If I were shopping I would buy by the EF rating, thats how much money
goes into heating water, regular tanks are from 50-60 EF, on a 50 EF
half of what you pay for is wasted. There are regular tanks up to 70
EF, Condensing tanks of about 83EF. There is even one of 93 EF. There
are full comparison charts online. Sears is Sears, AO Smith is top
quality. But a Sears might be just fine.
Thanks for the reply.
For the basic dimensions and gallons I wanted, the local in-stock options
all had an EF of 56 (Nat Gas). I shopped at 4 places, including Sears,
and all were same EF, same height and width, and recovery gallons
rating. Except for label (GE, Whirlpool, Kenmore, etc.) they really
looked as if they could have come from same factory.
If I could have waited for special order, or willing to pay for basic
rebuild connection to chimney and maybe a chimney flue re-lining, or
electrician to re-wire basement and main electrical service panel maybe I
could have gotten a higher EF.
What surprised me was a local requirement for a Nat Gas municipal permit
and Nat Gas inspection of house by suburb municipal employee. See what
this is all about when it happens. Cost me about $70.00, All furnaces
and water tanks replacements get hit with this permit and inspection in
my community. Just a guess on my part but it sounds like a flue
drafting / down-draft and gas leak inspection for older homes.
There's only like 4 HWH manufacturers in the US, so they probably did. What
cracks me up is the "Whirlpool" branded HWHs at Lowes. Whirlpool doesn't make
HWH - it's a license so that Lowes can have an exclusive brand.
That annoyed me as well. It was a recent local change to code here the last time
I had to change a tank. The inspector walked into the garage, glanced at the
HWH, said that the 15 year old original drywall mud was too close to the flue as
it passed through the ceiling and green tagged it.
Yup, I'm thinking Rheem/Ruud, American Craftmaster, State, and one
other whose name I forget - I think they only sell to contractors?
Anyway, those are all of the mass-market (e.g. not high end with
stainless tanks etc.) water heaters that you're likely to buy, and
they are all comparable in quality and price. FWIW I see a lot of
State heaters in commercial installations (I notice that stuff for
some reason) but I don't know if that actually means anything.
56EF is not good it means 56 cents of every dollar goes to heating
water 60 is normal, there are 70-80 even 93 out there, If you bought
it return it, this is something you will be locked into for 15 years,
like an expensive kid. www.energystar.gov has ratings and other places
do , maybe eece
If Sears can claim 5HP on a motor that plugs into 110 AC (utter nonsense) then
why couldn't they claim very high EF numbers on their water tanks? Who would
know? Who could say they were wrong? I mean, i don't have any way of
verifying any mfgrs claims to an EF number, i can only go by what they tell
me it is. Id stay away from Sears, they have proven themselves untrustworthy.
According to the Jan/Feb 2004 Consumers Digest, American Water Heater
makes Lowe's Whirlpool brand heaters, AO Smith makes Maytag, State,
Reliance, Penfield, and Sears Kenmore, and Rheem-Ruud makes Home
Depot's GE brand.
We bought a Sears 66-gallon electric with 9-year warranty a few years
ago, and Sears was the cheapest for this size and warranty, $380, and
it had two anode rods and long heater elements (longer means they run
cooler and corrode less).
If the heater will be put in a tight space, possibly more important
than the brand or manufacturer is where all the fittings are located,
especially the temperature/pressure relief valve, which is usually on
top but sometimes on the side.
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