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Mike R.
Mike R., Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 2885
Experience:  20 years of plumbing experience, including high end homes and service work.
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Rheem Marathon electric hot water heater

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I have a Rheem Marathon electric hot water heater that has been sitting in the barn for several years. I wanted to reinstall it. The plumber told me that when he filled it, the tank expanded and that made him think it was going to blow up. What gives?
It won't blow up but it might start to leak. If you have it somewhere that if it leaks it won't do any damage like a garage or basement with a floor drain I wouldn't worry. If you have city water you should put an expansion tank on the cold line. It will prolong the life of the water heater. If you have well water you don't need the expansion tank the diaphragm tank will do the job.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

city water with a pressure of 100 lbs - how likely is it to leak?


That is really good pressure. Hard to say how long the heater will last. Could last forever. Put the 2 gallon expansion tank and flush the heater once a year and it might last years. If you have it in a pan put bricks under it so if it does start to leak the bottom won't rust out. You can get a water alarm too. About$ 12 and battery powered and sounds a loud alarm if water is detected. Turn your water off when you go out of town and you'll have nothing to worry about. When they leak they usually start slow. On rare occasion will split but take those precautions and you will already be ahead of most.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is there anything in particular I should tell the plumber? Is it safe to assume that he isn't familiar with this type of water heater and that's why he freaked out?
I think he was trying to warn you of the same things in his own way. Lots of plumbers use the term"blow up" pretty loosely.
i was talking to my friend about that model water heater. he said it is a plastic water heater and may appear to puff out when filled. the vessel is a fillament wound fiberglass shell with a polypropylene bladder inside it. it won't leak. it is rated for 150psi and a burst strength of over 300psi. he had even been to the manufacturing floor where they are made and tested. no worries at all. Just be sure he installs the expansion tank. You can still post here even after you accept my answer. I will respond. Thanks, mike
is there any more i can help with? i don't get paid until you accept and i want you to know that you can still post here after that and i will respond. accepting the answer does not terminate communication. thanks, mike.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You have been very helpful - I haven't had the tab "rate to finish" in quite some time, and I don't know how else to terminate this conversation.
Do you see the "accept" icon? Click on that.
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