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Discussion Starter #1
I have to buy a new water heater, old one is leaking. From research I've done on forums like this, it seems MOST people say stay away from box store brands (Home Depot, Menard's) like Rheem and Richmond, etc. Despite this, I need to go inexpensive. Home Depot has 3 levels of Rheem 50 gallon units. It comes in 6-yr, 9-yr, and 12-yr. From what I've read there's little difference in quality just the price, since you're paying for the extra "warranty" coverage on the tank, yet ANY of them only come with 1 year labor regardless.

Is this true? I'm aware buying the 6yr Rheem (cheap) is not what any pros want to hear, but due to budget constraints right now my best bet is to gamble on this, and then in 6 or 8 years get a better one if need be. (Normally I buy high quality, I bought an $800 Honda walk behind mower) just can't spend it right now.

That said, the 6-yr Rheem comes with dual 4500W elements. The 9-yr comes with dual 5500W elements. They're both 50 gallon. Why the different elements? Will the 5500s last longer and that's why they're in the higher life one? Will smaller elements make them run longer, and therefore use more power in the long run?

Looking for pros who understand this stuff better than me trying to deduce it on my own.

Thanks!
 

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You have to do what you can afford right now. Get the cheapest one and replace anode rod every 3 years. Imo, if you do that, It will last as long as that 12 year one. Just a suggestion.
 

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Buying cheap will get you in the long run.

It's not what do the Pros want to hear.

Infact most want you to buy cheap.

Buy trying to buy low quality plumbing parts you are only hurting yourself.

Why should I, someone who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year care if you bought cheap or not.

When I install for a customer I will give them the best product.

A cheap lawnmower makes sense and a expensive plumbing part makes sense.

An expensive lawnmower and a cheap plumbing system makes no sense.

I don't care what you buy. It makes no difference to me.
 

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You have to do what you can afford right now. Get the cheapest one and replace anode rod every 3 years. Imo, if you do that, It will last as long as that 12 year one. Just a suggestion.
By anode rod do you mean heating element, or is this different?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Buying cheap will get you in the long run.

It's not what do the Pros want to hear.

Infact most want you to buy cheap.

Buy trying to buy low quality plumbing parts you are only hurting yourself.

Why should I, someone who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year care if you bought cheap or not.

When I install for a customer I will give them the best product.

A cheap lawnmower makes sense and a expensive plumbing part makes sense.

An expensive lawnmower and a cheap plumbing system makes no sense.

I don't care what you buy. It makes no difference to me.
I'm not asking for your opinion on cheap vs expensive, or what lawnmower makes sense to you, I had a couple particular questions I DID ask though. Which you did not answer.
 

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By anode rod do you mean heating element, or is this different?
It's different. It helps protect your hwh from breaking down so soon. It's a sacrificial rod usually made from magnesium that lasts about 3-5 years depending on your water. That and annual flushing of the hwh will keep you up and running. Just a suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's different. It helps protect your hwh from breaking down so soon. It's a sacrificial rod usually made from magnesium that lasts about 3-5 years depending on your water. That and annual flushing of the hwh will keep you up and running. Just a suggestion.
I really appreciate the suggestion! I'm clueless obviously about WHs and maintenance on them. I've been lucky so far all the places I've lived needed no WH maintenance...until now. The house I bought has a real old one and now I join the ranks of getting experience on them! I have softened water running into the it so I assume this means I'll have the best luck possible. Thanks again.
 

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I really appreciate the suggestion! I'm clueless obviously about WHs and maintenance on them. I've been lucky so far all the places I've lived needed no WH maintenance...until now. The house I bought has a real old one and now I join the ranks of getting experience on them! I have softened water running into the it so I assume this means I'll have the best luck possible. Thanks again.
Actually, softened water with sodium equals a shorter life for the anode rod. So plan on every 3 years to replace it, maybe sooner. They cost about 25-35 dollars and a diyer can replace it.
 

