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Recommended Gas Water Heaters?

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Jake Page Icon Posted 2019-03-31 9:50 PM
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This is as off-topic as I can make it:

I'm in the US, I need a 50 gallon gas water heater, and that's all I know about this.

Any recommendations/suggestions?

Jake
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Rich Hawley Page Icon Posted 2019-04-01 3:22 AM
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Funny you ask…just installed one last fall in my house. I had a 1980s General Electric 35 gal electric heater. It worked okay, you could get two 15-20 minute showers out of it before you exhausted it. In Oct the element burnt out. I was going to just replace the element but then I noticed the corrosion on the casing, missing insulation, not worth fixing.

Since I a have natural gas furnace, I decided to convert to gas. Big times savings in annual costs. You didn't specify natural gas or propane because the are differences to consider.

Lots of good gas hot water heaters out there. Like washers and dryers and refridgerators, you have just a few making components and slapping on different manufacturer lables.

Rheem is what I bought, but Richmond, AO Smith, and others have been around for years.

Converting from elec to gas would normally be a pain… running gas lines, 5" vent through the roof, etc. But mine was a breeze. I ended up installing a Rheem tankless hw heater. No energy wasted heating a tank and keeping it warn. Smaller, less space. Wents through a standard 5" vent through the wall… no roof work.

Now I can take a 3 hour shower while Pattie does dishes and laundry… never ever run out of hot water. The cost was more, about $800 to do it myself versus the $300 a tanked gas hw heater would cost, but for instant unlimited hot water it is very sweet.

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Jake Page Icon Posted 2019-04-01 1:48 PM
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Ah, Rich--I was hoping I would see an answer from you.

Congratulations on your own install. I'm not up to that, especially since this is a natural gas unit, but I was glad to hear that "parts-is-parts" is also an element of water heater construction. In terms of company choice, Consumer Reports said to go with the longest warranty possible.

I have a service contract on a/c and heat and I'll call them today and see what they offer. I have an estimate coming from Home Depot as well, though I usually hate their third-party work. HD will be reference, I imagine.

Thanks for your post, man.

Jake
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Rich Hawley Page Icon Posted 2019-04-01 11:12 PM
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Many times Jake, if you are converting from electric to gas, the gas companies have promotional offers to offset expenses. Mine had a service tech come out and he gave me (custom cut) all the black galvanized pipe I wanted, several 90° angles, 5 brand new gas valves to hook up to the 6 port manifold so I had independent cuttoffs for the dryer, tankless heater, kitchen range, and furnace. Those valves are about $75 each. Then next day he came back, turned off the gas…put on a pressure checker to check lines, then connected my feedline to the meter and checked for leaks before leaving. He gave me the 5th valve and a bunch of fittings and pipe as well as a 30ft roll of 1/2" copper tubing as I mentioned to him that this summer I planned on buying a natural gas grill for my patio.
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2019-04-02 2:59 PM
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The original owner of our house had switched the stove from gas to electric and when we finally moved back to the States, the first thing I did was hire someone to switch it back. It was expensive and I wish I had known that gas companies were so eager to help out.

Jake
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2019-04-06 9:43 PM
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Ended up buying a Rheem with a 9-year warranty from Home Depot. And found a plumber would pick up the water heater, install it, and haul the old one for $300USD, which is a very good deal for the Washington area.

Montgomery County is a bit of a Nanny State and the chimney has to be lined in steel (carries up gases faster than clay). That's $1500-$1900USD, but then I discovered that I HAD gotten both chimneys re-lined. Have no recollection of this. Must've been the magic water heater elves that I've read so much about.

Jake
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Rich Hawley Page Icon Posted 2019-04-07 8:41 PM
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I'll sleep easier now knowing that you are not showering with cold water…and actually the problem with the old clay flues was the gas byproducts produced will eat away at the mortar joints over the long haul. You wouldn't want your flue to fall apart then have heat tranfer from hot stone to your underlying wood structure…unless you want to burn down your house for the insurance…
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Jake Page Icon Posted 2019-04-08 2:17 PM
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Huh. I had not realized that was the core issue of relining. That would explain why the contractor relined my chimneys when he repointed them (I finally figured out when the relining must've happened).

Jake
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