Giant or Bradford White 6 yr vs 10 yr warranty

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by hiremichaelreid, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

    Apr 29, 2007

    I need to replace my water heater since it's started leaking. I tried to replace the anode a few years ago, because of sulfur smell, but the lack of overhead clearance mandated an articulated rod, and I couldn't find an easy local source here in Ottawa, Canada and never got around to it, and I guess the leaking has made that moot now.

    Locally, 60 gallon electric heaters here are in the $*00 - $*00 Canadian range in the stores, about $250 - $500 US at current exchange. Local plumber quoted me about $*00 Canadian or about $*00 US to replace, all labor included. This was for a Giant brand heater allegedly made nearby in Montreal. Anyone know anything about this brand ? Also known as Cascade for the better models having 9 or 12 year warranty versus the standard 6 or so. Local hardware chain Rona carries these also and the current leaking heater is a Giant model that is now about 8 years old.

    So given all the good reviews here and elsewhere for Bradford White, I asked about that brand and was told they deal with those also, and can install for about $15 more. But they only seem to want to deal with the 6 year warranty model and I think there is a 10 year version available.

    So should I 'give in' and just let them install the 6 year Bradford White model, or search for a more flexible plumbing contractor ? I'm half tempted to attempt to install a heater myself, given all the sub-par experiences I've had with plumbing contractors here the last several years. I'm reasonably handy, but a plumbing amateur. I DID install a backup sump pump a few years ago, after frustration with inflated cost estimates and unnecessary proposal complexity from another local contractor.

    I've noted that the Giant/Cascade heaters with longer warranty are bottom entry, while my current setup is top entry. I'm not sure if Bradford White premium 10 year heaters are also bottom entry. I'd hope to avoid having to add new plumbing.

    I might also consider a smaller heater than the current 60 gallon unit. 2 adults and 2 young kids, but we've never run out of hot water yet. I'm thinking a 40 gal unit might give me better clearance for anode replacement/inspection. Unit is in basement about 2 1/2 feet off the ground above a septic system tank/pump.

    We ARE on city water, BTW, so I'm not exactly sure why we've had issues with sulfur smell.

    Thanks for any feedback !
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2009
  2. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Dec 2, 2005
    Plumbing Designer
    SW Florida
    City water and sulfur you have a house filter? Usually city supplies have chlorine added to the water to kill/cut down on water microbes. Some filter systems filter out the chlorine and allow the microbes to breed in the water heater, on the anode rod and create a sulfur smell in the HOT side only. This can be overcome by either a different or better filter or specifying an aluminum anode rod.

    Sorry, I've got no experience with BW heaters but they seem to be preffered on this site.
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  4. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    Hi FloridaOrange, :)

    No, no house filter here. We're on the edge of town in a semi-rural area, so I wonder if the chlorine doesn't make it out here in the same quantities. The only reason the city ran water here was because a local dump made well water questionable.

    I've been reading the specs on the BW heaters and it appears they have an anode integrated into the water outlet. Doesn't make it as convenient to inspect/replace the anode as my current Giant brand heater.

    I'm also realizing a shorter heater would require the pipes to be extended downward in order to get anode removal clearance. Not ideal. I've thought about drilling a ceiling/floor hole to get the anode from the main house level though... :)

    I've noted that the top connections of the heater are threaded, and I already have a cold water inlet tap, so I'd guess it wouldn't be TOO hard for me to replace the heater myself. But the weight of a 60 gal heater is enough to dissuade me from trying this as a DIY. And one or two relatively untrained people to help with the weight just increases the likelihood of a mishap.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    Generally speaking, extended warranties are not a good investment on anything. By the time the pro-rating is figured, you will have spent more on the extra warranty than you get in return. I would hesitate to buy an unknown brand heater. Sure, they might just be awesome, but on the other hand, they might be a pile of junk. Gas heaters recover so rapidly that a 40 gallon would probably keep up with your household demands just fine.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    If your plumber likes installing the six year, it may be that he's used to picking up the model.
    Less thinking.

    There is a water heater outfit in the Seattle area that sells a Rheem six year, and you can buy as much as sixteen years on the warranty.
    It's still the six year tank, but they will sell you paper that says sixteen.

    At year sixteen, that would be 1/16 the value of the tank, no labor or parts included.

    It cost an extra $600 for adding ten years to the warranty.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    The 10 year BW is just a 6 year that you pay about $150.00 additional to get the extra 4 years. As far as anode rods, I have removed many, but never installed one and the heaters seem to last just as long. Theoretically, by the time it is worn out it should have done its job and there is no more need for it. Sort of like having a cold. If you treat it it will only last a week, but if you leave it alone you will be stuck with it for 7 days.
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    I am not familiar with the Giant brand I suspect they may just be a brand in out "Northernmost States" LOL...

    I can tell you that the Bradford White 6 year and 10 year guarantee water heater is the same one with a higher price charged. The difference is only price and guarantee. If you were buying one and they had already wheeled the unit out when you changed your mind and wanted the other guarantee you would still get the same water heater. The change would be in the computer only...

    That said, if you do go with Bradford White I would take the upfront cash savings and roll the dice on the service life over 6 years...

