Water Heaters...

I know this has been asked 1000 times and i researched it a bit but couldnt come up with any real useful opinions.
Im in the market for a new 40gal water heater and am looking for opinions on brands.....what is good and what is not so good. I dont want to break the bank but i dont want flooded basement in 5 years either :)
Also.....has anyone used the drip pans that are put under water heaters to control drip? Are they worth it? Seems pointless but maybe im not looking at it right. IF that sucker decides to go......it will overflow that pan rendering it useless. IF installed properly the thing shouldnt drip.
I could see if you had a slow leak....they would be worth it because you could control the leak. Any thoughts?
Ill tell you i did find that it would appear that they dont make water heaters like they used too. Most people i read about show failings after 5 - 12 years with current water heaters. THe mongemery wards unit i have in my basement is from 1978 and still working. I just want to replace it before it goes...which cant be long at this point....shes about 30 years old :)
I am just looking and researching before i run to sears with my tail between my legs and buy junk (if kenmore is a bad brand.....i dont know...heh...thats my question)
I would like to spend 250 - 400. I plan to install it myself.
I would rather not get the extended service junk because it just doesnt seem worth it on a unit such as a water heater (they fail....thats what they do). IF you buy quality.....your unit should last up to or beyond the warranty....correct?
ANy replies are appreciated
Thanks
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scale wrote:

I don't have any opinion on the brand. Really most all of them are close to the same.

If it is located on the lowest floor and any water leaking out would be directed by gravity to the drain then I would not (and did not) bother. On the other hand I would use one if I had a worry. You also can add a detection device to detect either a slow leak or a major one with a pan and have it shut off the water to the heater. Of course that will not protect you from other leaks. :-)

The life of today's water heaters is not much different than 30 years ago. Some areas due to the differences in the water supply will experience short life and others will give long life. Not much you can do about that.

I don't get the extended service - warranties on anything I buy. They are all sold as money makers. Usually about 50% or your cost goes directly to the people who sell it to you. Of the 50% that is left it is divided up between profit for the company, overhead and even a little left over to pay claims. If a product is more likely to have problems, then the extended service insurance is also more expensive. They are not going to give anything away.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Harbor Freight sells an inexpensive battery op water sensor which I have placed at the washing machine, dish washer and the water heater. They are loud and sensitive. With that in mind, I would still do the pan to prevent soaking into the subfloor, ading to your headaches and expense.

*Exactly* what Joe said on warranties. Riiiiiiiip-off.

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scale wrote:

If you old water '78 heater is still working and not leaking, your water can't be corrosive. If your water is not corrosive, by the bottom quality or perhaps a medium quality. It will likely last 15-20 years. The difference between the medium quality and high quality is the cost of the guarantee. So, $250-$300 for a heater sounds good.
The drip pan is code in some places, all it does it contain some water when the heater starts to rust out. So if you don't watch stuff carefully, buy one and use it. If you watch stuff you will start seeing rusty water spots when it starts to go. And no, they don't suddenly burst and spew water all over; possible "maybe" but highly unlikely.
I assume you are talking about an electric water heater. If a gas water heater, I would not get the top efficiency model with a draft inductor fan. It might save money, but it is far more complicated and any money you save on gas is likely to be spent in repairs and maintenance.
Get new hookup pipes if yours uses the flexible (can be bent) copper hookup tubes. Good luck.
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No it is a gas water heater setup. Not an electric. I was also looking at the home depot today and a few things hit me as weird. THe plasic pan says it isnt made for gas water heaters. I take it this is code or some sort of strange rule where you can only use a metal pan?
Also, i dont have shutoffs on or near my inlet pipe :( so once i do the replacing of my water heater, IM going to go from my straight 3/4in pipe into a shut off into another straight down into one of those threaded copper fittings that screw right on the top of the heater and then solder on the pipe to complete.
I dont know that i need to use the flex pipe. That stuff seems cheap...maybe its just me but i dont know if i trust it :)
I was asking the clown at homedepot about screwing a copper fitting to the galvanzied pipe that comes out of the top of the water heater.......first he said it was fine but then i mentioned the metal reaction between the 2 and then asked about the dielectric union and he went on about how you solder that to the copper and then screw the fitting to the galvanzied.....but then he said that you cant solder brass to copper.....then about 5 minutes later he said you do......needless to say....he didnt know what the heck he was saying. He sounded very confused :)
My heater and my uncles are screwed with a simple copper fitting and then that gets soldered to the pipes that come down. I dont see the problem here since thats what people seem to have. I have read that the 2 metals are not compatible ....so i dont know what to think.
Any input??
I might rethink my flex pipe and use it due to the fact that i wont have to be so precise with my measurements :) I can just compensate with the copper flex pipe. I dont know. IM leary of the braided metal flex hose.
I just want to be sure im doing this correctly before i screw it up :)
Thanks guys
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scale wrote:

