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#4620503 - 01/01/18 11:13 AM Replacement home water heater
bcossa2001 Offline


Registered: 07/17/07
Posts: 366
Loc: Alabama, USA
Hello all and Happy New Year....
My home water heater is 14 years old. Natural gas fired 45 gallon Rheem and has run like clockwork.

I feel that 2018 will bring the need for a replacement. Iím vaguely familiar with tankless heaters (a couple of coworkers have them and love them) but donít know if they are still too new technology.

Never had issues with running out of hot water so an identical replacement type would be satisfactory.

Anyone on the board have suggestions/experiences to share?

Thanks to all in advance.
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#4620515 - 01/01/18 11:25 AM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
expat Offline


Registered: 05/12/09
Posts: 5392
Loc: Canada
Tankless heaters have been used in Europe for about as long as I can remember.

They will likey last longer than your old tank heater, but cost more up front.

Overall savings vary depending on your usage

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#4620517 - 01/01/18 11:27 AM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
doitmyself Offline


Registered: 06/03/02
Posts: 6213
Loc: MI
I have no experience with the tankless ones, but have contemplated their installation. For me, I crunched the numbers and the payback for the tankless was going to be over 12 years (extra install costs). Someone correct me, but the main advantage of the tankless is nearly unlimited hot water during high demand, correct?? If you don't need this, then carefully crunch the ownership costs. Today's NG tank heaters are quite efficient.

This should be a good discussion. I like the Terry Love plumbing forum, but heed forum opinions carefully, as always.

Regarding tank type brands....whew, it's tough to tell. Many sites I examined implied that today's heaters are a commodity and they all share similar construction and technology. The pros "tend" to say buy the cheapest 6 yr. warranty model, since the longer warranty models are simply more $$$ for the extended warranty. But, there is dissension among the ranks and Chevy/Ford arguments everywhere. Look for better components like metal drain valve vs. plastic. I tend to prefer A.O. Smith, then maybe Rheem. Last year I bought a Bradley White simply because its made in Michigan...go figure. Time will tell.


Edited by doitmyself (01/01/18 11:39 AM)

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#4620519 - 01/01/18 11:30 AM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
RedOakRanch Offline


Registered: 11/10/13
Posts: 846
Loc: Central Coast California
Most take a larger hard line gas supply and exhaust. That is usually the big hold up when switching.
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#4620522 - 01/01/18 11:37 AM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: doitmyself]
2002 Maxima SE Offline


Registered: 05/29/04
Posts: 835
Loc: NC
Originally Posted By: doitmyself
I have no experience with the tankless ones, but have contemplated their installation. For me, I crunched the numbers and the payback for the tankless was going to be over 12 years (extra install costs). Someone correct me, but the main advantage of the tankless is nearly unlimited hot water during high demand, correct?? If you don't need this, then carefully crunch the ownership costs. Today's NG tank heaters are quite efficient.

This should be a good discussion. I like the Terry Love plumbing forum, but heed forum opinions carefully, as always.


The downside to tankless (correct me if I'm wrong) is no hot water (if you're on natural gas) during a power outage. In order to have hot water during a power outage, with tankless, you need to add battery backup. This may be standard now but was not when I looked at tankless a year ago.
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#4620524 - 01/01/18 11:37 AM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
HDoc Offline


Registered: 01/20/15
Posts: 15
Loc: Maryland
Sister and brother-in-law have a Rannai. They've had it for years now and it runs off their LP. They love it and would never have a second thought about having one.
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#4620527 - 01/01/18 11:41 AM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
PimTac Online   content


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4212
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
14 years is not a long time for a water heater. Is there another reason besides age that is making you think about changing out?

Make sure the burner area is clean they are working well and if you havenít done it lately, flush your tank. Sediment buildup on the bottom can affect heating and economy.
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#4620542 - 01/01/18 11:51 AM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: PimTac]
NormanBuntz Offline


Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 2120
Loc: Outer Banks, NC
Originally Posted By: PimTac
14 years is not a long time for a water heater. Is there another reason besides age that is making you think about changing out?

Make sure the burner area is clean they are working well and if you havenít done it lately, flush your tank. Sediment buildup on the bottom can affect heating and economy.


