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Thread: Which Gas Hot Water Heater?

  1. #1
    DIY Member walds11's Avatar
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    Default Which Gas Hot Water Heater?

    I already answered the question of should I replace my gas hot water heater. My house was built in the early 1990s and I am the second owner. I believe it still has the original hot water heater and it is still running strong. You can't always go by if it ain't broke, don't fix it, especially after reading what could happen (leaks, floods, etc).

    Anyway, a family member recommended a local HVAC company for the job. I spoke to the owner and he was very nice and did not put any pressure on me. The house is a two story colonial and about 3,000 square foot. 2 adults and 2 children (4 1/2 and 6 1/2 years old). He installs Bradford White hot water heaters and said that I should go with a 40 gallon heater. Now here is the confusing part for me. Which one should I choose? High efficiency or regular and 6 or 10 year warranty? Prices include labor, heater and takeaway. I plan on being in the house for a long time.

    High efficiency 6 yr warranty heater
    High efficiency 10 yr warranty heater

    *My local gas and electric company (PECO) is offering a $50 rebate for ENERGY STAR qualified gas hot water heaters purchased and installed by 12/31/09.
    *IRS Tax Credit???

    Normal efficiency 6 yr
    Normal efficiency 10 yr

    I am leaning towards the high efficiency 6 yr heater which includes a $50 rebate. Seems like a good bang for the buck. I definitely decided not to go with Lowes or Home Depot even though they are cheaper, but only slightly. It's nice to have a local HVAC company that can give you great service. And I will be replacing my gas heating and central air cooling system soon as that is original as well. Thanks!!!
    Last edited by Terry; 01-11-2010 at 01:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Generally, the difference in warranty is essentially an insurance policy...they are usually the same tank. So, check out the warranty provisions, and then decide. WIth any insurance, it's pot luck if you'll ever use it. The pros here like the Bradford White brand.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    The Bradford White is a great heater. Another good one is the GE/Rheem. Extended warranties are big money makers for the companies, big losers for the consumer. Sure, once in awhile they will pay off, but overall, you lose.

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    40 gallons is on the smallish side for your family. I would opt for 50 gallons.

  5. #5
    DIY Member walds11's Avatar
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    Good idea. I googled gas hot water heater sizing and found this chart on lowes.com...

    Water Heater Size Chart
    People Gallons
    2 30-40
    3 40
    4 40-50
    5+ 50-80

    Bradford White has a sizing chart on their website and the chart recommended 50 gal. I will call the guy tomorrow and get a price on a 50 gal unit. From what I understand, there is not much of a price jump going from 40 gal to 50 gal. My wife and I shower every morning. The kids shower at night. When the young ones get older, I am sure that they will take longer showers My wife does 3 loads of laundry every Sunday and we run the dishwasher once a week (sometimes less). Can't hurt to go with a 50 gal unit?


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    40 gallons is on the smallish side for your family. I would opt for 50 gallons.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Having an undersized (40 gallon) tank could nick you on resale of the home should that ever happen. There is effectively little to no efficiency loss in going from 40-50 gallons and there is not much price difference, so assuming it will fit, go with the 50.

    Our kids are about three years older than yours. We use 1.5/1.6 gpm shower heads and yesterday all four of us showered in the space of about an hour without running out of hot water. Our water heater setpoint is between 120-125 F and incoming water temp is about 50 F right now.

  7. #7
    DIY Member walds11's Avatar
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    Thanks. I have decided on a 50 gallon, 6 year warranty unit. Is it worth it to spend the extra money for the high efficiency unit? With the $50 rebate, the high efficiency unit is only $50 more based on 40 gallon unit prices. I will get prices for 50 gallon units.

  8. #8
    DIY Member walds11's Avatar
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    Update: I briefly spoke to the guy this morning. He recommended that I go with a 50 gallon unit since my kids will probably use more water when they get older, longer showers The price for the regular (quote..."vented through the chimney with aluminum vent") 50 gallon unit is $800 and the higher efficiency unit is $880. The higher efficiency unit qualifies for the Residential Gas Water Heater $50 rebate through my utility company PECO which expires 12/31/09...

    http://www.peco.com/NR/rdonlyres/C9F...pdate_L01A.pdf

    The 50 gallon higher efficiency unit for $830 (after $50 rebate) seems like the best bang for my buck.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    I would go with it in your situation.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    Without the tedium of reading previous replies, you should understand that a 6 year heater and a 10 year heater are the SAME heater. The 10 year just has a 4 year extended warranty which you pay for with the added cost. When he buys the 6 year heater, he has the option of purchasing the 10 year "certificate" which makes it a 10 year heater. Therefore, you have to decide whether it is worth the extra money, or if you believe that if Bradford White thinks it will last 10 years, you should trust them and not buy it. It is the same with ALL heaters, regardless of the brand or the years of warranty.

  11. #11
    DIY Member walds11's Avatar
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    Probably not worth the extra $200 for 4 more years of warranty in my opinion. My current hot water heater is a 5 year unit and it is still running strong after 17-18 years.

    Now, what about regular efficiency vs. high efficiency? The 50 gallon high efficiency unit (after $50 rebate) seems like the best bang for my buck. It's only $30 more than the regular efficiency unit after the rebate. The rebate expires 12/31/09, so I might as well take advantage of it now. The unit must be ENERGY STAR qualified, high-efficiency, .62 EF rating or greater in order to qualify for the rebate.
    Last edited by Terry; 01-11-2010 at 01:16 PM.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    Probably more promotional fluff, than actual performance, but for $30.00 go for it. I haven't sold or installed any yet, so cannot tell if it is a bargain, or they are overcharging for the regular one, since that seems like too small a price spread between the two types of heaters.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Higher efficiency generally means thicker insulation (2" vs 1"), a fitted insulation piece for the T&P valve, and the heat traps. Any of these might be on the standard efficiency as well depending on the model. (You can usually tell by the diameter specs of the tanks which ones have thicker insulation.) Should be worth ~$10/year in gas savings so it is a no brainer investment wise.

  14. #14
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    There is a local water installer in the Seattle area that sells a 16 year warranty.

    The part number on the tank is for a six year Rheem.

  15. #15
    DIY Member SemiHandyRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walds11 View Post
    Probably not worth the extra $200 for 4 more years of warranty in my opinion.
    My local dealer is offering the 4-more-year warranty on Bradford White for an extra $100.

    Also, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkqJ2jQk3Bg

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