Best Water Heater

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by makamer, May 6, 2009.

  1. makamer

    makamer New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I'm replacing my water heater and would like to purchase a good quality unit. I need a 50 gal natural gas.

    I've heard AO Smith was the best but when I call around most plumbing supply shops say most brands are the same.

    What brand is best? What model is good within the brand?
  2. plumbingskool

    plumbingskool Retired Tradesman

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    NY
    Ahhh - I would say that Bradford White is a great brand,

    You will probably get several recommendations on different heaters :D
  3. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    There are only 2 worth buying...Brad White and Rheem....after that it doesn't much matter but don't go near Whirlpool (Lowes)....
  4. makamer

    makamer New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Thank you everyone!

    I found a Rheem locally. Do you think there is a quality difference between the fury and the professional line?
  5. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Overe here people sell Bradford White and AO Smith.Its pretty much split 49/49 with the other 2% going to State and Rheem
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,053
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I'm selling Rheem and Bradford White in the Seattle area.
  7. rcatty

    rcatty New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Illinois
    I just purchased 2 new 50 gallon natural gas tanks. I researched the heck out of the issue, and read consumer reports, and individual purchaser reviews. I spoke with numerous plumbers. Everyone had a different opinion. Indeed two plumbers contradicted one another. One swearing by one brand and swearing off the other! I also read the warranties from the manufacturers. Guess who has the best warranty? Sears! They are the only manufacturer (that I found) that permits one to assign or transfer the warranty to a new owner of the house! Their tanks are made by AO Smith, who bought out State Industries. I had 2 State tanks in my house, each good for 21 years. In the Chicagoland area, installers want $300. per tank, plus the cost of the tank.
    I bought the Sears power miser 9, and did it myself. So far so good!
  8. your sears water heater is junk

    http://www.weilhammerplumbing.com/products/

    Look at my site and my rateings on heaters
    Look at the pics I have tanken,


    Sears is 100% junk....made by Smith
    State is made by Smith, they are junk too...
    Therefore A.O.Smith is 100% junk.....


    Smith and Sears are just barely better than the whirlpool..

    they even want to start a class action lawsuit...


    here is a link to all their difficulties that go way back...

    as long as it is not in a laundry room where it will suck up
    tons of lint you might be ok....

    http://baheyeldin.com/technology-in-society/mistaken-identity-help-with-kenmore-water-heater.html
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  9. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I do hope you got a permit to change out your water heaters and had it inspected. I am working on a home that this nice girl bought 6 years ago and had her handy boyfriend do plumbing changes/repairs during them 6 years. Now she is living out of state and trying to sell her home, but when the local city inspector came in he wrote up all the plumbing violations. It is sad she saved a few bucks having the boyfriend do the work, and now it is costing her three times the cost of having hired a plumber, or even getting a permit and having it inspected repairs then would of been much easer to do with the walls open still.
  10. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    SewerRatz, pray tell what the bf did!
  11. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    No vents for the gray box, no vent, for the utility sink, basement bathroom not vented what so ever. Dishwasher discharged into garbage disposal ( a no no in Illinois) kitchen sink not vented. Water heater plumbed with PVC and flex supply on gas must be hard piped with metallic pipe on the water and gas. And since he made these modifications, the inspector gigged stuff that passed when she bought the house, like the electrical which is still original to the house. Now must be brought up to code.
  12. I am glad we are not in Illinios

