Which Gas Hot Water Heater?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by walds11, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. walds11

    walds11 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    I already answered the question of should I replace my gas hot water heater. My house was built in the early 1990s and I am the second owner. I believe it still has the original hot water heater and it is still running strong. You can't always go by if it ain't broke, don't fix it, especially after reading what could happen (leaks, floods, etc).

    Anyway, a family member recommended a local HVAC company for the job. I spoke to the owner and he was very nice and did not put any pressure on me. The house is a two story colonial and about 3,000 square foot. 2 adults and 2 children (4 1/2 and 6 1/2 years old). He installs Bradford White hot water heaters and said that I should go with a 40 gallon heater. Now here is the confusing part for me. Which one should I choose? High efficiency or regular and 6 or 10 year warranty? Prices include labor, heater and takeaway. I plan on being in the house for a long time.

    High efficiency 6 yr warranty heater
    High efficiency 10 yr warranty heater

    *My local gas and electric company (PECO) is offering a $50 rebate for ENERGY STAR qualified gas hot water heaters purchased and installed by 12/31/09.
    *IRS Tax Credit???

    Normal efficiency 6 yr
    Normal efficiency 10 yr

    I am leaning towards the high efficiency 6 yr heater which includes a $50 rebate. Seems like a good bang for the buck. I definitely decided not to go with Lowes or Home Depot even though they are cheaper, but only slightly. It's nice to have a local HVAC company that can give you great service. And I will be replacing my gas heating and central air cooling system soon as that is original as well. Thanks!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2010
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    Generally, the difference in warranty is essentially an insurance policy...they are usually the same tank. So, check out the warranty provisions, and then decide. WIth any insurance, it's pot luck if you'll ever use it. The pros here like the Bradford White brand.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,386
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The Bradford White is a great heater. Another good one is the GE/Rheem. Extended warranties are big money makers for the companies, big losers for the consumer. Sure, once in awhile they will pay off, but overall, you lose.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    40 gallons is on the smallish side for your family. I would opt for 50 gallons.
  5. walds11

    walds11 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Good idea. I googled gas hot water heater sizing and found this chart on lowes.com...

    Water Heater Size Chart
    People Gallons
    2 30-40
    3 40
    4 40-50
    5+ 50-80

    Bradford White has a sizing chart on their website and the chart recommended 50 gal. I will call the guy tomorrow and get a price on a 50 gal unit. From what I understand, there is not much of a price jump going from 40 gal to 50 gal. My wife and I shower every morning. The kids shower at night. When the young ones get older, I am sure that they will take longer showers :) My wife does 3 loads of laundry every Sunday and we run the dishwasher once a week (sometimes less). Can't hurt to go with a 50 gal unit?


  6. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    Having an undersized (40 gallon) tank could nick you on resale of the home should that ever happen. There is effectively little to no efficiency loss in going from 40-50 gallons and there is not much price difference, so assuming it will fit, go with the 50.

    Our kids are about three years older than yours. We use 1.5/1.6 gpm shower heads and yesterday all four of us showered in the space of about an hour without running out of hot water. Our water heater setpoint is between 120-125 F and incoming water temp is about 50 F right now.
  7. walds11

    walds11 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Thanks. I have decided on a 50 gallon, 6 year warranty unit. Is it worth it to spend the extra money for the high efficiency unit? With the $50 rebate, the high efficiency unit is only $50 more based on 40 gallon unit prices. I will get prices for 50 gallon units.
  8. walds11

    walds11 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Update: I briefly spoke to the guy this morning. He recommended that I go with a 50 gallon unit since my kids will probably use more water when they get older, longer showers :) The price for the regular (quote..."vented through the chimney with aluminum vent") 50 gallon unit is $800 and the higher efficiency unit is $880. The higher efficiency unit qualifies for the Residential Gas Water Heater $50 rebate through my utility company PECO which expires 12/31/09...

    http://www.peco.com/NR/rdonlyres/C9FF8ADA-8CB9-4DD6-B629-52775FFF7FB0/0/OL_RebateUpdate_L01A.pdf

