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Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: April 15, 2019 12:19PM
It's time to replace our gas hot water heater. We're not going to shift to electric or tankless, so it looks like the choices are Bradley-White, Rheem, or AO Smith.

A quick tour online shows a lot of love for Rheem among consumers, but not plumbers, a lot of love for Bradley-White among plumbers, but not consumers, and everyone dislikes AO Smith.

It looks like plumbers might make a bigger markup on Bradley-White, which is a contractors-only line. Lots of complaints from consumers about difficulties getting warranties honored, warranties paying for parts but not labor, etc.

Anybody have any strong recommendations?

Thanks!
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: space-time
Date: April 15, 2019 12:23PM
Waiting for some comments
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: Todd's keyboard
Date: April 15, 2019 12:41PM
Must fight the urge to make a snarky comment.

My father worked for Rheem. While I'm still partial to them, not sure my situation relates to the OP.
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: wowzer
Date: April 15, 2019 12:45PM
My AO Smith has been trouble free for 8 years...and it came w the house. I replaced the anode about 2 yrs ago but otherwise it’s has been great.



All I ever really needed to know, I learned from watching Star Trek.
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: bik
Date: April 15, 2019 01:11PM
DON'T do regular electric unless you're OK with your hot water expenses going WAY up.

If you want electric, look at a hot water heat pump. They go around$1200-1500 instead of half that, but there are probably rebates from your state/utility company.

I don't have a particular brand to recommend. I'm just frustrated by the cost of running our electric water heater.

Thanks to those who resisted snarky comments, because I often call them "hot water heaters" too.

Edit: I don't know this particular one, but I'm talking about something like this... This is the direction we'll go when it's time.
[www.homedepot.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2019 01:15PM by bik.
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: April 15, 2019 01:15PM
I’ve written here before about my bad experience with a Bradford White water heater. Even under warranty it cost me hundreds of dollars in repair, because the computer controller kept going bad. What a pain in the a$$ too when you wake up in the morning and there’s no hot water and you have to call the plumber for the third or fourth time for the same reason.

When it started leaking, even though it was still under warranty, it cost me $600 to get the free replacement installed. Altogether, call it $1000 over five years to maintain a Bradford White water heater still under warranty.
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: Michael
Date: April 15, 2019 01:21PM
I buy Rheem simply because that's what Home Depot sells and I install them myself. Our first one was provided by the plumber when the house was built and it was a Bradley-White. It showed rust at the top 2 years into it and I took a picture of it to the supply house that it was bought from and they apologized and offered to have one of their guys come to the house and replace it. I was rather impressed with their service but not with the 2 year thing. The replacement lasted maybe 12 years and then I started the Home Depot Rheem hot water heaters. I've replaced it twice myself, the last time about 4 years ago. We're at 30 years on the house. So, the first Rheem lasted about 12 years. Almost exactly what the Bradley-White lasted. So, who knows...
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: April 15, 2019 01:37PM
As I said, not doing electric.

Quote
bik
DON'T do regular electric unless you're OK with your hot water expenses going WAY up.

If you want electric, look at a hot water heat pump. They go around$1200-1500 instead of half that, but there are probably rebates from your state/utility company.

I don't have a particular brand to recommend. I'm just frustrated by the cost of running our electric water heater.

Thanks to those who resisted snarky comments, because I often call them "hot water heaters" too.

Edit: I don't know this particular one, but I'm talking about something like this... This is the direction we'll go when it's time.
[www.homedepot.com]
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: davemchine
Date: April 15, 2019 03:21PM
We just switched to gas tankless and I couldn't be happier. I know you said you weren't looking at those but still wanted to comment. It was expensive but with three women in the house it's nice to finally be able to take a hot shower!
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: rz
Date: April 15, 2019 03:31PM
Quote
davemchine
We just switched to gas tankless and I couldn't be happier. I know you said you weren't looking at those but still wanted to comment. It was expensive but with three women in the house it's nice to finally be able to take a hot shower!

We went to a gas tankless a few years ago and are happy as well. Only issue we have is that in the morning, it takes about a minute for the water to heat up to take a shower. Oh, and last weekend I tried to take a shower when the washer and dishwasher were both running... took about 2 minutes for the water to heat up. But otherwise, it's been good.
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: April 15, 2019 03:33PM
We replaced an AO Smith gas heater with a Takagi exterior mount tankless about a decade ago. No regrets at all. The cost was $700, just ran a pvc line from the old water heater connections to it. Then had the gas connected - so the total cost was around $800.

The exterior or direct vent eliminates the need for a stainless steel exhaust (which is really expensive).

But if I was going with a tank, I'd go Rheem (and immediately start saving for the next one)



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: Gilbert
Date: April 15, 2019 03:39PM
We are looking to replace our natural gas water heater. We currently have a Rheem that was installed by the builder 14 years ago. It is still performing well (knock on wood) but I recognize its day are numbered so we are going to replace it preemptively. As I have looked around, I am leaning towards another Rheem Platinum from Home Depot. I and my neighbor will install it. Our current tank is a 75-gallon model and we will replace it with the same. The home builder also installed a recirculating pump and I think that has helped in preventing scale buildup. I have no proof of that but whenever I drain it for preventative service, the water always runs clear. I have the pump scheduled to run three times a day starting just before peak usage periods. It's nice not having to run the shower in the morning in order to get hot water. I turn it on and it is hot.
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: Carm
Date: April 15, 2019 08:39PM
Three homes all have had A O Smith, haven’t had an issue with any of them when I lived at previous residences. I’m sure they were the least expensive options that’s why they were installed. Will have to look into options before mine goes out.
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: Winston
Date: April 16, 2019 10:57PM
The key to hot water heater longevity is to replace the sacrificial anode(s) every 5-7 years, depending on the model and how corrosive water where you live is. (This is a separate issue from the failure of electronic controls.)

In my experience it's difficult to get plumbers to service a hot water heater by checking and replacing the sacrificial anode. Some HVAC contractors will do it if asked, which is good, as you are more likely to have regular service done to an HVAC system than to plumbing.

The anodes are called "sacrificial" because they are designed to corrode, to prevent the hot water heater (and other fixtures in the house) from corroding. Some brass plumbing fixtures in our house have "dezincified" - i.e. lost zinc and become more copper - because we went too long without replacing the sacrificial anode in our hot water heater. A heated towel bar that runs on circulated hot water has exterior corrosion and peeling chrome plating as a result.

Lower quality bathroom fixtures may have a higher percentage of zinc in the brass, and fail (leak) if they experience dezincification. One set of examples:
[vegasinc.lasvegassun.com]

and more general comments from an academic review:
[vtechworks.lib.vt.edu]


As to electronic controls, avoid them if you can.


Good luck.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.
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Re: Hot Water Heater Recommendations?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: April 18, 2019 09:17PM
Quote
Ombligo
We replaced an AO Smith gas heater with a Takagi exterior mount tankless about a decade ago. No regrets at all. The cost was $700, just ran a pvc line from the old water heater connections to it. Then had the gas connected - so the total cost was around $800.

The exterior or direct vent eliminates the need for a stainless steel exhaust (which is really expensive).

But if I was going with a tank, I'd go Rheem (and immediately start saving for the next one)

But you're in Florida. I don't recall where the mouse is located, but I doubt an external mount is a good idea for a northern location.



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