Life Warranty - SuperStor Indirect DHW Tank Shell Failure showing a Ripple or Bulge or even a crack

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Don2222

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Feb 1, 2010
9,127
Salem NH
Hello

I was just servicing by boiler when I noticed a horizontal bulge in the shape of a finger near the aquastat on the 45 gallon SuperStor Ultra Tank. See pic 1 below:
I like to maintain mechanical systems and do not only PM but also preventative maintenance to avoid big problems.

My oil man suggested that if the tank was not installed close to being level then undue gravity stress could be put on part of the tank due to the uneven weight distribution and their may be warrenty issues in this case.

I installed the tank on a cement pad that I leveled completely since the cement floor was old and maybe not quite level.
So I checked it anyway and it was right on level!! See pic 2 below.

So my oil man said to call HTProducts Support and report the issue and see what they have to say.

I found you can call the Toll Free number and they can transfer you to support rather than call their non-toll free tech support line!!
See # on web link here >> http://www.htproducts.com/contactus.html

So does anyone else have this problem?
My oil man has a customer with a cracked shell.

Click pic to enlarge:

Sears R10 Water Heater Insualtion Blanket
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM5232889301P?prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=G2

From http://www.lower-my-energybill.com/water-heater-blanket.html
Water Heater Insulation Blanket -- What's Recommended

Denim Water Heater Insulation Jacket?
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...51&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&locStoreNum=3480

Consider the R-value of the storage tank in question. The R-value of a hot water heater can be obtained simply by referencing the owners manual. If a specific R -value cannot be obtained, simply place your hand on the storage tank itself.

If the external portion of the tank is warm or hot, this indicates that the storage tanks' internal insulation alone is inadequate, and installing a hot water heater blanket is recommended.

Most industry professionals recommend fitting a storage tank with a R-value of 16 (R-16) or less with an insulating blanket with a R-value of 10 (R-10) or higher.

Even a new energy efficient tank with an insulation R-valve between 16 (R-16) and 24 (R-24) stand to benefit from the addition of a water heater blanket with a R-value of less than 10.

In the case of newer and more efficient tanks, it's always wise to verify that the manufacturer recommends additional external insulation before purchase. Such recommendations can be found in the manufacturer provided owners manual.

So I carefully explained to the support person this issue. I would like to prevent any further damage if possible.
He assured me that the Stainless Steel Tank inside can take 300 PSI and not to worry about any leaking.
He also said he has heard of this issue which sometimes leads to a crack in the plastic shell. The problem is caused by the closed cell foam insulation "Re-Energizing" as he put it! This may be due to a damp basement or temperature difference in the Hot Water inside the tank and the Temperature outside the tank.

So HTProducts recommends in this case and/or a cracked plastic shell for the home owner to purchase a hot water tank insulation jacket and install it around the SuperStor tank.

Then provided the customer has all the paperwork on the SuperStor and the receipt of the insulation jacket, he may call up HTProducts for a RMA # (Return Merchandise Authorization) and be reimbersed for the full cost of the insulation jacket not including installation.
 

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Sounds like a problem with the superstor design. I used rheem electric water heater tanks which are plastic/fiberglass tanks for storage. Even after blowing 210 degree temp valves I haven't had any problems with the tanks. The idea of the tank leveling being a problem seems a little ridiculous to me. I mean if the tank is level is the sidewall so weak you can't even lean on it? I like the rheem tanks because they are super insulated, by design non corrosive, and can be bought used for $100 or less. Also if I ever had a catastrophic failure a plastic tank bursting sounds more forgiving then a 300psi stainless tank. I'll admit I tend to go the "frugal" route but what is the benefit of paying for the superstor? Just sounds like bad customer service to me.
 

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tkramer76 said:
Sounds like a problem with the superstor design. I used rheem electric water heater tanks which are plastic/fiberglass tanks for storage. Even after blowing 210 degree temp valves I haven't had any problems with the tanks. The idea of the tank leveling being a problem seems a little ridiculous to me. I mean if the tank is level is the sidewall so weak you can't even lean on it? I like the rheem tanks because they are super insulated, by design non corrosive, and can be bought used for $100 or less. Also if I ever had a catastrophic failure a plastic tank bursting sounds more forgiving then a 300psi stainless tank. I'll admit I tend to go the "frugal" route but what is the benefit of paying for the superstor? Just sounds like bad customer service to me.

