Best Water Heater Brand? Where to buy?


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Old 12-16-08, 12:22 PM
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Best Water Heater Brand? Where to buy?

We are going to need to replace the 19 yr old water heater we have now. Looking at the big box stores I see they offer 3 grades (6,9 or 12 yr warranty). But who makes the best water heater? Any opinions or horror stories?

I would think GE or something like that would make a good one. Where can I go to find more water heaters than offered at Mr. Big Box?

What do you think?
 
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Old 12-16-08, 12:41 PM
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Well, can't really vouch for this, but...
I was told a long while back that HD went to GE and said.."You have the best name recognition in the business, we want you to make water heaters for us". So GE went to...hmmm Bradford-White (?) AO Smith(?) and said...make us water heaters.

The longer warranty is always a good idea, and they honor it pretty well from what I understand. ANd normally they are a little better constructed and insulated.

I saw a recommendation from one of the Plumbers here, and I know B-W was one of them, but don't know the other. Make sure you don't get the ones where you have to replace the whole burner/pilot assy if it fails....sorry...brain dead, can't remember the type.

Plumbing supply and better local hardware stores may have some different choices. I've found (in other areas) that if you go to the actual maker of the unit (instead of just someone elses name on it), you get better support and lower price.

Oh...might matter to the Pro's...electric or gas?
 
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Old 12-16-08, 04:49 PM
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Bradford-White are considered top of the line by professional plumbers. Unfortunately for DIYers they are only sold to pros.

The second best are considered to be the Rheem. The GE sold at the big Orange Box are made by Rheem but probably a less-expensive model.
 
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Old 12-17-08, 06:22 AM
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Made by rheem? I went to GE's website and checked out the models avalible at HD. 50 gal. 6 yr warranty gas. There are 4 units that match those specs. But they all have different part numbers. And the specs are the same for 2 units and the same for the other 2 units. A little heavier, a little bigger and a little faster.

Does anyone know what the differance really is? The boxes at the store offer no help either, I looked at them yesterday! Different part numbers, different price, same box. Offers no clue why it is different.
 
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Old 12-17-08, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Milemaker13
Made by rheem? I went to GE's website and checked out the models avalible at HD. 50 gal. 6 yr warranty gas. There are 4 units that match those specs. But they all have different part numbers. And the specs are the same for 2 units and the same for the other 2 units. A little heavier, a little bigger and a little faster.

Does anyone know what the differance really is? The boxes at the store offer no help either, I looked at them yesterday! Different part numbers, different price, same box. Offers no clue why it is different.
Some models are propane (LP) only. Also, as I recall, they offer a power vent model which is quite a bit more costly than the standard vent water heaters.
 
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Old 12-17-08, 12:11 PM
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No no- I know that there are different models, like propane, High effecency, power vent, electric, ect, ect.

What I am talking about is two nearly identical units, but w/ different part numbers and a slightly different price. Are these "southern california" approved models? I don't know, but it is frusterating that there is no explanation as to why they are differant....
 
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Old 12-17-08, 12:20 PM
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Well, it was a little confusing when I first brought up a bunch using their compare function. But if you just bring up tthe ones with very similar P/N's you'll see more BTU's in the burners, more first hour delivery in gal's, and quicker recovery.

Eliminate the South coast air quality units...you don't require those in Chicago I'd be guessing.

And you probably don't need power venting, if you don't have it now.
 
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Old 12-17-08, 03:30 PM
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Comsumers Mag said that there is a difference between the bottom and top model at big box, or wherever. The better units actually are more energy efficient, don't buy cheap, that is what you get.

I don't like what is available at big blue, I do go to big orange when suppliers are not open. Water heaters are like babies, they only come on weekends in the early morning hours.
 
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Old 01-16-09, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Milemaker13
Any opinions or horror stories?
I had to call the fire dept. 4 days ago because my water heater was on fire!

The flames were on the lower front where some knobs were. Luckily I was home & my smoke detector went off to alert me.

It was an A. O. Smith electric water heater from '94. Yes it was old, but still - catching on fire?

I googled "water heater fire" and found that twice gas water heaters by A.O. Smith have been re-called for fire hazard.

Needless to say, I will never buy that brand again.
 
 

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