Gas Water Heater: Good News / Bad News

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Timothy Young

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Good news is my heater has a 10 year warranty.
Bad news is that it expired 25 years ago, and is leaking.
Are there any tips on selecting a new high quality heater?
Is there any difference between manufactures?
Is a longer warranty worth the extra $$#'s or should I go with a shorter warranty & add more anode.?
 

John Gayewski

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Go with whatever the high quality contractors go with in your area. These will have parts and service available in your area.

Most brands are pretty comparable. We use ao Smith a lot.
 

Dj2

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Let me do the math:
Your 10 year warranty expired 25 years ago, therefore your WH is 35 year old.
Time for a new one.
This time around don't expect it to last that long...
Right now the supply of new WHs is pretty tight and prices are jumping all over the spectrum.
What brand? - it's a gamble because there is no clear answer. You have good and bad units from each of the three manufactures out there, which own all name brands on the market.
If I get a call for a WH, I get the lowest price 6 year warranty I can find.

If you do it yourself, don't forget:
Gas valve, gas flex (if you have one)
Cold water supply ball valve.
Hot/cold connectors.
Vent adjustments.
Earthquake straps (if needed).
P&T discharge to the outside (metal pipe).
Best is to follow your city code.

These are not in the code, but good to know:
If the new WH has a plastic drain cock, consider replacing it with a brass ball valve.
You can also consider loosening and re-tightening the anode, or replacing it with a better quality one. You will need 1-1/16" socket.
 

Dana

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Good news is my heater has a 10 year warranty.
Bad news is that it expired 25 years ago, and is leaking.
Are there any tips on selecting a new high quality heater?
Is there any difference between manufactures?
Is a longer warranty worth the extra $$#'s or should I go with a shorter warranty & add more anode.?

In SoCal there is probably utility & state incentives for getting off gas and going with a heat pump/hybrid electric water heater, which takes 2/3 or more of it's energy out of the room air, reducing the air conditioning load a bit. The current offerings out there are quiet, reliable, high efficiency 4th generation designs, with none of the issues that plagued first generation goods a decade or more ago. (Rheem has a pretty good range of dumb, smart, & smarter heat pump water heaters, but there are others.)

In most cases (depends on utility rates & rate structure) the net operating cost will be somewhat lower than a gas water heater, unless you are on a steeply tiered rate structure and you are already nosing into the top tier on electricity use.

If going with gas there is scant evidence that extended warranties ever pay off for anyone other than the seller. Consider them "extra profits for the distributor", nothing more. Investing the extended warranty money in an S & P 500 Index fund is a far better bet.
 

Jeff H Young

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AOsmith from Lowes are cheap but hear a lot of bad news on them.
Mostly we run on Bradford white 6 year have a real good following. they are the most widely used heaters by professionals around here (so Ca) Ill put whatever but think the Bradford is likely worth the extra. I dont go for the rebates and all that jazz or 12 year heaters.
Havent looked into the heat pumps or other utility company incentives
 

Timothy Young

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Thanks everyone.
Yes, it’s 35 years old, it was a Sears Kenmore Power Miser. My wife bought it before we married. 1st thing I did after marriage is turned down the temp to the low side of the dial. I never measured it, but it was still plenty hot. Not sure if that helped with the long life or not.
My boss put in 2 @ 50 gallon AO Smith’s about 3 years ago and he has already replaced them.
I haven’t thought about a hybrid system, though I will be changing my A/C over to a Heat Pump. We do commercial / industrial HVAC, our insurance won’t let us do residential. So this gives our employees a no conflict chance to do side jobs.
I’ll have to look into the Hybrid HP system to see if it makes sense. On the Comercial equipment in So Cal the AQMD hits gas appliance with a $100-$300 fee. The best I can figure out this money goes into their general funds to pay for travel, dinners, parties, etc. nothing to actually improve air quality or equipment efficiency.
 

Timothy Young

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I don’t think I’m interested in the Hybrid HP Water Heater. Bringing power upstairs to the water heater closet won’t be cheap. When you first mentioned it, I was thinking something along the lines of a Water Source HP, that preheated the water & finished to temp by an electric element. That also wouldn’t be an inexpensive installation.
Since in gate valve on the inlet failed to shut off I installed full port ball valves so I could stop the overflow water going into the garage.
I’m a big believer in changing out all the connections when doing a job like this. Dielectric nipples are the way to go, dielectric unions are worthless.
My current heater has a plastic valve & I thought I’d strip the knob off the handle. Definitely will install a ball valve whoa hose bib, cap, and washer.
For the anode(s) I hear you can buy longer ones & if there’s a sore plug you can install 2.
Dose it really help to drain the tank & pull the anodes yearly & wire bush them? I always thought I should do that but never got around to it, and this lasted 35 years. I know that is far from normal.
 

WorthFlorida

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In addition to all of the above, an expansion tank is required by the manufactures and if there is a backflow preventer on your side of the water meter. An expansion tank increases the life span of any water heater.

That old Kenmore unit was made by State Industries or AO Smith. Sears contracted out to build the water heaters and depending on what year.
 

Jeff H Young

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I'm not very brand loyal or a big believer on the differences but feel the Bradford White is a good one.
I never have changed an anode or had it requested changed. I think suppliers water chemistry plays a major roll in whether anode fails quickly and not so sure the anodes go bad quickly here.
 

jadnashua

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Pure water doesn't conduct electricity much at all, so a sacrificial anode doesn't have much work to do in the process...but, finding pure water is tough and near impossible. But, some water sources are much better than others, and thus, can affect how long an anode lasts, and thus, how long the tank lasts. Most water utilities need to add chemicals to the water to ensure it is not unhealthy. If you have your own well, you may have a better chance of a long lived WH.
 
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