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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The water heater experiment

Today my dad and I are going to attempt to replace my water heater. Upon further inspection, I have discovered that I have a short, 35 gallon water heater that was originally designed to be put in mobile home. We never seem to have enough hot water to make it through a 15 minute shower. It begins to get luke warm by the end, and doesn't leave much room for error after that. And then we have to wait 15 to 20 minutes for the next person to take their bath so that the water can be heated back up. Also, upon attempting to wash out my drywall bucket one night, I noticed that all the hot water had a red tint to it. So, I believe that the tank is beginning to rust out, and considering that it is a 1994 model, I believe that a replacement is in order!!!

I'll be going with the 50 gallon Whirlpool from Lowe's, and it has two elements on it that pull another 1000 watts each MORE than what I currently pull to heat the water. I'm going to go ahead and buy a water heater insulated blanket to put over it, even though it's under the house that stays toasty most times, maybe this will not make it pull as many amps and the water will stay warmer longer.

Anyways, a few pic will come soon, and I wish a Happy Saturday to everybody.

I'm now going to be on my way to Greenville to get my Dad. And he will drive the car back home that I borrowed on Monday as my truck would not start that morning.

Can you believe the nastiness that is inside of one of these water heaters? After completely draining it, we rotated this heater on the ground and you could hear the mud going "FLOP, FLOP" inside the tank. Pretty gross!

This is the new water heater, all 50 gallons of her, sitting in place, ready to be plumbed in! How exciting!

Goodbye old water heater tank. We have had enough of your foolish games, and shall soon cash you in at the metal scrap yard!

Let the sweating begin!

Halfway home!

The installation is complete, and we have no leaks. Success! Let the heating begin so that I can take a shower tonight after being under the house almost all day. I went to turn the elements back on in the breaker box, and hoped for the best.

This is after I wrapped the water heater up with my new insulation blanket. It cost $18.98, but should pay for itself in no time. I took the old insulation blanket from the smaller tank and laid it over the top of the tank to add some insulation to the top, even though it looks awful. I had to return some plastic nipples that I purchased because Whirlpool had them already installed on the new water heater. These nipples are used to conserve energy by not letting the heat continue up into the cold water inlet line and the hot water line. They make the heat stay contained in the water heater, and in the water heater only.

At the end of the night, as I took a steaming hot shower, I would consider the project a success. We had to go back to Ace's hardware once, and Lowe's again, but that wasn't due to poor planning. So it turns out that my valve in the water line coming off the street at my meter will not turn off 100%. It will go 99%, but not 100%. This caused water to slowly drip down the water inlet line, thus causing us to not be able to do a solder weld. We then had to go back to Lowe's for a compression valve to attach to the line and therefore not do a solder. We tried, but turns out you cannot do a weld when you have wet water lines. We tried though and gave it our best shot to save a trip!! hahaha!

Thanks for reading and I hope you revisit this blog often!


  1. The fun of being a home owner and many trips to Lowes! The water coming out of your copper pipes = YUCK!! but Yay for your new water heater!! Our water heater is old like from 91 or its 95 either way still old and we had to replace the elements and such so we could get a little more life out of it..because we have 15min showers too and its awhile before it gets warm again...but we recently had to replace a furnace so we are thinking about when we get a new water heater we may get a gas one.

  2. On your hotwater looks like you have the wrong size wire going to it.Looks to be yellow which is 12awg. Could be my eyes going bad but it looks to be yellow sheathing. But however I do see an orange wire rolled up behind it which is 10awg. That would be the corrct size wire you need for a standered HWheater. It should be on a 30amp breaker,which is what the orange wire is rated for. The yellow is only 20amp. So hopefully you dont have 30amp going on a 20amp breaker. Not good at all. Can be dangerous. But if you only have a 20amp breaker & 12 wire going to it then your not going to get the full rating that its supposed to put out & will shorten the life of the breaker also. Wont hurt the heater though as long as you dont over amp it. under is fine just doesnt put out what it should. Just some info from an electrician of 9 1/2 years. Wired up to many to count over the years

  3. I saw a hgtv show one time where the guy gave a plumber's trick for the leaky water in the pipes,
    use bread, use the pipe end like a cookie cutter and push the bread in about 6 cut peaces and that can hold the water long enough for a good solder seal. The bread can flush through, just gotta check for screen/traps etc.
    Can't help you now of course, but, good to know. lol