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Thread: Need a new water heater

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Redfish's Avatar
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    Default Need a new water heater

    Hello,

    Need to replace a water heater in our house. Need a 40 Gal gas WH and need some opinions on what brands to consider and what to stay away from them. All I know is Bradford, Kenmore, GE and Whirlpool. We are considering a 12 yr heater so it can last along time.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Terry; 05-15-2012 at 10:32 AM. Reason: added link

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Usually, the only difference in a 6-year and a 12-year WH is the price you pay - you're paying mainly for insurance, and sometimes, a second or longer sacrificial anode. Personally, I'd avoid both the Kenmore and the Whirlpool...if you use the search function, you'll find tons of opinions and rationale - no big need to repeat it all again. Rheem makes the GE WH for HD, and Rheem is among those often recommended. All of these companies make numerous versions which includes varying levels of efficiency and types of flue to accommodate various installation configurations.

    Some of them are efficient enough to qualify for a rebate from the utility company - check with them for details - the difference in price may be offset or even be less than getting one that doesn't qualify, not counting the long-term potential savings.
    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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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Jim,

    One thing I've wondered about the 12 years is if they get a more substantial inspection of the welds or somesuch before they are shipped. Note, I'm not claiming they do, but I could see some financial justification for a company doing something like that. I don't know what sort of rapid testing might be possible.

    Another thing to consider is the efficiency factor. Looking at specs for the GE's the higher efficiency tanks run about 2" thicker, and have about 1" extra foam insulation on the tank walls. The efficiency factor increase shows up in the Btu/hr rating as well...which surprised me. Weights show to be identical for the 6 and 12 year 50 gals in higher effic. and about 35 lbs less for the 6 & 9 year lower effic. (GE).

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If you want a 10 or 12 year heater, you can buy a 6 year heater, then pay a $200.00 premium and they send you a new "sticker" that says it is now a 10 or 12 year heater. IF you buy a heater with a longer than 6 year warranty, you still get exactly the same heater, it just comes with the sticker preapplied. The company has NO incentive to make a "better" heater, because many 6 year heaters last 10, 12 year, or even longer. If a 6 year heater lasts 5 3/4 years, the new heater will have a 3 month warranty. The same with a 12 year heater. The replacement will have whatever time is left of the original warranty.
    Last edited by hj; 05-16-2012 at 10:24 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member Redfish's Avatar
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    OK, I will stay away from Whirlpool and Kenmore and stay with 6yrs. Also, we will go for a 50 Gal instead of 40 by recommendation of a plumber.

    Now, will getting a GE from HD is OK or should I get a Reehm online? The one from HD (6 yrs) is about $360, Reehm is just over $500; same as Bradford, just over $500.

    How much will be the savings on 2" insulation? A 2" insulated WH will be about $200 extra. I guess if I can make it last for at least 10 yrs, that will be require a $20/savings per year.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Terry; 02-16-2014 at 06:17 PM.

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    I would buy the one year heater and add a real anode. made on the same line as the "6's".

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Redfish's Avatar
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    Is the GE from HD an aluminum rod? If so, I'd change it right away for a magnesium rod before installing it. Where can I find the part number for the anode of Model # GG50T06AVH00 Store SKU # 183717 from HD?

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    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redfish View Post
    OK, I will stay away from Whirlpool and Kenmore and stay with 6yrs. Also, we will go for a 50 Gal instead of 40 by recommendation of a plumber.

    Now, will getting a GE from HD is OK or should I get a Reehm online? The one from HD (6 yrs) is about $360, Reehm is just over $500; same as Bradford, just over $500.

    How much will be the savings on 2" insulation? A 2" insulated WH will be about $200 extra. I guess if I can make it last for at least 10 yrs, that will be require a $20/savings per year.

    Thanks
    The annual savings depends a lot on your actual utility rates, where you install the thing (inside of conditioned space vs. a garage or basement or outside on an exposed porch), and the temperature you set it to. In Houston you might do better installing it a non-air-conditioned garage, since it'll run in an environment that averages higher than the annual outdoor average, and higher than the indoor average for a lower annual standby loss.

    If you're careful about avoiding possible draft or flame proximity you can add insulation to a gas-fired tank to lower standby loss. For way less than $200 in material cost you can probably get better bang/buck out of putting 5/8" wall closed cell pipe insulation over all near-tank plumbing (including the T & P overflow and the first 10' of cold-feed, if you can get to it) than going for a higher-insulated tank. It's also worth insulated any of the distribution plumbing that is readily accessible. A pretty-good primer on the topic lives here.
    Last edited by Terry; 02-16-2014 at 06:18 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redfish View Post
    OK, I will stay away from Whirlpool and Kenmore and stay with 6yrs. Also, we will go for a 50 Gal instead of 40 by recommendation of a plumber.
    Generally that is the way to go if there are any substantial tubs to fill, multiple showers running for extended periods, or if the home might be sold later. The extra heat losses of 50 vs. 40 are typically small--much of the loss comes from having a tank period--fittings losses, the central stack and combustion chamber losses, etc. are essentially fixed/independent of tank size.

