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Old 11-12-2015, 10:07 AM   #1
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water heater-what to buy


I need a new water heater. Current is gas 40 gl, passive vent. Ten plus yrs old and recovery time is too long for consecutive showers. No leaks, but I want to get it changed before it leaks. I doubt the previous owners even flushed it.
The warranty makes a big cost difference. 6-9-12 yrs. What's the difference? I thought the anode rod, if changed, can make it last?
Also, anybody tried to change the anode? Just what kind of torque do I need to unscrew it? I tried many years ago, but gave up. Are they even replaceable these days? I'm looking for avg heater from the box stores, also passive vent.
Thank you in advance.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:42 AM   #2
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This topic comes up quite a bit on this forum and as usual you will get many recommendations.

You hit the nail right on the head when you mentioned changing the anode rod. Depending on your water, doing this every 3 years, and flushing the tank every year will help extend the life of your water heater.

Not easy, but it can be done. Drain a couple gallons out to relieve the pressure and use 2 people, one to hold the tank, the other unscrews the anode rod. Use some pb blaster, hd 15/16in socket, and big breaker bar or impact wrench (recommended).

Big box stores have the best deals no doubt. I would recommend one from your local plumbing supply store. The reason being, they usually stock many of the basic parts for it so there is no waiting for them to come in the mail. Just my opinion.
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Old 11-12-2015, 02:02 PM   #3
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Another option is what I did... simply order a water heater from Supply House (used to be PEX Supply) and it'll be shipped to your door. They have a pretty good selection and decent prices and stock a lot of the parts, too.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:19 PM   #4
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Another point... the AO Smith gas WH model I bought has a powered anode that in theory never needs replaced. May sound trivial but nice to skip that nasty bit of maintenance. Of course this type of WH requires 110V to operate so if your power is unreliable or you don't have a generator it might not be a good solution.

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You hit the nail right on the head when you mentioned changing the anode rod. Depending on your water, doing this every 3 years...
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:26 PM   #5
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Nice point.
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:30 PM   #6
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When the WH is new, remove the anode and coat the threads with anti seize compound. It will come out easily when you change it.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:09 AM   #7
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I was hoping they made it easier to unscrew the anode. Time to get an impact wrench-wanted one for car repairs anyway. Anybody can recommend 110v wrench? Not really looking to Hitachi or such-cost. Appreciate it also if anybody can guarantee using impact will not do any damage to the glass lining inside?
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:24 AM   #8
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I have air tools, but I added the 1/2" drive impact tool to my Makita 18v lithium ion tool set. Fantastic tool, will easily remove car lug nuts... and probably also anode rods. Keeps me from needing to fire up the air compressor for most jobs. So if you have, or are planning to buy into one of the main mfgs battery tool lines (I suspect Makita isn't the only one that offers such a tool), get one of those.

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I was hoping they made it easier to unscrew the anode. Time to get an impact wrench-wanted one for car repairs anyway. Anybody can recommend 110v wrench? Not really looking to Hitachi or such-cost. Appreciate it also if anybody can guarantee using impact will not do any damage to the glass lining inside?
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:03 PM   #9
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I have a 50 gallon Richmond, which is made by Rheem. It is a Power Vent unit and no matter how long you take a shower, you always have hot water. Power Vents have a faster recovery time then ones without.

We always had issues with the 40 gallon that was with the house when we moved in. Because with three people taking showers in the morning, it could not keep up.



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Old 11-13-2015, 12:25 PM   #10
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Of course, the best time to replace a water heater is when you don't need one. It would be a good time to consider tankless. When I replaced a commercial grade AO Smith that was getting long in the tooth, I did all my research and went with a TAKAGI tankless.

Now, I can be taking a hot shower, my daughter can start a load of whites in the laundry (HOT water) and the wife can start the dishwasher.... and I don't feel a thing. We have an endless supply of hot water.
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Old 11-13-2015, 01:35 PM   #11
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I looked into tankless in detail when I replaced my WH a few years ago. It's a nice concept and if you have sufficiently robust gas service (including the meter, manifold and lines) and a good venting location that doesn't require too much construction it might make sense for a retrofit. But it wasn't even close to making economic sense in my case. Way too much $$ installation work involved, not to mention $$ up front WH cost and potential $$ service costs. Your mileage may vary...
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
I have a 50 gallon Richmond, which is made by Rheem. It is a Power Vent unit and no matter how long you take a shower, you always have hot water. Power Vents have a faster recovery time then ones without.

We always had issues with the 40 gallon that was with the house when we moved in. Because with three people taking showers in the morning, it could not keep up.
Natural venting, or power venting makes no difference in recovery rate. BTUs rating is what effects recovery rate.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raylo32 View Post
I looked into tankless in detail when I replaced my WH a few years ago. It's a nice concept and if you have sufficiently robust gas service (including the meter, manifold and lines) and a good venting location that doesn't require too much construction it might make sense for a retrofit. But it wasn't even close to making economic sense in my case. Way too much $$ installation work involved, not to mention $$ up front WH cost and potential $$ service costs. Your mileage may vary...
I had my first one 16 years. The only thing that I had to do to it was my HVAC guy vacuumed it out once a year when he did the fall furnace service. Not one single problem until the board died this year and I replaced the whole thing. Of course, my venting was in the perfect location and my gas lines were fine.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:40 PM   #14
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That's a good record, the Takagis have good rep. In my case I would have had to upgrage the gas line from the meter to the manifold that goes through finished space. Probably would also have had to upgrade the meter but maybe the gas company would do that for free?? But then I had no place to vent it... I have my furnace pipes using the only suitable location.

New construction I would almost certainly install a tankless with provisions to pop in a tank WH as a backup or a replacement if the tankless proved troublesome.

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I had my first one 16 years. The only thing that I had to do to it was my HVAC guy vacuumed it out once a year when he did the fall furnace service. Not one single problem until the board died this year and I replaced the whole thing. Of course, my venting was in the perfect location and my gas lines were fine.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:04 PM   #15
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Natural venting, or power venting makes no difference in recovery rate. BTUs rating is what effects recovery rate.
It did in my case, because the old water heater was vented up the flue that the old Octopus was also venting into, before we had it replaced with the new furnace in 2005.

The Power Vent made a huge difference. Also the recovery rate was better then the old 40 gal. AO that was installed around 1997.



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