faucet upstairs opened then you will get most of the water out of the water heater. How much stays behind depends on whether the dip tube inside has rusted out or broken off.

You will probably need an adapter with appropriate gender bender fittings to match the air compressor hose to the washing machine hot hose or the spigot it was attached to..
 
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Old 10-10-19, 04:57 PM
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I would not worry about getting the old tank out unless it prdates new walls etc.

Get the new one in and installed.
One thing to watch out for is the dimensions. A 50 gallon today likely will not have the same dimensions as a 30 year old tank. Talking from experience here as my new tank covers a third on my basement drain but due to the layout of my utility room I had no other options. Well I guess I had one and that would have been to measure the tank before buying it.

If the old tank is too heavy or full of crud you can always unscrew the drain valve, remove elements etc.
I would only cut it as a last resort as you never know what they used as insulation. I have never heard of a pro cutting a tank because of weight so there is no reason you would have to. You could always hire a junk removal company but I do not know what they would charge or borrow a two wheeler.
 
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Old 10-11-19, 06:51 AM
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That seems like a high install price. The big box stores usually just subcontract the job out to local plumbers, so you'll probably get a better price directly from a local plumber. The plumber probably installs better water heaters than they have at the store, too.

Since this is a DIY forum, though, they're not too hard to install, especially if you get the SharkBite fittings specifically made for water heater hookups (https://www.homedepot.com/p/SharkBit...24lf/202328866). You can even get them with a shutoff built in to the fitting if you need that. There are mixed opinions on SharkBites on water heaters, however. Some folks prefer a properly sweated copper connection. Personally, I haven't yet learned to sweat copper pipes so I doubt that I would try to learn on a water heater.
 
 

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