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Review Rheem Marathon Water Heater
|Marathon water heaters at Amazon|
Warranty Claims:WHI Technical Service Department
Claim must be made within 90 days of in-warranty failure
Tip: Save plumbing contractor's invoice to verify installation date
Elements fail frequentlyInstall smaller watt element.
Marathon elements burn out frequentlyInstall 3800 watt element to prevent early failure of elements.
Element installation page 18 manual
How to replace elements
Buy Rheem marathon elements from my affiliate links
Some companies offer 'Lifetime Element Warranty' or '5-year element warranty.' Warranty means nothing if you cannot find foreign manufacturer. The company selling element is not the warranty carrier, and sellers generally do not underwrite warranty. Applies to all water heaters.
Marathon tank has 2-1/2" foam insulationBy contrast, most electric water heaters have 1" to 2" foam insulation.
However both Marathon and ordinary electric water heaters have same EF energy factor and same expected annual cost of operation.
Water heater blanket / recommended/ does not void warrantyWater heater insulation blanket can be installed on any electric water heater, including Marathon.
Do not install blanket on hybrid electric water heaters, or tankless electric.
Insulation blanket can cover entire tank and pipes (excluding TP valve which must be un-obstructed).
TP valve overflow tube installation code
Choose correct size water heaterFirst hour rating (same as first hour delivery) chart generally applies to all water heaters
First hour rating can be increased by raising thermostat temperature
Homes with oversized bath or whirlpool bath: Install minimum 80 gallon electric, or 50 gallon gas
Size and specification
Home with 7 or more people/ install 2 water heaters Read about 2 water heaters
Ways to increase amount of hot water
Marathon thermostats are factory set at 120° degrees
Raise temperature to increase first hour rating
Marathon thermostat has higher range than typical water heaterTypical steel-tank thermostat range is 90° to 150° degrees.
Marathon temperature range from 110° to 170° means Marathon water heater can supply more hot water if thermostat is turned up.
When temperature is higher, less hot water is used per shower, and more cold is added to moderate temperature. So Marathon can provide more showers. Read hot water scald advisory manual page 15
When temperature is set higher, the first hour delivery increases, but EF factor decreases and tank generally costs more to operate.
Temperatures above 140° can distill chemicals out of water that will harden inside plumbing pipes and valves. Temperature for killing bacteria is 140° Read advisories and cautions for hot water
Marathon TP valve, thermostats and elements are not generic parts available from local hardware. Marathon parts should be ordered ahead of time to avoid repair delays. Parts list
Select high temperature and regular temperature Marathon thermostats
How to replace thermostats
How to install meter on electric water heater
Change water temperature using timer
Control water temperature using Z-wave
High heat from solar
|Solar water heater
installation can produce hot water up to 180 degrees.
Ordinary tanks may warn against use as solar collectors because high heat and temperature will damage tank.
Rheem Martathon product literature does not mention solar.
Unknown if solar application will void product warranty.
Marathon is often used for solar applications, and saves buying special-order high-heat-rated steel tank
Larger 1-7/8" element gives larger opening for cleaning out sediment.
Use element wrench SP610070, or buy 1-7/8" socket at local auto parts.
The SP610070 is ordinary cheapo element wrench, while auto parts socket will grab elements better
Marathon SP610070 element socket / Amazon
Marathon dip tube reduces sediment/ does not prevent sedimentMarathon dip tube can help stir sediments off bottom of tank, but this does not prevent sediment from forming.
Many new heaters offer same dip tube feature. Read about dip tubes
You can buy curved dip tubes that help prevent sediment and can install in any water heater. Dip tube site
Element advisory: Marathon elements burn out more frequently in some cases. Homes with hard water should install 3800 watt element to reduce sediment, and to reduce problem with elements burning out frequently. Rheem Marathon parts list
Removal of sediment is easier with Marathon water heater, because element opening is larger.
Full efficiency is restored to all tank-type electric water heaters when sediment removed. Unlike gas water heater, remaining sediment will not affect efficiency on electric since the element sits several inches above tank bottom.
Remove Marathon elements using 1-7/8" socket
All gas and electric water heaters that are exposed to hard water will form sediment deposits. Calcium-based sediments are not harmful, but must be removed periodically. All water heaters should be flushed every 6 months to prevent problems. Read about sediment and flushing
Rheem marathon elements from my affiliate links
Professional 1-7/8" sockets
Marathon element socket / Amazon
has Brass drain valve
Brass drain valve is more reliable, and will not crack and fail like plastic and can be repaired by replacing washer. If drain valve is dripping, screw hose cap over end of dripping drain valve.
Plastic drain valves will break off when removed, leaving broken plastic inside threaded port. This causes considerable work chiseling and drilling to remove pieces. How to replace drain valve
Leave access to drain valve when installing any water heater.
