Best Water Heater Sold in U.S.?

peteyjdFebruary 3, 2011

Dear Brain Trust,

I know someone on this forum will know the answer to this. What is the best gas water heater sold in the U.S.A.?

By best I mean stainless steel tank, very good heat exchanger, blower, and built to last. I want to do this once, not again in ten years. Suggestions?

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homebound

The search function on this site will lead you to plenty of discussion and advice on this subject. While some are better, their average life expectancy is still around 8-12 yrs.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:00PM
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justalurker

Regardless of the brand you choose... the water running through it and whether you routinely drain the WH will have a big effect on the service life.

If you have hard water getting a softener will increase the life of your WH dramatically and draining the WH annually makes a big difference in service life and costs you nothing but a little time.

After 15+ years of reliable service from my (LP) A.O. Smith my next WH will be a Bradford White.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:12PM
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alphonse

"If you have hard water getting a softener will increase the life of your WH dramatically ......"

There are plenty of opposing opinions regarding this statement.
I don't have a dog in the race, but will point out that electrolytes improve conductivity in aqueous solutions and therefore hasten demise of anodic protection.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 7:14AM
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justalurker

Well, opinions are like noses... everybody has one so here's some first hand experience for you...

Our water system provides 30g hard water, no iron or manganese and acceptable PH. The average life of a water heater around here is 2-3 years. The average life of a cheap (disposable) Sears style water softener is not much longer than that.

I moved in in 1995 and installed a new water heater and a softener that is correctly sized and properly set up (not as common as you'd think). I drain my WH once every year and nothing comes out other than clear water.

I have cut open neighbor's dead water heaters and found as much as half the height of the tank occupied by a solid mass of calcium and other things.

My 16+ year old water heater works the same as the day it was installed. No gurgling, no noises, no leaks. Annual draining has had a hand in that but the #1 reason my WH is still on the job is that the water it heats doesn't contain the minerals that do kill water heaters.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:34AM
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brickeyee

"I don't have a dog in the race, but will point out that electrolytes improve conductivity in aqueous solutions and therefore hasten demise of anodic protection."

Replacing an anode is not as expensive as replacing the water heater after it scales up.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 12:46PM
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justalurker

Regardless of the number of anodes in a WH or the frequency of replacement heat precipitates minerals out of water and those minerals builds up in the WH and attack the tank. The harder the water the more severe the problem.

I've cut open leaking WH tanks that were two years old and were 1/3 full of deposits. The anode was still there and in surprisingly good condition.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 12:54PM
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alphonse

"Replacing an anode is not as expensive as replacing the water heater after it scales up."

Yes. The purpose for my initial response...that there is plenty of anecdotal data that softened water speeds decomposition of the anode.

It's inarguable that deposits in the tank-of whatever sort-shorten its life.

I personally have never autopsied a leaking tank without noting complete erosion of the anode- but deep deposits will impede galvanic reaction.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 8:57AM
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ronaka

We bought our house new, 30 years ago. The original John Wood water heater is still working fine. As it is made in Canada, not sure you can buy it in the US, but I don't think there is anything special about it. Glass lined plain steel, I expect.

If there is a secret, I have replaced the anode rod twice now. Our water is quite hard, and we have no softener. I don't drain the tank more than once every 10 years or so. I find the crap gets in the valve and then the valve leaks. Valve has been replaced twice, once to plastic, and the last one back to brass again.

My view on a softener is that it may consume the anode rod faster, and also may not allow scale to build up on any cracks in the glass lining. My guess is that softeners cause more damage to water heaters than they prevent.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 5:24PM
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andy_c

"My view on a softener is that it may consume the anode rod faster, and also may not allow scale to build up on any cracks in the glass lining. My guess is that softeners cause more damage to water heaters than they prevent."

I don't buy that at all. It is common and long proven knowledge that a softener prolongs the working (and efficient) life of the water heater as well as dishwashers, washing mcahines, icemakers, toilets, showers, faucets, plumbing fixtures, valves, etc.

With a softener just remove the rod because it is no longer needed. Water heater manufacturers put them there to fight the effects of hard water and serves little more than a cheap band-aid.

Moreover, most people will not replace rods even when advised.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 7:54AM
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alphonse

"It is common and long proven knowledge that a softener prolongs the working (and efficient) life of the water heater..."

I would like to see citation for this claim of yours, one that does not originate from water softener dealers/sellers such as yourself.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 10:07AM
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downtowner

I have the best indirect HW tank that is connected to my condensing boiler --It is made by Viessmann, never requires a sacrificial anode or draining the water, and is guaranteed for life.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 3:53PM
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alphonse

"What is the best gas water heater sold in the U.S.A.?"

The OP's question has not been answered.
I apologise for my part in thread drift but feel it in the reader's interest to counter un-substantiated claims. We are all entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts.

Indirect tanks have many things going for them in terms of longevity, prime one being unfired.

Which means they aren't water heaters.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 8:20AM
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