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Linda M
electric hot water heaters

I am into a month long process of trying to learn about hot water heaters.

I move twice a year from one rental to another. There is a new hot water heater in my summer rental that I can not use. I have Chemical Sensitivities.

The hot water heaters in both homes I have rented in the winter are older models. One is A.O. Smith made in 2002 and no longer available. I am waiting to hear back from A.O. Smith regarding the specs from the 2002 heater and the possibility of obtaining a custom made hot water heater.

I know I can not have a heater with the hard poly foam exterior like the new one in this rental. I get sick as soon as the it begins to heat up- and that means summer temperatures in the kitchen even without turning on the hot water heater fuse.

The 3 times I tried to use the hot water it came out of the faucet with a strong chemical odor that not only made me sick but also was very difficult to wash off my hands.

I have not yet succeeded in getting the answer to the problem of the toxins (for me) from the water that comes out of the faucet/tank.

The tank in the second winter rental was made in 1986 by State. Also no longer available.

Is it likely that the dip tubes and heating elements are made/treated with some chemicals that were not present in the construction of the 1986 and 2002 water heaters?

Is a dip tube the same as an anode rod? Are the anode rods now made/treated with chemicals?

Or are the glass or porcelain linings in the tanks now treated with chemicals that were not used in 1986 or 2002?

Any information will be appreciated.

Sincerely,

still waiting to shower - aka Linda

keith3267
Re: electric hot water heaters

As I recall, State water heaters used a stainless steel tank and had no coating on the inside at all. Other water heaters used to be coated with an epoxy paint system and unless they started using polyurethane paint recently, the epoxy should still be in use.

Linda M
Re: electric hot water heaters

Thanks for taking the time to reply. The tech rep I spoke with today at State said all current models use poly foam insulation. I also heard back from A.O. Smith and they apparently were originally mistaken and can not custom make a heater without poly foam. That seems to make my questions here irrelevant. Irony is that Vaughn can custom make me a metal tank with no poly foam or even paint but they use a cement or hydrastone lining which I have no way of testing for my allergies before a purchase. I know I can not tolerate new foundations in homes.

Thanks for your comment.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: electric hot water heaters

The poly foam is used outside the tank and will have no affect on the water. As far as I know the anode rod has not been changed, however so many products are coming from China and their products continually seem to turn out to be contaminated.

Jack

johnjh2o
Re: electric hot water heaters
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

The poly foam is used outside the tank and will have no affect on the water. As far as I know the anode rod has not been changed, however so many products are coming from China and their products continually seem to turn out to be contaminated.

Jack

Jack, the anode rods are not the same in all tanks. They are area specific to the water conditions in different parts of the country.

John

A. Spruce
Re: electric hot water heaters

I would also like to add that if you're THAT sensitive that you get sick if there is problems with the water heater, then you'd best be worried about what the house is plumbed with. If it's PEX, then you're probably going to be having a reaction to that as well. As "safe" as everybody tries to say plastics are, they still off-gas and they still impart chemicals and chemical flavors to the water that is run through them.

Copper is expensive, so in the interests of keeping things as cheap as possible, copper pipe has given way to plastic pipe. It should be pretty obvious if your house is plumbed with plastic pipe or copper pipe.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: electric hot water heaters
johnjh2o wrote:

Jack, the anode rods are not the same in all tanks. They are area specific to the water conditions in different parts of the country.

John

The standard anode rod is magnesium and found in most water heaters, aluminum anode rods can be ordered for areas with extremely hard water. The only other rod I know of is aluminum/zinc and they are never factory installed.

Jack

HoustonRemodeler
Re: electric hot water heaters

What about going tankless to avoid all these problems?

dj1
Re: electric hot water heaters
HoustonRemodeler wrote:

What about going tankless to avoid all these problems?

I was going to suggest wood burning water heater. My grandma used to have one and her children were always taking hot baths (according to one of her stories).

JLMCDANIEL
Re: electric hot water heaters

I would suggest having the water tested, it may be the problem rather than the water heater.

Jack

keith3267
Re: electric hot water heaters

In 2004, I bought a Whirlpool water heater from Lowes. It was their top of the line with the lowest energy costs and lifetime warrantee and it uses a high density fiberglass insulation. It is actually made by US/Craftmaster Water Heater Company in Johnson City, TN.

I do agree with others that your problem may not be with your water heater, it could be with the plumbing materials or the water itself. Also the house could be insulated with a foam insulation. Even fiberglass insulation is now coated with some type of material to make it less brittle. For people with certain allergies, that is a no win situation, when the fiberglass breaks up into dust, it is an allergen, but the coating that prevents this will off gas an allergen.

The house you are in might also have a mold problem that has not been detected. I know a couple of people like you who have severe allergies. It is hard for them to move once they get a house "cleaned up" enough for them to live in, and they don't have to move every six months.

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