There are a few advantages to the newer water heaters that are on the market today. While not all of them are high quality tanks, there are several manufacturers that produce a high quality tank. The two most recommended water heaters are AO Smith and Bradford White.
Anode rod can make water smell funny
The anode rod can usually be replaced. However some water heaters are so old and corroded that it is not recommended to try and replace the Anode rod. The anode rod is designed to protect the outside walls of the tank from corrosion. Instead of the sediment building up around the tank and making it leak it will first build up around the anode rod.
When an anode rod is old it can start to rot away which can cause the hot water to have a foul smell. Many of the water heaters today do not have Anode rods, we typcially notice that tanks with Anode rods tend to last a little longer.
Sediment makes the water heater less efficient
Most of the water heaters that we cut open in the Kansas City area have some sediment inside of the tank. While some areas have harder water than others, in general the older the tank the more sediment.
Sediment builds up inside of the bottom of the tank which insulates the water from the flame of the burner. This increases the amount of time that it takes to heat the water which lowers the efficiency. Heavy sediment buildup also reduced the amount of water that can be heated inside the tank. That’s why its such a good idea to flush out your tank every 6 – 12 months.
Water heaters will cost more in 2015
The energy requirements for water heaters were changed back in 2004 which required tanks to have a .59 energy factor. In April of 2015 the water heater efficiency requirements will change again. Tanks over 55 gallons will especially be affected which will require an energy factor of .76 on all gas models.
Residential models under 55 gallons will be required to have an energy factor of .62 which may convert many models over to a power vent variety. A power vent water heater works a lot like a high efficiency furnace. The exhaust for a power vent water heater does not run out the into the flue or chimney liner. Instead it vents out the side of the house.