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Old 12-02-2018, 06:14 PM   #1
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Glass Lined vs SS Lined Water Heater

I am looking to replace a rusted out 6 gal Seaward water heater with a unit that will last a lot longer. Looking at Torrid, Raritan, and Isotemp units. Does anyone have input on glass lined vs stainless steel inner tanks? Isotemp has a model with 304 stainless inner tank and 316 ss outer. Was wondering how the ss inner tank held up vs the other brand glass lined models like Raritan and Torrid. Not sure what grade ss comprises the other brands. Any recommendations as to the best water heater? Are Torrids worth the money? Plan on keeping this boat for a long time ( famous last words) so want to pay for quality. Thanks!!
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:22 PM   #2
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I'll be interested to see the comments here. I have a Torrid, which has been great, but now has an issue that was very likely my fault.

Repair Torrid 20 gal hot water tank?

Odds are that I'll need to replace it. I could get a Kuuma for half the price, but it may be a poor choice in the long term.
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Old 12-02-2018, 10:02 PM   #3
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In doing a quick check of prices, it appears that the Torrid is almost 3 times as expensive as a Seaward. Letís say that the cheaper Seaward only lasts 8 years, it would take over 20 years to make the Torrid pay for the difference in cost. Now you say you are going to keep the boat long term, are you really going to keep it for more than 20 years? Personally I would go with a cheaper water heater and save the money for places that price really makes a difference. Not saying the Torrid isnít better, just at what cost.
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Old 12-02-2018, 11:50 PM   #4
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My Seaward that failed had an Al tank. The Al gunk that came out of that tank was horrible. Replaced with a Torrid. I'd steer clear of a 304 tank. 316 much better. But if from China no telling if SS grade matches sales brochure.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:11 AM   #5
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The initial cost of a Torrid mabe more than a Seward but but there’s a cost associated with the installation, removal and the hassle factor of finding your water heater is leaking the first week into your seasonal trip. I’d go with the Torrid or another glass-lined water heater.
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Old 12-03-2018, 07:14 AM   #6
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Glass lined tanks have replaceable anodes...metal tanks are anodized. When the anodizing wears off a replaceable anode, you just replace the anode...when the anodizing wears off the walls of a metal tank, you replace the water heater.


I've always been a big fan of Raritan water heaters. Raritan Water Heaters Promo I've owned two boats that had one. The first one was only 11 years and still in excellent condition when I sold the boat, the last one was 22 years old when I sold the boat, also still in excellent condition.



Vic Willman, now retired from Raritan after 40 years there, wrote the following...I think you'll find it worth reading:




If you put two metals together in water, one will corrode to protect the other. Which metal is which is determined by where they are on the galvanic scale. Most plumbers (but not necessarily most boat owners) know better than to screw a steel fitting into a copper fitting because the steel will immediately start to rust. It is less “noble” than copper. The metal being protected is the cathode. The metal being consumed is the anode. The anode protects all the other metal in a water heater...and removing it won't just shorten the life of a water heater, it'll cut the life of a water heater in half...which is why every domestic water heater mfr specifically states that removing the anode voids the warranty.



Anodes are included in the water heaters that have glass-lined steel tanks to protect the inside of the tank against corrosion from acids in the water, stray electrical currents, etc. Glass lined tanks, when the water heater is being built, are heated up red hot. Then glass powder is sprayed inside the tank and it adheres upon contact. However, it doesn't cover every single crack and crevice inside the tank - it should, but in actual practice, it doesn't. The purpose of the anode is to protect those spots inside the tank that have not been glass-covered from rusting away prematurely. The anode is eaten away, rather than the tank being eaten away. Kind of a backup to the glass lining.

The anode is a magnesium rod, about 3/4" in diameter that is attached to the inside of the hot water "out" nipple, via a plastic coupling. It is electrically isolated from the fittings and from the tank. It extends all the way across the inside of the tank, stopping just short of the other side. There is an iron rod in the center of the magnesium that supports it, the iron being stronger than the magnesium. As the magnesium is eaten away and the iron rod exposed, there's a chemical reaction between the water, the iron and the magnesium that causes the "rotten egg" smell. Replacing the anode and flushing out the tank will usually make the foul smell go away.

The least expensive marine water heaters don't have replaceable anodes...instead of glass lined tanks, they have anodized steel or even aluminum tanks...when the anodizing wears off the tank walls, the only cure is a new water heater. But ALL water heaters, domestic and marine have anodes of some kind.



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Old 12-03-2018, 09:17 AM   #7
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The chemical engineer in me is suspicious of the discussion of anodizing in steel, aluminum and SS tanks, but ignoring that:


I have owned 9 cruising boats in my lifetime. None had screw in anodes. The boats ranged from 1 to 15 years old when I sold them and none had leaks in the water heaters.


So my conclusion is that the average non glass lined water heater (which is what I assume I had) will last as much as 15 years or more. So put that into your equation when considering spending three times more for glass lined.


