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Which is Best Gas water heater

Water heater manufacturers
How to install gas water heater
Kenmore gas control valve
Electronic gas control valves
Short answer:
If you have plumber install water heater: Choose the one he recommends and maintains.
Avoid tankless recommendation. Avoid heat pump and other computer-chip water heaters.
If you install and maintain water heater yourself: 6-year Whirlpool from Lowes, 6-year Kenmore from Sears. Both are same brand. Get store coupons. Lowes offers 10% discount for moving (2016)
DIY: How to install gas water heater

Reasoning behind short answer:
If plumber installs, then he knows the product and has relationship with manufacturer. Be careful that he knows the size and installation challenges because of new energy standards... water heaters are larger today. Plumbers will be profiting, water heater manufacturers and remodelers will be profiting from your decisions. Don't wait for last minute to shop for water heater.
email any time.
If you buy and install water heater yourself, then read list below:

Remember new water heaters are larger today...
Size difference can cause problems. MEASURE before you buy. Measure door openings, location of vent and TP valve, available space.
Incoming gas line might need to be moved. Vent pipe shortened.

I recommend tank type heater

1)  Should you buy 6 year, 9 year or 12 year?
- Generally, the main difference is anode rod diameter, or sometimes 2 anode rods. You can convert 6 year tank into 12 year or 15 year by inspecting anode each 1-3 years, and maintaining tank as shown in product manual.
There may be other differences that are not considered in this webpage, such as heavier materials associated with longer warranty tanks.
For example Kenmore says the difference between 3-year and 6-year tanks is anode, burner orifice, drain valve, inlet tube, nipples, and manifold door assembly. The assumption is these parts are not made of most durable materials.
I do not recommend 3 year tank except as a lower-price opportunity.
DIY: How to replace anode rod

2)  Warranty:
Warranties are same across all brands. And same for 6 year, 9 year, 12 year tanks.
- First year parts-tank-labor are covered for original homeowner and non-commercial installation when installed by instructions shown in product manual.
- After first year, parts-tank are covered, but no labor.
- Simple one-dimensional Math shows that shorter warranty has greater percentage of full coverage.

3)  Don't buy expensive water heater, like tankless, or hybrid heat pump:
Expensive water heaters do not save money overall, do not last longer than ordinary tank heaters, do not have longer warranty, and they are expensive to maintain and repair.
Tanks over 60 gallon size will be expensive.

4)  Why buy ordinary Whirlpool or Kenmore gas water heater ?
- Sold at local store
- Can be maintained and repaired by homeowner. -Air intake is located on bottom and can be cleaned easily.
- Set 3-legged water heater on bricks so air intake can be inspected and cleaned easily.
- Whirlpool is made by AO Smith parent company. Other brands made by AOS are Reliance, State, American, Craftmaster.
- Service manuals are posted online, parts are designed for quick, ez replacement. -Installation manual shows how to perform maintenance.

5)  Avoid Rheem?
- Rheem makes Reliant, Richmond, Ruud, and GE -2012 Air intake can only be cleaned by removing combustion parts. Combustion parts are held in place with tamper-proof screws. Punch out center, and use regular hex to remove.
- Service manuals are not available online.... this is a major point for do-it-yourself guy. Rheem phone call might yield assistance.
- Installation manual does NOT show how to perform maintenance, and says that customer must call for service.
- Rheem does not offer ‘better’ product that somehow needs specialized treatment. I think their long-term plan is designed to funnel customers into buying service from brand-loyal service providers and installers... which will be large company manned by people trained to sell add-on service instead of hiring cheaper local plumber.
- Remember gas appliances are dangerous, and do-it-yourself carries more risk. However skilled technicians, handymen, DITers, and the homeowner sometimes want to see a service manual and be able to check basic stuff, and Rheem does not provide service manual or show maintenance steps. While other companies do.

