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How to recycle water heater
Old water heater NOT leaking:
Clean out water heater with hydrogen peroxide and re-use
Rinse old water heater with 2 pints hydrogen peroxide. Read about cleaning out tank
Do not use bleach. It takes forever to rinse out bleach. Hydrogen peroxide is oxygen and hydrogen, and can be used to rinse mouth etc, and is safe.
If odor is problem, replace anode rod
Remove sediment from tank
Leaking water heater that is rusted out can be welded, but tank failure remains as risk.
Two water heaters
New heater connected to power/ Old heater has no power                    
1) Use for Tempering tank
If Water heater is not leaking:

Illustration shows two heaters.
Tempering tank is heater #1 and not connected to power source.
Heater #2 is regular water heater that is connected to power source.

Applies to both gas and electric water heaters.

Tempering tank (heater #1) is placed in naturally warm location.
This action passively pre-heats cold incoming water before water enters heater #2.
Tempering tank saves money in regions with very cold incoming water.

Read about two water heaters
Heating charts for water heater
Average ground temperature

Batch solar water heater

2) Use as passive solar water heater

If Water heater is not leaking:

Old heater can be used as passive solar water heater.
Good for regions with hot summer sun.

See long list of DIY solar water heat ideas
Read more details
electric thermostat on gas water heater Be a scientist: Add another thermostat to water heater
If Water heater is not leaking:

For example turn off power to recirculation pump that pumps water from solar panel or secondary tank...or control electric water heater from the gas water heater... or turn off solenoid valve that turns off gas line... or connect to indicator light to notify when tank reaches set point... or connect to solenoid water valve that turns on hot water. Thermostat is mechanical and will work with 12-12 Volt AC-DC, 120-208-240, 277 volt AC electricity.

Add another thermostat to gas or electric water heater

Convert AC water heater to DC for solar panels

water heaters at recycle center water heater on lawn Start a collection
Impress neighbors
Lower property values
Get rats
Recycled water heater Avoid failed water heater
Keep your life affordable
Avoid buying new heater every 10-14 years

How to replace anode rod

Maintain your water heater
9 ways to save
If old water heater is leaking, 
then it cannot be repaired
Diagnose leaking water heater
Dump water heater from car Option 1) Dump water heater off back of car
Not best plan.

Experience says: Wear gorilla mask.
Recycle center Option 2) Sell to scrap metal dealer
Best plan. Make $6, minus cost of gas.
Remember the copper thieves are regular customers at these places

Empty water heater weighs 90-200 lbs
Water heaters considered White Goods or appliances.
Local scrap dealer will pay for recycled water heater.
Remove electronic controls. Remove electric blower if applicable.
Separate parts to maximize value.
Remove copper wire from electric water heater.
TP valve is brass. Some drain valves are brass. Gas burners can be stainless. Thermocouple is copper. Galvanized pipe nipples can be re-used. Dip tube may be re-usable. 12 sheet metal screws hold metal shell together. Do not re-use gas control valve.
Recycle center Option 3) Drop off at recycle center.
Good plan. Costs money. Support local community.

Expect to pay $5-$10+ depending on region and local rules.
No need to remove electronics or other parts.
Metal will be recycled and put back onto market.
Example recycle center
         Option 4) Call metal scrappers
Reasonable plan.
May need more than 1 item.
Round up more items from neighbors.
Check references.
Honest scrapper and copper thief might be same person.
Option 5) Call plumber
Reasonable plan.

Plumber will install new heater, and remove old heater for charge.

DIY resources:
How to install gas water heater
How to install electric water heater

Always bring helpers
Water heaters weigh 90-200+ lbs
Your wife needs exercise... have her help
+   Bring helpers.
clogged water heater Water heater will not drain
Use household water pressure and washing-machine hose to flush open water heater

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Attic/ basement
Resource: How to remove water heater from attic
Lift water heater into attic Attic
Resource: How to lift heavy water heater into attic

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Resources: How to install gas water heater
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Tankless recirculation
Point of use water heater
Type 1 and type 2 surge protection surge protection

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