I would buy a stainless steel water heater for my next boat if I needed one.



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Old 12-03-2018, 10:18 AM   #8
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My 20 gallon torrid is 15 years old and going strong. I replaced the annode last year. Hard to say if it was ever done before.

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Old 12-03-2018, 11:53 AM   #9
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Avoid aluminum tanks. Like Sunchaser pointed out, they grow some really nasty gunk.

A Raritan glass lined or Isotemp SPA 316 Stainless would be my choice.
I think the Isotemp SPA is the best value.
https://www.indelwebastomarine.com/u...r-heaters/spa/
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:17 PM   #10
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Glass Lined vs SS Lined Water Heater

I just replaced my leaking 8 year old aluminum (no anode) seaward with a new Torrid. I expect to never replace the water heater again.

Here is a link to my blog if interested in what was involved:
https://mvfiddler.com/2018/11/30/rep...-water-heater/
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:50 PM   #11
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316SS would be best, but in fresh water there isn't that much difference between 316 and 304.
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Old 12-03-2018, 01:31 PM   #12
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I bought a Kuumo (I think that's how it is spelt?) and installed it with Sharkbite and Pex. Quick disconnects. It is about a quarter of the cost of a Torrid and can be quickly swapped out if it fails. Its 3 years old now and works a treat. I can't see any point in buying a very expensive water heater that will last 10 years when most owners won't keep their boats that long.

Aluminum doesn't like chlorine but it will take a long time to wear through a tank (my water tanks are 43 years old and going strong). If Torrids are still made in the US there may be a Trump reason to buy one? Kuumos are made in Malaysia, I believe...?
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Old 12-03-2018, 10:45 PM   #13
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I'm still using my Raritan 12G tank going on in my now 40 year old boat.
I've had the boat for 33 yrs and I'm pretty sure it is original. It has not been changed so they can last.
Doesn't mean that it won't leak tomorrow I realize.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:04 AM   #14
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Pulled the annode out of my 10 year old Raritan 20 on Sunday. Was time. Found a new on Amazon Prime for under $50 shipped.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:08 AM   #15
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Thanks all for your replies. Going to see if the Isotemp Spa will fit. Want to stay away from the AL inner tank so hopefully this will be a compromise between the Seaward and Raritan/Torrid.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:38 AM   #16
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Iíve noticed looking at water heaters, that the standard heating elements are of different wattages so recovery times will be different. The Isotherm a 750 watt, Raritan a 1250 watt and Torrid a 1500 watt. When weíre on the hook, I try to minimize generator run time so I think Iíd go with the higher wattage water heater. We currently have a 12 gallon Raritan and the recovery seems pretty fast.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:56 PM   #17
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My water heater had no anode and no place to put one except into the drain hole, so every season from last I will pull the drain in the spring and put in the magnesium anode. In the fall I will pull the anode and put the drain back in so I can winterize and then drain off the antifreeze.

After one season with the new anode, there was significant effect on the magnesium anode. Thank you Practical Sailor magazine for letting me know about the issue, and what to do about it! Hopefully it will significantly extend the life of my water heater...
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:03 PM   #18
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I don't know where it is on other water heaters, but a replaceable anode is integral with the discharge fitting on a Raritan...you pull the fitting to replace the anode. A glance at the owners manual (usually available online if you don't have one) or a quick phone call or email to the mfr would prob'ly have told you whether there was one in your water heater and if so, where it is.


And btw...I've never known a failed anode to cause a water heater to leak. The first clue is almost always hot water that tastes/smells like rotten eggs....ONLY the hot water. The cold water will be fine.


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Old 12-05-2018, 03:15 PM   #19
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Peggy: On our 10 gallon horizontal tank, the anode was on the opposite end of water and electrical connections, similar to a RV anode, a stand along. When ours failed, they were surprised it lasted 7 years on RO water having never changed the anode. Here's what Torrid says about the anode:

https://torridwaterheaters.com/faq

Reverse osmosis removes approximately 98% of the particulate normally found in either tap water or sea water. This causes the resulting water to be “unstable” and slightly acidic which is harsh on the system for a couple of reasons. First, acidic water is more prone to corrode metal than PH neutral water. Second, slightly acidic water balances itself by “seeking minerals” and thus depleting the anode and reducing its ability to act as a sacrificial metal inside the tank. For these reasons, we recommend that during installation of a water heater that will be filled with RO water, install a PH buffer on the inlet side of the water heater. We recommend also installing an in-line “Big Blue” Calcite neutralization buffer that provides just enough calcium carbonate to neutralize the PH before it get to the water heater. It is extremely important that the anode be inspected annually with RO water and to replace it when it approaches 50% depletion.
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Old 12-08-2018, 01:20 AM   #20
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Glass Lined vs SS Lined Water Heater

Have a Torrid 30 gal tank since 1995. No issues. Haven't touched the anode and am interested about the comments regarding RO water. We use RO extensively when cruising and have never heard of the pH issue. Would get another Torrid
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