My husband who I loved, was smart. He financially and physically helped out a lot. He did pass away and things have been so much harder on my own. Having to replace my water heater has been a huge stress on me financially and I am scared if I go about it wrong I could have problems a few years later that I could not afford to fix so soon. Not to mention my grandfather had a faulty water heater that was two months old that blew up and destroyed his entire home and killed his pets. He had to rebuild a band new home. He never went anywhere, but by some miracle he went out the day that it happened. I found someone to put in my water heater that I can afford, but I have to get my own water heater. I found so far that Rheem is available at Home Depot and AO Smith at Lowes. My old water heater is 54" high and is a 50 gallon gas Sears model from 1998. The Rheem are 58" for the tall and 51" for the short. They are 38000 BTU to 42000 BTU and are 6 to 12 year Warranty. They cost from $600 to $1450. I have no idea what to get? The BTU, the height or the warranty. I heard stories that a 6 year warranty is the same tank as a 12 year warranty. If so, is it really worth the difference? I have gotton bids for $3800 to $5100, but I cannot afford that. I got a bid from a friends friend that use to be a plumber for $650, but I have to get my own water heater. Can anyone give me advice on what is a good water heater, BTU, warranty and height wise? Is is worth it to go with a ex plumber that does not give a 2 year labor warranty if you so happen to get a faulty water heater at Home Depot or Lowes? Is it common to get a faulty water heater? I am just scared and really appreciate any advice.