Hot water heaters-- reccomend # of elementsand wattage, install costs
I'm in need of replacing a Rheem 30-gallon electric lowboy hot water heater that is at least 15 years old, maybe MUCH older, and is heating enough only for one long shower; because similar units in my condo complex have begun to wear out and leak, now seems the time.
But it's been hard to get good info and advice-- or at least until I found this forum...
I have a Rheem model 666HS-300, which means nada to me; hoping to get Rheem on the phone to tell me how old, and how many elements/wattage, before extracting it from a tight closet, where door opening is about 3-4 inches less than heater diameter (!).
From what I can glean, one 5,500-watt element will give better recovery of hot water than the two elements of 4,500 watts. Assuming my wire is 10 GA. (I'm checking, but the breaker appears to be 30-amp), what would you reccomend? A product description of a Kenmore Pwer Miser 6 stated the second (upper) element would "respond to heavy demands."What would the benefits of each be?
My second dilema is that a company I kind of trust (they replaced did my main lug panel and breakers recently) gave me a price of $1,000 to $1,100 for the job including heater (which they told me would be marked up $150-$200 if they provided it), which seems a lot higher than a couple of others, including the company Sears contracts with ($249, plus heater, plus permit). And that high price didn't include any of the extraction carpentry for doorway moldings, etc. What would be a normal price range for installation, in the South?
I was thinking of either an AO Smith or Kenmore, and it appears there are no lowboys with better than 6-year warranty. I've been told we don't really have a mineral problem in the water here. Any advice would be appreciated. (Besides cold showers)