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Replacement water heater purchasing strategy?

  • Buy a low-cost 6-year warranty unit at a big box store.

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Search for/buy a "best"-rated 9-, 10-, 12-year warranty unit at a supply house.

    Votes: 2 66.7%

Replacement water heater purchasing strategy?

582 Views 24 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Steve2444
I need to replace my 50gal Sta-Kleen electric tank multi-decade old water heater.

If the unit is easy to replace and I can do it myself (basically just parts costs) and knowing the quality of today's units and the hit-or-miss nature of getting a "lemon"...is it a better strategy to:
1) buy a low-cost 6-year warranty unit at a big box store, or,
2) search/buy for a "best"-rated 9-, 10-, 12-year warranty unit at a supply house?

Please also name the brand you would buy in either case.

Unfortunately, I live in WA state, and apparently some new code/law went into effect recently about "demand response" and some units aren't allowed to be shipped to WA because they aren't compliant. But I'll worry about that after I gather y'alls' opinions about the strategy.

Thanks everyone.
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I’m not saying that you should buy one, but I suggest that you include plastic and stainless steel tanks in your evaluation, instead of just two versions of the same glass-lined steel tank that will eventually corrode unless the anode is replaced. Here is a video with some things to consider.
 

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My understanding is, there is no difference tank wise from a 6-9-12 yr tank.
Usually the 6 yr tank will have one anode rod, while a 9 or 12 will have two anode rods.
Anode rods keep the tank from rusting but wear out.

I usually use reem, never had any problems
 

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A tankless on demand all electric water heater will likely need to have your electric service upgraded (if you don't already have 150 or more amps. Such an upgrade is usually a costly add on because you may need a new breaker panel and perhaps new feed wiring strung from the utility pole to your house.

I had a big box store (Home Depot) provide and install a new (gas) water heater. In hindsight and getting experiences from some relatives, I conclude that appliances plus installation from big box stores usually cost more than from small local stores (appliance stores, plumbing outfits, etc.).
 

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My suggestions:
Rheem electric ..... Electric units are much easier to maintain.
Change the factory drain valve before installing. A ¾ ball valve drain built for flushing is much better & will pass sediment and allow the tank to drain in a third the time. (Available on Amazon )
Also .. before installation ... loosen the anode rod & reinstall so it can be easily changed in a few years. They are input at the factory very tight.
Plumbing fitting Gas Cylinder Plumbing Metal
 

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My understanding is, there is no difference tank wise from a 6-9-12 yr tank.
Usually the 6 yr tank will have one anode rod, while a 9 or 12 will have two anode rods.
Anode rods keep the tank from rusting but wear out.

I usually use reem, never had any problems
I had an acquaintance that worked for Ace hardware that sold Rheem. He advised he had gone to a Rheem seminar and the instructor there told them the only difference in the warranty period was the price tag. ( Like a lottery )
 

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propane is more expensive here than electricity.
It may depend on quantity. You will probably have 3 each 40 amp breakers dedicated to the electric water heater alone. Granted the 120 gallon tank may not be enough. We have a 320 gallon, but run gas logs, gas stove in basement, whole house generator and the Rinnai. We fill once a year.
 

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I put in a NG Rheem commercial tankless (with high "altitude" chip) off a well back 2009 because it goes up to 180 degrees for mashing for brewing, plus it quickly fills up the 6 foot jetted tub. Works great. 👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I bought a Marathon.....it is basically a plastic thermos.
It has a lifetime warranty against leaks.

@Missouri Bound I like this unit. I have moderate hard water. The price at Home Depot is about $1200 for the 40gal. I like the much longer warranty for the tank and less likelihood of leaking.

But, HD won't ship-to-store or ship it to me based on a recently effective WA law WAC 194-24-180 concerning the date-of-manufacture and lack of a demand response feature. Does anyone know of a work-around for this? I guess I could drive to the northern border of Oregon...
 

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I live in Washington and install lots of tanks so I will look this up...not sure what that is. If Washington adopted something you know Oregon did too so I doubt that would help.

I use Bradford whites but just about any brand should be fine for 10 to 12 years.

Are you on the west side of the mountains like me or in eastern Washington?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I live in Washington and install lots of tanks so I will look this up...not sure what that is. If Washington adopted something you know Oregon did too so I doubt that would help.

I use Bradford whites but just about any brand should be fine for 10 to 12 years.

Are you on the west side of the mountains like me or in eastern Washington?
@Matt1963 Yes, please, see if you can find anything about that new WA law that HD is invoking. When I changed my HD "set my store" to a Beaverton, OR zip code, it said I could pick up one of their in-stock units in the store within 3 hours.

I live in the South Puget Sound area.
 

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For anyone else curious about this new regulation, here is the link. Basically it mandates that new water heaters have a data port that allows better control over when power is used. That could potentially be by the utility, but also by the homeowner if they pay different rates for electricity used at different times of day.

The regulation only applies to heaters manufactured after the first of this year, so I'd have thought that HD would still have older ones in stock. I guess this is the only way for them to know that they aren't breaking the new rule.
 

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I buy the cheapest electric WH I can find. I never screw with the anode rode and drain out a few gallons of water from the bottom drain every 6 months. I change them at about the 15 year mark and have never had one leak or otherwise fail.

Sent from my SM-T500 using Tapatalk
 

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I haven't called my supplier and because of some medical I've been out of the game for 6 months. This is an online ad for the Seattle Home Depot and I don't see anything different.

 

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Plumbing suppliers in our NY area charge more for the same water heater than local big box stores. My HVAC guy is a friend and I asked him about getting me a water heater and he sent me to Lowes to save money. I get about 10 years from a 6 year water heater. We have a tankless water heater in FL (mounted on the outside wall of the house) and I don’t see any advantage to it. It also needed replacement at a little over 10 years and it cost a LOT more than a tank type. If it was not outdoors, I would have put in a tank.
 
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