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Thread: Opinions on a replacement EWH for a 2nd story condo

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member steveb7az's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Opinions on a replacement EWH for a 2nd story condo

    I purchased a condo about two years ago. The EWH, a Ruud, was 17 years old at the time. I'd like to replace it this year as I suspect I'm living on borrowed time. After reading through this forum tonight three things seemed to resonate with me - 1) tankless, 2) Rheem Marathon, and 3) Bradford White.

    The tankless seems like a great way to go but as another poster indicated you need two or even three circuits for tankless. I appear to have two circuits but from reading here and a few other places I'm not entirely sure I have enough "juice" coming in to make tankless a viable option.

    A few people have mention the Rheem Marathon for it's leak proof warranty. Living on the 2nd story this seems rather attractive.

    Lastly there was an interesting post about the stainless steel lined Bradford White line of tanks. In it the poster mention swapping the Apcom thermostats for Thermodisks.

    Would anyone care to provide me some opinions and feedback on these three options? Also I'd love to hear some comments from other condo owners or plumbers about what might be a good replacement. My first goal would be energy savings, but if I go traditional tank I'm not sure there is much to be gained.

    After reading the forums it seems like most units manufactured today have fallen prey to the disposable attitude that many other products have fallen victim too. Requiring a condo owner to replace their water heater every 6-8 years as one poster noted.....well let's just say that it might look good from the HOA boards perspective but then their not the one shelling out $1000.

  2. #2
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    northfork, california



    A good read for understanding that a water heater might last 30 years if maintained and you have good water...

    Another primer:


    Tankless do not cut it in many ways when you do a life cost analysis. I see a lot being removed.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    An electric WH is quite efficient, especially when it is in conditioned space. The better ones have more insulation. As opposed to a gas fired one which has an uninsulated flue up the middle, there is good insulation all around. For any useful flow with an electrical tankless, you'd almost certainly have to upgrade your electrical, which is probably not easily or ecconomically possible.

    To prevent damage from a leaking WH, look into the Bradford white with their optional leak detector and water shutoff. Any WH that is installed in a properly plumbed pan and drain system should limit your liability. The BW system is a nice integrated set. You can also pair it with an setback thermostat and a tempering valve. This makes the tank 'look' like it is larger by running the temp higher, then mixing it with some cold on the outlet to make it safer. It has a built-in tap for full-temp water, that you might want to run to the dishwasher. To do a similar setup with conventional off-the-shelf pieces would be labor intensive and the parts costs may just be higher, too.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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