I have never seen a problem with mixing iron and copper fitting and we have hard water. If you hve a 28 year old heater you don't have corrosive water. Others will tell you what you have to do, but for me I would just hook it up and forget it.
And, I would use the corrugated copper hook up pipes. If you look in the ends you may find that nylon actually prevents contact of the copper with the next fitting. If possible, bend these pipes to fit and don't fiddle with them.
The braided metal flex hose is fine if they have the stainless steel braid. Of course you don't use those with a water heater.
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The important parts of a dielectric union are the plastic back washer and the rubber washer the keeps the 2 metals a part. I have done it both ways with and without Dielectric unions, never again without. Those flex pipe attachment kits are much more likely to spring a leak compared to copper piping.... You can cut the copper to any size you want so how can you not hit your target ?
Tom
PS. those guys at HD are the ones who cannot make it in the trades.......
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I got myself one. I think it will be worth it.

Huh?. It will just last forever?
What is it that fails when a water heater fails? If it's the heating element, or perchance the thermostat, those you can replace. So after you replace them, what will fail next. What is left?

I think you have it backwards. The drip pans are bad when you have slow leak, because unless you check the pan, you won't know you had it. So you won't have any warning that the whole heater is about to fail.
But when the leak gets substantial, that's whey they are good. Of course you have to connect the pan to the sump or something.

I hear that most don't last that long, but we don't know that other models like yours lasted as long as yours.

I bought a sears because the distance between intake and output was the same as my old one. It would have been easy to connect the new one if I had been able to grind off the reverse-dimple inside the connector.

It was easy enough to put the HWH on the back of my LeBaron convertible, take it home, use a hand truck to take it to the basement, and even to connect it. The hard part was getting the old HWH out of the basement, even with a girl helper.. Maybe I should have cut it into pieces.

It's never worth insuring for a loss that you can afford to bear. Act as a self insurer. That way you take the profit, and you can simulate the overhead by getting a great sandwich and watching tv for lunch, many times.

I would suspect some good one's fail early. But by acting as your own insurer, you are just as likely to make a profit on the policy as they are. Once in a while you'll lose but the rest of the times you'll win, and all told, you'll be ahead of the game. And there is no hunting for all the papers, and no fighting with them about whether you are covered or not.

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The drain pans you describe are for when the wh is installed above a finsihed area. It sounds like you have an electric wh, I prefer gas, cheaper to run and faster recovery. When I do an install I make sure to use Dielectric unions First joint after the heater on both the hot & cold lines. I also prefer glass lined and foam insulated
Tom
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On Mon, 07 Nov 2005 07:53:19 -0600, Trekking Tom <> wrote:

That may be where they are required, or where they are always used, but they seem to me to be a good idea even for an unfinished basement.
One usually has slight leaking before the major leaking, but in my case, another leak caused the basement to be wet already, and I just thought it was drying unusuallly slowly. The big leak took me totally by surprise..
But I could have been on vacation for two weeks, or just not gone down to the basement for two weeks, and the big leak would have gone all over the floor and into the finished next room, damaging the floor tile and getting sucked up by the rug and the boxes on the floor of the closet, like it did.
The next big WH leak will never overflow the pan**, and I'll know about the leak when I have no hot water. That's good enough and preferable to having another wet basement.
**It has 1 1/2 or 2" pipe going straight to the sump and its pump.

I would like to have gas too, but ny n'hood doesn't have it.

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