40 gallon Moffat electric hot water heater - Beware of Guarantees

by Sam
(Chilliwack BC)

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.

Comments for 40 gallon Moffat electric hot water heater - Beware of Guarantees

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Jun 03, 2020
GSW water heater
by: bob

Purchased GSW water heater in Feb 2008, 9 year warranty. NO issues. Over 12 years old now. But, Insurance company says now must replace or they will not provide water damage coverage due to the age of water heater. [I guess at some point they asked me when I installed the heater]. Will probably be buying new GSW heater.

Jul 10, 2018
by: Anonymous

Absolutely ridiculous that the warranty on the hot water tanks is non-transferrable!!! How many people are taking their hot water tanks with them when they sell their house! I bought my house with the tank....very poor business and I will not be buying a Moffat product of any kind EVER for this reason. I will also be sharing this information with everyone from now on as my experience yesterday with the "customer service" rep was ridiculous. Shameful business policies!

Jul 08, 2018
Not happy
by: Anonymous

Moffatt tanks leak after 3 or 4 years have had two in the last 7 years should have learned after the first one.

May 14, 2018
No problem with moffat
by: Anonymous

We bought a Moffat hot water tank in 2004, that's 14 years ago. We haven't had any problems. I would definitely buy another Moffat.

Dec 16, 2017
When is a Warranty Not a Warranty?
by: Anonymous

Good to know. I face the same situation, except my tank s leaking. So no help from Moffat.

Dec 29, 2016
you saved me big time :)
by: Sassa

soooooooo glad I read these comments. I had decided to use my CT points to buy a hot water tank, and a) they don't install them anymore and b) they only have Moffat tanks. Not happy with just one brand, I decided to do a search on problems with these tanks. Definitely am NOT going to buy one now. Thanks all for your comments, big help.

Jan 17, 2016
GSW 17 yrs of warranty--10 yrs reliability
by: Anonymous

Bought original 8 yr warranted tank -- lasted 5 yrs and began to leak.

removed sticker from tank and returned to crappy tire for warranty.

after paperwork was completed at crappy tire, they gave me a replacement tank warranted 9 yrs as this was all that was in stock

informed me that 2nd tank warranty was only valid for remaining 3 yrs from original warranty on 1st tank

2nd tank installed and is now leaking again

GSW tanks are B.S.
What a pile of garbage. Deception is their key to sales

GSW should change warranty to "GUARENTEED TO LEAK BEFORE 8YRS"

buy a 40 gal drum and heat it with candles

You would think that this company would look at their overall "chemical footprint" on earth and choose to produce a much better quality tank so less pollution would be created

Sep 27, 2014
Reconsider for another brand name hot water tank
by: Anonymous

After have read all these comments, I am now changing my mind about to buy a 50 gal Moffat hot water tank from Canadian Tire, so save myself the troubles that you folk has experienced. I wish Moffat take their business seriously. But I guest they do not care.

Ben Nguyen

Feb 07, 2013
normal practice
by: Anonymous

sam, sorry to hear your experience but this so-call "guarantee" is clearly stated on Canadian Tire and GSM (Moffat) website and this is a standard practice for pretty much all manufacturers. Some even has special conditions that certain warranty only applied if the unit is installed by professionals whatever that means.

On a related note, I have a six year guarantee 284L electric tank from GSM (builder model). It started to leak after 8th years just a few weeks ago, which seems to be the common MTBF for water tanks nowaday. I am going to try my luck with a 12 years guarantee model, wish me luck...

Nov 22, 2012
40 gallon Moffatt 6 years hot water heater - Beware of Guarantees
by: Keswick,ONT

We Bought a GSW 40 Gallons Moffatt GAS water heater from Canadian tire. bought year 2008 now our tank it doesn't work at all Reads CO2 OVER 2900 and was dripping water inside the tank as well. my husband call the Moffat company in Ferguson Ontario .... rude personal who answer the phone. and off course CANADIAN TIRE THE SAME ....... Better to shop someplace else customers services way much better and warranty better better. Thanks to Our Sears store Newmarket they keep records of your appliances..... if you don't have the your billing no worries they do anyway
MODEL G640534FV-04
SERIAL 50705-519381
40 GAL
6 YEARS WARRANTY !!!!! b.s...

Jan 15, 2012
Moffat an Excellent Value
by: Anonymous

Our experience with the Moffat 40 gallon electric heater has been very good. Installed and operated as directed these high value / budget conscious units manufactured by GSW in Fergus Ontario (Canada!) can operate for decades and contribute to significant energy savings.

We installed ours on a timer and with an additional R-5 insulation blanket. The timer allows us to avoid using power for hot water during high time-of-use rates and the blanket minimizes heat loss to ensure we have sufficient stored capacity to make it through high-rate hours. One benefit of this tank is that it is already extremely well insulated internally with CFC-free foam, our older tank only had a thin layer of fiberglass.

Replacing the 22 year old gas fired unit (still functional and also manufactured by GSW) resulted in a 50% savings on our gas bill instantly. Hydro however has increased, but only by about 20%. Taking both into consideration the net cost savings for our home is in the order of $400.00 per year. Payback = less than 1 year, and each year after we pocket $400.00 that we wouldn't otherwise have had.

With respect to the unfortunate person with the blown elements. The damage described is consistent with a dry-fire burn out, and that coupled with a damp empty tank sitting for as long as two years accounts for the damage described. No water equates to more air which results in rapid corrosion.

This is clearly the result of the unit having been tripped while empty by the previous owner and the results would have been the same regardless who manufactured the tank.

Fair warning though to anyone purchasing a home that has been unoccupied for any period of time.

Aug 28, 2011
Moffat gas water heater - pilot light issues
by: Anonymous

We bought a Moffat gas water heater 3 years ago. within 1 year we had many cold showers due to the pilot going out. we then learned that the pilot was going out because water was dripping on it from the tank itself.

Within the first year we had it replaced thinking we got a dud tank......2 summers have passed now and we have the flame going out with dripping water. Our house is kept at a good humidity level so we do not know where this problem is arising from. but every summer we have the same issue.

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