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Thread: Need advise on Electric Water heater - Rheem or Bradford White or other

  1. #1
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    Default Need advise on Electric Water heater - Rheem or Bradford White or other

    My 22-year old water heater needs replacement. I read through many of the posts here and researched the internet for advise. I have narrowed the choice down to bradford White and Rheem. These appear to be the highest recoomended (best) brands.

    Background: I have a 3000 sq-ft ranch on slab, in central FL. 4 people in house, 65 gal spa/tub, 3 baths. Only electric service (no gas). I currently have a 52 gal tank ("State" model "Censible 510E").
    The product calculator recommends I go with a 65 gal tank.

    My question:
    The Bradford White M-2-65RDS runs around $770 (internet price) and has a "First Hour Available rating of 154 gal" and "40 GPH @ 90F Rise Recovery". Warranty is 8 years and can be upgraded to 12 with protection Plus (whatever that is).

    The Rheem PRO66-2 runs around $800 (internet price) and has a "First Hour Available rating of 71 gal" and "21 GPH @ 90F Rise Recovery". The warranty is 6 years and can be upgraded to 10.

    It seems the obvious choice is to go with the Bradford White. Am I missing any info in this decison process? Is there anything else I should be considering.

  2. #2
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    Good advise. Thank you.
    I reason for the upsize in water heaters is because I just remodeled my masterbath and installed a large jacuzzi type tub (65 gal). I had a spa-tub before but it was smaller. Honestly, we don't/didn't use the tub much, but I still want to be able to completely fill it with hot water when we do use it. I think that is why the "product calculator" recommended the 65 gallon unit.
    I also want to make sure I don't have to upsize any of the wiring to the heater so staying with the two 4500W elements (which is what I have now) should mean I can do a direct replacement. Maybe the 4500 and 5500W units will not require a wiring upgrade but I don't have any knowledge of this - so I thought I'd play it safe. (I have two 30A breakers (240V) for the service to heater).
    It is odd that the 80 gallon tank is a few dollars cheaper than the 65 gallon unit. Should I go with the bigger unit, or will I just be wasting money heating water above the capacity I need?

    Thanks again. Great forum.

  3. #3
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    I just reviewed specs again I downloaded, and I notced the Bradford White spec/sizing was recommending two (2) 65 gallon tanks, that's why the First Hour Available is 154 gallons and the Recovery is 40 GPH @ 90 degree rise. I didn't notice that I was comparing two BW heaters to one Rheem heater. In fact, the actual numbers, when comapring only one heater each means the Rheem has the slightly higher recovery rate.
    Well, I'm not going to buy two water heaters. Maybe the 80 gallon tank is the best choice.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If the BW is a M-2-65R6DS, it is a 6 year warranty, and as far as I have ever seen the "extended warranty" makes it a 9 year heater. To be an 8 year heater, and I have NEVER seen one, it would have to be a M-2-R8DS. The performance of electric water heaters is contingent upon the heating elements, and since they are almost all the same, the performances are within a few gallons, and the discrepency can be in the way they are tested and rated.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Why aren't you considering installing a solar system?
    At the moment Florida is offering some heavy duty rebate and grants that you may qualify for.

  6. #6

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    What are your expectations out of the heater? Are you looking for high output? Energy savings? Space savings?

    What sort of usage patterns is it going to see? How many people will be living in the home full time?

  7. #7
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    I considered solar heating but after reading posts here, it seemed most do not recommend them. One downside to solar heating in my case is that I don't have roof facing the right direction (my roof is North-west facing (back yard facing roof) and the water heater (garage) is on the front of the house whereas I would want the solar panels on the back.

    I guess engery savings and long life are what I'm after. Space is not an issue.

    The answer to the other question is - mostly there will be two people in the house (kids in college) but the house isfour bedrooms and 3 baths and the water heater should be sized for the house in my opinion (for resale).

    Thanks.

  8. #8
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    Default What about those new heat Pump water heaters?

    I saw one of those new Rheem heatpump water heaters at HD today. 50 gallon goes for $1500 (so $1000 with $500 tax credit). Still more than a conventional unit but it claims to save 50% over convential electric unit - and some say it will air-condition my gargae while it works.

    Are these any good? I could not find any info on Recovery rate - but First Hour Rating is about same as conventional heater. The sales guy says it has a single electric heat element which is only used if heatpump can't keep up. Not sure how often that happens. But one could not tell the difference between the heat pump and regualr electric heater of same size.
    Is this true?

  9. #9

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    Unless you live in a lean-too, I don't see how you can only have a north facing roof.......

    If you want energy efficiency, then solar is the way to go. Or possibly a heat pump heater though they are less reliable. If going with a heat pump I would recommend the Stiebel Eltron Accelera. I prefer solar though as they last longer (when Installed by someone who knows what they are doing) and they will cut your operating cost by 90% vs the heat pumps 50%.

    If you want longevity, then go with a Rheem marathon plastic tank or a stainless steel tank. No appreciable energy savings there though.

    If you are going to go with a plain Jane steel tank with electric resistance heating itís a tough call. Bradford white makes the best steel tank around. Unfortunatly, they use Apcom brand thermostats that are notorious for failing. If I was going to go with a steel/resistance heater I would do this: Buy a Bradford white, remove the Apcom thermostats and replace them with Thermodisk type thermostats. Good tank with good thermostats. Should give you trouble free performance for quite some time and without a bin initial investment. Again, electrical resistance heaters are the worst as for as cost to operate goes.

    If you would like a more detailed analysis you could snap a picture of your garage and your roof (remember to indicate south) and post the pictures. With that information I could give you an actual quote for each type.

  10. #10

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    Don't get the Rheem, get a Stiebel Eltron Accelera.

    Rheem has sold out. They are not the brand they were a decade ago. Stiebel Eltron makes the most technologically advanced heaters on the market IMHO. I have taken several apart on service calls. None of them were actually broken though. It turned out to be a bad circuit breaker, hot water pipe leak, hot-cold cross connection etc. It was never the heater that was the problem and they all were very well constructed. Night and day difference between other heaters. When you open one up, it looks like a Porsche engine compartment verses a Ford Escort. No comparison.

  11. #11
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    The Stiebel Eltron Accelera is a hands down winner for heat pump water heaters in the south...
    The others have a design better suited to the north in that they rely heavily on the electric elements.

  12. #12
    DIY Member CountryBumkin's Avatar
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    I just looked up the Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 heat pump water heater. It sure is the cadillac of heaters but with a price to match (about $2000 after tax rebate (internet price without shipping). If I'm going to spend that much, the solar system starts to look good too.
    protech - I see you're in central fl too. Perhaps we could talk about this off-line. I don't think a solar heater install is something I'm up to. I'll post a layout of my house (it's not a lean-to, but I didn't want panels on the street side of roof). Which solar system (brand, direct/indirect, etc.) would you recommend. I'd like to do some more reading on this.
    Thanks.

  13. #13

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    I install active direct systems usually as they have the lowest life cycle cost in this area. After rebates and incentives it could cost you as little as $2275 and could have a solar fraction of 90% (that's how much it would reduce your water heating costs).

    If I assume that you are currently spending $60 per month to heat water (and that's very likely if you have 3 or more people living in the home) that would be a monthly savings of roughly $54. That would mean the heater would pay for itself in about 3.5 years. After that, it's all gravy. Most systems last 20 years before needing to be replaced
    ....that is if the installer/designer knows what he's doing.

    Check out our website for some pics of our installs. www.protechplumbing.biz


    There are also some pictures of some 20+ year old systems that we serviced.

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