My old 40 gallon storage gas water heater has a slow leak, so I am
looking for a new 40-50 unit which I plan to install myself though a
plumber friend of mine will come by to help out...
Note for various reasons, I want to stick with a storage type heater and
not an on-demand one.
I have a couple of questions:
1. What brands and/or manufacturers have better vs. worse reputations
(I understand that in the US there are only 3 major manufacturers who
produce under multiple brands)
2. How do the quality of the units sold by Home Depot (or Lowes) compare
to models bought from a plumbing supply house?
(my understanding is that the big box stores are a little cheaper and
make it easy to swap a unit for warranty service though I have also read
people saying that the plumbing supply houses sell higher quality
3. How important is the warranty length? Is it worth paying $100-200
more for a 12 year warranty unit?
(I have heard some say it is mostly a marketing gimmick and/or you can
get the same life by just checking & changing the anode rod; others have
said that the longer warranty units have better glass linings and better
insulation along with better or multiple anode rods)
4. I was thinking of adding some type of anti-seizing compound to the anode
rod threads so that it won't rust on. Is this a good idea? Any
recommendations for what to use?
(I have used a copper colored paste on my gas stove to prevent the nuts
holding the burners from seizing but not sure if it is rated for potable
5. For "tall" units, how standard is the spacing of the intake and
output water pipes and how standard is the configuration relative to the
(I am curious how much re-plumbing of water and gas lines will be
required if I switch to a different brand)
6. I read that scrap dealers will come pick up old water heaters for the
value of the metal. Is this generally true or will I likely be
responsible for getting rid of the old one?
7. Any other tips and pointers on purchasing and installing a storage
gas water heater?
Once your stomach learns how to digest anti-seize compound, it will be
able to handle salmonella and snake venom. So it's good training.
Not standard. For an electric wh, I tried HD, Lowes, and maybe one
other place, and no one's water pipes matched mine. Now I could have
used flexible water pipe or just put in a 4 right turns and 2 short
pipes, but I'm compuslsive and I wanted it to look like it did
originally. Fortunately the Sears WH matched my AOSmith WH. It did
so again 10 years later.
Measure and take your measurements with you.
Hmmm. Don't know. The first one the county collected as part of
bulk trash, once a month. By the second one, they'd stopped doing
that, so I cut it up in 4 or 5 pieces with a reciprocating saw.
Interesting to see what was inside. For one thing, after about 8 years
I only had about a a half cup of particles. Nowhere near reaching the
drain or the healting elements. At the rate I was going, I could have
gone 40 years before that happened. Also the glass liner was
interesting. Not really glass but glass embedded in vinyl. I was so
worrried about breaking the glass when I took the thing home from the
store** but it was impossible to break. I assume they are all like
mine. **They woudl deliver, only if I had them install it.
I finished off a blade in the recip saw doing this, but I learned i
could saw even if there were no teeth left. I guess because the
metal shell was thin. Wear goggles. I folded up the metal pieces
and stuffed them in the regular trash, over 4 pickups.
Real men shower with cold water.
My new one must have had something heavy on top, because it's dented
there and one water pipe wasn't vertical. Thought about exchanging it
but since I had done the delivery it meant I'd have to take it back
and bring it back. Had to almost bend it to solder the new pipe on,
but not bend it enough for it to stay bent, so there is a little flex
tension on it all the time now**** But it's 5 years now with no
problem. If i'd used flexible pipe would have been even easier, but
like I saw, I 'm compulsive. And I like to see what will happen if I
do it my way.
****I got to admit, writing this has made me worry for the first time
in 5 years.
Don't know about brands. I bought the one I found at Menards that had
almost the same piping configuration.
Happened to be the cheapest too.
Richmond Integra, 40 gallon. 6 year warranty. It was about $300.
My experience tells me brand and warranty don't matter. I never had
one last less than about 15 years. I have soft water.
But even soft water will scale up the insides of a water heater long
before that, so it will lose efficiency.
Never changed an anode, so I wouldn't disturb the seal.
Might be a local water thing. If you intend to change the anode it
wouldn't hurt to prep the fitting, but it's probably already been
factory prepped anyway. With PTFE paste or tape.
