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Sears PowerMiser, Whirlpool. or GE water heater?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Mar 21st, 2009 09:12 pm
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jhebert
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I've been researching water heaters for a while now, and this site is the one I continue to return to. Thank you for hosting it and allowing non-experts to share in the knowledge here.

In my area I have 3 water heater options - Sears, Lowe's, and Home Depot. I don't personally have any plumber/contractor friends, so I don't believe I have any pro or inside options to pursue.

This means my choices are these for a 50 gallon, gas water heater, with 12 year warranty:
• Sears Power Miser 12 (thinking of the 33157 model)
• Whirlpool (they have both Energy Star and an Energy Smart models, other than a
   12/12 versus 12/6 warranty difference, it's hard to be sure of actual differences
   that equate to specific benefits)
• GE, model SG50T12AVG

I have a 4 person family (2 adults, 2 teens) in a 2000 square foot home on 2 floors. The bathrooms and kitchen are centrally located so there's very little delay in getting hot water to any faucet or shower. The downstairs bath has a jacuzzi tub, which is full just as the hot water runs out. It'd be nice to have more, as sometimes it's not enough.

Our old American water heater is now 20 years old, and has never been maintained (not by the previous owner, and I didn't know you were supposed to until beginning this research!). At times its hot water output seems "to run out" like you were the 3rd person to shower, even though you may be the first in the morning. Also, our dishwasher is showing signs of deterioration (eating away at the plastic-coated wire racks) and our glassware on the upper rack has a white crusty buildup. We've got some hard water.

I'm planning to replace the water heater, install a Fleck 5600 water conditioning system, and replace the dishwasher.

Here's where I'm stuck.

1) Is tankless a smarter option? Given the short run to the bath/kitchen, I don't think there would be that great a water waste each time it is used. Trouble is, most every post or resource I find leaves me so-so, without a strong recommendation for or against. 

2) Is the 12-year warranty the way to go? I don't find any 6/9 year warranty systems with 2 inch insulation or higher EF values that can be "made better" using the techniques and tools on this web site.

3) Is there a clear choice between these 4 options (1 of the 3 storage tanks, or a tankless)? 

I'd appreciate any comments, direction, or further questions if you can help me pin down a solution that seems likeliest to serve my needs.

Thank you!


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 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 01:16 am
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Ej
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I'll narrow your choices a bit for you.  Sears and Wirlpool are the same heaters made by A.O. Smith.  Just painted with a different color.  A very basic rule with warranty periods is that you are paying for the insurance for the extended coverage with the longer warranties. Sure there might be a brass hose valve compared to a plastic one or a difference in anodes and the warranty for labor still remains one year for all models.  If you live in a low nox county do a search for which water heater will work best for you.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 03:44 am
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elenano
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I think this would be a good time to try out one or two of the manufacturers' sizing programs. You don't want to be thinking just in terms of gallons, but also in terms of Btu input. And I agree that getting thicker insulation trumps the issue of prefitting a heater with my parts. If you have to get a 12-year warranty to get the extra insulation, do it.

Filling a Jacuzzi tub is one place that tankless heaters have it all over tank heaters. We are less certain whether you'll see energy efficiency gains. I would suggest that you read my page on tankless heaters. It describes some of their drawbacks.

Once you've figured out what size (gallons plus Btu input) tank you'd need if you went that route, you should weigh its cost against the cost of tankless.

Remember that hard water is harder on tankless than on tank heaters.

These are just random thoughts, but I think you need to study this and weigh that and in the end, you should come to a good decision.

Randy Schuyler

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 Posted: Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 05:27 am
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eleent
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Hello:  One small point about tub filling.  It is not the usual way to do it, but as it is so close, try filling the tub only with hot for bout 3/4 of the fill (for example, 30 of 40 gallons).  Then, feel the water and top off as needed to get the right temp.  It is a trick for getting the most from a marginal situation.  If it works well, make sure your replacement has a similar gallonage and BTU rating.

 Another possibility is to put an electric heater and pump in place with the Jacuzzi to be able to boost its temp separately.  That could allow you to save some money on the main heater also ;)

Yours,  Larry

ps. If there is an upstairs shower or you have a big crawl space, a shower heat exchanger could do a lot to reduce the load on the heater.

Last edited on Sun Mar 22nd, 2009 05:28 am by eleent

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 Posted: Tue Aug 18th, 2009 04:55 pm
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spikemedic
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A very basic rule with warranty periods is that you are paying for the insurance for the extended coverage with the longer warranties. but is that all the warranty could cover?


____________________

Last edited on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 04:24 am by Admin

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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2009 01:01 am
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Ej
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Yes.  Where you expecting something else?

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 Posted: Wed Aug 19th, 2009 04:27 am
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Admin
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Spikemedic,

I deleted the link in your post. Please don't do that again. Perhaps it was accidental, but I frown on anybody who uses or appears to be using my board as an advertising device. But mostly I'll leave a link in if it's relevant to the topic under discussion.

For others: the link said "medical insurance" and jumped to a health-care site.

Randy Schuyler
Tank Administrator

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