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TOPIC: Water heater issues

Water heater issues 10 years 2 months ago #49312

  • Richard Overton
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Hi all, I recently had a problem with a house I inspected. It had a older water heater, the water heater made popping noises while heating and there was rust staining around the top of the fire box at the flue. I wrote it up as Functional but at the end of useful life.

2 weeks after the buyer moved in it started to leak. The home warranty company sent a rep out who determined that it was all ready rusting and should have been called out as defective. Eventually they did replace it, but not without a fight. My argument being it was functional at time of inspection, the condition was stated in the report, They had that information when they made the policy.

Since then I have been paying greater attention to the firebox/flue junction in the water heaters on my inspections. I have yet to find a single one that does not have rust stains around that point. Probably caused by exhaust gas condensation.

The question. How much rust is to much? Where do you draw the line?

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Re: Water heater issues 10 years 2 months ago #49314

Water heaters have an expected life expectancy of 8-11 years.  I look at the mfg date and the exterior condition.  If I see rust or burn marks, I call for futher investigation by a plumber.  I also state the specific age and the expected life expectancy.  10 yr old water heater with signs of rust or burn marks, will need replacement soon.  Tell the clients.  Let them plan and budget for replacement within a year or less.

Not going to discuss the idea of selling insurance/warranties.

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Bruce Ramsey, ACI

Re: Water heater issues 10 years 2 months ago #49401

Richard, sounds like you called it out right, but maybe a little stronger language should be used next time.

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