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Actually, softened water with sodium equals a shorter life for the anode rod. So plan on every 3 years to replace it, maybe sooner. They cost about 25-35 dollars and a diyer can replace it.
Ok one more quick question- Do I wait until it quits heating water, then assume it's the anode rod? How would I know it's that not the element(s)...or should I just replaced it in 3-5 regardless, before it goes bad?
 

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There is a possibility the tank may have a failure and leak water.

I am only trying to give you the best advice possible.

Far to many times I have seen people push replacing a plumbing fixture for months If not years.
 

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Replacing an Anode Rod voids the tanks warrenty.
Never seen where replacing it would void the warranty. Removing it, and using the water heater without it, yes.
 

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Ok one more quick question- Do I wait until it quits heating water, then assume it's the anode rod? How would I know it's that not the element(s)...or should I just replaced it in 3-5 regardless, before it goes bad?
Being you have softened water, I would replace it at the 3 year mark regardless. You'll know it's the element because you won't have good hot water. You have an upper and lower element. Usually the lower goes out first because of all the sediment and crud that accumulates at the bottom of the hwh. Think of an anode rod as a silent killer. It doesn't really have any symptoms until it's too late. It helps prolong the life of your tank.

I have a schedule of maintenance log and the owners manual attached to my hwh as a reminder, then there is no guessing. I have replaced my anode rod twice so far and do the annual flushing, no problems yet. I have a cheap old sears kenmore hwh and it's going on 11 years old, it came with a 3 year warantee which has long passed now.

This is just what I do and my personal preference only. Others are free to do and say what they want. It's a free country, and I'm expressing my views and opinions only on your specific questions. You came to this forum seeking advice and suggestions so you can make an informed decision. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Being you have softened water, I would replace it at the 3 year mark regardless. You'll know it's the element because you won't have good hot water. You have an upper and lower element. Usually the lower goes out first because of all the sediment and crud that accumulates at the bottom of the hwh. Think of an anode rod as a silent killer. It doesn't really have any symptoms until it's too late. It helps prolong the life of your tank.

I have a schedule of maintenance log and the owners manual attached to my hwh as a reminder, then there is no guessing. I have replaced my anode rod twice so far and do the annual flushing, no problems yet. I have a cheap old sears kenmore hwh and it's going on 11 years old, it came with a 3 year warantee which has long passed now.

This is just what I do and my personal preference only. Others are free to do and say what they want. It's a free country, and I'm expressing my views and opinions only on your specific questions. You came to this forum seeking advice and suggestions so you can make an informed decision. Thanks.
Thanks again jmon! I well realize there are about fifty 'better' ways I could go about this or anything. My budget at the moment is tight (dental work for my boy that amounts to $1200 that my insurance wont cover) and a leaking water heater which needs replaced NOW. Therefore I can't get a $1k lifetime plastic tank, or even a $600 12-yr. I have to get one though, and the pennies are only there for the cheapy. I appreciate you answering my questions and not judging my choices.

I'm a BBQ pitmaster and a smoker guru and when someone asks a question about a cheapy smoker from home depot I'm quick to think "NO! Don't do that!"...but there's a difference between an informed choice due to necessity and honest ignorance.

Again, thanks!
 

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The 5500 watt elements heat the water faster and can reheat it/recover faster if you use lots of continuos water. Have to check the size of circuit breaker or fuse it requires at it may be bigger than the 4500s.

The only time you have to permanently remove an anode is if you have funky water that reacts with it and gives off a sulphur smell. We have that in Selkirk Manitoba. Not sure if it is from too much natural magnesium in their water.
 

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I should correct that. Removal of the annode rod may void warrenty. But removal is needed for replacement., thus voids the warrenty
NO manufacturer voids warranty for removing the annode to replace it.

By removing they mean taking it out and operating the water heater without it.

Bradford White only requires that the tanks rating plate be mailed to them to get warranty on the tank. So they wouldn't even know if the annode was removed or not.
 
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