opinion of GE water heaters


My natural gas GE water heater is leaking. I bought it and installed it myself about 9 years ago. It is still within warranty (12 year warranty) and I called the GE service hotline and the big box store where I bought it - everyone was very accommodating and I can bring in the old one and exchange it for a new one, receiving a credit of about $300. My question is whether it is worth it to do so, since it means I will wind up with another GE water heater. (They are actually made by Rheem.) Considering the effort involved in hauling the old one over there and installing the new one, I would consider forgoing the credit if there is a noticeably better option in terms of brand. So, was this one a fluke, or do they all do that? -- H
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Heathcliff wrote:

I've been told that ten years is about the limit for w.h. I lived in a home that had AO Smith x2 that each lasted about 5 years; very hard water, no softener. Do you drain it yearly?
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Heathcliff wrote:

AFAIK, Rheem is a reputable brand, but if the product doesn't have their name on it it might be of lesser quality than the ones on which they put their own name.
We recently did a preemptive/precautionary replacement of a 6-yr-warranty Ruud (also by Rheem) that was 11 years old but showed no sign of a leak even on an 80psi water supply.
People speak well of AO Smith water heaters. AFAIK the only ones bearing that name are available only through plumbers, but they make "private label" ones as well; I believe that the Sears we bought to replace the Ruud is one of theirs.
[Several decades ago in Australia I happened across a Rheem display booth in a shopping mall, where the representative asked how old our water heater was. I told him (AFAIR) that it was 12 years old, to which he responded, "Then you'll be needing a new one very soon." I told him the brand of ours (a local "no-name" brand with a 25-yr warranty), and he admitted that we would not need a new one for a long time yet. This was a 60gal (real gallons, each consisting of 8 x 20oz. pints) electric water heater that ran off cut-rate electricity that could be cut off whenever the utility company needed to reduce the load. 60gal. water heaters were the norm; some homes had 80gal. ones.
IOW, Rheem did not consider themselves to be the best available there.]
Perce
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Since 1960 (our first house) we have averaged about 9 -10 years per tank here; always buying run of the mill 40 US gallon electrics. Last replacement was in the $200 - $300 range with new PR valve. Due to water quality most suppliers here will not support the manufacturers six year warranty and will only provide three years. Gas (except bottled propane) not available here.
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The longevity of the WH is usually defined by how long the anode lasts, and if you drain the sediment off.
Check out this web site for a complete explanation.
http://waterheaterrescue.com /
They suggest that if you take a few small steps to maintain the device, it will probably last a whole lot longer than the warrantee.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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Heathcliff wrote:

You've got to haul the old one somewhere, if only to the curb. Might as well get $300 credit on a replacement.
The longevity of the water heater has much more to do with the quality of the water than the quality of the construction.
Then, too, where is your water heater leaking? If the leak is just a valve or something similar, the heater itself may still be okay.
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the water than the quality of the construction. <<<<<<<
Yup....my first water heater lasted from1963 to 1980 second; 1980 yo 2004 third; 2004 to 2009 (so far) never any maint (no draining or anode replacement) Santa Ana, CA water is very kind to w/h's :)
w/h at my mom's house (Tustin, CA) last ~10 years only
w/h in a rental in yorba linda, ca.....only lasted 1 yr...replacement at least 6 years ('til I sold the place)
cheers Bob
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On Thu, 10 Sep 2009 08:27:47 -0700 (PDT), Heathcliff

Well, it all comes down to this: Do you want a free one or would you rather buy one? There are actually 2 or 3 manufacturers and they put on whatever label you want. I suggest getting the free one and install an expansion tank (abbout $35). (You actually do not need to return the old tank, but returning the leaking tank makes it nice). Use Sharkbite connectors and and flex connectors to make it easier next time. Yeah, I hate cold showers too.
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if the tank is leaking around a fitting it has FAILED, fixing that leak will just create more shortly.
just go with the same manufacturer, GE is fine.
tanks are realtively cheap low cost per year appliances.
take cost of tank divide by years of service.........
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I think mine was GE, can't remember. Anyhow, the GE guy approved my return. Return number is same as the serial number of the unit. Home Depot refunded the sale price of the tank, about $200. And then I went to the shelf to buy a new one which was about $400. I figured it was better than being told no refund, but not much better.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Unless the warranty specified a prorated price (like an automotive battery), GE should have provided you a replacement unit at no cost.
If it were me, I would have talked to a Home Despot manager. Failing resolution, even at the stage you are at now, bring up the issue with GE, mentioning things like State Attorney General, lawyers, breach of contract, your local news media, and the like. It won't take much squeaking for your wheel to be greased.
Bottom line is that it sounds like you got screwed out of the terms of your warranty, if it indeed covered replacement of the unit.
Jon
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Can't remember if I have the old paper work. For $200, maybe I try and find it. You may very well be correct.
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On Sep 11, 9:31�pm, "Stormin Mormon"

is the new tanks warranty a pro rata? undoubtedly so but curious.
for ME having drained tanks and never found any sediment and not wanting to damage a otherwise working tank I install and forget about it tiill its getting old.
then replace on my schedule not when it leaks:)
Had one leak on christmas eve with overniite guests and company coming: (
The little extra life isnt worth the hassles:(
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wrote:

