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Thread: Bradford White or Rheem

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member MiniSoCold's Avatar
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    Default Bradford White or Rheem

    Im considering short 40 gallon watter heaters.
    My Rheem Fury lasted 26 years (I kid you not! 1984) without ever being drained or rods replaced or anything.
    To make it easy on the installer I am looking for a similar sized unit. (short)
    3 options:

    1 - Bradford White M-4_403S6FBN...Now available online (sorry guys) but will be installed by a pro.
    - 40,000 BTU
    - Energy Star (.67 Energy factor) 2 inch insulation, factory heat traps, $45 local rebate.
    -$272 estimated energy cost...probably more (6 in household)
    - Microprocessor controls burner...Just something else that can fail.
    - 1st hr rating=72
    -6 year warranty

    2 - GE/Rheem PG40S09AVJ00...Available at HD big box store
    -Nearly identical specs as Rheem Fury 42V40SF
    -40,000 BTU
    -No rebate (.59 Energy factor)
    -$309 estimated energy cost...probably more (6 in household, 7 in the summer)
    -1st hr. rating=72
    -90F Recovery Rate=40.4 gal/min
    -self cleaning
    -9 year parts, 1 yr labor warranty

    3 - GE/Rheem GG40S06AVJ00...Available at HD big box store
    -Nearly identical specs as Rheem Fury 22V40SF
    -36,000 BTU
    -$309 estimated energy cost...probably more (6 in household, 7 in the summer)
    -1st hr. rating=72
    -90F Recovery Rate=36.4
    -not self cleaning
    -6 year parts, 1 yr labor warranty

    The high efficiency Bradford White, #1 delivered after coupons, rebates, and no taxes comes out $125 cheaper than the #2 heater listed above and $15 cheaper than the #3 heater listed above

    What do you guys think? What would you put in your own house considering these options? We are used to spacing our showers with our current 38,000 BTU 49 gallon heater (67=1st hr rating)
    After such good luck with the Rheem all these years dependability is a factor. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You could get another Rheem and it might fail in 4 years. There is NOTHING absolute about a heater's lifetime. Every one you buy is a crapshoot as to how long it will last, and NO ONE can do anything to change it. Go to ANY water heater dealer and you will find dozens of tanks which have failed during the warranty period, whether it is 6 , 9 , 10 , or 12 years.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Both brands have good reports. Some prefer one, others prefer the other, but both seem to perform well. As HJ says, nothing's absolute in how long one will last regardless of make. It seems to me that mineral contents in the water have a great deal to do with it, but that's just my opinion, not scientific fact. I have had 2 Rheem heaters in my home over the years, the first lasted many years. New second is still reasonably new. Bradford White has an excellent reputation, but in some places it is difficult for a DIY to buy as it is supposed to be sold only to plumbers, but that seems to depend on location by comments others have made. I don't think you will go wrong by selecting either one of them.

  4. #4
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    I notice the poster said "GE/Rheem at Home Depot". Are GE and Rheem the same heater then?

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member MiniSoCold's Avatar
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    OK,
    I went with the Bradford White. The GE and Ricmond brands (made by Rheem) at the box stores offered only their 6 and 9 year models, not the 12 year (which matches the Rheem Fury). The 6 year models don't have the heavier rod, the self-cleaning function (everclean), and have a lower BTU burner (slower recovery rate) than the 9 year models. Neither have the brass drain valve found on the 12 year models and the Rheem Fury.
    So I just ordered the Bradford White online which has not been available in the past to regular consumers. I believe anyone in the USA can now order it online, save the taxes and up-charge from the contractor, and there is a current discount code of $30 (27560) from the large online distributor and free shipping. Plus I get a $45 rebate because it is efficient and energy savings of about $40 a year over the other ones made by Rheem.
    I am just wondering if the plumbers all recommended this brand in the past because the individual consumer could only order it through them. I have a very easy, uncomplicated install situation so I am sure I can find a competent installer who will put it in for far less than the plumber who would have charged me $500 more than I paid for this model to install the cheapest, most inefficient 40 gal. Bradford White they offer. . Thanks for the responces.
    Last edited by MiniSoCold; 10-24-2010 at 08:14 PM.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member MiniSoCold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KansasGuy View Post
    I notice the poster said "GE/Rheem at Home Depot". Are GE and Rheem the same heater then?
    Rheem makes the GE water heaters for Home Depot. It also makes the Richmond brand heaters for Manards and Fleet Farm. If you compare the specs. on the models from the box stores with the Rheem website you can figure out the corresponding Rheem model. You have to do your homework to figure it out. Figure out the Rheem model you prefer first. You can then get all the specs online. Compare the dimensions, weight, features including brass or plastic valves, self cleaning and the 3 important #'s... Energy factor, 1st hour delivery, and recovery rate. Some experts say that insulation thickness is just as important as energy factor. If you find the exact match at the big box store you then have to consider the warranty and who will be doing the work. Home depot will say they have a fixed installation charge, but you have to add on permit fees. And if your installation situation is not strait forward (space issues, cutoffs not up to code etc.) you will be facing additional charges.

    That being said, I asked a plumber (who knew he would not be doing my work) if the box stores sold bottom of the barrel heaters as other plumbers claim. He said not to tell anyone who it was that told me this, but the Rheem manufactured heaters are very good. You just have to make sure you choose one that has the same high quality components that the Rheem branded units have. Look at the specs, do your homework and you will get the same quality.

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    My top choice for a gas water heater would be the Bradford White followed with the Rheem/Richmond/GE in 2nd place and almost all the others fighting for dead last. Since the advent of FVIR designs the top 2 put the air inlet on the side with Bradford White having the larger surface area and the ones fighting for last put the inlet on the bottom on a floor vacuuming position. Seems kind of a no-brainer when the flame arrestor can become clogged with lint and dust...

    There is one other gas water heater that I would consider if I was planning to own a home for a long period of time.
    http://www.htproducts.com/phoenix.html

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