Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

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chemocean
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Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by chemocean »

I have a Bradford White in a 25-year house that we wish to replace for convenience and energy efficiency.
I have been looking for REAL reviews of gas hot water heaters.
Found a bunch of opinions during google search include BH post by DTTalos on July 5, 2020.
No reviews from consumers reports.
It looks like A.O. Smith, Bradford White and Rheem are the major contenders.
I understand that I Can't easily change anode rod on Bradford White, but we haven't had to change ours in 25 years.
And leads to REAL impartial reviews?
livesoft
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by livesoft »

I have 2 natural gas water heaters in my home. I cannot imagine that one would need "reviews" to replace them. Indeed, both of ours were replaced. These are commodity items and as I understand it more than one brand is made in the same factory, but check on that.

When I replaced ours, I simply chose a heater that would fit in the same location with the same capacity. Prices for different brands/models were similar enough to not make a difference. They are all energy efficient enough nowadays.

Good luck!
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Normchad
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by Normchad »

Honestly, I don’t think you can buy a bad water heater. I’ve had 4 in my life, from 4 different brands, and every one of them was perfectly acceptable.

Most recently, I bought a Bradford White. It works great. I did some research online, and it seemed to me that a lot of plumbers liked to put them in their own homes. So that’s a good endorsement.

Regarding anode replacement, I have heard they are difficult in Bradford White. That doesn’t bother me one bit. I changed an anode rod in an earlier heater once, and I will never do that again. Very few people are physically capable of doing this, and I think the potential benefits are overblown. Maybe my local water chemistry is in my favor here, I don’t know. So I think this potential downside is over blown.

However, I think all the brands will work just fine. So buy what suits you.
neilpilot
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by neilpilot »

About 10 years ago I had 2 50-gal gas units changed in the space of a few months. Both of the replacement tanks are Bradford-White, and they were manufactured with Honeywell gas control valves. In 2015 one of the unit's gas control valves failed, and I was able to get a replacement valve under warranty.

The other tank's gas control valve failed the following year, also under warranty.

Except for these failures, the units remain in service with no known issues.
iamblessed
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by iamblessed »

livesoft wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:42 pm I have 2 natural gas water heaters in my home. I cannot imagine that one would need "reviews" to replace them. Indeed, both of ours were replaced. These are commodity items and as I understand it more than one brand is made in the same factory, but check on that.

When I replaced ours, I simply chose a heater that would fit in the same location with the same capacity. Prices for different brands/models were similar enough to not make a difference. They are all energy efficient enough nowadays.

Good luck!
True we bought a cheapest tank 32 years ago. I tried to flush it every year but missed some years. Still going strong.
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TexasPE
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by TexasPE »

A couple suggestions:

Buy a dual anode heater. Only added ~$100 or so to my price, and essentially doubles the corrosion life (and gets you a longer warranty)
Have a decent quarter-turn drain valve installed - makes draining the tank much easier

https://www.amazon.com/House-Mods-HMP01 ... 285&sr=8-1
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whodidntante
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by whodidntante »

It's a tank of water with a thermostat and a burner. If you aren't going to replace the anode, it doesn't matter.
surfstar
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by surfstar »

The whole anode rod replacement thing was unknown to me before bogleheads. I've researched it a bit on TerryLove also, and will not be changing the anode on a recently installed WH. I might drain 1-2x a year, though.

Our old one came with the home - it was a 6 year warrantied Rheem and it lasted 12 years. Our replacement is a 12 year warrantied Rheem, and was the cheapest model that was quickly available and would fit. I also scored an extra Gas Co rebate on it, so it ended up being cheaper than lower warranty/quality models, due to its efficiency. Double-score. Oh and it had a dent when I unpacked it - quick phone call to HD and got $50 or 10% off, can't remember - plus signed up for the HD CC for another intro discount. This WH was far and away the best deal I could wrangle.

You'll find mostly good reviews of most brands, I think. Its an appliance. If something goes wrong, it should be early on when under warranty. Most likely you'll have years of service without issues. If you have a recurring issue like some reviewers do, you/they were just unlucky. I don't really believe the brand has much say in that outcome.