    The 50 gallon higher efficiency unit for $830 (after $50 rebate) seems like the best bang for my buck.
  9. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    I would go with it in your situation.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heater

    Without the tedium of reading previous replies, you should understand that a 6 year heater and a 10 year heater are the SAME heater. The 10 year just has a 4 year extended warranty which you pay for with the added cost. When he buys the 6 year heater, he has the option of purchasing the 10 year "certificate" which makes it a 10 year heater. Therefore, you have to decide whether it is worth the extra money, or if you believe that if Bradford White thinks it will last 10 years, you should trust them and not buy it. It is the same with ALL heaters, regardless of the brand or the years of warranty.
  11. walds11

    walds11 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Probably not worth the extra $200 for 4 more years of warranty in my opinion. My current hot water heater is a 5 year unit and it is still running strong after 17-18 years.

    Now, what about regular efficiency vs. high efficiency? The 50 gallon high efficiency unit (after $50 rebate) seems like the best bang for my buck. It's only $30 more than the regular efficiency unit after the rebate. The rebate expires 12/31/09, so I might as well take advantage of it now. The unit must be ENERGY STAR qualified, high-efficiency, .62 EF rating or greater in order to qualify for the rebate.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2010
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heater

    Probably more promotional fluff, than actual performance, but for $30.00 go for it. I haven't sold or installed any yet, so cannot tell if it is a bargain, or they are overcharging for the regular one, since that seems like too small a price spread between the two types of heaters.
  13. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    897
    Location:
    Midwest
    Higher efficiency generally means thicker insulation (2" vs 1"), a fitted insulation piece for the T&P valve, and the heat traps. Any of these might be on the standard efficiency as well depending on the model. (You can usually tell by the diameter specs of the tanks which ones have thicker insulation.) Should be worth ~$10/year in gas savings so it is a no brainer investment wise.
  14. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,298
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    There is a local water installer in the Seattle area that sells a 16 year warranty.

    The part number on the tank is for a six year Rheem.
  15. SemiHandyRon

    SemiHandyRon New Member

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Fairfield, OH
    My local dealer is offering the 4-more-year warranty on Bradford White for an extra $100.

    Also, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkqJ2jQk3Bg
  16. walds11

    walds11 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    Well, in the case of the Bradford White hot water heater in youtube video, a 10 year warranty would of been perfect. LOL!!! My house is 17-18 years old and it still has the original hot water heater, 5 year warranty unit, so you just never know. I read way more negative things about Whirlpool, Kenmore and others...

  17. Doherty Plumbing

    Doherty Plumbing Journeyman & Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    810
    Location:
    Penticton, BC
    It's a funny thing about warranty that people don't seem to understand.

    If a company is offering you another 4 years for $100 they're betting that you won't need to the insurance and you're betting that you will. Now the even funnier thing is that they OBVIOUSLY stack the odds in their favour and probably collect and never pay out on 75% of all the tanks they sell the extra warranties for.

    But warranties give people peace of mind. And if you think you're tank isn't gonna outlast the warranty then you should get the warranty.

    Me? I think I'd take my chances and not get the warranty.
  18. walds11

    walds11 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    I was never a proponent of buying extended warranties on anything. I have not had problems with anything so far, so I have been lucky.
  19. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    Good call on the BW....I wish I had found this forum before I bought my Kenmore........
  20. walds11

    walds11 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Philly, PA
    I am going to have the BW hot water heater installed next week. I have decided on the high efficiency model (ENERGY STAR qualified, high-efficiency, 0.62 EF rating or greater to qualify for the $50 PECO rebate). I am still debating on whether to go for 40 gal or 50 gal. 40 gal is just right for my situation (2 1/2 baths, whirlpool tub which I rarely use, 2 adults and 2 kids) according to the sizing charts online. You guys said go for the 50 gal unit. The 50 gal heater is $80 more, no big deal to me. Will the 50 gal heater be overkill?
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