Buying and installing a new gas water heater

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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 and products? (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 models)
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 water)
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 gas intake? (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?
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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.
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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 couplings. 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 plumber. 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.
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blueman;3123043 Wrote:

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 clear.
A better solution, however, is to screw a female garden hose to 3/4 inch female pipe thread adapter, like this one:
http://img.rakuten.com/PIC/42676148/0/1/500/42676148.jpg
(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;
http://static.hardwarestore.com/media/product/246991_front500.jpg
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 drain valve.
If push comes to shove, you can always stop any leaking with a garden hose cap like this one:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51G3kK2f66L._SL500_AA300_.jpg
which you can get at any garden center. (Obviously, you need a hose washer inside that cap for a water tight seal.)
--
nestork

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On 09/18/2013 03:53 AM, nestork wrote:

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 boiler drain.
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.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
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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 www.lds.org .
On 9/18/2013 7:24 AM, Nate Nagel wrote:

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On Wed, 18 Sep 2013 08:32:42 -0400, Stormin Mormon

And don't forget to have this work done by a licensed plumber. Otherwise your insurance company won't pay if the WH explodes or if the neighbor cat bites the mailman.
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And of course, the post installation inspection? Simply must have the government back in.
. Christopher A. Young Learn about Jesus www.lds.org .
On 9/18/2013 9:12 AM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

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wrote:

Complain as you will; but I don't want my nut neighbor to install a gas water heater in his house and have it blow up next to mine.
Tomsic
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If you're that paranoid, you pay for a plumber to install his water heater. Problem solved.
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'Stormin Mormon[_10_ 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.
--
nestork

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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.
Tomsic
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Yes, some cities have full-employment policies for the trades. Go ahead and cower there, if you must.
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Don't know of any "bad" ones these days.

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?
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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 anything.

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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.
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On Wed, 18 Sep 2013 00:59:22 -0400, blueman wrote:

I would read this, which probably answers everything before you even asked! :)
https://groups.google.com/forum /#!topic/alt.home.repair/jlpVt_-oeDE
I know it answered all of mine when I replaced my water heater!
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Mina wrote:

Sounds like now it is rocket science now buying/having one HWH installed? I just pick what I like and call plumber, He comes with the tank do the swap out. Hauls the old one away for ~150.00.
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On Thu, 19 Sep 2013 13:18:17 -0600, Tony Hwang wrote:

I had mine hauled away by a scrap guy for free.
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Eddie Powalski wrote:

That ~150 covers delivery, taking it down to basement utility room, install, bring the tank back up, load onto his truck to take it away. So basically OP is trying to save 150.00 I guess.
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