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New Hot Water Heater

As of this morning, I need a new 50 gallon storage tank style conventional gas fired hot water heater (to match existing).

What brands do folks prefer?  Any specific features to look for, such as glass-lined tank, type of electrode, pilot system, first hour recovery rating and energy star compliance?  How about the extended warranty - are they worth it?

One last question:  What is the typical minimum clearance to combustible material, such as a adjacent wood framed wall?

My goal is to hire a professional plumber (not the local big box...) for installation.  I'd like to know what to ask for in advance, especially if given several choices.

I'll be living with my family of four in this house for several more years.

Thanks, Dave


  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 998
    HWT info

    Your professional plumber should be able to answer all our questions. As for clearance, they are in the manufacturer's certified I&O manual.It is available online at their website.

    Our own preferences are A.O. Smith and Rheem.

  • ABSolar
    ABSolar Member Posts: 41
    replacement water heater

    If I had the dough, and were planning on staying in the house, I would install a condensing gas tankless water heater...with a solar pre-feed.  See the EEOC.gov website for water heater efficiencies and tax credits
  • Nat
    Nat Member Posts: 8
    A regular water heater

    is no longer the same... In my 24 years in the gas service business, I honestly cannot believe the demise of the old standby water heater... A conventional pilot type now has a sealed  front and created a nuicense air inlet on sides that plug with dust over time in certain locations. The Powervent has gone totally south in recent years with the emergence of the all-in-one electronic gas valves and the annoying, needless vapor sensor mounted on the bottom which cannot be bypassed.  The consumer is now in a catch 22 when replacement time roles around... The On-Demand is in everyones mind now and they are worth the investment. Make sure on standard direct-vent models that you pitch the vent properly out as water can enter the vent and cause problems with electrical parts. Also, read the directions on the "sandwich" tank. If you throw in a Rinnia without installing a 5 gal water heater, your customer will be waiting much longer for hot-water than before. The condensing units come with a built in tank to give the customer the "performance" of a tank style they've grown accustomed to with far less gas consumption...  
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134

    a hybrid heat pump unit. you can grab a $300 tax credit and it should cost no more than $2000 to install. 
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