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Old 12-06-2009, 05:15 AM   #1
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Which Gas Hot Water Heater


I already answered the question of should I replace my gas hot water heater. My house was built in the early 1990s and I am the second owner. I believe it still has the original hot water heater and it is still running strong. You can't always go by if it ain't broke, don't fix it, especially after reading what could happen (leaks, floods, etc).

Anyway, a family member recommended a local HVAC company for the job. I spoke to the owner and he was very nice and did not put any pressure on me. The house is a two story colonial and about 3,000 square foot. 2 adults and 2 children (4 1/2 and 6 1/2 years old). He installs Bradford White hot water heaters and said that I should go with a 40 gallon heater. Now here is the confusing part for me. Which one should I choose? High efficiency or regular and 6 or 10 year warranty? Prices include labor, heater and takeaway. I plan on being in the house for a long time.

High efficiency 6 yr warranty heater $800
High efficiency 10 yr warranty heater $1,000
*My local gas and electric company (PECO) is offering a $50 rebate for ENERGY STAR qualified gas hot water heaters purchased and installed by 12/31/09.
*IRS Tax Credit???

Normal efficiency 6 yr $700
Normal efficiency 10 yr $900

I am leaning towards the high efficiency 6 yr heater which includes a $50 rebate. Seems like a good bang for the buck. I definitely decided not to go with Lowes or Home Depot even though they are cheaper, but only slightly. It's nice to have a local HVAC company that can give you great service. And I will be replacing my gas heating and central air cooling system soon as that is original as well. Thanks!!!

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Old 12-06-2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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Which Gas Hot Water Heater


The high efficiency tank water heaters aren't high enough to get an IRS tax credit.

If you have good water conditions, the 6 year warranty one should be ok.

But I tell most people to go with the longer warranty. Since water conditions can change in a few years.

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Old 12-06-2009, 07:43 AM   #3
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Which Gas Hot Water Heater


BW seems like the standard plumbing supply brand.
Is the high efficiency model direct vent? I couldn't find the efficiency ratings on their website, how much more efficient is the high efficiency model?
Another point, will it actually go for 10 years without needing service? One unscheduled service call will toss any savings from the efficiency difference.
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:50 AM   #4
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BW seems like the standard plumbing supply brand.
Is the high efficiency model direct vent? I couldn't find the efficiency ratings on their website, how much more efficient is the high efficiency model?
Another point, will it actually go for 10 years without needing service? One unscheduled service call will toss any savings from the efficiency difference.
Will the standard one actually go 10 years without needing service.
One unscheduled service call would mean the high efficiency one would have paid for all or part of the cost of a service call.

Just another way to look at it.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:34 AM   #5
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Which Gas Hot Water Heater


I'm not sure whether all the high efficiency gas water heaters utilize an exhaust gas fan (requiring electricity). As far as I can tell, the tank and burner would last about the same number of years for a given warranty rating, on average whether the heater is standard or high efficiency. To me the exhaust fan and damper add more complexity and components that can fail and also the heaters without electrical gear work during power failures.

A second electrical component is electronic ignition. You will have to decide whether this feature will save the cost of the alternative of a continuous minute trickle of gas feeding a pilot light over the years.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-06-2009 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:37 AM   #6
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Not sure if the high efficiency model is direct vent. The warranty covers replacement tank and parts, but not labor. The high efficiency models are $200 more than the regular models. Is it worth the extra $200 for the extra 4 years of warranty?

The high efficiency 6 yr warranty heater for $800 seems like the best bang for the buck. It would run $750 after the $50 rebate.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:45 AM   #7
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Not sure if the high efficiency model is direct vent. The warranty covers replacement tank and parts, but not labor. The high efficiency models are $200 more than the regular models. Is it worth the extra $200 for the extra 4 years of warranty?

That question is easily answered. if the water heater tank goes out at 11 years, its not worth it. If it has a tank failure in the 7th year, its worth it.

The high efficiency 6 yr warranty heater for $800 seems like the best bang for the buck. It would run $750 after the $50 rebate.

His areas/wells water conditions should be the determining factor on which warranty unit to get.
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:00 AM   #8
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Which Gas Hot Water Heater


No idea about the water conditions. I will do some research on that. All I know is that the current water heater is still running strong and it's about 17 years old (I think it's that old). I never though this would be such a tough decision over a few hundred bucks

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His areas/wells water conditions should be the determining factor on which warranty unit to get.
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:05 AM   #9
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Its not.

Some people like piece of mind.
Others don't think its worth paying for.

You have to know which you are.

Your decision doesn't put money into, or out of my pocket. I have no vested interest in your decision.

And I have never had a customer complain that they lost sleep because they got a unit with a longer warranty then they needed.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:09 AM   #10
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This could be debated for a while I'm sure but you have to realize that the insides of a 6 year verses a 10 year are the same. You are simply paying for your own warranty. I recently replace a 6 year one that was 15 years old and was never a problem...till it leaked. I have "normal" water and do
the 1 yearly tank drain down. For me....I'd go with the 6 year.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:26 AM   #11
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Which Gas Hot Water Heater


What about the size? I googled gas hot water heater sizing and found this chart on lowes.com...

Water Heater Size Chart
People Gallons
2 30-40
3 40
4 40-50
5+ 50-80

Bradford White has a sizing chart on their website and the chart recommended 50 gal. I will call the guy tomorrow and get a price on a 50 gal unit. From what I understand, there is not much of a price jump going from 40 gal to 50 gal. My wife and I shower every morning. The kids shower at night. When the young ones get older, I am sure that they will take longer showers My wife does 3 loads of laundry every Sunday and we run the dishwasher once a week (sometimes less). Can't hurt to go with a 50 gal unit?
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:46 AM   #12
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Which Gas Hot Water Heater


As long as its not too high to make venting it a problem. No harm in going with a 50 gallon.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:51 AM   #13
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Which Gas Hot Water Heater


I really don't know what size I currently have, but there is plenty of room in the height dept. The unit in wrapped with insulation and I can't find the label with the specs, etc.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:54 AM   #14
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It will be near the gas valve(off to the side of it), under your insulation.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:34 AM   #15
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Still can't find it. Anyway, the prior owners were 2 adults and 1 child. We are 2 adults and 2 children and the current unit works fine, but no idea what size it is. I'll check it out again. Looks like I can't go wrong with the 50 gal unit.

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