Hello

Well I checked out the 5 year guarentee Indirect DHW tank at Home Depot. It was $950.00 So the SuperStor Lifetime guarentee tank was the same price. So I am not really paying more. Since they will give me a blanket, I guess I cannot complain. I am leaning towards the Home Depot Blanket made out of Denin with the Foil on top. For $28 dallars it sounds good especially if I get it for free!

Denim Water Heater Insulation Jacket?
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...51&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&locStoreNum=3480

Bonded Logic's UltraTouch Denim Natural Cotton Radiant Barrier is a light-weight, foil-faced, fire-retardant blanket insulation that may be used in a variety of applications, including as a water heater jacket. A water heater jacket can reduce standby losses from a tank-type water heater. Made from durable natural fibers, UltraTouch contains no fiberglass and does not itch or cause skin irritation, making it easy to install. The pure aluminum barrier reflects radiant heat, with the fibers used to manufacture UltraTouch treated with an EPA registered anti-microbial agent that offers protection from mold, mildew, fungi, as well as fire resistance.

This UltraTouch Water Heater Jacket is 72" long by 48". It has an R-value of 7.6. A roll of pressure sensitive aluminized foil tape is included.

Specifications:
Dimensions 72" x 48"
R-Value 7.6
Origin USA

Water Heater Jacket
Installation Instructions
Included
(1) 72†x 48†UltraTouch™ Natural Cotton Radiant Barrier
(1) 2†x 30†Insul-Tape Roll
Tools Required
Marker, Scissors (or Utility Knife), & Tape Measure
General Information
Bonded Logic UltraTouch Natural Cotton Radiant Barrier is a light-weight, foil-faced, fire-retardant blanket
insulation that may be used in a variety of applications, including as a water heater jacket with an R-value of
4.1. Made from durable natural fibers, UltraTouch contains no fiberglass and does not itch or cause skin
irritation, making it easy to install. The pure aluminum barrier reflects radiant heat, with the fibers used to
manufacture UltraTouch treated with an EPA registered anti-microbial agent that offers protection from mold,
mildew, fungi, as well as fire resistance.
Installation
1. Wrap the water heater with the jacket oriented horizontally, and
the top of the jacket aligned with the top of the tank. The foil
side should be facing out and the cotton side should be facing
the heater. If an area of the water-heater is to be left
uncovered, it should be the lower portion of the tank. (Indeed,
with oil and gas fired tanks, leave the bottom foot or so of the
tank uncovered.) Mark the jacket where the roll begins to
overlap. Place on floor and cut off the excess portion.
2. If wrapping a gas or oil water heater, you do not want to cover
the top of the tank, so skip to step 5.
3. If wrapping an electric water heater, from the excess portion
cut two semi-circular pieces so the diameter is equal to the
diameter of the tank. These two pieces will be used to cover
the top of your water-heater.
4. Place the two semi-circular halves you have cut out on the top
of the tank, taping the seams.
5. Wrap the water heater jacket around the water heater again.
Holes or flaps should be cut out wherever the jacket will cover
access panels, valves, vents, or the burner. The holes or flaps
should be approximately 2†larger than needed. Tape the
jacket first to the top, and then along the vertical seam.
6. Trim additionally as needed.
7. Tape the water heater jacket edges to the tank.
Important Cautions
Do not wrap a water tank that contains a label indicating it should not be
wrapped. Do not install insulation on the top of gas or oil water heaters.
Be sure that all access plates, the venting hood, pressure relief valve, and important labels on the exterior of
the tank remain visible and accessible by cutting holes or flaps in the water heater insulation jacket to
ensure these components/labels can be accessed. Because oil and gas water heaters need a means for air
to reach the burner (generally located at the bottom of the tank), do not install the jacket around the bottom
and sometimes lower sides of the water tank in a way that would restrict the ability of air to reach the burner
area.
 

