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 Posted: Tue Jan 14th, 2020 12:24 am
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MarkH
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I have a U.S. Craftmaster Water Heater from 1990, nearly 30 years old, that has begun a small leak at the top so I have decided to replace it.

My research has led me to the A.O. Smith brand where I have found two models that appear to me to be identical, but I have read comments suggesting that the "big box store" version may not be as good as the "contractor" version. Was wondering what your perspective on this issue was?

The models:

from LOWES-
G12-UT4040NVR    4

Last edited on Tue Jan 14th, 2020 12:25 am by MarkH

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 Posted: Tue Jan 14th, 2020 12:41 am
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eleent
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Hello,  You'll need to ask at the stores, but one thing I've seen is that some big box stores are now pro-rating their warranty, much like tire warranties, so if a heater leaks half way through it's warranty, you get only half the value.  I'd stick with a full warranty and get the tank from a place that stocks repair parts.

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Tue Jan 14th, 2020 01:06 am
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MarkH
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Redo...

I have a U.S. Craftmaster Water Heater from 1990, nearly 30 years old, that has begun a small leak at the top so I have decided to replace it.

My research has led me to the A.O. Smith brand where I have found two models that appear to me to be identical, but I have read comments suggesting that the "big box store" version may not be as good as the "contractor" version. Was wondering what your perspective on this issue was?

The models:

from LOWES-
G12-UT4040NVR    40 Gallon Tall 12-Year 40,000 BTU ULN Natural Gas Water Heater  

from Contractor-
HUR-40    ProLineĀ® Master Ultra-Low NOx 40-Gallon Gas Water Heater

The HUR-40 only has an 8-Year warranty but they also mention "Blue Diamond" glass and "Green Choice", neither of which are mentioned in conjunction with the Lowes model. Both water heaters have a UEF of 0.64. The dimensions and specs look identical to me.

Are they the same machine or is the LOWES version somehow inferior?

Best Regards,

Mark Harrison

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 Posted: Tue Jan 14th, 2020 04:29 pm
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MarkH
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Hi again,

Also meant to ask about drain pans:

Haven't had a drain pan below the old water heater but want to add one now. The manuals I've looked at make a point of identifying a metal drain pan. I've been told that new construction in my area comes with a plastic drain pan. What are the pros and cons of going with one style over the other?

Sorry, this topic got lost when I originally posted. Should have previewed first and wouldn't have had that post truncated...

Best regards,

Mark Harrison

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 Posted: Wed Jan 15th, 2020 03:15 am
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eleent
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Hello,  Regarding drain pans, I actually prefer the plastic ones because they don't corrode. When water sits in one with steel feet from the heater in contact, the aluminum pan corrodes away and gets pinholes. Plastic pans are also easier to get a heater into than metal as they flex much more easily and without damage.
Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Wed Jan 15th, 2020 01:08 pm
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MarkH
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Hi again,

Glad to see your endorsement of the plastic pan. I was kinda thinking the same thing.

Thought of one more question. My new 20" diameter water heater will live in a dedicated water heater only closet which is ~ 24"x26". Any reason for not putting in a 24" pan versus the pan which is only 2" larger than the water heater itself?

Best regards,

Mark Harrison

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 Posted: Thu Jan 16th, 2020 12:00 am
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eleent
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Hi,  Yes, use the biggest pan that will fit.  This will allow better access to the drain valve. Also, it's more trouble, but if there is a way to use a pan that has a drain in the bottom rather than the side, it will do more to keep the base of the heater dry. ;)
Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Thu Jan 16th, 2020 06:41 am
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MarkH
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Hi Larry,

We're on the ground floor slab, so bottom drain is not an option. But your point reminds me that the old heater has feet whereas the A.O. Smith models I mentioned as replacements seem to have a recessed ring at the base. Haven't seen any bottom-up images of the unit to confirm this, but I thought this ring might serve as "feet" and be better option than the Rheem models I've seen that appear to sit flat on the ground.

I've attached an image that juxtaposes the lower portions of the two A.O. Smith models I mentioned at the beginning of the thread where you can see the recessed ring. The model on the right with the black trim is the Lowes version. I didn't realize until I put the images side-by-side, but the Lowes version looks to have a plastic drain outlet. What do you think about that in terms of durability and longevity?

Best regards,

Mark Harrison

Attachment: AOSmith_bases.png (Downloaded 5 times)

Last edited on Thu Jan 16th, 2020 06:44 am by MarkH

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 Posted: Thu Jan 16th, 2020 08:53 pm
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eleent
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Hi,  I'm not a fan of plastic drain valves for a number of reasons, including clogging, poor flow and weakness. With either heater, I'd replace the valve and install a plastic lined steel nipple then a ball valve followed by a hose adapter. This is sturdy and will give good flow for flushing the tank.  Actually that drain valve arrangement is sold on this site. :cool:
Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Thu Jan 16th, 2020 09:31 pm
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MarkH
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Hi Larry,

Regarding the drain valve, I found this explanation on the Lowes site this morning:
"Is this unit come with a plastic Drain Valve? Can it be replace with a brass drain valve?"
Anonymous on 01/02/2020

Answer this Question
Published by the A. O. Smith Team on 01/03/2020
The unit comes with a nylon drain valve to reduce standby heat loss. The drain valve should not be replaced with a metal drain valve. Doing so will increase the operating cost of the water heater due to increased heat loss through the metal drain valve. Thanks - Gabe

Thought I would have time to get this posted prior to your response, but you beat me to it... 

How would the replacement you describe perform in terms of standby heat loss?

Best regards,

Mark Harrison

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 Posted: Sat Jan 18th, 2020 12:31 am
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eleent
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Hello,  I imagine heat loss through the drain is a non-issue, but it would be interesting to measure. If it were a problem, the manufacturers wouldn't sell heaters with metal drains, metal pipe nipples on top, metal anode and metal relief valve. Convection in the hot and cold lines is likely a far bigger heat loss. Anyway, see attached thermal image. :cool:

Yours,  Larry

Attachment: Flir htr.JPG (Downloaded 2 times)

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