1. For a Rheem gas heater it is.

2. So it doesn't blow at an insanely inconvenient time.

I've had nat gas water heaters in three houses and I never had one last 14 years.
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#4620565 - 01/01/18 12:14 PM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
ET16 Offline


Registered: 10/28/08
Posts: 1265
Loc: MD
Have you ever drained the tank to clean it out?

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#4620578 - 01/01/18 12:24 PM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: ET16]
bcossa2001 Offline


Registered: 07/17/07
Posts: 366
Loc: Alabama, USA
I have not drained it in a couple of years so will do that right away. I have no other issues and will probably not replace it until it breaks but once it does Iíll need to act quickly hence this thread.

Did research on Consumer Reports online and the subscriber comments are all over the map relative to manufacturers with no apparent clear winner....
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#4620583 - 01/01/18 12:28 PM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4739
Loc: MA
I've looked at it in the past and the numbers never made sense. Typically they require a 3/4 inch gas line and a higher gas volume. Normally you have a 1/2 psi of pressure in the gas line, but the gas company would just change out the meter to give you a higher volume of gas. The other problem is that many of them only have a 5 year warranty. It's hard to find people who know how to fix them and hard to find the parts as they're not too popular. Most average houses that I see have hot water tanks, only the higher end, new homes have the tankless ones. A lot more plumbers know how to pop in a hot water tank than to fix a tankless system.

If the 14 year tank isn't gone yet, just replace the anode rod, you may get lucky and get a few more years out of it. I mentioned it several times a few years ago. I usually just get a 4 pack but you just need a single one. They have a long and short one. I just get the long ones and cut to length with a sawsall.

https://www.comfortgurus.com/water-heater-parts/7434-rhe-sp11526c-4-pk.html

https://www.comfortgurus.com/water-heater-parts/9164-rheem-sp11526c-magnesium-anode-rod.html

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#4620585 - 01/01/18 12:29 PM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: NormanBuntz]
PimTac Online   content


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4212
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Originally Posted By: NormanBuntz
Originally Posted By: PimTac
14 years is not a long time for a water heater. Is there another reason besides age that is making you think about changing out?

Make sure the burner area is clean they are working well and if you havenít done it lately, flush your tank. Sediment buildup on the bottom can affect heating and economy.


1. For a Rheem gas heater it is.

2. So it doesn't blow at an insanely inconvenient time.

I've had nat gas water heaters in three houses and I never had one last 14 years.

Okay. Itís all personal experience versus personal experience. Iím surprised you havenít had a water heater last 14 years. Iíve gotten 20-30 years usually. My brother has a gas heater installed in 1973. Still going strong.

Now maybe todayís heaters arenít worth a dime compared to yesteryears. The brand I usually go with is AO Smith though it probably doesnít matter much anymore.

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#4620586 - 01/01/18 12:29 PM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
MedicRxDoc Offline


Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 80
Loc: Leesport, PA
I have a Takagi tankless propane heater for a few years now. I have a generator backup for the well that will power the water heater as well.

I needed it since we were running out of water because of the 4 kids showering in sequence at times. I never compared the propane bills to see if we spend less, but with never ending hot water, there is also no longer an incentive to shower less...so I doubt it.

Hot water does take a little longer to come out the faucet since your not heating the pipes any when no water is flowing....annoying, but I can live with it.

Mine did require venting, but that was done with PVC (depends on type of heater). Propane supply was ok.

I would say if you donít need more water, then just stay with what you got. Electric companies might have a rebate if you would switch to that instead of NG.

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#4620589 - 01/01/18 12:34 PM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
pkunk Offline


Registered: 03/19/11
Posts: 256
Loc: NM, USA
I've had a instant Bosch 150K BTU Propane water heater for close to 20 years and love it. I has a standing pilot so works 24-7-365 regardless of electric supply. They are considerably less expensive to run than a tank type and in my opinion less to maintain.
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#4620607 - 01/01/18 12:51 PM Re: Replacement home water heater [Re: bcossa2001]
Rat407 Offline


Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 1427
Loc: North Carolina
We have had a Rinnai now for 10 years and love it. Like stated above you run it a little longer since the water in the line isn't heated like with a conventional tank but nothing major for us. Never run out of hot water and I made sure I got a tank-less that would heat enough water to be able to shower in two bathrooms and run a load of laundry as well. Very minimal gas usage.
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