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Sounds like they don't think it will leak and they want you to cover it up so you cant see it .
 
I have two superstor tanks, 120 gal and 40 gal. They were both replaced for leaks. The 120 was used by a large motel and the plumbing supply (where I found the tank) thought that the combination of long heavy runs of pipe and hard service caused premature failure. I am likely to believe them since the leak was on the outlet. An easy repair for me. My planned service for this tank is solar hot water.
The 40 gallon tank had nothing wrong with it, the aquastat well was bad.

Point of the story is this though; the plastic casing on both of these tanks was in worse shape than yours, by far. I am not worried.

As to the level thing, yeah, that is B.S.
I installed hundreds of hot water heaters and tanks working for my brother, a Mass licensed master plumber. We always set the tanks on blocks or bricks, and leveled them by eye at most, never a problem.
 
Dune said:
I have two superstor tanks, 120 gal and 40 gal. They were both replaced for leaks. The 120 was used by a large motel and the plumbing supply (where I found the tank) thought that the combination of long heavy runs of pipe and hard service caused premature failure. I am likely to believe them since the leak was on the outlet. An easy repair for me. My planned service for this tank is solar hot water.
The 40 gallon tank had nothing wrong with it, the aquastat well was bad.

Point of the story is this though; the plastic casing on both of these tanks was in worse shape than yours, by far. I am not worried.

As to the level thing, yeah, that is B.S.
I installed hundreds of hot water heaters and tanks working for my brother, a Mass licensed master plumber. We always set the tanks on blocks or bricks, and leveled them by eye at most, never a problem.

Thanks for your input and experience!!
 
woodsmaster said:
Sounds like they don't think it will leak and they want you to cover it up so you cant see it .

Yes, the outside of the tank is not even slightly warm. So I am not sure if covering it up will make much difference in the heat loss but if it stops the foam and shell deterioration it is worth the $28.00
 
tkramer76 said:
Sounds like a problem with the superstor design.

Hello tkramer

Well I talked to my boiler analyst this morning and he gave me the scoop. After the government made companies switch to CFC Free foam is when the trouble started. The new 2" thick water blown formula would re-energize and go from 2 inches to 3 inches and crack the shell. It looked like the elephant man after a while!! Since then they have changed the formula so it does not happen nearly as much but it does still happen some. The cause is the real hot water inside condensing the cooler air on the outside creating the mosture to re-energize and deform the foam.

That is why they recommend the insulation blanket, since there is no vapor barrier the insulation blanket with foil will insulate the exterior plastic shell and foam from severe temperature differences and stop the elephant man effect!!! Since the heat loss is already less than 1/2 Degree F heat loss per hour the blanket will help some but not alot.
 
Don2222 said:
tkramer76 said:
Sounds like a problem with the superstor design.

Hello tkramer

Well I talked to my boiler analyst this morning and he gave me the scoop. After the government made companies switch to CFC Free foam is when the trouble started. The new 2" thick water blown formula would re-energize and go from 2 inches to 3 inches and crack the shell. It looked like the elephant man after a while!! Since then they have changed the formula so it does not happen nearly as much but it does still happen some. The cause is the real hot water inside condensing the cooler air on the outside creating the mosture to re-energize and deform the foam.

That is why they recommend the insulation blanket, since there is no vapor barrier the insulation blanket with foil will insulate the exterior plastic shell and foam from severe temperature differences and stop the elephant man effect!!! Since the heat loss is already less than 1/2 Degree F heat loss per hour the blanket will help some but not alot.

This is very good information to me. Being able to greatly extend the service life of these tanks for $28. is a good investment for me right now.
Thanks for starting this thread.
 
Don, It sounds like you have good support. I don't think for a minute that you have any structural concerns, just cosmetic. It just fires me up when companies won't admit they have a problem. Superstor does make some real nice solar storage tanks I would like to have in my basement. Good to hear you got a straight answer on you tank problem.
 
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