My $0.02 and 'real review' :beer
zlandar
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by zlandar »

I have a 80 gallon Rheem water heater which replaced a 60 gallon Rheem that was 15 years old. No issues with either one. I preemptively replaced the old water heater based on age.

I have looked at replacing the anode rod and it does not seem easy to me. Only maintenance I do is partially drain the tank once a year.
Kagord
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by Kagord »

I had a 23 year old 75 gallon AO Smith, never replaced the anode. It still looked brand new on the outside. I replaced just because I didn't know what was going on in the inside. After I pulled it out, I chopped into it before taking it to the recycler drop off, it was a rusted mess inside, probably would have burst in the next 5-10 years.

I replaced with same model, and will replace a lot earlier next year, maybe 12-15 years. My guess is other variables, such as environmental, water chemistry, "how well your pipes are grounded"...etc. may be a bigger factor for how long a water heater lasts.

If you are installing yourself, given that age, as well as reviewing the building codes, I recommend a call to the city inspector office before you file a permit. They may be friendly and give you the code changes over that period (atmospheric venting slope, plumbing hookup, expansion tank, drainage, pressure release location, gas line attachment transitions...etc). You don't want to have to redo something that could have been known with a simple call, not to mention having the final inspection inspector roll their eyes when they see how you installed it.
carolinaman
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by carolinaman »

Mine is a State Select which was replaced under one of those replacement warranties about 10 years ago. It was what utility recommended.
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F150HD
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by F150HD »

ah, the annual 'hot water heater' and 'anode rod replacement' thread.
Life would be empty without out this.

Seems 2021 is getting back to normal. :thumbsup
shunkman
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by shunkman »

F150HD wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:59 am ah, the annual 'hot water heater' and 'anode rod replacement' thread.
Life would be empty without out this.

Seems 2021 is getting back to normal. :thumbsup
Should you tip the plumber that installs it?
BIGal
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by BIGal »

Surprised nobody has mentioned venting. I suggest that you investigate that issue since newer higher efficient water heaters may now be vented out the side of the home instead of the traditional through the roof style. Several years ago when I had to replace our heater venting was a huge issue, so huge that I had to change from gas to electric because there was no place to "sneak in" another side vent without excessive costs. I chose an 80 gallon Marathon with a lifetime warranty. I am not sure what/if Marathon still offers that warranty. I am not trying to promote a particular brand, just want you to be aware of the venting issue. Obviously, you have natural gas in the area since your current one is gas. But, size matters, as they say so you will want to take careful measurements on any heater you decide on. Good Luck
neilpilot
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by neilpilot »

F150HD wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:59 am ah, the annual 'hot water heater' and 'anode rod replacement' thread.
Life would be empty without out this.

Seems 2021 is getting back to normal. :thumbsup
I've never owned a "hot water heater". However, when talking anode replacement in your "cold water heater" realize that the function of the anode is essentially independent from sediment formation.

Depending on the quality of your water supply, it maybe necessary to occasionally draining sediment to purge solids accumulation. In my town, this isn't necessary based on consistent good water quality. This has been confirmed from my observation of tank bottom drainage.

Anode life also depends in part on water quality, with faster rod depletion in soft water conditions. Those who operate water softeners maybe particularly susceptible. However, anode life isn't influenced sediment formation. You are not extending the life of your anode by draining sediment. However, if you observe rust when you drain sediment that's likely an indication that the anode rod is being depleted.
DocInColo
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by DocInColo »

neilpilot wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:48 pm About 10 years ago I had 2 50-gal gas units changed in the space of a few months. Both of the replacement tanks are Bradford-White, and they were manufactured with Honeywell gas control valves. In 2015 one of the unit's gas control valves failed, and I was able to get a replacement valve under warranty.

The other tank's gas control valve failed the following year, also under warranty.

Except for these failures, the units remain in service with no known issues.
I will second the issues with Honeywell gas control valves - and they are well documented online. It will go into some sort of error state where the control valve shuts itself off and you don't realize it until you go to take a shower and the water is freezing cold. I am usually able to get it to reset after 15 mins or so and re-light the pilot, but its pretty annoying. When the value finally goes out I will see if you can replace it with something other than Honeywell.