My old one was a different brand.
Inlet and outlet center-to-center was the same.
Water fitting height was a few inches lower on the new one, and so was
the gas inlet. Those inches were easily made up with nipples and
Just measure the heights of the old and new, and pick up what you need
when you get the heater.
I replaced the water unions too.
Nipples, coupling and unions are inexpensive in the bigger scheme.
Ask your plumber friend if he's bringing fittings. If so, he'll have
all that and more. You can pay him their cost.
You didn't say if your pipes are copper or galvanized.
Mine were galvanized, but there's no substantial difference to a
A plumber won't have a problem even if everything about the new one is
different than the old. But he might have to cut/thread some pipe if
there's a big size difference. Like over a foot in height.
The other thing to consider is the vent. Depending on water heater
height and how the vent sets in the chimney, you could need to adjust
that too. For example if the new heater is very much shorter than the
old, you might nee a longer vent pipe.
Mine didn't need anything there.
Around here, any metal, including water heaters, that I put by the
curb the day before trash pickup, will be gone in a minute to an
hour. Might be different where you are.
Yes. With gas fired water heaters, sediment collects at the bottom of
the tank so it's a good idea to make it a practice to run water out of
the drain valve on the tank once per month until the water runs clear.
That will clean the bottom of the tank of dirt and sedement, which if
allowed to accumulate over time, would interfere with heat transfer
between the metal bottom of the tank where the flame impinges and the
water inside the tank.
However, the problem with water heater drain valves is that they can
start to leak, and if they do, the best fix is to just screw a brass or
plastic cap from a garden hose onto the drain valve and only remove the
cap when you want to open the valve and drain water until it runs
A better solution, however, is to screw a female garden hose to 3/4 inch
female pipe thread adapter, like this one:
(which you should be able to buy at any place the specializes in
fittings or in agricultural spraying equipment) onto the male garden
hose thread of the drain valve on the water heater, and then screw a
boiler drain valve like this one;
into the Garden Hose by Female Pipe Thread adapter so that you have two
drain valves in series.
Now, leave the heater's drain valve wide open all the time, and drain
water out of the tank monthly by opening the boiler drain valve you
added. That way, if the boiler drain valve ever starts to leak, you can
close the heater's original drain valve to repair or replace the boiler
If push comes to shove, you can always stop any leaking with a garden
hose cap like this one:
which you can get at any garden center. (Obviously, you need a hose
washer inside that cap for a water tight seal.)
Agree in principle, but I would remove the original drain assembly
completely, and install a 3/4" nipple, a 3/4" ball valve, and a 3/4" NPT
to garden hose adapter, then finish it off with a brass GHT cap (because
if you kick a ball valve it can open completely.) Ball valve makes for
much better flow when flushing annually and will always close unlike
Unrelated: make sure your jurisdiction allows homeowners to work on gas
piping. You may have to call a pro for that one part of the job.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
I've heard that the full flow ball valve is much more
effective when reducing sediment. I didn't do that on
my last WH, and wish I did.
That's a thought. Now days, always check with the
government to see what we are allowed to do. You
don't want to run around all willy nilly acting like
you are a free person.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
On 9/18/2013 7:24 AM, Nate Nagel wrote:
And of course, the post installation inspection?
Simply must have the government back in.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
On 9/18/2013 9:12 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
You know, I drained water out of my commercial water heater every month
religiously, but I never once saw anything but clean water come out of
that drain valve, and so I always wondered if it was really necessary.
I don't know if that was because Winnipeg has unusually clean water or
because every morning when all the tenants are getting up and showering
or bathing, there's so much flow through the water heater that the dip
tube acts kinda like a pressure washer to keep the bottom of the tank
clear of sediment.
If sediment is a problem in your area, I'd definitely replace the
heater's drain valve with a nipple and full opening ball valve as Nate
suggested to get that same "pressure washing" action like I suspect was
happening in my commercial water heaters.
The actual size of the opening through which water flows in some boiler
drain valves is only about 5/16 inch in diameter. Replacing that boiler
drain valve with a full opening 3/4 inch ball valve should give you
close to 6 times the flow rate out of the dip tube to help clean off the
sediment at the bottom of the tank.
