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Electric Water Heaters


Jim Morrison
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Personal choices for me are AO Smith, State Water Heater(I think they are the same now a days), Rheem, or Lochinvar.

Except for a poorly manufactured dip tube issue which I think AO Smith has corrected, I have installed thousands of them, (Gas & Electric) and never seen any major quality issue. These brands are available in supply houses around me, I'm not sure about your region.

Frank

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I have never personally had a Rheem electric unit in my house. I have installed 6-8 over the years in rental houses with no problems. Three of those are now 5years old and are supplied by well water that is high in solids. When I lived on Beaver Island, I had an AO Smith 42gal that I couldn't keep lower heating elements in. Different water there. I'd likely go with Rheem standard unit.

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Hi Jimmy,

There isn't a whole lot of difference from one to the other; the technology hasn't changed a whole lot over the years either. There are six manufacturer's making more than 105 brands of water heaters in the US and these are basically a tank, two off-the-shelf heating elements, and two off the shelf thermostats/controllers. I suppose there might be some slight differences in tank thickness and quality of metal and welds but I doubt that makes a whole lot of difference.

If you decide to go with a tankless, you can save substantially on your electric bill and the copper and/or stainless steel heat exchanger will last longer than a conventional tank type water heater, so it will probably pay for itself a couple of times over during the first decade you use it. However, it will cost you substantially more in up-front cost and if you don't size it correctly, according to the way you use hot water, you'll find yourself running out of hot water despite all of the claims that they make about "endless hot water".

Based on what I've read, I think that Stiebel-Eltron is probably head and shoulders, quality and technology-wise, above the other manufacturers of electric tankless water heaters.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Whatever's available. Like Mike said, there's a couple mfg's., and everyone rebadges them to their color and tags.

There's reasons you may not want a tankless, more than I have time to go into here. Baseline, if you're not at point of service, they can be a pain and not necessarily save you a dime.

They were never intended to be used in American style architecture, where everything is all spread out and there's a central mechanical space with the water heater; they were designed for point of service. I have several specific personal experiences with this phenomenon; no one is saving money due to a number of factors.

It's another perfect example of a technology or procedure being labeled "green", and therefore better. Not necessarily.

One thing for sure.....if you have a kid, your water, and water heating bills, go up, not down, because they now take 45 minute showers because they never run out of hot water.

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I getting ready to replace my old one also and had considered getting a tankless model. After doing some research I'm having second thoughts. The big plus would be space savings. The down side as I see it would be the cost and sometimes a less than an adequate supply of hot water.

What are your thoughts Frank?

Cost!

I think about switching to tankless sometimes also, but I stop myself everytime when I think Cost. As Kurt pointed out, I would install 2.

I can't remember why, but for some reason I'm stuck on thinking that electric tankless will not supply an average residential house demand. Did those guys at Watts mention that?

Frank

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Hi Frank,

It will if one does his homework and sizes it right. It's hard to size them for new construction because a builder is going to try and save as much as he can but at the same time the builder doesn't want complaints from the buyer. The problem is that unless a builder knows how the family will use hot water and tailors the system for that family, it's impossible to be successful in calculating which size to use for maximum bang for the buck.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Your swift reply is most appreciated, Friends.

My electric water heater just failed and I've got ZERO personal experience with those things.

What do you think is the BEST Brand/model?

What do you think is the WORST?

I'm in Boston and have got about 10 hours to make a purchasing decision here.

Thanks!

Jimmy

Just get whatever's on sale, as long as it isn't banged up. If you want it to last a long time, replace the anode every so often and flush it every year.

Tankless won't save you a dime.

- Jim in Oregon

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Hi Frank,

It will if one does his homework and sizes it right. It's hard to size them for new construction because a builder is going to try and save as much as he can but at the same time the builder doesn't want complaints from the buyer. The problem is that unless a builder knows how the family will use hot water and tailors the system for that family, it's impossible to be successful in calculating which size to use for maximum bang for the buck.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

To get one to work well in the average house in New England may require a substantial upgrade to the electric panel. Some use two 80 amp mains. May save money in the south but I have not heard of too may success stories in the north.

Mike

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