Dual heaters 11y/o, one blew out. What to replace?

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So new home owner here. One of the water heaters just blew out and I'm hoping I could get some advice on what to replace with.

here's some pics for reference https://imgur.com/a/5cC4pqj
side question: can I just use one of the heaters while I use the time to figure out what to replace with? I think I would need to get a plumber out to disconnect in the mean time.

They are plumbed in parallel with a single gate valve. Should I place individual valves to each one?

Heat pumps? replace with a single larger tank? Tankless? Stay with gas or switch to electric?
I would love your expert advice. I have the luxury of time and patience, as my parents live down the street and we can use their showers. I'm not interested in going cheap, I can afford to put a quality, premium tank in the house.

we are a family of 4 w/ 2 small kids in a 3br/3ba house.

$300 rebate for a hybrid heat pump for electric company

$50 rebate for gas heater
$150 rebate for tankless heater

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Tuttles Revenge

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Hmmm.. that is a weird water heater setup IMO. Water takes the path of least resistance.. When both water heaters feed from the same source and connect to the same output they generally have equal piping between them so that they "balance" the flow. Then with a throttling valve any minor difference in flow is adjusted for by creating resistance.. The current setup looks like most one tank is probably doing all the work and the other is just sitting there looking pretty.


The least expensive way to replace your water heater is to match model numbers with the what you have and get the same for same model. But I would plumb them in series so that one water heater flows into the next. Basically the first in line is the workhorse and the other just stores and maintains preheated water.

Those look like 50 gal tanks which is giving you 100 gallons of stored capacity.. is there a Huge soaking tub that requires that much hot water? or lots of potential showers being taken simultaneously at 2.5 to 5 to 7.5 gal/min depending on how many heads are in use? 100gal is eaten up in roughly 15 min at 7gal/min rate.. but likely you're only using 2.5 at a time til you get into the teenage years..

Gas is going to give you the fastest recover, will be the cheapest short term investment as the infrastructure is already there. Atmospheric water heaters have an energy efficiency of about 60%.. much of the energy is lost as hot exhaust.

Electric heat pump is going to be the most economical over the long term but will require 240 electrical power. All electric heaters are 98% efficient as all the energy becomes hot water. Also Hybrid units can come in an 80gal size and not cost much more than a 50.
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