This GE gas water heater costs more initially than a budget model, but the 12-year warranty and lower operating costs make it a good value. If you're replacing an electric water heater, you can save a lot in most parts of the country by switching to gas or even propane. This 50-gallon GE provides 83 gallons of hot water for the first hour of peak usage, more than many families need -- so if you can get by on 73 gallons for your household's peak hour, you can save money by downsizing to the 40-gallon GE Energy Star SG40T12AVG, which meets Energy Star requirements.
We found an ample number of owner-written reviews and ratings of this GE gas water heater at HomeDepot.com. As a water-heater brand, GE is rated and ranked by more than 3,400 builders and contractors at BuilderOnline.org, and an earlier survey at J.D. Power and Associates covers its manufacturer, Rheem/Ruud. A detailed article by a plumber contractor at 411plumb.com compares the Rheem/Ruud/GE Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) safety system with the ones used by two other major manufacturers.
About a dozen and a half owners review the 50-gallon GE Energy Star gas water heater here, giving it such high average ratings that it's the top-ranked gas model. The 40-gallon version also earns high praise but from fewer reviewers.
Review: GE Energy Star 50 Gallon Natural Gas Tall 12 YR Water Heater, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
In comparison with 12 other brands for water-heater quality, GE ranks in the middle in this 2007 survey of 3,428 builders and contractors.
Review: 2008 Builder Brand Study, Editors of BuilderOnline.org, March 31, 2008
3. J.D. Power and Associates
This survey of nearly 900 contractors and subcontractors doesn't cover GE, but ranks Rheem/Ruud (the company that makes GE water heaters) second only to A. O. Smith -- based on six factors in addition to product quality: warranty and repair service, ordering process, credit/billing, delivery, price and sales and marketing support. GE ranks above Whirlpool, State, Takagi (a tankless water-heater brand), Kenmore and Maytag.
Review: HVAC and Water Heater/Boiler Subcontractor Satisfaction Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, September 2006
When Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) safety regulations began requiring manufacturers to redesign gas water heaters to seal the pilot light away from exposure to flammable gases outside the water heater, major manufacturers scrambled to come up with viable designs. Although this review by an experienced plumber gives top ranking to the Bradford White design, Rheem's design -- also used on GE gas water heaters -- is ranked a close second.
Review: Bradford White Defender FVIR System Water Heater Review, Editor of 411plumb.com, August 2009