All water heaters should be flushed each 6 months to prevent sediment build-up. How to flush
Odor and water issues
Marathon does not have anode rod
Anode rod can cause odors in certain types of water
Purpose of anode rod is prevent steel tank from rusting
Marathon is not steel tank, does not need anode rod
Comparison: For ordinary steel tank: Install power anode rod can also solve anode-related odor problems.
Buy powered anode rod for steel water heaters up to 75 gallons
Marathon does not have anode rod because tank is non-metallicAnode rods are installed in steel tanks to prevent rusting.
Marathon advantage: Homes that must replace anode rod frequently because of odor problems will benefit from Marathon water heater. Read more about odors
Marathon does not eliminate all water heater odors, nor eliminate other water problems such as hard water, etc. If odor is present at all hot water faucets, and not at cold, then problem is inside water heater. But other causes can also cause tank odors such as dirt inside the line or inside the tank.
Typical anode problems are solved by installing Marathon:
1) Anode rod prevents rusting. If steel-tank anode is not inspected and replaced each 2-4 years, then steel tank will rust, eventually leading to tank failure. Marathon tank will not rust and solves this problem.
2) Harmless bacteria is in all water. Some bacteria, usually found in well water, can react with anode rod inside steel tank. This reaction results in odor, requiring anode rod replacement, and/or periodic cleaning of tank with hydrogen peroxide. Marathon solves this problem.
3) Other rare anode problems can occur if steel-tank water heater has not been used for several weeks. Certain bacteria react with anode rod to produce hydrogen gas, which is flammable and explosive, and can ignite when faucet is first turned on and then light switch turned ON. Marathon solves this rare tank problem, but does NOT prevent natural gas from entering water well due to local hydrocarbon drilling and fracking.
Marathon 120Volt under-counter water heater15 and 20 gallon
22 x 36
Marathon Point-of-use sell sheet with specs
How to install under-counter water heater
Drop 81 lb water heater on head will void warranty
Marathon water heater weighs less than steel tank
For example 40 gallon Marathon weighs 81 lbs, Marathon 50 gallon weighs 91 lbs
Contrast: typical 40 gallon steel tank weighs 100 lbs or more
This makes Marathon water heater easier to install
Two people should lift water heater to prevent damage
Marathon weight and specification chart
How to recycle or re-purpose old water heater
Marathon water heater connectionsRead page 7-13 manual
Read warranty exclusions page 22
Electric connection: Read manual Page 10. Typical electrical connection is made with flexible conduit.
Use 10 gauge wire and 30 amp breaker for elements larger than 3800 watts.
Read label on side of tank to check element wattage. Wattage also printed on end of each element.
Marathon requires 10 gauge wire and 30 amp breaker
See wire sizes
See basic water heater circuit
Water connections: Cold and Hot must be connected to correct side, or water heater will not work as expected. If unsure which pipe: Before disconnecting old heater, run hot water for a few moments and feel which pipe is hot. Note also that incoming cold water pipe usually has shut off valve.
Vacuum relief valve: Do not connect anything to relief valve, except cold water connects at top.
TP valve: All water heaters today have temperature-pressure relief valve to prevent high-temperature causing tank failure.
flexible copper to connect Marathon to water supply
Flexible copper connections are reliable. Use new flex lines, since old flex lines can leak
Insulate pipes completely when finished
Marathon installation starts page 4
Save $4.50 per year energy cost by installing heat traps Read about heat traps
Add #6 copper jumper wire between hot and cold pipes to properly bond water pipes
Do not make solder joints at water heater, or within 12" of water heater.
Otherwise heat from torch can damage Marathon tank.
Same is true for all water heaters. And all appliances.
Pre-assemble copper pipe and then thread pre-assembled copper pipe onto tank.
When using soldered joints instead of flexible connections, then plan for at least 12" space above heater.
How to solder pipe
How to install TP valve overflow tube:Applies to all water heaters
Use overflow pipe off old heater. Connections do not have to be water-tight, but joints must be secure so pressurized scalding hot water is released downward away from people. Overflow tube must be same diameter as valve discharge connection. Do not downsize pipe into smaller pipe. Overflow tube can have maximum 4 elbows and 30 feet length. End of overflow tube cannot be threaded. Tube cannot be lower than top edge of drip pan. Tube must terminate 6" above open drain. TP valve can draw water back into water heater if overflow tube is under water. Do not cap off TP valve or obstruct overflow tube. Overflow tube cannot have shut off valve installed, or any obstructive valve. TP valve is first line of safety for water heater. TP valve releases water when pressure or temperature is too high, and prevents possible water heater explosion How to test and replace TP valve
Marathon tank must be full of water before power is turned ONAll electric water heaters must be full of water before power is turned ON.
