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Question DetailsAsked on 3/7/2015

who makes the best gas 40 gallon hot water heater

I want a high efficiency with a 10 year warranty atmospheric vent hot water heater that has fast recovery

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2 Answers


We can't really answer the question, but you don't need a "hot" water heater at all since, by its very definition, the water is ostensibly already hot - there would appear to be no logical reason to heat hot water. Just a plain old water heater (or actually, cold water heater) is sufficient!

Dr. D. T. Sommer, Pen-Comm Engineering

Answered 5 years ago by PenComm


I can't figure out if PenComm was being obtuse, trying to be funny, or one of the few people in the world who does not recognize a "hot water heater" as being the same as a "water heater".

Anyway - if you want a very high efficiency unit, then it will not be atmospheric - it will generate "condensing" exhaust which is vented with a draft fan essentially horizontally through a nearby side wall. Fast recovery units are available in all types - are basically just a matter of designing for overfiring the heater beyond what would normally be done for that heater size, which means it will be less efficient than otherwise because faster heating generally means less efficient heat recovery from the hot gases to the water.

Generally, a larger unit (within reason) is more energy efficient that a fast-recovery unit for normal residential use, unless you go to a tankless on-demand unit which is designed to (theoretically) essentially instantaneous recovery because it is supposed (though commonly do not) keep up with the demand indefinitely.

So - you will have to figure if very fast recovery is what you want or if a larger unit (up to about 50-55 gallons) which is not dramatically more expensive than a 40 gallon tank will do - get above that and you are into larger commercial sized units that jump up quite a bit in price.

Then figure if atmospheric flue or higher efficiency (say above about 80% efficient) is more important for you, and where cost comes into the picture for you, because condensing units and tankless units are quite a bit more expensive than comparable normal water heaters.

You also have the possibility of a hybrid water heater if that interests you - several recent discussions on that in the Home ? Plumbing link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

If you go to Browse All Questions towards upper right, on of the first page of most popular questions is one about water heater cost, with well over 100 questions with answers presented there - including some discussions about the above factors.

For my money, a 10-12 year Kenmore (made by State I believe) seems to be a very reliable unit over the years that consistently last pushing 20 years in a large percentage of cases.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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