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Old 07-28-2011, 11:08 PM
 
433 posts, read 984,536 times
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I've read that unlike gas hot water heaters, there isn't that much of a difference in quality and manufacturing (inner parts and components) in electric hot water heaters. I've narrowed down my selection in 40 Gallon Electric Units to Bradford White and the GE (apparently made by Rheem) with a 12 year warranty sold at Home Depot. When getting quotes for the complete job (parts and labor) there seemed to be about a $100 difference in price between the two units. The hot water heater I will be replacing is 18 years old but has only had about 3 years of actual use. The condo association suggests that everyone replace their hot water heater every 10 years because they have had floods from units that have burst. Mine is fitted to wear it drains to the outside and I turn off the water when I leave for 8 months. The condo association's plumber said my hot water heater looked good and didn't need immediate attention and that it's more of a judgement call. People are suggesting that I replace it as a preventative measure. The next hot water heater I buy will receive 2.5 months of use per year. I've noticed that the GE hot water heater at Home Depot with a 6 year warranty is about $100 less than the unit with a 12 year warranty. Is there a big difference in quality between the 6 and 12 year warranty units?
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,427 posts, read 29,987,000 times
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Oh man so now the communist HOAs are playing the role of Plumber too. To your question, I believe there is little difference in quality between hot water heaters just as you have heard too. There are no moving parts and almost no parts that actually perform a function that can go bad. The heating element/s are usually what goes bad.

If homeowners would empty and flush out their hot water tanks at least once a year they would even last longer then your 18 year old one.

My only problem I see is buying one from the big orange who only wants your little green. They are basically rapists and nearly any retailer/wholesaler can beat their price. Why not shop a bit rather then just thinking orange (or blue) whenever you need a home improvement product. It's that kind of thinking that made them so big, they depend on those who just trust they have the best price and not shop. Let the consumer beware. And whatever you do. DO NOT let them use their contractors to install it. If you don't want to trust me who knows then I urge you to google Home Depot complaints and your computer screen will light up the night sky.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:30 PM
 
11,045 posts, read 9,218,066 times
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Quote:
The condo association suggests that everyone replace their hot water heater every 10 years
Actually they are doing it because of the minerals in the water eating away at the metal. Thus they are worried about the bottom rusting out and bursting. Go for the 12 year to be on the safe side and it will have thicker insulation on the inside. Try to find an outside plumber to the job as Home Depot/Lowes are rather high in price. Also since its been 18 years since it was last changed, there may be slight change that the plumber will need to install a cut off valve, About $50, to be within code.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,833 posts, read 21,956,687 times
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As desert mentioned, I'm sure you can find another supplier or plumber that could do the job cheaper than Orange or Blue. Like any other major metropolitan area like San Diego there are plenty of plumbers. And the smaller the outfit the better the price.
And of course there are incidentals for current code- most likely an expansion tank.
You could also be proactive in the longevity of the water heater (it's not a "hot water heater"! Why would you heat hot water?) by draining it when you are closing up the unit.
Another thing you might consider- tankless water heater. Although the return would be extremely long (unless the unit will be a permanent residence sometime in the future), the overall savings along with possible state and federal tax initiatives may be a better way to go- especially in CA.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
4,669 posts, read 8,634,129 times
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The Home Depot electric water heaters generally work perfectly well. (The Lowe's store brand, on the other hand, has had a whole slew of consumer complaints in recent years.) It may or may not be cheaper than what you can find an indie plumber to sell you. We actually ended up paying a little more from the indie guy than it would have cost to go through a big box.

As for tankless, the electrics have improved a lot in the last few years, but I'm still not sure they're worth the extra expense.
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:23 AM
 
433 posts, read 984,536 times
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I've read negative reports about the big box store contracted installers, so I will be using my own plumber and the install prices is the same no matter what brand of hot water heater I use. The condo will always be a secondary residence that gets used 2.5 months out of the year so tankless doesn't interest me. I didn't know about draining the hot water heater. I'll do that each time I leave. So I'm basically down to deciding whether or not I should replace the unit in the first place, to buying a GE brand hot water heater (at Home Depot using my own plumber) with a 6 year warranty, a GE at Home Depot with a 12 year warranty or a Bradford White (don't know the exact warranty).
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:38 AM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
17,594 posts, read 23,805,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happs View Post
...So I'm basically down to deciding whether or not I should replace the unit in the first place...
Yes; at 18 years service you're now on borrowed time.

As to brand and type?
Try to duplicate the same specs or type of WH that you have now and then continue to do the annual draining as you've been doing.

If you're going to use a real plumber for the install then he'll probably have an opinion on which brand/model to use as well and how much more he charges for an install if he isn't also selling the WH. Ya know?
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:51 AM
 
433 posts, read 984,536 times
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The unit only has 3 years of actual use (not 18 years of service). It has been physically located in the unit for 18 years, but has been turned off (electric and water) for 15 years.
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:53 AM
 
433 posts, read 984,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
Yes; at 18 years service you're now on borrowed time.

As to brand and type?
Try to duplicate the same specs or type of WH that you have now and then continue to do the annual draining as you've been doing.

If you're going to use a real plumber for the install then he'll probably have an opinion on which brand/model to use as well and how much more he charges for an install if he isn't also selling the WH. Ya know?
The plumber said that there isn't much difference between electric units and that he'd be happy to install any hot water heater of my choosing. He likes Bradford White and so do most people around here.
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,405 posts, read 11,982,778 times
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All thre price ranges of W/H's are the exact same heater. You are paying extra for the warrantee.
Buy the cheap one, it's just as good as the expensive one...!
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