6 Year vs. 12 Year (plus canceled Whirlpool and ordered Bradford White)

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Hubbard, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Hubbard

    Hubbard New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    About a month ago I decided to replace a leaky bathtub fixture in one of my bathrooms. When I pulled the old one out I noticed there were several pieces of white plastic stuck in the valve. Not chunks of broken plastic... it was more like thin sheets of white plastic. Having no idea what it was I went ahead and put in the new valve. Within minutes it started leaking so I pulled it back out and sure enough there was more little sheets of white plastic jamming the valve open. Right about this same time I started noticing that the full-on hot water would only last about the length of one shower whereas it was never an issue before. There was always plenty of hot water before.

    I did some research and asked around to friends and the general agreement seems to be the dip tube was made of plastic and has disintegrated. This is a Rheem water heater with a Mfg date of 1996. The house was built in 1997 and I have confirmed with the previous owners it is the original water heater. Apparently, back then they made the dip tubes out of plastic?

    So, thinking I would do the "smart" thing and save some money I ordered a water heater with installation from Lowe's yesterday. A lady from Lowe's called me to let me know the heater had to be special ordered and would be shipping directly from "American Water Heater's" and would arrive on the 23rd of this month. Thinking I ordered a Whirlpool I did some research and luckily found this site.

    Long story short... I got worried about the Whirlpool and first thing this morning I called Lowe's and cancelled the order. Then I called a local plumbing company and talked to them. The guy didn't really seem to want to talk about the "Whirlpool issue" since they don't even carry that brand. Fair enough. I requested a Bradford White and it is set to be installed next week.

    Here's my question... the heater I'm getting is only a 6-Year water heater. I asked the plumber (who was really patient and friendly) if I should get a 12-year and he basically said that a 12-year heater is really nothing but a 6-Year heater with a different sticker on it. In other words, you're just buying an extended warranty. There is no physical difference in the heaters. Do folks here agree with that?
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,818
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Many heaters brands are like that. If you're willing to pay more, they will take the money. It's insurance.
    And it's not like you get a new heater if it fails. (labor is never included), it's pro rated out depending on how many years you've used it. You will recieve a percentage of of the expected life that you insured it for.

    I find that most 6 year tanks can last 15 to 20 years in the Seattle area.
    I've seen pictures posted here, of heaters that have limed up in other parts of the country. Not failed, just full of deposits.

    The heater you are replacing went 16 years. That's pretty much expected. If your heater came with the home, it was most likely a six year heater.

    There are some that I can get that do have the extra anode, not just the sticker.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,310
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Extended warranties are almost always a major ripoff. Most of the time if a product fails it will be in the very beginning so the extra warranty isn't needed. After that, the closer you get to the end of the warranty period, the less it pays so you're still out nearly all of the price of a new one.
  4. Hubbard

    Hubbard New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Austin, TX

    Terry - Thanks, I'm glad I stuck with the 6 year heater then. Also, I'm feeling pretty good about canceling the Whirlpool with Lowe's and getting the Bradford White instead. Funny thing is it's almost exactly the same cost with the professional licensed plumber as it would've been with Lowe's. I think I, like most people, automatically assume that places like Lowe's or Home Depot will always be less expensive (while also assuming quality will be slightly less with a big box store). It seems as though I will actually be getting better quality through the plumber at about the SAME cost as Lowe's.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,315
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; And it's not like you get a new heater if it fails. (labor is never included), it's pro rated out depending on how many years you've used it. You will recieve a percentage of of the expected life that you insured it for.

    That is not true. You DO get a new heater, but its warranty is only for the unexpired portion of the old one, and you have to pay the installation costs. BW just sends a new registration label indicating it is a 9 or 10 year warranty. If you have a 10 year warranty, you will get a new water heater, but it will only have a one year warranty remaining if it fails in 9 years. If you have a 6 year heater and it last 9 years you buy a new heater with another 6 year warranty. It is up to you which way you want to gamble. Is this a gas or electric water heater?
  6. Hubbard

    Hubbard New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    It's gas... natural gas.

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