Other than that, I like gas for my appliances. It heats quickly, its efficient, and its cheap.
marc in merrimack
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by marc in merrimack »

BIGal wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:13 am Surprised nobody has mentioned venting. I suggest that you investigate that issue since newer higher efficient water heaters may now be vented out the side of the home instead of the traditional through the roof style. Several years ago when I had to replace our heater venting was a huge issue, so huge that I had to change from gas to electric because there was no place to "sneak in" another side vent without excessive costs.
I don’t understand the issue. Why can’t a replacement heater use the same venting as the original?
corysold
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by corysold »

marcwd wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:31 pm
BIGal wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:13 am Surprised nobody has mentioned venting. I suggest that you investigate that issue since newer higher efficient water heaters may now be vented out the side of the home instead of the traditional through the roof style. Several years ago when I had to replace our heater venting was a huge issue, so huge that I had to change from gas to electric because there was no place to "sneak in" another side vent without excessive costs.
I don’t understand the issue. Why can’t a replacement heater use the same venting as the original?
If it is a power vent high efficiency unit it will vent via PVC horizontally out the side of the home.

If the old was a standard venting vertically out of the main flue, you'll need all new venting.
marc in merrimack
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by marc in merrimack »

corysold wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:36 pm
marcwd wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:31 pm
BIGal wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:13 am Surprised nobody has mentioned venting. I suggest that you investigate that issue since newer higher efficient water heaters may now be vented out the side of the home instead of the traditional through the roof style. Several years ago when I had to replace our heater venting was a huge issue, so huge that I had to change from gas to electric because there was no place to "sneak in" another side vent without excessive costs.
I don’t understand the issue. Why can’t a replacement heater use the same venting as the original?
If it is a power vent high efficiency unit it will vent via PVC horizontally out the side of the home.

If the old was a standard venting vertically out of the main flue, you'll need all new venting.
I guess the question is how quickly would I recoup my costs of a new “high efficiency” unit plus the associated venting?
BIGal
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by BIGal »

I was suggesting that you need to be aware of the type of venting you currently have, and if it is adequate, and what the replacement venting requirements would be.

You may want to review this article and others to gain a better understanding.

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/water-heater-venting/

If you are having a plumber do the work, he/she will be aware of the requirements and will advise you too.

Anytime you are changing equipment that needs venting you need to do the homework to find out what, if any, changes will need to be made.

Safely venting gas appliances has to be THE most important aspect of installation for you and your family. Carbon monoxide can kill.
marc in merrimack
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by marc in merrimack »

BIGal wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:52 pm I was suggesting that you need to be aware of the type of venting you currently have, and if it is adequate, and what the replacement venting requirements would be.

If you are having a plumber do the work, he/she will be aware of the requirements and will advise you too.
I wish this were always so.

I needed a replacement for my leaking water heater last year and asked a plumber to simply bring over a replacement of the same capacity (but with an accessible anode rod.) The new heater was indeed of the same capacity, but somewhat larger in physical size because of additional insulation now routinely used for increased efficiency.

However, the larger height of the new heater doesn’t allow for the called-for rise of the horizontal run of vent pipe. When I pointed this out to the plumber, he said it would be fine.

I’ve since checked the vent draft several times and though I haven’t yet observed a spill-out beyond the vent hood, I now have a carbon monoxide monitor installed in the vicinity.
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praxis
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by praxis »

We have had Rinnai and Rheem on-demand heaters for 15 years. Love em. Not going back to tanks.
killjoy2012
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by killjoy2012 »

Purchased a Rheem 13 years ago, I've replaced the anode 2x - 30 minute job including draining and refilling the tank using an air impact wrench. If you're capable of changing your own oil, then changing the anode is a breeze.

