The Tank › Replacement of Gas WH: AO Smith Vertex or regular? › Reply To: Replacement of Gas WH: AO Smith Vertex or regular?
As Randy and Larry have pointed out on this site in Water heaters 101, a well maintained heater will last a l-o-n-g time. A poorly maintained one won’t last as long. Replacing the anode can add many years to the life of even relatively inexpensive tank. So the length of the warranty would be less of a consideration than maintenance and perhaps other attributes. The warranties are also pro-rata, so if the tank dies in year 10 of a 12 year, you’re only going to get a small allowance toward a new one.
Do Google on FVIR and get up to speed on this new and bothersome technology. I personally like the Rheem and Bradford-White design because the air intakes are on the sides of the tank a few inches above the floor. I think this makes them more resistant to LDO (lint, dust and oils) that can be sucked into a flame arrestor screen that is exposed to open floor on the bottom of the tank. When the screen becomes restricted, the pilot goes out and the heater will often not stay lighted. Your present tank, if installed before 2003, is FVIR free and has no flame arrestor to clog. Watever you decide, ask about servicing the flame arrestor screen, how often, how to do it and is it a DIY job or do you need to call someone. If the salesperson doesn’t know or has no idea of what you’re talking about, politely excuse yourself and continue shopping.
As for warranties, my new BW has a 6 year tank warranty. BW would gladly extend that to 10 years if I give them $100. Same heater! Being a recent graduate of WaterheaterRescue Institute, I decided to pocket the $100 and put it toward a new anode in year 6.