Randy, thanks so much for taking the time to reply. All your comments are helpful. Having the tank dropped somewhere along the way is one aspect I hadn’t even thought of, but clearly obvious once you do. Sorry to have sort of misunderstood your statement in a previous reply to me, “Our take on this is that the tank brand doesn’t matter; they’re all made the same way.” I guess I sort of took that to mean your view was that all makes and models ARE basically the same “quality”, and the ONLY significant factor then would be how they are maintained. I completely agree with your point about each plumber having their own bias and “favorite” brand,and usually based on their own personal experience with seeing “bad ones”, which in most cases were simply situations where no maintenance was done, or water conditions and other factors contributed to the failure, but failure was attributed to quality of the tank. I’m actually kinda shocked at how almost NONE of the “plumbers” and contractors who install water heaters actually even realize regular maintenance should be done (beyond possibly periodic flushing etc). I will continue to search your site for other helpful info and continued education on this topic.