New water heater, 40 or 50 gal?

jcrowley99October 19, 2008

I need to replace my water heater. The current one is 13 years old and has a lot of sediment build up. The problem is that some of the sediment is getting out with the hot water and keeps clogging the filter on the inlet valve of my washer. I'm getting tired of cleaning this every time I do a hot water wash. I just want a regular tank water heater, gas. We have a 40 gal now, I'm wondering if their would be any benefit to a larger tank? Also, I did notice that a number of them have 12 year warranties now, and claim to prevent sediment build up. Do I just get one that has a good warranty, or are some brands better than others? Would I be better off having a plumber install whatever brand they use, or just buying one at a local store and having them do the install, or doing it myself with the help of a handy neighbor. I do have some plumbing experience, toilet repairs, fixture replacements and that sort of thing, but I do find the idea of installing a water heater a bit scarey. But maybe that's just because they are bigger than me. Thanks for your input.


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If 40-gal has been OK for your service, it will be OK for replacement. Increasing size will not save you from sediment build-up. However, a 30-micron filter upstream will. Cheap and easy install. Replace the inexpensive cartridges from time-to-time...typically 6-months to one year or so. A few months of checking will tell the story for your location.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 11:12PM
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Consumers Reports recommends purchasing a water heater with a 12-year warranty. They say that models with the long warranties are built with better burners, longer-lasting anode rods, and often have thicker insulation.

If you haven't been running out of hot water with a 40 gallon tank, there's probably no reason to move up to a bigger one. If however, the last member of your family to shower finds the water isn't as hot as it should be, the larger tank could be a benefit.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 10:53AM
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When calling suppliers make sure they give you a price on both sizes. About two months ago I was called on a Sunday to replace a 40gal water heater and since my commercial plumbing supply was closed on Sunday I went to my backup supplier, my local neighborhood independent hardware store to see what kind of price they could give me.

The store owner gave me a very good price on a contractor grade 12year warranty 40gal unit, then he says, "are you absolutely intent on a 40 or could you use a 50?"
Thinking that he may have a scratch & dent sale on a 50 or something I said, "I could consider a 50 if the price is right."
He said, All the contractors I deal with are installing 50's as the norm in new construction so I order 50's in trailer load lots whereas we don't sell as many 40's so I order less and have to pay LTL (less than Truckload) freight rates. To be honest I save a bundle on the freight rate on the 50's so I can sell you a 50 for $30 less than a 40."

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 11:35PM
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After a bit of studying I think I'm going to stick with the 40 gal. I doesn't sound like I would get that much benefit from the 50 gal (there are only 2 of us home 9 months of the year) and I'm guessing it will cost more to operate the 50 gal.

I'm looking at three brands that could be installed by local plumbers... State model # GS6 40YBRT, Bradford White model# M-I-40T6FBN, or A.O.Smith model Promax GCV 40. Anyone have experience with these water heaters? Or just with these brands? It sounds like they are all reliable brands. The company with the State would install it the cheapest by $150.00, does that sound right? I read that that should actually be a more expensive water heater than the other two. I tend to get concerned when things look a bit too good. I did eliminate the GE and Whirlpool models available at my local hardware stores after some online research. The GE with installation would have cost more than the State, about the same as the A.O.Smith.

Right now I have a Rheem Rheemglas Fury Energy Miser 40 gal with a first hour rating of 62 gal, 34,000 input BTUH, that uses 268 therms per year (from the label). Any idea who could give me this info about the new ones? Do I call the manufaturer or the company selling them. I can't find the energy rating for any of them on the manufacturers websites. The other info is there.I'm also wondering what type of anode rod mine has, the three I am looking at each have different anode rods. Since mine has done pretty well for 13 years something similar would be good right? One of the plumbers also carries Rheem, but they are a couple hundred more, and he has not been happy with the service they have given customers recently.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 9:17AM
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I've installed all the commercial brands.Not really any BAd ones anymore. Check out SEARS, nothing wrong with theres, and they are easy to deal with if you have a problem, and have some GREAT deals. The 40 is all you need.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 9:36AM
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A.O.Smith is a commercial high pressure boiler manufacturer that began business in the mid to late 1800's and they pioneered the concept of residential water heaters.

State & Bradford White are sub divisions of A.O.Smith and all three brands A.O.Smith, State & Bradford White are manufactured on the same assembly lines and basically the only difference is the labeling and packaging as they come off the line.

In my experience I would rate an A.O.Smith (including the subs) or Rheem product as the top of the line.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 12:20PM
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