tank gas water heater questions (quality and brand comparisons)...

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by k9mlxj, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. k9mlxj

    k9mlxj Member

    Bay Area CA
    Hi all,

    Have a couple of gas water heater-related questions:

    1. Just wonder about those ultra low NOx gas water heaters on the market today.

    HD seems to be phasing out the low-NOx gas water heaters and bringing in a lot of ultra-low NOx units instead. Definitely higher price (25% more). Is the ultra-low-NOx worth the higher price?

    How's the quality like for the ultra-low NOx heaters? Are they as reliable as the low-NOx gas water heaters? I overheard there're complications and quality problems -- not sure if they're still around now.

    2. Which gas water heater brand is more reliable? I have GE, Whirlpool 6th sense and Kenmore in mind.

    3. Electronic ignition.

    My good old gas water heater still needs a match for the ignition--but is working fine. It's is aging so I might eventually need to replace it.

    I noticed some complain about the current Piezo electronic ignition system. Is it reliable (seems to be what many heaters are using these days)?

    Thx... .
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    If you are in the following California air quality managment districts: SCAQMD, BAAQMD, YSAQMD, SJVAPCD then the ONLY water heater which can legally be sold or installed is the ULTRA low nox. They run about $100 more than a regular lo-nox.

    Stay away from Whirlpool ( google for class action lawsuit, etc.). Tops are Bradford White, Rheem. GE is made by Rheem.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    You should also keep in mind Kenmore appliances are made by various manufacturers for Sears. Very often these are a fairly low quality brand. The brands mentioned by Jimbo are the preferred brands. Bradford White is supposedly sold only to plumbers, but I think that rule is not always followed.
  4. go to my web site

    go to weilhammerplumbing.com for some info on heaters
  5. k9mlxj

    k9mlxj Member

    Bay Area CA
    I'm in the Bay Area (BAAQMD). Was looking for GE (made by Rheem) a bit ago but on HD site there seem to be complaints on leaks within a few years in some units and also the electronic Piezo ignition seems not starting the pilot light easily... . Anyone has seen this, or perhaps those might have been just a few exceptions?

    My older GE gas water heater though has worked flawlessly for the past 10 years since installation by a plumber. Never had to make a service call.

    It did start to leak slightly recently when I turned temperature to a bit over 140F. I lowered the temperature a bit and the leak stopped.

    Don't know how the temperature would cause a leak... ?

    * Are GE heaters supplied from plumbers same as those purchased from HD?
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Are GE heaters supplied from plumbers same as those purchased from HD

    IF a plumber installs a GE water heater, he purchased it from HD, because they are the ONLY ones who sell them. Now, whether they are the same heater as the Rheem/Ruud/Richmond/(and a few others), made by the same company, that is subject to debate. My opinion is that they are NOT subjected to the same inspection process, so that defective units can be sold, and the company makes a profit on them, (since they do not have to discard the unit for failing an inspection), and if it is returned, they have not lost anything because they would have discarded it anyway. But that seems to be a feature of many products sold by them.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    FWIW, if you call the help number in a GE WH manual, they answer Rheem (my neighbor has one). I've not seen both side-by-side, so don't know if it is just a nameplate difference, or there are other differences between the two.
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