Which of these to buy?

The Tank Which of these to buy?

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  • #10211
    Perce
    Participant

    Our present WH(11 yrs old) has not yet failed, butwe are thinking of a preemptive replacement. Sears has a 5% dicount on theirs at present, which I understand are made by American Water Heater, a company with a good reputation. The models under consideration are shown here:

    http://www.kenmore.com/shc/s/Compare?storeId=10154&catalogId=12604&prodCount=3&partNumber_1=04233157000P&partNumber_2=04233916000P&partNumber_3=04233453000P

    Note, however, that the middle one, Model 33916, has a 9/9 warranty rather than the 12/12 shown in the table.

    The most expensive, Model 33453, claims to be the most economical (230 Therms/yr.) but has only a 3yr. warranty on parts other than the tank; even the 9yr. warranty model warrants all parts for 9 years. What’s more, it seems that there have been several failures of the electronics on the 33453.

    All three have 2 anodes and R16 insulation.

    I’m inclined towards the Model 3315 (242 Therms/yr.), but is there anything I’m overlooking? Why does it weigh 40lbs. less tha the more expensive one? Thinner tank material?

    I didn’t include a 6-yr one (only 1 anode; R8 insulation; $380; 258 Therms/yr.) in the comparison table, but could this even be a better deal in the long run if I added a second anode?

    I plan to install the thing myself. Am I correct in thinking that AO Smith are not available for DIY installs?

    #10212
    Pilsner73
    Participant

    The Kenmore tanks I looked at where either State or AO smith manufactured (State is owned by AO smith). I was ready to pull the trigger on a 40 gallon Kenmore NG but decided to go with the advice of the plumber I use and get a Bradford White. I think both Bradford White/AO smith are usually plumber sold.

    I would like to hear what people think of the electronic controls in regard to water heaters. Would it be easier to fix/work around a deadband problem or could they cause more issues?

    #10214
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    In many ways, you already know more than we do. Pilsner is right that Sears’ line is made by State Industries, which like American, is a subsidiary of A.O. Smith. Everybody except Bradford White has a bunch of lines under different names, often names of companies that were bought out. Keeping track of all their products would take more time than we have.

    I did check the links. I like that the high-priced one specifies two magnesium anodes. I couldn’t tell if the lefthand one has magnesium or aluminum because it didn’t say. I don’t know if the fancy electronics are an improvement or just a recipe for trouble. We’ve had a number of questions here about power-vent heaters, which have more electronics to malfunction and confuse.

    But don’t choose the middle one. For the same price, you’re getting one less anode, which is a key part of a heater’s rust protection.

    It would be nice to get a six-year with R-16, and add a second anode, but it may not be possible. You do want the extra insulation, as that will save you money every day you own the heater.

    Hope that helps.

    Randy Schuyler

    #10215
    Perce
    Participant

    elenano wrote:

    II did check the links. I like that the high-priced one specifies two magnesium anodes. I couldn’t tell if the lefthand one has magnesium or aluminum because it didn’t say. I don’t know if the fancy electronics are an improvement or just a recipe for trouble. We’ve had a number of questions here about power-vent heaters, which have more electronics to malfunction and confuse.

    I looked in the Owner’s Manuals for both (online) and saw that the part numbers for the anode rods (but not the secondary ones) are the same for both. So I guess that means that both have magnesium anodes.

    I do see in the Owner’s manual that the more expensive one has a fancy flue baffle with a twist. I guess this could contribute to the greater efficiency. But the main complaint I see about this model is a thermopile failure. I assume that, even if the warranty covers the replacement part, the charge for a service call to replace it will still apply. And I’m guessing that the whole control module would have to be replaced, which could be very expensive once the warranty has expired.

    I think the one on the left would be the safest bet. And I’ll follow your advice elsewhere to remove the anode and reinstall it with plenty of Teflon tape to ease later removal for inspection.

    Thanks for your help.

    #10307
    Perce
    Participant

    Called Sears to inqure about delivery cost, but they say that delivery is available only if they (i.e., their locally contracted installer, who may or may not have a clue) do the installation as well — for $230.

    So we’ll do an in-store pickup with a friend’s van.

    #10316
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello: Regarding the comment about a twistier baffle possibly being more efficient, it’s best to look at energy factor, (EF) to compare tanks. That measure, although not well liked in the industry, does give you something like mpg in cars. It will never be just what you get, but gives a good clue. Other things like insulation, are a given. More is better 😎

    Yours, Larry

    #10370
    Perce
    Participant

    eleent wrote:

    Hello: Regarding the comment about a twistier baffle possibly being more efficient, it’s best to look at energy factor, (EF) to compare tanks. That measure, although not well liked in the industry, does give you something like mpg in cars. It will never be just what you get, but gives a good clue. Other things like insulation, are a given. More is better 😎

    We got the 33157 (the one on the left) and found that it too has the twisty flue baffle, just like the more expensive one (the one on the right). This was not apparent in the parts diagram in the manual.

    The more expensive one does have a higher EF, but that may be due to the fancier (but apparently less reliable) electronic control system — with separate temperature sensors at top and bottom of the tank, if I recall correctly.

    Anyway, we are in business again, with a more efficient water heater than before. Next step is to install a pressure regulator to reduce that 80psi to something a bit more reasonable.

    Thanks again.

    #10683
    toor
    Participant

    Since Sears is in financial trouble, if they go belly up the will the WH warranty also be voided?

    #10685
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    Better ask Sears that, but the heater itself is not made by Sears, but by State Industries, a subsidiary of A.O. Smith.

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