And, of course, replacing the annode rod every 10 years or so is
important to maximize the life of your water heater.
Ditto what nate just wrote. Some jurisdictions require permits and/or
licensed plumbers/installers especially for gas water heaters where there is
a risk of gas leaks, fire, explosion, hot water/steam danger, etc. My town
will permit a DIY installation, but requires inspection aftward. If someone
from the town notices a water tank on the tree lawn, they'll check to make
sure a permit was pulled.
The quality rumor had been around for decades for all sorts of
merchandise. I don't think it is that much different and on size
items it is identical. OTOH, I'm remodeling a bathroom. I bought
everything from a local plumbing supply and found their prices to be
from 5% to 20% less than HD or Lowes and I was able to find better
merchandise. Better line of vanity cabinets, light fixture, etc.
Nothing until it comes time to change it.
I read the world is going to end on Dec 21 of 2012. Not sure how that
is working out though.
There are thousands of scrap dealers in the US and tens of thousands
of scrap pickers looking for goodies on trash day. The likelihood of
a pickup will vary between major industrial centers with high
population and if you are 100 miles from the nearest town in the
desert. Do you really think we can answer that?
If it is the same model, it is the same heater. Plumbing outlets MAY
carry a higher line product - the part number will tell the story.
If doubling the warranty costs an extra 15% it would appear TO ME to
be a good idea. I've always bought the middle of the road - not the
"premium" but not the cheapest - get about 17 years out of them with a
water softener and pretty agressive water. Last one was a GSW,made a
few miles away in Fergus Ontario. The current one is a GE made in
Mexico and sold by Home Despot. I only had the cargo carrier on the
back of the PT cruiser to carry it home, and HD is only about 7 blocks
of good road away - so that's where I went.
Does not appear to be any standard. I've helped replace "like for
like" in the past where less than 10 years difference meant over an
hour of moving pipes - both gas and water.
Around here if you leave ANYTHING metal on the curb overnight,
particularly the day before garbage pickup, it vanishes into thin air
before the sun comes up next morning. The "urban miners" scrounge
On Wednesday, September 18, 2013 12:59:22 AM UTC-4, blueman wrote:
I have a basic Reliance brand one that I bought at HD about 12
years ago. It's still working fine. When it was about 6 years old,
the thermocouple went. I called up Reliance, they looked up the
warranty info based on the serial #, said it was still under
warranty and sent me a new thermocouple. I had it the next day,
I think, or at most the second day.
IDK, but my HD one is still working fine.
I've heard that too, that the ones with the longer warranty, are
built better. Don't know the truth. But I would make the decision
based on how much more it costs for one with a longer warranty.
If it costs 30% more and you get say 3 more years on the warranty,
is it worth it? I doubt it.
I didn't do anything with mine and I took it out twice to check.
When I replaced it, I just put pipe dope on the threads.
IDK, but when I bought mine, I just bought it without worrying
about that and it went in with no major reworking. As I recall, gas
pipe lined right up, and I don't remember any issues with the
water pipes, used rigid copper. If you're concerned, you could
find the models that you're interested in online, even before you
go to the store and likely pull up the exact dimensions.
I haven't heard that here. We have free bulk pickup by the township
once a month and that's how I got rid of mine.
Some people like to change the cheapo valve at the bottom for
a better one. Makes leaking less likely when you flush it.
Also, depending on where it's going, don't forget a catch pan
for putting underneath. I also bought one of those $10 battery
powered water alarms that I have sitting on the floor between
it and the furnace.
It's also worth thinking about how a new water heater plays
with whatever else you have and what you else you'll be doing
in the years ahead. For example, if you have an old gas furnace
that uses the chimney and will be replacing that with a high
efficiency condensing one, then if you still have a conventional
gas WH, you may need to install a chimney liner. If you go
with a direct vent WH, then you don't need to do that, however
they cost more, are going to be harder to install, etc,
so you need to look at the overall situation.
On Wed, 18 Sep 2013 00:59:22 -0400, blueman wrote:
I would read this, which probably answers everything before
you even asked! :)
I know it answered all of mine when I replaced my water heater!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.