    How much will be the savings on 2" insulation? A 2" insulated WH will be about $200 extra. I guess if I can make it last for at least 10 yrs, that will be require a $20/savings per year.
    The difference in pricing for higher/lower effic. you are seeing is about twice what is showing up for HD online here, but this is likely based on store pricing/availability.

    Even at $100 difference it is difficult to payout with today's cheap nat gas. Houston is going to be warmer on average than what is used for the national Energy Guide calcs. The Energy guides for the thicker and thinner insulated tanks show 242 and 258 therms annually (roughly 1 ccF of gas per therm), so the delta could be as much as 16 therms. Our gas is charging out between $.5 and $.6/ccF at present. So for me it would be about $10-8/year. It would take at least 10 years to pay off...unless nat gas prices begin rising.

    But the real kicker is that you can do pretty well with a simply insulating blanket on the lower effic. tank--this runs about $20-25 bucks. It should give you about 3/4 or more of the effect thicker manufacturer built insulation.

    Dana's recommendations with regards to insulating lines and projections are the same I would make--essentially it is what I have done. I obtained some non-flammable/non-melting pipe insulation to wrap the lines in the first few feet next to the flue as well. It is important not to put anything meltable or flammable there as any sort of back draft condition will create a fire hazard. I helped my neighbor identifying this very sort of problem recently.

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Where will you FIND a "one year heater" these days, in stock? They are seldom glass lined because they are considered a "throw away" item.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    All water heaters are either epoxy or glass lined by neccessity. I have a pile of "7 Year" garden hoses - just send them back with the receipt and warranty card for adjustment.

    Here is your link for anodes: http://fierychill.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=anode

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    DIY Junior Member BrianK's Avatar
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    I always buy the cheapest HWT tank I can find and replace the anode every 3-4 years and find the tanks last about 10-12 years regardless of how much I paid for it. I do look for a HWT with an exposed anode nut - some don't have this but use some sort of integral anode which is MUCH more difficult to change and it is easier to just change the tank. We use a water softener and I find this reduces the life of the tank by about 30%. Funny how advertisments for water softeners say that they increase the life of appliances. I do have a Kenmore HWT and it is now 13 years old so I have had good experience with the Kenmore. With respect to insulating blankets - a pluming store told me that they are illegal to install on gas fired tanks and should only be used on electric tanks. Not sure why this is - perhaps potential interference with combustion air. In Canada where the climate is colder, putting a blanket on a HWT doesn't really make sense because the lost heat from the HWT just goes into the house and offsets what the furnace has to do - so I don't bother with extra insulation. Also I wish they would make a burner that didn't need the pilot to run continuously but have electronic ignition like my furnace. Running a pilot all the time is a waste of gas but now that gas is cheap I'm not so concerned about it.

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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianK View Post
    With respect to insulating blankets - a pluming store told me that they are illegal to install on gas fired tanks and should only be used on electric tanks. Not sure why this is - perhaps potential interference with combustion air. In Canada where the climate is colder, putting a blanket on a HWT doesn't really make sense because the lost heat from the HWT just goes into the house and offsets what the furnace has to do - so I don't bother with extra insulation. Also I wish they would make a burner that didn't need the pilot to run continuously but have electronic ignition like my furnace. Running a pilot all the time is a waste of gas but now that gas is cheap I'm not so concerned about it.
    The supplier is full of it (U.S. anyway, can't speak for Canada.) They aren't illegal, but you do need to follow basic instructions to install them properly. (Some vendors like Bradford White try to discourage them with "boilerplate" warnings that any intelligent consumer can read right through.) As to whether the blanket makes economic sense, it depends on location of the tank, manufacturer insulation thickness, climate, and particulars of your home--as well as comparative efficiency of the heating source vs. the water heater.

    The continuous pilot is less of an issue than the open stack losses. The pilot itself offsets some of the standby losses.

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member TTopPlumbing's Avatar
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    Im going to give my vote for Bradford White, this is all we install and is the best IMO.

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    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Check out waterheaterrescue dot com.

    Interesting site which does sell anodes and fill tubes - but has some great info on how to make a WH last a long time through preventive maintenance.

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