6) Bradford White makes good heater:
- All manufacturers make good heaters
- Are BW made better? Warranty is identical to other brands.
- Must remove combustion parts to clean air intake.
- Parts are ez to replace.
- Service manuals are available.
- One negative: Bradford uses combo anode rod that is connected to hot water nipple... except today's heaters have short nipples because of more insulation. People report that the anode rod is difficult to replace/inspect. Why? Because nipple is too short to attach a pipe wrench in 2016. With caveat that companies will probably install longer nipples to match the newer amount of insulation. You can remove nipple from new water heater and install longer pex-lined nipple. Buy longer pex-lined nipple:
Anode rods prevent rusted tank and inspection is necessary for maintaining water heater and protecting investment. Read about anode rods   How to remove short nipple

7) Thickness of insulation
Update 2016... new government energy standards have forced manufacturers find ways to increase efficiency. The result is manufacturers have installed thicker insulation on tanks less than 60 gallon. This after all those years manufactures told people that more insulation was not needed, and nobody should install a water heater blanket. Self regulation and integrity of the market made more honet by regulation. LOL.
- One negative to more insulation is that manufacturers did not increase length of nipple on top of tank: People report that the combo anode rod is difficult to replace/inspect. Why? Because the anode is connected to the hot water nipple (called a combo anode rod) but the nipple is too short to attach a pipe wrench in 2016. With caveat that companies will probably install longer nipples to match the newer amount of required insulation. Buy longer pex lined nipple
Anode rods prevent rusted tank and inspection is necessary for maintaining water heater and protecting investment. Read about anode rods   How to remove short nipple

Today, things are different, we don't have to guess which water heater has 1" insulation vrs 2" insulation, and then guess how much money one will save over the other... because they all have more insulation. You can still add a heating blanket.
Resource:  9-ways to save with water heater

8) Compare Energy factor / for tanks less than 55 gallon:
EF .62 for ordinary gas water heater pre 2015
- EF or Energy Factor .62 for older atmospheric vent (no power vent)
- EF .62 costs $294 per year to operate (under ideal conditions with new water heater)

Compare more efficient .67 EF that meets new government energy standard post 2015
- EF .67 for more complicated dampered or power vent models
- EF .67 costs $272 per year to operate

Difference is about $22 per year, for every water heater, with new government standard

9) Electronic gas control valve is OK:
-Electronics vrs old-style mechanical gas control valve
-Electronic gas controls have been used on Heat-AC units for many years, and are reliable.
-Water heater error codes are handy.
See error codes and temperature adjustment by type of gas control

-Note about electric surge:
-Any electrical device that plugs into outlet, or is connected to grounded copper pipes is susceptible to power surge.
Electronic gas controls can fail during a surge event.
Surge can be caused by nearby lightning strike, or simple power outage. Install whole-house surge protector

10) Buy water heater on Internet is ok.
-Save receipt.
-You have a contract with seller, but check warranty coverage.
Water heater manufacturers
-Warranty is probably through manufacturer’s insurance carrier.
-It is easier to return defect water heater to local box store if water heater has a defect, or chronic problem.

-You will might need local service technician to verify installation to get warranty coverage.

