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Are "6 Year" and "12 year" water heaters in the same brand lineup the same unit?

Are "6 Year" and "12 year" water heaters in the same brand lineup the same unit?

Old 02-11-13, 09:48 AM
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Are "6 Year" and "12 year" water heaters in the same brand lineup the same unit?

I was shopping water heaters and there were 40 in one brand's lineup. Among the 50 gal range were a number that appeared identical in photos, with identical specs, but at a difference of about 200 to 300 dollars depending on warranty coverage. The sales literature proposed superior tank linings, heavier duty components, etc, depending on the warranty grade but did not go into specifics about these components. I wonder.

When you consider the money that a place like Best Buy or Sears makes on "extended warranty" plans, variable and offered on the very same product you have in your hand, I have to wonder about the manufacturing and sales logic of the water heaters. It would make much much more sense for a company to manufacture one product in the factory instead of three separate ones, and then automatically tier their "service plans" on that product and offer an apparant range to the consumer with the "suggestion" that each plan reflects on the quality of the product itself. It would be very clever marketing actually.

How many consumers are going to opt for that top level plan at the cash register while holding one item in their hands? A small percentage I'd bet. And the company makes huge money on these plans. But if all you have to do is plant the belief in the consumer that the 12 year plan appends to a product that is mechanically, reliably, operationally, superior to the "6 year" product, he's far more likely to absorb that expense.

Anyone here know for certain that this is not the case? I ask because I never, ever, as a strict rule, purchase extended warranties. You can easily find anecdotal evidence that "thank god I got the 12 year warranty on xxxxx item since....." but while true for that person, it's just one anecdote. It's more true that satisfied customers seldom comment on forums. And mathematically it's been proven time and again that extended service plans are poor investments. I've probably turned down fifty in my lifetime, and actually ended up needing one or two of them. The out-of-pocket on those instances was about 1/10th of the sum of the 50 extended warranties I declined. That math pretty much holds for all consumers. It's why retailers try so hard to interest you in them. Products are pretty reliable now-a-days, especially if you put some research into buying them.

So personally, I'd always opt for the 6 year warranty on that water heater, unless anyone here is knowledgeable enough about water heaters to correct me?
Old 02-11-13, 09:59 AM
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The 6 and 12 are the same heater. The difference is the anode, dip tub, and sometimes drain valve.

For 110 bucks you can make your 6 yr into a 12 year. Add curved dip tube. Add additional anode. Add full port flush valve.

Water Heater Rescuer Kit/Standard With Combo Anode With 3-Inch Nipple: What it is and what it does
Old 02-11-13, 12:02 PM
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In addition to what Mike listed...I THINK some of the longer warrantied ones have better insulation. At least thats what I remember when I worked where they were sold. Maybe they were completely different series units?

Either way...basically you are buying insurance with the higher price IMO.
Old 02-11-13, 01:23 PM
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I had to replace my WH about a year ago. I shopped around a little bit [until I found out the size I needed had to be ordered] and the 8-12yr warranted heaters all had 2 anode rods. As far as I know and the best I can remember - that was the only difference. But all my research was for naught as nobody had the tall narrow tanks in stock except Sears and they only had one.... and I didn't want to go a week or two with hot water or build a new closet to house the WH

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