Replacing a water heater in a rental house

susanb_TXAugust 13, 2010

I have a 3 bedroom, 2-1/2 bath house that I rent out and the water heater has started to leak. I'm not quite sure what to replace it with. Its 2531 square feet, 2-story. Right now there are 2-3 adults living there and 3 little kids. I'll probably be selling the place in the next 1-2 years. There is a 50-gallon electric Rheem there right now. I think a 50-gallon is larger than I need. I understand the FHR is the most important number to look at, rather than size but since I don't live there, that's difficult. Is there a rule of thumb? And I understand the EF rating is next important but I can't seem to find that rating on tanks I'm looking at on line.

Price is an issue and there are so many different prices. Its very confusing. Any brands to stay away from or ones to particularly consider? Its in the garage so the size won't really be an issue. Any advantage to a short one, tall one....other than a space requirement?

Advice would be appreciated. (Tenant plans to install it.)

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I'll leave the WH recommendations to the plumbers on the forum BUT, in a rental property I'd be leery of letting the tenant install a WH. In many locales installing WHers requires a permit and a licensed plumber.

I realize that lots of WHers are installed by DIYers but since you legitimately rent that property for profit I would do everything legally and cross ALL the Ts and dot ALL the Is.

Price is always an issue but if you can afford a rental property then you can afford a legal installation. Penny wise can be thousands of dollars foolish cause a tenant may love the landlord one day and sue the landlord the next.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 1:43AM
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A 50 gallon unit should be the minimum size water heater you should be looking at for this size house and family.

And presuming the tenants pay the uitlities, the only other items you really need to consider is the length of warranty and price. Energy efficiency, therefore, should be of no concern.

Personally speaking, for one of my rentals, I'd be looking at the cheapest 50 gallon heater I could buy with the longest warranty and nothing else.


Ditto not allowing the tenants to install the unit.

Have a pro do it.

It's all tax-deductible to you anyhow.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 12:34PM
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