Will switching to a lower temp prolong my water heater's life

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Jan 25, 2009
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We have a 50 gallon heater that has given us relatively good use for the last 18 years.

However we're getting to that point where it takes a bit longer for water to get hot.

I wanted to know if it made sense for us to keep it on the warm or vacation setting, and then raise it to the normal setting about an hour before we either take a bath/shower or use the dishwasher.

I know we already got our money's worth. My concern is if we do what I just mentioned, is there a temperature point with the water at which point the heater isn't worth using anymore. I think 120 degrees is the lowest it can safely be used for a bath, and 140 is the lowest for a dishwasher.

Any experience doing this? Any better alternatives? The dial for raising and lowering the temperature is always within easy access.
 
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Subscribed. I'm in the exact situation as you are, with both time and the unit. Turning it up and down may be worse, but I'll wait to hear from the BITOG experts.
 
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Usually the solution to heating slowly is to turn it off and drain it at the spicket at the bottom. At 18y.o. removing the settiment my expose leaks that are plugged by said settiment. There might be other things to look at. Is your tank gass or electric?
 
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My HWH is almost 20 years old. We started with it set at the triangle. Then the water stopped being hot so we turned it hotter. Now, we are at the B setting. I think it's due to hard sediment in the tank blocking the heat transmission to the water. I don't know what lowering the temperature would do for you.
 

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I've mentioned it many times and I'm not sure how many people actually do it. Replace the anode rod. I've covered it in many threads.

Water taking longer to get hot is probably sediment in the tank or maybe the dip tube broke off but not near the top.



 

macarose

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Usually the solution to heating slowly is to turn it off and drain it at the spicket at the bottom. At 18y.o. removing the settiment my expose leaks that are plugged by said settiment. There might be other things to look at. Is your tank gass or electric?
Gas water heater
 
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Bremerton, WA
From my experience:

Turning down electric water heater, yes. Turning down gas water heater, no.

The gas burner isn't aware of the thermostats temp. It burns at the same heat it's whole life. The thermocouple and thermopyle are also unaware of the thermostat setting.

The health inside the tank has a lot to do with water quality and anode maintenance IIRC.
 
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Every summer I take the AC drain hose and hook up to the water heater drain, open it wide open for 1 minute at least. Put hose back on the AC drain when done. Dad told me to do this. Last 30 gal gas water heater lasted 14 yrs. This was the grade school thur high school years with 1 son / 2 daughters. A lot of water was used. Water heater just started leaking one day, it had done it's job. Draining the crud out yearly is a must to me.
 
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My water heater was not keeping up. Put garden hose on it and drained alot of sludge from the bottom but it didn't seem to help. Went and bought a $3.99 dip tube and the water lasts for ever and is so hot it'll peel skin.
 

JHZR2

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My water heater was not keeping up. Put garden hose on it and drained alot of sludge from the bottom but it didn't seem to help. Went and bought a $3.99 dip tube and the water lasts for ever and is so hot it'll peel skin.
What’s a dip tube?

I have an indirect heater, and the drain is the same location as the cold in. So I can’t ”flush“ it, just drain and refill…

But if there’s something else that I can do I’d like to….
 
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What’s a dip tube?

I have an indirect heater, and the drain is the same location as the cold in. So I can’t ”flush“ it, just drain and refill…

But if there’s something else that I can do I’d like to….
It's basically the inlet tube for the cold water in a gas water heater. Typically the inlet tube might break off so what happens is that cold water enters at the top or middle or wherever there's a leak instead of at the bottom on the tank. Then instead of getting your 40 gallons of hot water, you end up with less because the cold water is at a higher level instead of at the bottom. An indirect sounds like you have a tankless coil.

Changing out the anode rod on a gas water heater will make it last much longer than things like flushing it. If you have a tankless coil on a boiler, you can flush out the sediment in the boiler to make it more efficient.
 
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It's 18 years old. Past the average lifespan. If you have drained the sediment on a regular basis, that's good. If you haven't, don't start at this point. It's at the end of its lifespan and you can't take back 18 years of use. I wouldn't put any money into it, run it till it leaks and replace it.
 
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After sleeping on this I think constantly changing the temp would be more stressful on the tank. Heating it up would cause some expansion while cooling would cause shrinkage, at least right now its trying to maintain a stable temp.
 
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My HWH is almost 20 years old. We started with it set at the triangle. Then the water stopped being hot so we turned it hotter. Now, we are at the B setting. I think it's due to hard sediment in the tank blocking the heat transmission to the water. I don't know what lowering the temperature would do for you.
Had this problem with both Gas and Electric hot water heaters. You will need to replace is, pay attention to the anode rod.
 
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If you haven't been flushing the sediment , don't start now . You run the risk of getting crud in the valve and it won't seal . Drip .. drip ..drip ..
 
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If you haven't been flushing the sediment , don't start now . You run the risk of getting crud in the valve and it won't seal . Drip .. drip ..drip ..

The solution for that:

 

BlueOvalFitter

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If you haven't been flushing the sediment , don't start now . You run the risk of getting crud in the valve and it won't seal . Drip .. drip ..drip ..
If you're installing your own water heater replace that plastic POS drain valve with a full port ball valve and a male hose end connector with cap.
They're probably cheaper at HD.
 

BlueOvalFitter

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The solution for that:

When I was working in the field as an HVAC pipefitter we would install a 3/4" full port ball valve as a low point drain on AHU's, fan coils, VAV's, chillers, etc. We would get boxes of 100 count, both male hose end connectors and caps. It didn't take long to go thru a few boxes on huge jobs.
 
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