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#191679 - 12/24/09 03:02 AM If you take apart a hot water heater...
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
... what is inside?

There is the metal covering, probably some insulation under that, then what? A metal tank?

I keep passing a place that is installing instant hot water heaters, and there are always a bunch of discarded tank-type units stacked out front. I was just wondering if there is something usable inside.

Sue, once a scrounger, always a scrounger

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#191687 - 12/24/09 04:20 AM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: Susan]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA
A whole lotta boom?

Er, I dunno. I assumed it was just a heating element in a bottle, surrounded with a bit of insulation and then wrapped in a sheet metal skin.

But that's just a guess. But the video is great. :-)

Google turned up this.

-john


Edited by JohnN (12/24/09 04:22 AM)

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#191691 - 12/24/09 05:07 AM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: JohnN]
Mark_M Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 295
Loc: New Jersey
There's an inner metal tank. Depending on whether it's gas or electric, there's either a flue running up the middle to the chimney(gas) or some electric elements inside. Of course there's also a cold inlet and hot outlet pipe. And there's an anode, which is a metal spike designed to attract any corrosive salts or chemicals in the water so they don't attack the other parts.

And, at the bottom of the tank, there is a layer of built-up sediment from the water and decaying anode. Some tanks have an access vent to clean out this sludge periodically. I don't know of anyone who actually does this, though. But the anode should be checked and replaced every couple of years.

See: http://home.howstuffworks.com/water-heater.htm
_________________________
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#191693 - 12/24/09 05:25 AM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: Mark_M]
JohnE Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 601
Loc: Southern Cal
The anodes can be used for some cool looking metal sculptures.

_________________________
JohnE

"and all the lousy little poets
comin round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"

The Future/Leonard Cohen


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#191728 - 12/24/09 08:24 PM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: JohnE]
sodak Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 410
The anode is magnesium, which you could use for firestarter after taking a file to it. But if it's all gunked up, I don't know how good it would be...

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#191730 - 12/24/09 09:41 PM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: sodak]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 842
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: sodak
The anode is magnesium, which you could use for firestarter after taking a file to it. But if it's all gunked up, I don't know how good it would be...


The anode is really gnarly looking- like barnacles on a piling.
Running down the center is a steel rod.
While you *could* make a firestarter out of it I'd regard buying a dedicated firestarter as a very cheap way of buying out of the trouble of doing anything with the rod.

I keep one or two around to show people how they can make their water heater last forever. (change it before it's fully consumed by corrosion and the steel of the tank is completely protected from corrosion)

It also does a fine imitation of the dreaded BOHICA.

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#191736 - 12/25/09 12:00 AM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: unimogbert]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Okay, I guess I won't volunteer to take any off their hands...

Thanks for the info, guys!

Sue

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#191748 - 12/25/09 02:23 AM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: Susan]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2810
Parents get them a strip them down to the internal tank, then cut the top and bottom off and weld a couple together length wise to make culverts to put under roads. You don't have to bury them as deep as the thin sheet metal from a store bought one because they are much stronger.

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#191749 - 12/25/09 02:41 AM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: Eugene]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Eugene, what (approx.) is the size of the internal tank of a standard 40-gal water heater? Length, diameter? How thick is the wall?

Ack! HOT water heater! What other kind of water heater would you find?! Redundency in everything, eh?

Sue

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#191789 - 12/25/09 06:23 PM Re: If you take apart a hot water heater... [Re: Susan]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2810
The insulation around the tank is only a couple inches thick so estimating the whole water to be close to 24" diameter, the internal tank is around 20". The steel is pretty thick, I remember he had to cut it with a torch. The tank is only a few inches shorter than the height of the outside also, gas being a little shorter since there is the burner under.

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