Really could use a little help

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Ann242

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My husband who I loved, was smart. He financially and physically helped out a lot. He did pass away and things have been so much harder on my own. Having to replace my water heater has been a huge stress on me financially and I am scared if I go about it wrong I could have problems a few years later that I could not afford to fix so soon. Not to mention my grandfather had a faulty water heater that was two months old that blew up and destroyed his entire home and killed his pets. He had to rebuild a band new home. He never went anywhere, but by some miracle he went out the day that it happened. I found someone to put in my water heater that I can afford, but I have to get my own water heater. I found so far that Rheem is available at Home Depot and AO Smith at Lowes. My old water heater is 54" high and is a 50 gallon gas Sears model from 1998. The Rheem are 58" for the tall and 51" for the short. They are 38000 BTU to 42000 BTU and are 6 to 12 year Warranty. They cost from $600 to $1450. I have no idea what to get? The BTU, the height or the warranty. I heard stories that a 6 year warranty is the same tank as a 12 year warranty. If so, is it really worth the difference? I have gotton bids for $3800 to $5100, but I cannot afford that. I got a bid from a friends friend that use to be a plumber for $650, but I have to get my own water heater. Can anyone give me advice on what is a good water heater, BTU, warranty and height wise? Is is worth it to go with a ex plumber that does not give a 2 year labor warranty if you so happen to get a faulty water heater at Home Depot or Lowes? Is it common to get a faulty water heater? I am just scared and really appreciate any advice.
 
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Fitter30

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There's only two ways that a gas water heater could blow up a gas leak or it runs out of water the bhrner is still on heating the tank red hot and the water turns back on flashes into steam and explodes. Height of the tank is dictated by the flue height and the piping. Flue has to lower that where it connects to by 2 - 4". Its not common to have a heater go bad. There probably be some hidden expense for material for the flue and water piping tk make jp the the height difference by who ever installs it. I'd try the friend if he was a plumber. And a 6 year one.
 

Ann242

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There's only two ways that a gas water heater could blow up a gas leak or it runs out of water the bhrner is still on heating the tank red hot and the water turns back on flashes into steam and explodes. Height of the tank is dictated by the flue height and the piping. Flue has to lower that where it connects to by 2 - 4". Its not common to have a heater go bad. There probably be some hidden expense for material for the flue and water piping tk make jp the the height difference by who ever installs it. I'd try the friend if he was a plumber. And a 6 year one.
Thank so much Fitter. Is there a BTU you recommend?
 

Breplum

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It is not common to get a defective WH, but we see them returned at the wholesaler store every so often. Water heater brand: both Rheem and AO Smith are fine. Yes, same WH tank in 6 yr vs 12 yr with exception of a second anode rod, plus the extra warranty.
As to which is best warranty choice, it is playing the odds vs how much you have to spend, there is no right answer, but 6 yr is most common. The warranty is pro-rated, so you never get full replacement credit no matter what.
I'd recommend the short model if your flue goes horizontal and that rise to connection points are an issue...if you add a pic or two of what you have we might be able to tell better.
 

Jeff H Young

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Ann, So=rry for your loss, Im going to forget about grandpa water heater its very rare though Im sorry to hear its more rare than getting struck by lightening or dying in a commercial airliner crash , so honestly I cant unravel or tell you that it had to be either this or that. It might not even be a "water heater explosion" and if it was dont care its very rare and a whole other topic.
Id go 6 year tall if it fits. if not go short. Ive been using Bradford white 6 year tall they offer a 12 year warranty on same heater most other brand are actually a differant model but the differance in quality is unknown. If Customer is on the cheap I go to Lowes and get a 10 percent discount on AO Smith and can shave a little off the price over the Bradford White.
Im not tellking you what to do who to choose but Im not paying 38 or 51 for that on my Moms house. And I dont charge that either ok Maybe I shouldnt say that as I havent seen the job or details. but Ive never charged that for a 40 or 50 gal gas heater
Its all a chance and hiring the freind of a freind that used to plumb could be good or not. I might concider him or not. we have a lot of people on this forum that do thier own work and Its mostly what its all about is DIY so if we can give them support I can support your choice to hire this guy its just that you need to be careful the buyer beware whoever you use.
 

Ann242

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Ann242

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Thank you Breplumb and Jeff. I know there is corrosion on the copper pipe due to it touching the vent. The bids were to replace that and add a easier water shutoff. There is no drain, but the bath shower is very close by to drain the water heater. Jeff, I heard good things about Bradford White, but are they available to the public? If I go with the ex plumber, I am not sure he can get his hands on one. Is a second Anode a very good thing? I have seen different BTU on the 6 year warranty, not sure about that either.
 

Tuttles Revenge

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The easiest way to deal with this is to buy a water heater that the same or as similar in height as possible to your existing. Higher or lower by an inch looks like it will be fine in this case since the vent is sloped up properly and looks like it has some wiggle room. Buy a couple new 3" vent elbows which will allow clearance around that water line, or since the water line needs to be soldered, have your plumber move that just a skoche. But buy the extra vent elbow just in case. Rheem is the water heater that we have been stocking for the last few years here. But gas water heaters have very few parts no matter the brand.. so not too many parts to think about or to go bad.
 

WorthFlorida

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If you live alone now or with one other person, a 40 gallon tank should be sufficient. It’ll save a few dollars if the budget is tight but install cost will be the same.
 

1954

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Those prices seem excessive! The corrosion is from a weeping connection.

Important: The water heater must have an installed temperature and pressure (T&P) safety valve. Every new water heater is supplied with one and a threaded opening location to connect it. Never plug this opening. This device prevents a catastrophic explosion if the gas control and burner fail to shut off. I don't see one in your photo, but hopefully, it is on the side near the top of the heater, hidden under the insulation blanket.

A 40-gallon similar height, 32,000 to 42,000 BTU rating, and 6-year warranty will be OK. Get the best deal on any brand you can find for your plumber. Lowes and HD give a 10% discount to veterans. Also, buy two new 3/4"x1/2" dielectric unions and a new quarter-turn shutoff valve. Buy a new gas shut valve with a flexible connector. Your plumber will know this. Good luck!
 
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Jeff H Young

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Ill leave it up to plumber to do a proper install. Maybe provide the picture so he can give material list as 1954 gave his suggestion. Good Luck Ann!
 
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