I wouldn't replace a WH just for efficiency, or if you are, then at least go to a tankless. The high efficiency tanked WH, last I've looked, just don't make financial sense. You're going to pay 2-3x the cost for the unit that may save you $100/year in NG, maybe.
iamblessed
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by iamblessed »

neilpilot wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:03 pm
F150HD wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:59 am ah, the annual 'hot water heater' and 'anode rod replacement' thread.
Life would be empty without out this.

Seems 2021 is getting back to normal. :thumbsup
I've never owned a "hot water heater". However, when talking anode replacement in your "cold water heater" realize that the function of the anode is essentially independent from sediment formation.

Depending on the quality of your water supply, it maybe necessary to occasionally draining sediment to purge solids accumulation. In my town, this isn't necessary based on consistent good water quality. This has been confirmed from my observation of tank bottom drainage.

Anode life also depends in part on water quality, with faster rod depletion in soft water conditions. Those who operate water softeners maybe particularly susceptible. However, anode life isn't influenced sediment formation. You are not extending the life of your anode by draining sediment. However, if you observe rust when you drain sediment that's likely an indication that the anode rod is being depleted.
After about the first hour of use from then on you have a hot water heater.
Sleepydoc99
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by Sleepydoc99 »

I don’t know enough about this subject so please help:

1. I have 2 10 year old 80gallon AO SMITH heaters in opposite sides of the finished basement. One recently required some ignition replaced, which was 500. Should I have just replaced the whole thing?

2. Do people generally have less issues with tankless?

3. I’ve never drained the heaters in ten years. Honestly, I don’t like the idea of that much hot water coming? Do you just put a bucket or hose to a drain?

Thx in advance.
TheDDC
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by TheDDC »

I have a gas tankless demand-based system. I’m on my second. I would not go back to a silly tank.

-TheDDC
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F150HD
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by F150HD »

neilpilot wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:03 pm
F150HD wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:59 am ah, the annual 'hot water heater' and 'anode rod replacement' thread.
Life would be empty without out this.

Seems 2021 is getting back to normal. :thumbsup
I've never owned a "hot water heater".
me neither. I was quoting the OPs title. :beer

Image
shunkman wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 10:08 am Should you tip the plumber that installs it?
A nested tipping thread, I see what you did there. :dollar
canderson
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by canderson »

TheDDC wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:09 pm I have a gas tankless demand-based system. I’m on my second. I would not go back to a silly tank.

-TheDDC
I would love this but with a 3 story house and the heater on the first floor it’s not practical here in PA.
Rudy Tooty
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by Rudy Tooty »

Bought a gas Rheem in 1998. In all that time never drained it even once. Still works like a charm. They probably don't make 'em like that anymore.
wilked
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by wilked »

You greatly extend the life of your water heater by replacing the anode every 7 years or so. Corrosion is typically the killer, and it accelerates once the anode rod is spent. It takes 30 mins max on most units and will cost you $20 for the rod. Seems like a no brainer to me
Lee_WSP
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by Lee_WSP »

wilked wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:34 am You greatly extend the life of your water heater by replacing the anode every 7 years or so. Corrosion is typically the killer, and it accelerates once the anode rod is spent. It takes 30 mins max on most units and will cost you $20 for the rod. Seems like a no brainer to me
Agreed, but only if you maintain the heater and the rod is easily accessible. If your the second owner, it may not be worth the hassle since you have no idea how old the tank is and how much sediment is in it.

As for the accessibility issue, some tanks require you to cut into the outer shell to acces the rod.

Finally, there's the final issue every mechanic encounters of the stuck nut. Fairly annoying. But if you change your own oil, you can do the rod easily.
illumination
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Re: Real reviews of Gas Hot water heaters

Post by illumination »

I did have an in-law that went through several Rheem water heaters from Home Depot and had a plumber install them, like 3 in a row. I don't know the details, maybe it was installed improperly. I would lean though more towards one from a supply house like Bradford White or AO Smith. I just know like many things, retail type places are more about having the lowest price, I'd gladly pay and extra $100-$200 for something that might have better quality.

Also, be careful of the model you get and how its vented, some of these "eco" models that save what I would consider to be a trivial amount on your utility bill make a lot of noise because they require an electric fan or have additional problems servicing the venting component versus one that just passively vents.
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