I have pretty much decided I am going to replace my crappy Whirlpool Flamelock water heater. It doesn't seem to be keeping up and it is just a piece of crap.
I have all but decided to go with the Bradford White based on what I've read here. So here are a few questions to ensure I get the best model they have for my needs. I looked on their site and noticed a sizing guide and I went through it, but I am still a bit unsure.
1) Someone mentioned to install a bottom fed heater to increase output. It looks like these are capable of doing either top or bottom feed. Is there anything I need to know when going bottom feed instead of top feed? I am also planning a hot water recirculation line, will that feed into the same inlet?
2) What about venting? Are the power vents really worth the almost tripple cost? I can get a 50gal atmospheric for $430, the power vent runs $1384. I currently figure my hot water costs about $35 per month with an atmospheric unit. Thats $420 per year. If payback is 10 years, then I don't see the worth, if it's one or two, I could see that. Feedback?
3) I have 4 people in my family. 2 adults and 2 small children. 2 current baths, with a 3rd planned for the basement. The 3rd may be a year away, it may be never as I have to move dirt to reclaim that space. The main bath has a clawfoot tub, which hold a lot of water and I am considering a jaccuzzi style tub for the 2nd floor, master, bath. It would be a medium size tub, at most a corner unit, maybe a clawfoot one as well.
4) I would also kind of like to be able to use this heater for some radiant heat as well. Not primary heat, it would be purely supplemental. I might even decide just to use the old heater for this task, if I can keep it alive. I just don't want to trust it any longer for my showers and such.
If you have a recommendation on a model from Bradford White, I'd appreciate a model # if possible.