Otherwise elements burn out instantly.
Fill tank until bathtub tap runs full with no air gaps, then open Marathon TP valve for a moment to bleed last of air from tank. Then turn power ON. Marathon will heat 20 gallons per hour, so expect tank to be fully heated in 2-3 hours depending on tank size.
Remove Marathon elements using 1-7/8" socket
Read manual for advisories
Page 14 manual
Marathon water heater
Warranty void or diminished if tank improperly maintained.
For example if water pressure exceeds 80-100 psi limit, or water temperature exceeds 180 degrees, or if TP valve not opened and tested each year.
Page 16 manual
Manual says to flush water heater each month, typical metal-tank water heaters say once per six months.
Troubleshoot Marathon water heater
Page 17 manual
Replacement parts and element installation for Marathon
Page 18 manual
polyethylene exterior' can be
cleaned with soap and water and/or
'Seamlessly blow-molded polybutylene tank surrounded by a filament wound fiberglass outer tank' is resistant to moist locations.
Hard water and Marathon
Install 3800 watt element to prevent early failure of elements.
Element installation page 18 manual
Upper 3800 watt, order part SP610130
Lower 3800 watt, order part SP210197
Marathon can resist waterInstallation in damp or wet location might reduce warranty, but tank will not rust.
If water heater is flooded, the electrical parts can be replaced and water heater put back into service as soon as surfaces, covers and conduit channels are dry.
Warranty is reduced for wet location
Flooded water heater must be replaced:
Read about Flooded water heater
Recovery calculation maybe
= wattage divided
by 2.42 divided by temperature rise
4500 watt/ 2.42 divided by 90 = 21 GPH
3800 watt/ 2.42 divided by 90° = 19 GPH
1 watt = 3.412 Btu
Marathon is ordinary Non-Simultaneous water heaterNon-simultaneous means both elements are not ON at same time.
Upper element is ON, or lower element is ON, or both elements are OFF
This is typical for residential 240Volt water heaters
How electric water heaters work
How to troubleshoot electric water heaters
Water heaters can be rewired
How to wire thermostats
of electric water heater vrs gas water heater (Applies to
non-hybrid electric water heaters)
Electric prices are stable. Electric heater avoids price fluctuations of NG and LP gas.
Electric water heaters can be installed anywhere inside a home as long as area does not flood. (Page 5 manual) No air supply required, while gas water heaters require fresh air for combustion. Can be installed in closet, or below grade, or in attic.
Electric needs no air supply. New gas water heaters can have FVIR problems and cannot be exposed to flammable vapors, or dust, or stored household chemicals.
Maintaining electric water heater is easier than gas. Gas water heaters require yearly service cleaning the air intake, burner and combustion parts
Electric heater are 'not as dangerous.' No danger of CO poisoning, or gas leak. No need for CO detector or gas detector.
Electric water heaters need no vent pipe, and do not draw air into house that will cause heat-air systems to run more.
Electric heaters are easier to install. Unlike gas water heaters, electric water heaters can be installed in direct contact with carpet, and personal belongings without creating fire hazard, assuming no obstruction over TP valve and wiring is up to code and inside approved conduit..
Electric heaters can be controlled by a timer and home automation. See timers
Disadvantage of Electric water heater vrs gas water heater
Burning coal to produce electricity produces more greenhouse gas than burning NG or LP gas. However power plant gasses are released at one central location instead of venting out at each home. Offsetting the lower carbon from burning natural gas, is that HVAC unit runs more because gas water heaters draw air into house from outdoors.
Yearly operating cost for electric water heater is usually higher than gas.
Gas heats water faster than electric, so gas water heaters have higher recovery and first-hour delivery.
between gas and electric water heater EF energy factors
Electric water heaters have higher EF energy factor rating than gas water heaters. Higher EF is better.
Gas water heaters have lower EF, or worse EF than electric water heaters. But gas water heaters cost less per year to operate, despite gas water heaters having worse EF.
This is generally because burning gas releases more BTUs into water than electric. Gas heats water faster than electric.
Electric water heaters have higher EF rating because the element is immersed in water, and no heat is wasted up a vent pipe like gas water heater.
Gas water heaters can increase EF rating by recycling more heat from combustion by-product. This means less waste up the vent pipe. Read Effex water heater review
Buy water heaters from my associate links:
50 gallon Gas water heaters at Amazon
40 gallon gas water heaters at Amazon
50 gallon Electric water heaters at Amazon
40 gallon electric water heaters at Amazon
Hybrid / heat pump/ water heaters at Amazon
How to install gas water heater
Troubleshoot gas water heater
Troubleshoot electric water heater
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Off-peak water heater strategies
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