40 gallon Moffat electric hot water heater - Beware of Guarantees
My family and I recently bought an older home with a 2 year old 40 gallon Moffat electric hot water heater. The previous owner hadn't lived in the house for 2 years, so the hot water heater didn't have more than a few months use.
The tank had been drained and turned off at the breaker with a note saying that the tank was empty and to turn on the water before turning the water heater on. We were careful to make sure that the tank was full and that the air was out so that the elements wouldn't run dry (which will destroy the elements).
After about a week the water was luke warm, and we'd be lucky if we could get one warm shower a day. We could see the sticker on the side of the tank boasting the "6 year guarantee" that comes with the tank. So we looked on the label and found a 1 800 number.
I called it and spoke to a Moffat representative. I said that there was clearly a 6 year guarantee for the water heater and that we would probably need to use it. It turns out that the first 4 digits of the serial number is the manufactured date so I gave her the serial number of our tank.
She checked the serial number and verified that it had been manufactured in 2008 so the guarantee would still be valid. She asked if I had a receipt, and explained that we had just moved in and didn't have any receipts.
It turns out that the guarantees are not transferable, and it's only good for the original owner. Apparently this is the same for a lot of companies. I said that the owner has nothing to do with the heater not working and that the guarantee should still stand, but with no avail I was politely told to "have a nice day".
So I started researching to see if I could get parts for a Moffat water heater. I found out that Moffat was the cheapest you could find, and now I know why. Also the infamous 6 and 9 year guarantees only apply to the tank and not to the elements or the thermometer.
Moffat only gives 1 year manufacturers defect on the elements, so I wouldn't have been able to use the guarantee even if I was the original owner.
There is only 2 wires to disconnect and one bolt to unscrew to take out the elements on the side of the tank. I convinced myself that this would be an easy job and tried to get the old elements out with vise grips.
I went to the store and found that you can buy an element wrench ($10) and was able to take out the elements of my hot water heater (after turning off the power of course). My elements where split and warped.
The lower model heater that I had was built with copper elements. I thought copper would be good, but it wasn't. They were so bad that the bottom element had corroded and a piece had broken off in the tank. they were pretty hard to get out.
And this was only with a few months of actual use! I was able to find a replacement element for $17 each at the local hardware store and they went in without any trouble at all.
Now the hot water is flowing, the family is happy and I was able to save buying a new heater. All in all it worked out, however we have learned a lot about the so called "guarantees" and what's included especially with the cheaper companies.