Replacing Water Heaters
LESLIE: Paul in Urbana, Illinois is having some issues with a water heater. What’s going on?
PAUL: Well, the hot water heater is – I think it’s about 23 years old.
TOM: Wow. It’s an antique. (laughs)
PAUL: Yeah, well, it’s been – it has served us well. The top is gathering a lot of – I don’t know what you call it (chuckles). It’s lime; I guess it’s lime, huh?
TOM: Is it white and crusty?
TOM: Yeah. Those are mineral salt deposits, Paul, and they’re caused by leaks. And you probably have leaks in the pipes that are going into the water heater up top. Very common to get it around the fittings. At the age of 23, though, I mean that water heater can go at any time now so I think it would be time for a preventative replacement. I don’t think you want to wait much longer because when it goes, it’s going to be a big mess.
TOM: Yeah, you know what you might want to think about is looking at one of the high-efficiency water heaters; either a tankless water heater or – do you have electric or gas in the house? What fuel do you use?
PAUL: Well, we use gas.
TOM: So I would get a gas-fired tankless water heater. If you buy one right now, they’re going to be covered by the federal energy tax credit program and you can get up to 15 percent of the cost of the water heater as a tax credit on your 2010 taxes.
PAUL: They pretty expensive?
TOM: Yeah, well, they’re not – they’re more expensive than a tanked water heater but they last a lot longer.
PAUL: OK. Well, thanks for the information.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Paul. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.