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?