The time has come to replace my hot water maker - my current unit is a 50 gallon Richmond, natural gas, power-vent unit. It is now 17 years old, and has been making some interesting “crackling” noises from deep inside over the last year. I’m guessing that the glass lining is coming apart. We have had absolutely ZERO problems with this unit - and I mean not a single solitary one. It has been the single best water heater that I have ever had the pleasure of living with.
Between the sounds, the age, and the fact that it doesn’t seem to make as much hot water as it used to (plus it just isn’t as hot, at least according to my wife and two teen daughters), I think it may have lost its dip tube and it’s time to replace it.
I’ve been debating three options: a like-for-like replacement using a Rheem 50 gallon natgas power vent unit, a to-be-determined tankless unit, or an indirect tank to be paired with our Burnham hot water boiler, which is 5 years old, natural gas, and about 90k btu input (we have large cast iron radiators).
All in all, the 50 gal tank is the cheapest option, and seems to be the most logical and requires the least modifications to the plumbing. The current unit vents out the foundation wall 3 feet away, so venting is super simple. The boiler and water heater are the only gas appliances in the house, both within 15 feet of the outside meter.
For some extra info: we live in northern Wisconsin. Our incoming water temp in the winter can be as low as 36°f (I’ve checked). We have one full bath with a “regular size” cast iron tub/shower. A laundry sink/washer in the basement, but all laundry is washed cold. Kitchen sink and dishwasher. And that’s about it, honestly. Not huge demand, but.... a wife and two teens that all love long, hot showers. Also, our water is drawn directly from Lake Superior, and is fantastically clean and barely treated - thus the 17 year life of the current unit, I imagine.
So......Thoughts? Opinions? Experiences?
Thank you all in advance, I’ll check back in a few hours after I fix yet another emissions-related failure on my 3 year old minivan. Sigh.