Plumbing in the Home/replacing water heater
QUESTION: Hi, Jay
I have a 25-year old water heater. It is not leaking, but we're afraid that it might leak, flood the basement, ruin the electric system and do much damage.
Do you think we should replace it?
ANSWER: Chris, I understand your concerns. At 25 it has definitely outlived it's expected life span. BUT if it isn't leaking and it is producing hot water for your needs then I would go by the old adage of "if it's not broke ...don't fix it". Water heaters will begin to leak slowly and get worse over time. They very rarely burst and cause a flood. If fact if it bursts, you have bigger problems than a flood to deal with.
With all that being said, at 25 yrs. old it's efficiency has been reduced dramatically. A new heater will save you money on your utility bill but the cost of replacing them has gone up. Around here we get $500 to $600 for a standard installation. Expect that as a minimum.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks again, Jay
In your reply, you write "if it bursts, you have bigger problems..."
I'm thinking that if the basement flood reaches an electric outlet, not only with that knock out electricity in the house, but the water will be charged and anyone stepping in the water,will be electrocuted.
Am I right?
Under normal circumstances the breaker or fuse would trip and kill power where the outlet was under water. There would have to be a very large leak and for a long time to flood a basement that deep. Also, if the panel box was under water and the main didn't trip, then yes, you have a very, very serious situation and electrocution potential.
What I was referring to was if it bursts due to over temp or over pressure you would have an explosive situation.