Replaced 24 year old water heater

Had my own water heater replaced yesterday. 24 year old Whirlpool electric 50 gallon tank. Still working strong, but many signs that it was time…well, it was long past due.

Anyways, I’ve been in the house for 14 of those 24 years. We are on a community shared well which services 6 houses. I know being on a well that silt will come into your system, thus having a water filter or filters. It wasn’t until after I bought and got into the house that I realized how much silt can accumulate in and pass through those filters. Of course this is all dependent on your soil in the area you live.

Back to the water heater. Knowing that the water heater had probably never been flushed and drained, I hired a plumbing company to replace it. An hour replacement job took them 4 hours. The tank wouldn’t drain because of 24 years of silt buildup. They eventually disconnected the tank, set it aside while they installed the new one, then worked mercifully to get it outside to pop holes in so it would drain. They said it was still in the 3 to 4 hundred lbs range with all the silt and water still in it. They laughed and said I probably had 25 gallons of hot water and 25 gallons of silt.

The guys told me that water heater tanks on a well system should be flushed at least every other year. I understand that now and will advice my clients in the future regarding all water heaters that the water service is by a well.


That’s pretty impressive!

My house is on a private well. I’ve been in it for 5 years, but the 80 gal conventional electric water heater is original to the house and its 31 years old! I know, I know… knocking on wood right now. I don’t know much about what was done before I moved in, other than a couple of different filter setups had been tried and a water softener. I drain and flush it annually, and normally get very little out of it, which seems promising. I am generally of the opinion: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The water heater is functioning as intended and I’m happy it has lasted as long as it has, but it is on my short list of projects.


I agree Nick. You took the proper approach to maintenance. When I bought, I had never been on a well and didn’t really research it until I became a home inspector. Now I have learned and can pass on the helpful hints to my clients.

Curious to me that they didn’t have a pump. I know that wouldn’t have helped with the drain spigot but you can always run a hose down the plumbing connections.


Bob, I get where coming from and all though Frick and Frack really did a good job with the install, they really lacked in other areas. However, I do give them credit on “trying the best on what they thunk” and moving a 300 lb tank outside without breaking anything. I tipped the well for their extra effort.

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Even though they say an electric hot water is only good for 5 to 10 years, Mine was 26 years old when I replaced it, and it was still in good working order. But no problem draining it.


Depends on the well water. Some well water will eat the electric element away. Easy to replace, and will cause you to drain your tank in the process. A water softener is the best protection.

Were you changing anode rods as prescribed?

No, I did not change the anode rod, I have a deep well 220 ft. All I have is a sediment filter after the pressure tank. When I was removing the tank it sounded like the anode was detached banging around inside the tank. So it was time.