Water heaters can be a possible destructive item in a multi unit property. Recently, we were hired by @ properties to represent an absentee buyer from out of the country who needed a home inspection in Chicago. This inspection was in the hot area of Old Town. Old Town is west of the Gold coast and south of Lincoln Park. This is definitely not a rare occasion, as alot of buyers relocating to the Chicago area are not able to be at their own condo inspection.
An absent buyer doesn’t mean you do any less of a job, in fact it means you better document every area of the property to protect your client. The Old town home inspection in Chicago was a typical penthouse condo. Everything seemed to be fine at the property, until I started to inspect the water supply ball valves and water heater. I immediately noticed water leaking from the water heater casing. This is generally a sign that the water heater storage tank is going to break or leak out completely. The water heater at the Chicago home inspection did have a water overflow pan with drainage below the water heater. This overflow pan is installed to prevent water heater tanks leaking to the floors below them causing costly repairs.
The reason that the A O Smith water heater’s storage tank was developing holes can come from various issues. The main one of course is age. Generally, water heaters are only suppose to exist in service from 11-15 years depending on the type of unit you purchased and how much use it gets. My opinion on the unit in the Chicago home inspection was that there was paint that was stored right next to the water heater. The paint cans may be sealed but the vapors are still able to enter the burner area where the water is heated. There is moisture in natural gas that when heated condensates on the bottom side of a storage tank. When the paint fumes comes in contact with the moisture on the tank it starts to corrode the area. I believe age of the unit and paint being stored adjacent to the unit caused the unit to have issues. The A O Smith water heater was 12 years old and it was time to change out the unit anyways.
If you have questions about how long house hold systems should last check out~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/repair-replacement-costs.html
If you have questions about how water heaters work contact us at~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com
Please leave a comment or a question if we can help you with issues you have on your property. Thanks ~ Jim Kolke