    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  13. rcatty

    rcatty New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Illinois
    I read all the pros and cons about all the different brands of water heaters. It seems like everyone has an opinion about one brand or another. For example, one licensed plumber only sells and installs AO Smith. He swears by them. Yet, another plumber in the same community said he would not touch them with a 10 foot pole. He sells Bradfords. Consumer ratings websites also had differing opinions. Then, I read reports of consumers who purchased various brands. Again, all kinds of contradictory infro. Some loved their Sears, others reported some trouble. Same for Bradfords, and Rheems. All contradictory experiences. Indeed, there was not one brand that stood out from all the ratings, and conclusions. However, the warranty on the Sears is far superior to any other brand that I reviewed. AO Smith makes the Sears brand. My old tanks were State. They lasted 21 years. AO Smith bought State. I know that people have had problems with pilot lights going out. That is likely due to the "flame arrestors" required by the gov't. They have to be kept clean, and free of obstructions. AO Smith explains all of this in the manual. In the end, I concluded that A O Smith had to know what they were doing, being in the business for years, and selling huge numbers of tanks. The longer warranty played a large part as well. I could be wrong, but attempted to make the best reasoned decision possible.
  14. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    One of the reasons that one contractor says he only installs brand X over brand y and the other contractor says he will install y over x any day, is them are the brands the supply house he deals with carries. I have accounts at places that carry Bradford White, State, and A.O. Smith. The most common heater carried around here is the Bradford White, then A.O Smith, State and Rheem are far and few in between.

    Now I will put in any brand that my supply houses carry. I do prefer Bradford White since the 4 supply houses closest to me carry them. The other I would install is a State, I like the way the one supply house delivers them to my site for me. Also the customer service at the State supply house is pretty good, just a bit of a drive if I need to do any warranty work.
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,691
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heaters

    If you were to check the "boneyard" for ANY supply house or big box, on any given day, you would probably find exactly the same number of returned heaters which failed during the warranty period. In most cases all heaters are essentially the same, and you are drawing straws to see if you get one that lasts 12 years or 3 years.
  16. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I wouldn't mind, but they would collect dust here as well. I do not do much new construction and server calls where I need them are far and few these days. So what I do is when I pick up the new heater I order the dielectric unions for the job at that time. We actually cut way back on what we stock these days.
  17. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,866
    Location:
    01609
    You didn't say, so I'll ask:

    Do you have a hydronic (forced hot water) heating system?

    If not, ignore the following.

    If yes...

    The best HW heater you can buy is an indirect-fired HW tank running off the boiler.

    And if it's a so called "reverse-indirect" (eg. ThermoMax, ErgoMax, Everhot EA-models, etc.), plumbed as a buffer for the heating system rather than as a separate "priority zone", so much the better. Buffering the heating system will yield heating season fuel savings in double-digit percentages, and in the off-season overall efficiency will be no worse than a typical gas-fired tank. If plumbed & controlled as a separate zone it'll still save some fuel during the heating season, but not as much as in the fully-buffered heating system scenario. (Exception: If you have a very low temperature radiant floor-slab heating and a modulating-condensing boiler the buffer temps would be higher than necessary for the slab, and the overall efficiency could in some instances be a few percent lower unless the HW tank is zoned separately. If the heating system needs 130F or above most of the time, buffer it with a reverse-indirect HW tank.)

    It'll be 1.5-2x as expensive up front, but it'll be the last hot water heater you'll ever buy- it'll outlast the boiler and then some. Even smaller ones can deliver as much heat as a tankless HW heater as long as you have a big enough boiler behind it. The size of the tank is less of an issue than the size of the internal heat exchanger- a 25-35 gallon indirect will usually provide more first-hour gallons of 120F water than a typical 50 gallon self-standing tank. (The exact first-hour amount or highest continuous flow rate is determined by the boiler output, storage temperature, and heat-exchanger size.)

    FYI, on net efficiency: http://www.nora-oilheat.org/site20/uploads/FullReportBrookhavenEfficiencyTest.pdf

    Reducing the number of burners (1 instead of 2) reduces the overall maintenance, and the size of the required combustion-air capacity, reduces backdrafting hazards etc. etc. It's really the "right" thing to do on so many levels whenever there's a hydronic boiler driving the heating system.
  18. here is the new SMITH design

    Mr. Ratz...

    I started a new thread with a pic of the new A.O.Smith design.....

    thought i would post it here too...

    I am not impressed at all, and I get the feeling I am looking at the
    next rash of trouble that will come down the pike in a few years.



    [​IMG] They have taken a giant step backwards is all I can say
    Last edited: May 29, 2009
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