    It probably has better than even odds that it will last...:cool:
  9. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    Thanks Gary, Terry, HJ, and Redwood.

    Yes, I agree pro-rated warranties are pretty much useless. I had no idea the BW 10 year was just an 'extended service plan', which I'd consider a waste of money. I assumed it was a different model of water heater with better anode or tank or whatever. Some brands DO have more expensive models with longer warranties.

    Yes, Giant is a popular brand in this part of Canada, but I don't know how its' reliability compares with other brands. I just know that the Giant we have now lasted about 8 years. It's possible the life was reduced a bit because I had to bend the anode when I inspected it two years ago, and broke off the bottom half to get it back in because of the limited clearance I have.

    These are the Giant water heaters: . The Super Cascade model: has a 9 year warranty instead of the standard 6, and I presume it would last longer. However, it's bottom entry which would require some re-plumbing.

    So at this time, I figure I have a choice between the Giant and the BW. The BW may have an edge in reliability, but the Giant has an anode which can be more easily removed. It's separate from the water outlet, while the BW seems to be integrated with the water outlet.

    At one point, I put chlorine in the Giant, via the anode hole. AFAIK, it would not be easy enough for me to do that myself on the BW. OTOH, I could just do like most homeowners and ignore the water heater (except for draining sediment every 6 months or so) until it starts leaking again in another 8 years (at which point someone else may own this house :) ). And live with whatever sulfur smells may or may not re-emerge... :)

    Next step: see if I can find a drain pan at the local Home Depot or whatever. Can't find any on the Canadian hardware store websites, but the stores and websites are often separate entities. I suspect it'll be much cheaper to source a drain pan myself.

    I guess drain pans are something that seems pretty silly to buy and install until 8 years later when the leaking starts.
  10. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Aug 27, 2008
    A bounty hunter like in "Raising Arizona"
    That's right, self-insure if you have the cash.

    Warranties on products cost between 1% and 10% of the selling price, but I don't know this number for water heaters.

    I tried to find a correlation between warranty cost and reliability but one expert tells me it's too low to be of any decision-making value.

    "Warranty is a critical element of new product strategy. It not only provides assurance to customers, but also serves as a very effective promotional tool. "

    70 gals/person/day is normal usage but not all of this is hot water.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2009
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    quote; Some brands DO have more expensive models with longer warranties.

    Bradford White is just more honest. The other heaters come down the same line as the six year heaters. The difference is that they put a 6, 9, 10, or 12 year sticker on the heater and then adjust the price BEFORE it goes out the door. But in almost every case, you are getting the same heater. With electric heaters, some companies will upgrade the element wattage on the longer warranty heaters, but the tank, which the warranty covers, is the same.
  12. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

    Apr 29, 2007
    Thanks for all the advice.

    I had my Bradford White water heater installed today and it seems to be working OK.

    I'm not entirely satisfied with the removal and installation. I'll admit I'm a 'tough customer' in that I like the 'best', do Internet research and ask questions. But I've done service work in the past (computers/electronics) so I understand that things go wrong, and that retail customers can be a pain sometimes (often?).

    He had to remove some drywall to remove the original heater (which the original owner/builder probably added after the WH was installed). I wish he'd at least told me first. I checked in on him every 30-60 minutes; I don't like watching contractors every minute, and presume they don't like it either, but I've often found opportunities to get things rectified better/faster when I check in from time to time. I try to offer help too, if needed.

    There was some electrical equipment on the drywall next to the WH that I offered to remove, but he said it wasn't a problem. Sure enough though, that drywall is now broken. :(

    The drain pan I bought for $20 at Home Depot was not installed, reportedly due to it not being possible (or perhaps a pain) to get it in under the WH in the confined and elevated location.

    He changed the rotary type tap for one of those 90 degree shutoff valves on the cold water inlet side for reasons I don't entirely recall. He may have said something about needing to adjust the pipe length for the new WH.

    The new WH has some smallish dents and I can feel ripples in other areas of the skin of the unit. I suspect this occurred during installation. I'm sure I personally would have done the same if I had installed it, but a presumably professional and licensed plumber did this, with help from another guy.

    On the plus side, it was completed today, as arranged on Friday. It was also at the quoted price of $ 800 Canadian, plus taxes. AFAIC see, nothing is leaking. I should have asked previously, but carting away the old WH would have cost me $25. But the city will pick it up from end of my driveway in a week for no cost.

    So, overall, I'd rate the removal/installation at 6 out of 10. In my day 30 years ago, that was the just barely passing mark in high school. Other local plumbers in my area I've had in would have ranked 2/10, 9/10 and 4/10 respectively. Unfortunately Mr. 9 retired and passed his business to Mr. 4. :(

    Hopefully my new BW WH will work fine for the next 8+ years. I'll be making every effort to do as much of my own plumbing as I can in future, due to the 'iffy' quality I've seen from local plumbers. Something tells me that the best plumbers out there are busy and perhaps working for commercial customers; not dealing with retail 'nonsense'. :)

    For the sake of anyone searching for plumber info in my area of Aylmer/Gatineau, Quebec or Ottawa/Gloucester, Ontario, Canada, the firm was "Labelle et Fils Ltee". Plumbing / Plomberie.
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