Gas Water Heater

Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
13,462
Location
MA
I was told by several people in the plumbing industry that there's no difference in the internal tank between a 5 year or 12 year tank. You get more insulation making the tank look wider, a little faster recovery time(burner) and the additional warranty coverage. Their lifespans are basically the same.
Never really heard that. That's the same story people say when they talk about quality at the big box stores isn't the same but it all comes off the same production line. For the 12 year, I've always heard that it's either two rods or a thicker rod to make it last those 12 years. Tank itself might be the same and maybe the parts are the same.

I got these anode rods that are .9 inches thick. They sell thinner ones, as thin as 3/8 so the thinner the rod, the earlier the tank goes.


I just use a sawsall to cut it if it's too long. They charge more for shorter, thinner rods.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2009
Messages
2,520
Location
Maryland
AO Smith, Bradford White, Rheem. I have installed them all. They are all pretty much the same. AO Smith and Rheem offer a four year upgade kit which takes the product from a six year warranty to ten. The kit includes a better anode rod. Bradford on the other hand sells a four year warranty "kit" which is nothing more than a piece of paper stating that they will garantee the unit not to leak for ten years. You get absolutely nothing more for the additional money. It is essentially an insurance policy on your six year unit.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2005
Messages
1,131
Location
Under the hood
I'm a little over a year into my second B-W.

The first one lasted 12 years, and was chosen because the overall construction (such as brass, not plastic drain valve) seemed to be a step above the typical home center stuff. It was a step-up model with the thicker insulation and longer warranty, which was exceeded by a couple years, so acceptable, I guess.

This time, the installer actually dissuaded me against going that route again, saying that they aren't much different, and if anything, he sees more trouble with them than the standard model.

Prior to that, the heater in place served for over 20 years, though to be fair, part of the time the house was unoccupied. I don't recall the brand, but it was a department store-rebranded unit from the times when the standards were higher, regardless of the label.

None of the above were actively maintained with sediment draining or rod replacement, but the water quality is good.

Still, I wouldn't expect something made today to have that kind of durability. I suspect there isn't much difference between brands now, unless there happens to be a repeat of the infamous Whirlpool-branded AWHC units with the thermocouple issues.

I don't know that I'll attempt to change rods, but this time, I will try to drain the tank at least periodically.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
Messages
21,426
Location
Silicon Valley
My dad's apartment complex have them, it was not bad, but nothing special compare to the Rheem it was replacing. He replace one every 5 year or so and so far they last about the same. He originally try to tell me to use BW with 6 yr warranty but I ended up with a Rheem platinum with 10 year warranty from Home Depot for the same price.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
7,666
Location
Michigan
A 40 gallon gas water heater is about $430 at Home Depot and I can get a handy man to install them in the $100-$150 range plus parts. Normally just use shark bite fittings but occasionally you need things like furnace cement, vacuum breakers, shut off valves etc. And that can last 20 years when you replace the anode rod. How does $1100 beat $430? Of course for me there's no gas savings as the tenants pay the gas. But if you look at the energy star label, the gas water heater tank is $208 a year, tankless 40 is $136. And the tankless is $700 more. So you'll break even after 10 years. Installation cost is also higher as they claim 2.5 hours. If you do it right, with shark bite fittings and the right height for the water heater, a quick swap can be done in an hour. Of course I have to pay them for more than an hour as they have to go to home depot to grab the water heater and to get rid of the old one.
Not having a handyman do mine but most plumbers wanted 500.00. I found a commercial plumber who does side jobs for 300.00.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2008
Messages
7,666
Location
Michigan
I didn't trust them when they first came out, but they seem to have a pretty good track record and they were already on one tank that was already 6 years old so it was easy to use the release on them and just reuse the existing one. They're in unfinished basement so the leaks won't matter and I haven't had one fail yet.

And of all the anode rods I've done, none were under the hot water inlet so I guess I was lucky not to find a Bradford white although I've seen them around and maybe had one at one point but that was before I was replacing anode rods. The earliest I've had a hot water heater go is 5 years so I plan to replace the anode rods every 4-5 years, at least the original one. I think they're thinner. the basic cheapest replacement rod is the thickest and I had replaced them 8 years ago so I'll probably let a replacement rod sit for longer period of time.

The luck of the draw probably has many factors, the type of water your town/city has, the quality of the tank, the length of the warranty, those 12 year tanks sometimes either have longer anode rods or two of them, and maybe how much hot water you use. I remember replacing two hot water tanks at a time once, one of them failed after a few years and the other one is still going years later. I attributed the fact that one the one that failed early had a tenant that had 6 people in the unit and the other one which lasted had only 2 people in the unit. I think using more hot water leads to more ions going through the tank that can rust out the anode/tank. Or that's just the definition of the luck of the draw.
Unfortunately my Current Lochinvar has a nipple style anode rod too. Stupid design.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
922
Location
NJ
I was told by several people in the plumbing industry that there's no difference in the internal tank between a 5 year or 12 year tank. You get more insulation making the tank look wider, a little faster recovery time(burner) and the additional warranty coverage. Their lifespans are basically the same.
No difference, parts are the same, metal thickness is the same, burner is the same, pressure valve is the same, you are essentially paying for an extended warranty through the manufacturer.

I have a Rheem that the igniter went under warranty and after running me through a testing procedure they sent me a new one.

It is disappointing you can no longer the water heater with a match, you must use the sparker/igniter.
 
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