The Lure of tankless
Avoid tankless. I know you are considering one, and wish there was something positive to say about the product.
Cold incoming water temperature can reduce the amount of hot water that is available. Make sure unit is sized correctly.
Secondary heat source needed t5o avoid freezing in low temperature regions.
Electric tankless. Cannot be exposed to hard water. Must be delimed each year. Whole house tankless electric will require larger electric service in many cases. Cost $100 more per year to operate than tank-type heater for average family of four.
Gas tankless. Cannot be exposed to hard water. Need deliming once per year, are prone to scale build up in heat exchanger. Require larger vent pipe than ordinary gas water heater. Do not magically supply endless hot water while saving money. Are not DIY repair. Repairs are often expensive. They consume more energy per gallon of heated water than tank-type heaters, which is why they require larger vent pipe and require full 3/4" pipe to supply gas, and require 1" pipe within 10 feet distance of the tankless unit.
There are exceptions: Small portable tankless can be connected to propane tank and garden hose. Small under counter tankless can offset need for larger main water heater. Small 1 bathroom house or apartment, with sink and shower can be conveniently supplied with hot water by a small tankless, and if usage is small, then savings is possible.
How to wire tankless electric
How to troubleshoot rheem tankless water heaters
New government energy standards for water heaters sized 20 to 55 gallon:
New water heaters 20-50 gallon have more insulation. They are wider and taller. Measure your space and height of connections etc. New water heaters at Lowes have measurements located on box, so you can see the size difference before buying.
With gas water heater, you might need to move vent line, shorten vent length, or change gas line in tight installations. A larger stand might be needed. Electric outlet might be needed.
Check width of doorway, stairway and attic opening. Consider downsizing as way to save money and installation costs. If you have walk-in bathtub, make sure new water heater has enough first hour delivery to fill tub. Or install 2 smaller heaters.
New gas water heaters are required to meet higher energy standards. They will eventually need to be plugged into 120 volt outlet located within 10 feet of installation. Mnaufacturers might recommend dedicated outlet. Dedicated outlet means that no other outlets, lights, or circuits are on the same breaker.
Consider new water heater when remodeling. Allow more space for gas water heater. Include 120 volt outlet with type 3 surge protected outlet.
Remember that water heaters with electronics, and with digital gas controls, are not protected from surge.
Government standards benefit you long term... but may seem like a problem short term. They will probably not deliver the 'promised money savings' unless you maintain water heater so it lasts longer, buy a smaller heater, and use less hot water... which is best plan for any water heater .... conserve and preserve and you save money.
Two water heaters
9 ways to save
Surge protectors
How to maintain water heater
New government energy standards for water heaters sized 55 to 100 gallon: heat pump:
Electric water heater 55-100 gallon require heat pump to meet energy standard. Heat pump or hybrid water heaters require 10 x 10 room for installation, they draw air across a coil that produces condensate and requires cleaning and maintenance. They work against home heater in winter. Summer air conditioning works against heat pump. They are not DIY repair. Service manuals are not available to homeowner.
They make noise when operating. Heat pumps are not good house partners.
Gas water heater 55-100 gallon will be condensing type. This is expensive technology to install and maintain.
Review heat pump water heater
Two water heaters
Home automation water heaters/ privacy concerns?
I am skeptical about privacy issues if manufacturer has pre-installed home automation device.
Remember when smart meters were pushed across the country... there were privacy concerns with smart meters... except smart meters broadcast such small packets of information that nothing of value was available for the amount of investment needed to gather it. The lack of useful information was one reason why the rash of new smart-grid products never materialized.
Compare smart meter with modern wi-fi.... wi-fi sends huge packets of information onto the internet.
You do not own internet content. You are a consumer of internet content. You are using somebody else's product when you consume internet... and they profit by taking your information and selling it to other parties. I'm talking about googles, bings, firefoxes, email trackets, and ad servers etc... because these services own the internet, and you are using their 'product.'
When you agree to terms-of-service for a product that includes wi-fi connection, then your information is being collected. Your right to privacy is yielded.
But wait... the terms of service include a 'privacy policy' LOL
In my opinion, most privacy policies guarantee that you cannot see what private information has been collected and distributed, because what they collect is 'private.'
2016/ Windows 10 might be example of evolving situation with privacy. In the past, you bought an operating system with your computer, and used a slide bar to adjust privacy settings from low to high. That era is over. Windows 10 has huge potential for privacy invasion, and tracks location, e-mails, contacts, writing 'style' etc. Windows 10 is embedded inside medical equipment. Imagine what data is being collected from that bit of software. Consider this fact next time the doctor sticks the probe in your ear.... .
Since your private information is valuable, I assume wi-fi water heater will be standard practice soon... letting manufacturer accumulate 'error codes' from your equipment, so you can receive text message every six months suggesting a check-up or risk losing warranty coverage. When water heater breaks down, you receive 'repair offers from several competing service providers' that all come from the same company that bought the rights to your service contract from the manufacturer. After all, if I can think of it... those guys already have the blueprint in progress.

3-phase electric water heaters for home use:
Often people get opportunity to own commercial grade 3-phase electric water heater.
Three-phase electric water heaters are not necesarily more efficient, unless they are fully balanced and connected to commerical three-phase power.
Most are non balanced, and are equal efficiency as residential heaters.
3-phase (non-balanced or balanced) can be converted to single phase for home use with wiring change-over
Pay attention to thermostat range and element rating... Elements and thermostats are generic for residential and non-balanced, and can be replaced
Read the following:\
How to convert 3-phase water heater to single phase

Which is best commercial gas water heater:
When you buy commercial grade table saw... it is big and heavy and will WILL cut wood without a doubt.
Same thing with commercial grade water heaters.
They will heat the water and last for years.
Sales price usually includes professional installation.
Gas and electric water heaters Support the economy:
Buy from my associate links:

50 gallon Gas water heaters at Amazon
40 gallon gas water heaters at Amazon
50 gallon Electric water heaters at Amazon
40 gallon electric water heaters at Amazon
Hybrid / heat pump/ water heaters at Amazon

How to install gas water heater
Troubleshoot gas water heater
Troubleshoot electric water heater
Intermatic control centers Intermatic control centers:
+ manuals and parts

Including Z-wave
box timers Compare box timers

Control water heater w/ Z-wave
programmable timer Compare programmable timers

Control water heater with programmable wall timer
Countdown timers Compare countdown timers

Control water heater with countdown timer
Compare power packs

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