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Need an opinion on water heater brand

Prevch Member Posts: 105
Hey everybody,

I am installing a 50 gallon backup electric water heater at my house. My supplied has AO Smith or State Water Heaters.

I live in the country and I have moderately hard well water. I really need something reliable.

Which brand do you think is better and why?


    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,297
    I have had good luck with State. But I am sure 10 people will have 10 different opinions
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,788
    I have installed more than a thousand(s) of water heaters in my years. The two water heater brands that you mention are good quality companies. I don't think you can go wrong with either of them. Hope this helps to make your choice easier.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,228
    Hi, State was bought by AO Smith, so not a lot of difference now. I'd get the one that's better supported in your area. Also, have you considered getting a heat pump unit? These days, they are roughly three times more efficient and there may be credits or rebates for putting one in.

    Yours, Larry
  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 167
    Why no water softener?
  • Prevch
    Prevch Member Posts: 105
    Thank you everyone for your replies. I went with the State.
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 497

    Also, have you considered getting a heat pump unit? These days, they are roughly three times more efficient and there may be credits or rebates for putting one in.

    Now that the OP has resolved the problem, I'm going to hijackk this.

    My boiler has a coil on it, and was planning to put a side arm tank on it of some kind, but also was wondering about taking the boiler off the DHW and doing a stand alone. Here in Connecticut, electricity is so expensive they went to digital meters because the little motor used to spin the disc used too much power..

    So a pure electric is off the table, I don't want to add another oil burner to the system, but a heat pump heater could make sense, IF they have a long projected life. I know other things that use compressors nowadays like refrigerators used to last 30 -70 years, these days last about 5 with the offshore compressors.

    Are heat pump water heaters reliable and long lived?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,396
    I have the same question about longevity of the refrigeration system.

    Otherwise they are just a steel tank so they will have the same maybe 8-30 year life as any other tank depending on how you maintain the anode and your water chemistry. I wonder if the inherent limited life makes the added cost for the heat pump worth it, if you save enough to pay for the heat pump before the tank rusts out.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,228
    Hi, I know others here like @ethicalpaul live with a heat pump so can help answer that question. The current generation of heat pumps hasn't been around long enough to have a substantial track record. We're on about the fourth generation of HPs, but this is the first time they've really gotten traction. Keeping the glass lined tank going is not hard to do as long as you have access to the anode/s, or put in a powered anode. I've gotten over fifty years from tanks that got regular anode replacement. Also HPs get credits that resistance doesn't: https://www.dsireusa.org/ is the place to look. You might find that with credits they are cost effective. I'd certainly be looking closely at warranties.

    Yours, Larry
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,135
    edited February 2021
    Getting those anodes out even when new is not a trivial manner.  Trying to get one out after install in a appliance closet is close to impossible.  I’ve not tried a impact wrench but will consider it next time. 

    Any tips or recommendations on removing anodes? 
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,228
    Hi @PC7060 , The best way I know of is a torque multiplier; see photo:
    It makes you about three times stronger with a geared head and arm that rests against another fitting on top of the tank. There are other ways, like a breaker bar that you hold firmly and then tap on with a small sledge. An impact wrench can work too, but you need room for it. You need a 3/4" drive as 1/2" may snap off. I try to work with the anode before installing a heater, so it will be easier to deal with when it's time. With the right tools, my experience is that about one in a thousand won't come out.

    Yours, Larry
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,228
    edited February 2021
    Hi, Water Heater Rescue used to offer them, or you can go here: https://www.enerpac.com/en-us/manual-torque-multipliers/reaction-bar-multiplier/E290PLUS . This new model is somewhat different than what I've got. The "foot" on it is important but it can be made with two 3/4" ball joint rod ends, male and female. Then get the 3/4" sockets of your choice (1-1/16" for anodes), and a 1/2" ratchet. Having good tools really matters. I totaled up the spare time I had over a ten year period and it was two weeks. Sometimes I was backed up for three months with water heater work. It's not a bad thing to specialize in. :)

    Yours, Larry
    ps. I just did some snooping around on ebay and found this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Stanley-Proto-Torque-Multiplier-6202A/124555407227?hash=item1d0014af7b:g:gkEAAOSwUbJgGJNd :p
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,119
    I've seen a few issues with heat pump water heaters at customers houses. Refrigerant leaks, failed compressors. When a boiler is already present I prefer to see an indirect tank being used for hot water.  Just about anything is preferred to a tankless coil.  

    A powered anode is probably the best investment for ensuring a long lifespan of the tank.  I've found that it's sometimes easier to remove the anode rod before the tank is installed.  Even if you are not going to replace it with a powered anode it would be wise to remove the anode rod and reinstall it after applying teflon tape and pipe dope to the threads. Then when the time comes to replace the anode rod you can be remove it without a major struggle.  
    I've had my fair share of problems removing anode rods. I usually drain just enough water to get the pressure off the tank, then I try to remove the anode rod with a breaker bar and a length of pipe as a cheater. I've had some that the full tank would turn before the rod broke loose.  I had a Bock 32E where nothing would break the rod free, not even a pneumatic impact wrench.  
    Larry Weingarten
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 804
    Alright here's a question I haven't seen asked yet: You know how these heat-pump compressors are ON TOP of electric water heaters? Has anyone changed an anode rod on one of these newer "beasts"?? I suspect it would be a nightmare. Do any water heaters have anode rods installed in side ports on the tanks? If not...WHY not?
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 804
    I think you are right because of the columnar shape of a tank, and heat stratification. I'm still curious about ACCESS to the anode rod(s) on heat pump water heaters. Anybody changed one?
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 804
    Thank you. That link was very helpful about anode rod location and replacement.
    Re warranty issue: I have had to replace a few Rheem motherboards under warranty.
    They mail them to me directly. They don't ask for the bad one back.
    But you need to have tech support authorize it. I think I mightn't mention anything about anode rod replacement. This would pertain to tank leaks only, I'm guessing.