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Old 02-07-2016, 09:47 AM   #1
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New 50 gallon tank water heater advice


currently have a 1996 40 gallon Rheem 21v40-7 ,34k btu , what are some good options out now that are more efficient rather replace it now before it goes just moved into this house in north nj .
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Old 02-07-2016, 11:42 AM   #2
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A good read for you:

http://fox59.com/2014/07/10/homeowne...s-take-effect/
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My electrical answers are based on 2017 NEC, you may have local amendments.

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Old 02-07-2016, 01:39 PM   #3
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Beyond the basic offerings, I've found the cost of more efficient units is incommensurate with a reasonable payback. Compared to home heating, a domestic hot water heater is used little. Your smallest summer gas utility bill typically represents hot water use and cooking. You only get return on efficiency if you use the appliance. The less you use it, the less return, but the life of a water heater is based on years not use.

The 40 gallon hot water heater provides the best first cost. The better units have longer guarantees and commensurately more cost. Unless your water is severe, I suspect the basic unit with six year guarantee will easily last 10 years, but I'm not sure one with a 12 year guarantee will last twenty years.

Looks like:
Gas 40 gallon 6 year runs about $400
Gas 40 gallon 12 year runs about $650
Gas 50 gallon 10 year runs about $550
Gas 50 gallon 12 year runs about $650
Gas 50 gallon 6 year direct vent runs about $1200 - I suspect greater efficiency

I see a POWERFLEX 50-Gallon 6-Year Short Gas Water Heater (Natural Gas) for $900. This appears the most efficient and uses PVC vent.

A larger heater provides more storage and greater recovery. We replaced a 50 heater with a 75 gallon unit. The 50 gallon was a bit lean for our soaking tub and two teen showers meant the third waited. I've never noticed a shortage with our 75 gallon and we even use it to heat our 900 sq. ft. basement.

Flue size and connected capacity must be checked against the gas code if you are upgrading to a larger unit.

I've seen 50 gallon high temperature units that use a heater mounted tempering/mixing valve. This provides more capacity, but again requires flue considerations and costs are much greater.

Instant hot heaters have the comfort advantage and cost disadvantage of never running out, but at a grand and additional installation costs, they are difficult to justify with USA utility costs. Energy savings come from lack of losses from a standing tank. IMHO that's overrated. Put your hand on the tank and tell me how much heat your loosing. I'm also not sure if you can get commensurate flow (gpm).

I also see standing pilot's becoming out of style. Ours has a Piezoelectric ignition does not require external power or battery. How it works I don't know.

I'm assuming you have gas. Electric units are 100% efficient (less heat loss) and less costly, but will quickly cost more than gas due to utility costs. Electric is less restrictive with respect to location because no flue is needed. Our vacation home has an electric 40 gallon unit packaged to look similar to an appliance and sits next to the washing machine. This enabled us to remove the enclosure around the old one and pick up some space in the laundry room.

I agree with replace before failure. None last forever and when they fail you still have replacement cost on top of the collateral damage which may add several times the cost.

With respect to the above article, the following is a better read: http://www.hotwater.com/naeca/
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Old 02-07-2016, 03:01 PM   #4
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yes i have gas and this tank is way past its warranty at 18 years i think im pushing it but i guess this water is pretty decent quality , i have 3 kids under 10 and already the water runs out so when they become teens im sure it will run out faster im only asking since when i went to home depot and lowes you see the same tanks but just different warranties i have a guy i know that works for a plumbing company that can get me A.O Smith but before i buy i wanted to shop around ... does power vent really make a difference for the cost i know if the power goes out thats one difference.
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Old 02-07-2016, 05:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeF77 View Post
does power vent really make a difference for the cost i know if the power goes out thats one difference.
It's great that you're shopping around and finding out all the details the big box stores don't tell you or simply just don't know before you make a decision.

Both articles forum members linked to above are very informative and explain exactly what's required with the new guidelines.

If you stay with your current 40 gallon gas model type you will have the least amount of changes. However, once you cross that 55 gallon threshold the guidelines change drastically.

Back to your question; Water heaters equipped with power vents will cost more - no doubt. The biggest fall back is no hot water during a power outage, as you have stated. A work around would be to add a back-up generator, which would be another cost.

At over 18 years old, I agree with you it's time.
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:04 PM   #6
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im definitely staying under 55 gallons the 40 now would be alright if i had to but i figure as my kids get older showers will get longer so i might as well go to 50 gallons as the space wont be much difference as its between the boiler and sump now with a few feet to spare
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:09 AM   #7
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Before you install, check the WH inlet and outlet nipples with the adopter. From homedepot, and this is second time one nipple was a bit defective-harder to thread by hand. After the install, it leaked, but small enough and plugged itself. I used tape only, but should have used the tape and the compound.
If you change out the anode with longer anode, you can buy the min yrs warranty. I bought 9 yrs, since there wasn't a lot of difference between 6 and 9. If I wanted to bother, I'd change out the anode to the longest that the tank can fit. In this case, tall tank would be better.
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpdad View Post
Before you install, check the WH inlet and outlet nipples with the adopter. From homedepot, and this is second time one nipple was a bit defective-harder to thread by hand. After the install, it leaked, but small enough and plugged itself. I used tape only, but should have used the tape and the compound.
If you change out the anode with longer anode, you can buy the min yrs warranty. I bought 9 yrs, since there wasn't a lot of difference between 6 and 9. If I wanted to bother, I'd change out the anode to the longest that the tank can fit. In this case, tall tank would be better.
decided to go with a 50 gallon A O Smith from a supply house was the same price as the big box store models
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