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    WallyHelps's Avatar
    WallyHelps Posts: 1,011, Reputation: 136
    Ultra Member
     
    #1

    Jan 8, 2019, 10:24 AM
    Need help to pick the best water heater for my home
    I'm starting to investigate replacing my gas water heater which just celebrated its 24th birthday. I think it's time. What are some important things to consider?

    Current water heater: Rheem, 75 gallon, natural gas
    While I'm quite comfortable with technology, I much prefer the old, tried&true control systems. I really don't need to adjust my hot water from my phone.

    I have a hot water recirculating system that uses thermal convection (no pump) to speed up delivery of hot water to my upstairs master bathroom.
    Do the new heaters have built-in heat traps (which would disable my recirculating system)? I'm less concerned about efficiency than performance and reliability.

    What brand(s) should I narrow my focus on?
    What do the new 2015 NAECA standards mean to me? Larger? Different hook-up? More finicky?
    What questions should I ask of a potential installer?

    Mark made some great points in this post. I noticed Rheem wasn't in his list.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    WallyH
    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 12,792, Reputation: 1210
    Senior Plumbing Expert
     
    #2

    Jan 8, 2019, 06:06 PM
    Hi Wally

    It's been awhile... hope all is good!

    Interesting is that Rheem is made by RUUD and RUUD is a brand I highly recommend, but as you referred to in one of my previous posts I STRONGLY recommend against purchasing water heaters from a "big box store" as they only give a "limited warranty" instead of the industry standard of a full warranty offered by plumbing supply wholesalers. If you go with a water heater again, I strongly suggest the RUUD, if available locally.

    Having a 75 gallon water heater means that you maintain temperature to 75 gallons of water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is standard and most common in my area, but you should know that newer water heating systems are gaining popularity so if you dare, you might want to look into the newer TANKLESS models of water heating such as NAVIEN. Here, you would no longer maintain temperature to a large volume of water like you do now, but water would instead be heated ON DEMAND. The result is that this should save you money in the long run, BUT...

    1) The change over from a water heater to a tankless water heater is initially more expensive than replacing the water heater.

    2) There is a bit of a learning curve with these things (ask about this).

    3) There is required maintenance with these things (ask about this).

    I have a feeling that when Milo shows up, he'll have plenty to offer up on these tankless water heaters as he installs a lot more of them than me, so wait a bit, if possible, to get a little more insight from him, OK?

    Bottom line... It all depends on what you want!

    Finally, there are heat trap nipples with most water heaters. If you think they may interfere with your recirculating system simply have them removed and install new brass nipples in place of them.

    "What do the new 2015 NAECA standards mean to me? Larger? Different hook-up? More finicky?"....I have no idea, but my guess is no changes depending on what you decide here.

    Questions to ask installer will start once we know more about what you think about what has been presented.

    Post back!

    Happy New Year!

    Mark
    WallyHelps's Avatar
    WallyHelps Posts: 1,011, Reputation: 136
    Ultra Member
     
    #3

    Jan 8, 2019, 07:02 PM
    More water heater considerations
    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for the quick reply. I was hoping you'd pop in.

    Good to know about the Rheem/RUUd connection. I sure can't complain about my old Rheem. It looks like there is only one RUUD contractor within 75 miles of me :( .

    I thought some about tankless, but I've seen some information that gives me some concern:
    • Cost
      Beyond the initial cost difference, it seems that the tankless requires much more (pro) maintenance.
      Upgrading my gas service line for more BTUs would be expensive if required.
      Thus, the break-even period over a tank heater may be years out.
    • Breaks my "instant" hot water upstairs
      My water heater is in the basement and without some type of recirculation (or secondary heater) it would take quite a while to get water hot on the second floor.
      I believe recirculation would "break" the tankless advantage of "on demand" as there would be a more-or-less constant demand.
      Slow hot water upstairs would be a deal-killer as far as my wife is concerned.
    • Reliability
      The old tank water heater is a marvel of simplicity. The complexity of a shiny new tankless could make for a more troublesome relationship.

    So while I'm willing to be educated on the truth about tankless, the above were reasons I was leaning towards the seemingly less-efficient tank heaters. Assuming I go with the tank, I'm happy to hear that the heat traps can be swapped out without much trouble. I do know that reduces my efficiency, however.

    I feel like I may be over-analyzing this (which is what I do with every decision), but that's just the engineer in me.

    Thanks again for any direction!
    WallyH
    massplumber2008's Avatar
    massplumber2008 Posts: 12,792, Reputation: 1210
    Senior Plumbing Expert
     
    #4

    Jan 9, 2019, 06:17 AM
    I have a standard water heater in my own home... *wink*

    I'd go with a RUUD or a Bradford white water heater... both very good heaters with good warranties.

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