Suggestions for New Hot Water Heater?

ronakaOctober 9, 2011

We have a John Wood gas heater that is now 31 years old. Periodic replacement of the anode rod has given it a long life. I would like to know how long it would last (about 3 years now on last rod), but on the other hand I would like to replace it under controlled conditions on my time. So, I'm starting to look for a replacement. It will be a 50 gallon gas fired, but after that I'm open to suggestions.

I see that Energy Star has just increased their efficiency requirement to 0.67 minimum to qualify. In the past you needed a powered vent type heater to get that efficiency. Now, I am starting to see some atmospheric vent models with only a flue damper getting 0.67-0.69 efficiency and qualifying to the new standard. They would be much easier to retrofit than a power vent style.

What do you think of these models and brands to consider?

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Replace the drain valve right away on any new water heater with a 3/4 inch ball valve and a bronze nipple and a garden house adapter.

The crappy plastic ones that come on the heaters often fail to close after being opened, take forever to drain through the small opening they have, and can easily clog on any scale that tries to get out.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 4:13PM
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Bradford White is well thought of around here and they have enough versions to make for an easy install.

They were the only company I could find that would supply a top mounted T&P valve with a 6000 ft high altitude LP model.

Not cheap, but you seem to get what you pay for.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 5:27PM
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What about a tankless H2O heater? We have one and I love it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 11:02PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I just put a brass ball valve on our existing heater, and your suggestion is a good reminder to switch it to the new one. I haven't been a "flusher", and the thing has lasted 31+ years. But since the floor drain is right there, I should be doing it more often...

I looked at Bradford White, but I'm not sure they make a flue damper atmospheric vent model yet. Also, I wonder if they are not an install by professional only model?

A retailer here in Canada, Canadian Tire, shows a GSW model of interest on line. It has a 12 year warranty, but other than that seems identical to the one at the link below. They however, do not have stock yet. GSW now seems to make John Wood, but John Wood only sells through professional installers. The products look identical except for the name.

Rheem have announced the new heaters, but I don't see any yet at Home Depot under the GE brand name. Suspect they will be here shortly. AO Smith seems to make a 0.70 efficiency Effex model of this type, but it may be an install by pro only. Anyone aware of other names they may be sold under? Some claim Kenmore is made by AO Smith, but I do not see a resemblance in the models sold in Canada.

Here is a link that might be useful: GSW - G950S40ES2

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:18AM
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Just as an update, I got around to replacing my 32 year old John Wood hot water heater this summer. I decided on a GSW branded model, 6G50NVH-ES2. It is a powered vent model with a 0.67 efficiency rating. Similar models are sold under the AO Smith and John Wood name.

All went well with the installation. You do have to put in the PVC vent piping and provide a 110 volt plug in power supply. It came with a brass drain valve, so I saved my old one as a spare.

It fired up first time and has worked perfectly ever since. However there is one issue you should be aware of if you install a heater of this type. That is noise. It is far from being silent. I measured the noise standing next to it and got around 62 dB. That is not a lot, but it does carry through the house. I don't have the furnace and water heater room fully isolated, so it may improve some after that.

In any case since the water heater was the only thing left using the original chimney, I can now remove the chimney, and cover the hole to the attic and roof. The extra space can be used to enlarge a closed on the second floor, and make a broom closet on the main floor. Next summer's project!

Here is a link that might be useful: GSW Superflue Power Vent

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:36AM
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