The Whirlpool N40S61-403, 40 Gallon is ideal for the average home; quiet, yet powerful it's capable of providing enough hot water for several consecutive showers. It's not Energy Star-certified but does run on natural gas. Owners say they notice a reduction in energy costs using this water heater.
Quick installation, fast recovery. The Whirlpool N40S61-403, 40 Gallon is quiet, heats water quickly and has an ample capacity for several consecutive showers, according to owners posting feedback to Lowes.com. Others posting reviews at WhirlpoolWaterHeaters.com concur, noting it recovers very quickly after usage.
Reviewers say the Whirlpool N40S61-403 is easy to install, with most saying it takes two hours or less from start to finish (hot water ready).
No Energy Star rating but uses more-efficient gas. The Whirlpool N40S61-403 isn't Energy Star-rated, with an Energy Factor of 0.59. Gas water heaters must have an Energy Factor of equal to or greater than 0.67 in order to qualify for the Energy Star rating.
However, the Whirlpool 6th Sense 40-Gallon 6-Year Short Gas Water Heater uses propane gas, a more affordable and efficient fuel than electricity. Quite a few owners say they've noticed a reduction in their energy bills after installing and using the unit.
Middle-of-the-road pricing. At about $420, the N40S61-403 isn't the cheapest water heater available -- but it does cost far less than some more-expensive hybrid versions. Whirlpool water heaters are sold exclusively through Lowe's and WhirlpoolWaterHeaters.com, which often offer free installation with purchase. Owners posting reviews on both retailers' websites suggest taking advantage of this offer for both cost savings and convenience. Typically, the service professionals will also remove an old water heater for free.
The Whirlpool 6th Sense 40-Gallon 6-Year Short Gas Water Heater N40S61-403 is backed by a six-year parts and tank warranty, plus one year of included labor. Some owners report problems with malfunctioning parts, such as the gas control valve and thermostat.
About 280 owners have commented on the N40S61-403 at Lowes.com, where it earns an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Owners say it's easy to install, and 95 percent of reviewers say they'd recommend this model to a friend.
Review: Whirlpool 6th Sense 40-Gallon 6-Year Short Gas Water Heater (Natural Gas), Contributors to Lowes.com, As of October 2013
WhirlpoolWaterHeaters.com is a licensed Whirlpool partner selling Whirlpool-brand water heaters. Nearly 350 owners have reviewed the Whirlpool N40S61-403, contributing an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Owners say it's easy to install and energy efficient.
Review: 40 Gallon Short Natural Gas Water Heater - 6 Year Warranty, Contributors to WhirlpoolWaterHeaters.com, As of October 2013
This 2008 study from BuilderOnline.org surveys 3,428 builders and contractors on water heater brand preferences and usage, along with a variety of other building products. Whirlpool water heaters are used by 8 percent of survey respondents, falling behind A.O. Smith, Rheem, Bradford White and other popular brands.
Review: 2008 Builder Brand Study, Editors of BuilderOnline.org, March 31, 2008