brown/yellow water coming from tap

Messages
1,048
Location
Sunny Calif
I need some opinions. Two weeks ago I noticed brown/yellow water on the hot side of the tap (the cold side was clear). So, I flushed the water heater several times and it cleared up. Today, all of a sudden, it turned brown again. How can it reappear so quickly? Is this a sign the heater is rusting inside?? It's 10 yrs old, but I flush it once per year. The anode hasn't been replaced. It's $600 for a new one so I don't want to replace it unless totally necessary. What do you think is causing this?
 
Messages
25,045
Location
ON, Canada eh?
Hot water heater needs replacement. It's rotten inside. Ours was replaced about 3 years ago for the same problem. It was doing what you described and before we got a chance to get the Gas company out (rented), it cracked and flooded the basement! Have it checked out right away, and if possible turn down the temperature until a service tech can come out just to be safe \:\! When we had the new one installed we put a catch pan underneath the base of it that has a pipe going to an overflow drain so that if it leaks again it doesn't damage our new carpet in the basement! Can you not rent it for a small charge on your gas/electric bill to save you the cost of owernship/replacement/service calls? Good Luck!
 
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Messages
9,679
Location
Central Coast, Calif.
You probably need a new water heater. Do you have copper, plastic, or galvanized water pipes? What is your water "pressure" like when you turn on two faucets or the shower and a faucet? When my house had brown water it needed new pipes, the 40yo galvanized pipes were at the end of their life. The hot water side were worse than the
 
Messages
19,528
Location
Lake Forest, CA
I bought floor display Kenmore 40 gallon water heater for less than $300 few years ago. But the delivery guy gave me a brand new one. Go to Sears and looking for floor and slightly cosmetic damage, you may get a good deal.
 

tonycarguy

Thread starter
Messages
1,048
Location
Sunny Calif
 Originally Posted By: tom slick
You probably need a new water heater. Do you have copper, plastic, or galvanized water pipes? What is your water "pressure" like when you turn on two faucets or the shower and a faucet? When my house had brown water it needed new pipes, the 40yo galvanized pipes were at the end of their life. The hot water side were worse than the
I don't know what my cold pipes are made of, but I know the hot water pipe is copper. The house is only 18 y/o. The water pressure is moderate because I turned down the pressure at the main. I set the pressure to be useful for only two things to be on at once (eg, dishwasher and 1 faucet). There's very little hammer effect when you abruptly turn off the water. Does higher pressure mean shorter heater life?
 
Messages
1,385
Location
Houston, TX
Our water heater coils were rusted up, and the bottom of the tank ended up rusting out ie huge leak. Got a new 60+ gallon unit (old one was 40 gal IIRC) that had it's "energy meter" pegged all the way to the "inefficient" end of the scale, and still our gas bill fell like a rock. So we got a larger heater that worked better because of no rust on the heating elements. Look for mailers, etc. with 10-20% off at home improvement stores.
 
Messages
9,679
Location
Central Coast, Calif.
 Originally Posted By: tonycarguy
I don't know what my cold pipes are made of, but I know the hot water pipe is copper. The house is only 18 y/o. The water pressure is moderate because I turned down the pressure at the main. I set the pressure to be useful for only two things to be on at once (eg, dishwasher and 1 faucet). There's very little hammer effect when you abruptly turn off the water. Does higher pressure mean shorter heater life?
Sounds like your pipes are fine. The "pressure" I was talking about is the effect people notice when old pipes are corroded and the "pressure" drops significantly when two faucets are open. It's actually a flow issue but interpreted as "pressure." I think your water heater is at the end of its life, 10 years is long enough. Annodes cost about $15 and are super easy to replace as long as you have the correct socket and enough room above the heater to install the new 3' long annode. It's just a pipe plug in the top of the tank with a rod connected to it.
 

tonycarguy

Thread starter
Messages
1,048
Location
Sunny Calif
 Originally Posted By: oilyriser
Does anyone actually replace anodes on home sized hot water tanks? How much does one of those anodes cost, and how long does it take to replace one?
Anodes cost $20-35 (Alum is cheaper, magnesium is more). It's easy to replace if yours isn't corroded on like mine was. I could not remove it even with a 2-foot breaker bar. IF you try to remove a corroded anode, be sure your heater is braced to the wall. The force needed to loosen it can topple the heater and cause a gas leak or kill someone if it's full of water If you don't have enough clearance over the heater it will be difficult to remove the existing one. They have new ones that are bendable so you can get the new one in easily, but you still have the issue of getting the old one out.
 
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Messages
676
Location
Hill Country TX
Yep due for replacement. Mine did the same thing. Water was plenty hot but when wife would take a bath, water would look like watered down tea. Check Home Depot, that where I got mine. Had it waiting when the plumber showed up.
 
Messages
7,077
Location
Ontario, Canada
You could cut the old anode after it's out a bit, and remove the rest bit by bit. One could be made that screws together as you install it, for places with little headroom. But try convincing an average homeowner he needs his anode replaced at a cost of $25 plus $75 labour.
 
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