View Full Version : Recommend a water heater brand?

11-02-2004, 08:49 AM
I see that the floor underneath my water heater is damp, so it looks like I'll be calling the plumber this week (I'm not qualified to even think about touching a gas line). The existing heater is a Rheem 40 gal natural gas and it wasn't new when I bought the house 10 years ago, so Rheem seems OK. However, I'd appreciate the professionals' opinions on the various common brands such as Kenmore, Whirlpool, GE, ???

Given that this heater and its connections are easily accessible, other than being down 1 flight of stairs, would this be a small job for a pro?


11-02-2004, 03:14 PM
Kenmore is A O Smith/State, GE is Rheem/Ruud, etc., in other words most of the secondary market heaters are made by one of the four or five major brands.

11-02-2004, 06:55 PM
Most guys will have to charge you for a helper to take it ove the stairs.

The following companies make water heater: State, A.O. Smith, American Water Heater Company, Rheem ( I think there is one more...)

Any WH "brand" you see is made by one of these guys. For example, Rheem Manufacturing Co, produces under the following brands: Rheem, Ruud,Richmond, GE and possibly others.

Most brand will offer a range of warranties, possibly some different BTU ratings, and a few bells and whistles such as self-cleaning.

11-02-2004, 07:30 PM
It's very likely at the age of your tank that it needs replacement, but double-check the relief valve to make sure that it is not leaking and is the source of the dampness. This is the valve at the top of the pipe that comes out of the tank that isn't connected to anything (typically open near the floor).

11-02-2004, 08:03 PM
Isn't Bradford White a seperate manufacturer? I don't think there is any difference in the heaters. At least not until we got these new FVIR heaters. Over a decade ago before we had solid installation on the heaters I would tell the customers you could tell the difference in quality of the heater by the weight. The plumbers heaters were heavier than the hardware stores.
However, it turned out that our heaters did not last any longer than the lighter weight ones.
I think our current recommendations should be based on what happens when the pilot light goes out? Some require replacing the heater. Some the fusible link thermocouple or the seperate fusible link that is resettable on some. The combustion air screens on the bottom can easily close off the air supply. The brand (?) with the side combustion air and fusible link outside the chamber may prove to be the best. Except it's the one that requires you to replace the whole heater. A couple of the manufacturers are on their third design. Time will tell.

11-03-2004, 06:25 AM
Yes. I forgat Bradford White. Can anyone think of another?

FVIR is here to stay. Right now it applies to residential up to about 55 gallons. There is a phase in over the next year or 2 on larger residential, and then on commercial units.

I believe we are past the "infant mortality" stage. Now we will see what the lnog term problems may be.

Rheem claims there air inlet system is "maintenance free" for the life of the unit. Other mfg. call for a maintenance(cleaning) schedule. I believe there may crop up some issues on units that are in very "linty" garages.

11-04-2004, 03:44 PM
I don't think we're past the problem stage. I think we are just now getting information on what the problems are. Certainly combustion air is more important than ever. They are more sensitive to negative draft situations caused by being located in a room with a clothes dryer or furnace with power vent. At least some manufacturers are saying you cannot install the new heaters in these rooms without make-up air which is in addition to combustion air requirements.

12-23-2005, 06:53 PM
Kenmore is A O Smith/State, GE is Rheem/Ruud, etc., in other words most of the secondary market heaters are made by one of the four or five major brands.
Home depot sells GE since they make Ruud that should be OK??

Dunbar Plumbing
12-23-2005, 08:48 PM
I put in a great deal of GE powervent water heaters. Some assembly required. The inlet on the gas valve is now right against the tank. WTF? :mad: I prefer Kenmore water heaters since their specs x-nay the competition on R-Values.