Came across this water heater showing rust its a 2019!

Rheem electric water heater. Seeing signs of rust from the top seal it was built in 2019. What does this look like to you guys? Thanks for any help with this.

Maybe a small seeping leak at the threads where the hot and/or cold enter the tank.

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Thanks Larry. Should I just call it out to have a plumber evaluate?

Sounds good, Drew. :smile:

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Probably leaking at the nipple. Call for repair.

OK, thank you Chuck. Will do

I would simply call for a plumber to evaluate and repair. I would not speculate (in writing) on the cause in the report. Yes, most likely a leak at one of the connections but could be a defect in the tank itself (like a bad weld seam at the top that got past inspector #6 at the factory). Just don’t put something in the report to cause your client to not follow through with a repair and possibly come back and blame you when (if) a seam ruptures and floods their house. When you report “in writing” something that it is not.

In this case, if the tank was put in by a plumber, most likely within the past six months, it will still be under warranty (parts and labor) so the seller should not squack to get it repaired or even replaced if a manufacturing defect.

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Hey Larry, thanks for the reply. I was going with something along the lines of " There appears to be rust at the top seam on this new 2019 water heater. Have a licensed plumber evaluate for repair or replacement." Too vague, or not enough?

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There is rust dripping from the top seam of the water heater. Have a qualified plumber investigate and make repairs/replacement as needed to stop the leakage.

I am not saying report this comment at all, it is just an out loud thought but maybe the plumber lost some water as he was installing the water heater and did not dry off the top afterwards, it could have came from water resting on top of tank and not a active leak. Again that is just a thought not a comment I would use in a report

Saw something similar from a new state water heater last year on a 11-month warranty inspection. Water in the electrical junction box above the water heater, no stains on the ceiling from roof leaks, no visible leakage around hot/cold nipples, no other stains nearby that would indicate the water is coming from outside. Likely a leak from inside. Yours could also be leaking from the same area as it is right next to the BX cable. Did you open the junction box cover and take a peek? Water and electricity don’t mix and this leak could also end up between the inner and outer tanks, which has no lining to protect from rust. Told the builder to replace the water heater.
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Noticed the direct connections of copper to the galvanized steel nipples straight away. Amateur installation, for certain.

Really? how can you tell from over there?


The rust stain is coming out of the seam from below the jacket lid, not on top of the lid. It needs to be wet for some period of time before rust forms on these. If you leave a small puddle of rust on the top of the tank, it’s going to evaporate before you see visible corrosion. Most water heaters now have styrofoam insulation which is impermeable to water. If you get water under the top jacket, it’s going to come out between the tip and bottom jacket seams.

Not so much. All factory water heaters come with lined nipples as Simon showed in his pic. These are suitable for direct copper connection.

Good point Chuck on my thought earlier about the water resting on top of the lid, it would have got under the lid to create that rust stain, you are right.