Thanks all for the responses. Looks like replacing the water heater will be tomorrow (Saturday)s project. I am pretty sure it is leaking from the tank; the connections are on top and there is no water there.
Similar to Stormins situation, the refund amounts to about half the price of a new unit, which is certainly better than nothing. Apparently prices have risen quite a bit since 2000. I checked a couple other local big boxes and there dont seem to be any bargains out there.
I was inclined to doubt the quality of the unit since my perception is that our local water is pretty benign (Lake Michigan water) and water heaters usually last a long time. But maybe not. Or maybe it was lack of maintenance the website on water heater rescue was very interesting. I will certainly check the anode(s) on the old unit when removing it, out of curiosity. If there is significant corrosion on it I will resolve to check it as a preventive measure in the future. When I first got my current heater I did drain it occasionally, but stopped after a couple times since there did not seem to be any sediment to speak of coming out. Ill see if there is any when I drain it for removal.
Cheers and thanks again for the responses. -- H
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On Fri, 11 Sep 2009 09:38:09 -0700 (PDT), Heathcliff

My GE water heaters have been failing every 4 to 5 years. GE has provided a replacement several times without charge, but it can be pain to install. But I am far ahead in terms of cost.
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wrote:

Thanks all for the responses. Looks like replacing the water heater will be tomorrow (Saturday)s project. I am pretty sure it is leaking from the tank; the connections are on top and there is no water there.
Similar to Stormins situation, the refund amounts to about half the price of a new unit, which is certainly better than nothing. Apparently prices have risen quite a bit since 2000. I checked a couple other local big boxes and there dont seem to be any bargains out there.
I was inclined to doubt the quality of the unit since my perception is that our local water is pretty benign (Lake Michigan water) and water heaters usually last a long time. But maybe not. Or maybe it was lack of maintenance the website on water heater rescue was very interesting. I will certainly check the anode(s) on the old unit when removing it, out of curiosity. If there is significant corrosion on it I will resolve to check it as a preventive measure in the future. When I first got my current heater I did drain it occasionally, but stopped after a couple times since there did not seem to be any sediment to speak of coming out. Ill see if there is any when I drain it for removal.
Cheers and thanks again for the responses. -- H
I would do a couple of things to the new one to make future maintenance easier.
1] Pull the anode on the new one now so heat does not set the sealant they use on the threads. When you pull the old anode you will see what I mean.
2] Now is also a great time to install the full port ball valve and toss the plastic piece of junk that is on the tank.
Also report back here after you check out the old one. You might also strip the old one of its gas parts (control unit burner and thermocouple) and keep them as Murphy's law will have a water heater failure occur when you have no time to run around and look for parts and a house full of guests.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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newer water heaters cost far more, because of efficency and safety improvements.
in R foam and burners designed to not cause a explosion in the presence of stuff like gas fumes.
all this costs money but saves you bucks long term:)
I doubt there are any non pro rata warranty tanks for sale, least I have never seen them
The longest warranty tends to be 12 years, which is probably a good investment, although the up front cost is more
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Much the same here. I did drain once in a while. I shoulda cranked that stupid valve off the bottom, and put in a full flow quarter turn valve. So I can really drain it properly, once a year. Mine leaked at the top, so not sure draining would helped.
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wrote:

Meet the new water heater, same as the old water heater . . . Replaced the WH on Saturday. Took the old one in to the store and got a refund, which amounted to about half the cost of the new one. I don't think it was prorated, rather, I think the price just went way up in the 9 years I had the thing. If I had had the receipt, I would have gotten $309, which sounds like the price I originally paid. Without the receipt the refund was $241, which is a percentage of 309, let's see, umm, where's my calculator? Anyway it turned out to be about half the price of the new 12-yr warrantee GE that I picked up. I'm not quibbling. But this time I did put the receipt in with the owners manual in the little bag taped to the WH.
I was not able to pull the anode rod on the old WH - I tried but it required more grip and leverage than I could muster, or rather that I was willing to spend time on. I had a hard enough time with disassembling the ancient steel piping it was attached to. (Had to use the old length of pipe over the monkey wrench handle trick.) I also did not pull the anode on the new one before installing, as one poster suggested, in the interest of getting the thing up and running before the day was over. I may regret it. I did install a new ball valve for the cold water supply shutoff, and put a drip leg on the gas supply, which lacked one before. The drain valve on this unit is a perfectly nice brass valve, I saw no reason to mess with it, especially as I will probably use it only once! Thanks to all again -- H.
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