GE Water Heaters: Review and Buying Tips

Explore electric and gas GE water heaters designed for traditional tank and advanced tankless water heating in residential applications. See the advantages, benefits, and buying tips.

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Thomas Edison founded the General Electric company in 1907, and for over a hundred years, it was, and is, one of the most trusted and recognized names in the HVAC industry and wide, in the US and Canada.

Water heaters are sold under the GE name but are designed and built by the Rheem manufacturer.

GE water heaters: Types

Various GE water heaters are available for your residential hot water heating, from the small point-of-use or whole-house heaters powered by gas or electricity to advanced tankless and high efficient models.

The majority of the General Electric water heaters are standard or conventional tank-type models that come mostly with the popular tank sizes of 30, 40, and 50 gallons and are used for whole-house water heating.

Small sizes, such as the point-of-use, are ideal for supplemental heating and fast hot water delivery, while tankless is used for continuous and on-demand hot water delivery.

GE electric water heaters

GE Electric Water HeaterGE Electric Water Heater
(photo: GE)

GE electric water heaters with water storage tanks can be found from the smallest 2.5-gallon size (under-sink type) used mainly for one fixture to the large 50-gallon models used for multiple applications and families with 3-5 persons.

Based on the available space and installation viability, homeowners have options to choose between the Lowboy, Short, Space Saver, and Tall models. The main differences between the above types are their capacity, the number of heating elements, and the height.

Depending on the size, demand, and water heating needs, you can buy over 40 electric models with one or two heating elements, that operate on 120 or 240 Volts and offer various wattages.

The best electric tank-type water heaters from GE come with a long warranty of 12 years and include quality elements and advanced features.

The top models come with two powerful stainless steel heating elements for fast water heating, quick recovery and high first-hour rate.

They have durable sensing anode rods for longer protection and advanced electronics with built-in Wi-Fi and a digital display for easy and precise temperature and mode adjustments. Most models are equipped with the top connection, while some offer side ports, for easier installation.

GE electric water heaters are also available with tankless technology, providing hot water on demand and in endless supply for point-of-use or whole-home applications. The most powerful models come with heating elements that can deliver 27 kW of power and over 5 GPM hot water.

Electric water heaters are ideal for those who prefer simple technology and easy installation. They deliver clean operation because there is no gas combustion and ventilation, no complex repairs and maintenance.

They use electricity which is widely used throughout North America. Due to their affordable purchase price and installation costs they are one of the most cost-effective options. The only drawbacks are the higher operating costs, longer recovery times, and slower water heating.

GE gas water heaters

GE gas water heaterGE gas water heater
(photo: GE)

GE gas water heaters with storage tanks are built in a capacity range from 30 to 50 gallons, the latter being the most popular type.

Models with 30 gallons are recommended for small houses, apartments, and condos, while larger units are for multiple-bath homes and households with up to 4-5 persons.

Based on their height and diameter, you have two options to choose from; short, designed for rooms with a lower ceiling, and tall, which is the standard and most used type.

GE gas water heaters are built only with atmospheric venting, factory set to use natural or propane gas, and a simple pilot ignition to light the gas burner inside the combustion chamber.

The best gas models from GE come with a 12-year warranty and powerful burners that can provide fast water heating and quick recovery, which is important when you have a busy, demanding family.

These models are equipped with a few safety systems to prevent extremely high temperatures from affecting the safe water heating operation and accidental ignition of the flammable vapors.

One of the main components - a gas control valve, is self-diagnostic and self-powered, using a LED indicator to show when there is a problem with the unit.

As opposed to other major water heating brands, GE doesn't offer power and direct vent models, including gas tankless.

Also, since the energy efficiency (UEF) is around 0.63-0.64, they are not Energy Star approved and eligible for rebates and tax credits.

Gas water heaters are the most popular option for water heating in the US and Canada. They use gas burners to burn natural gas or propane, directly heating water stored inside the storage tank.

Homeowners have options to buy an atmospheric, power, or direct vent, condensing or non-condensing, with low gas emission or not.

The main benefits include the following:

  • Lower operating costs.
  • Fast water heating.
  • Ability to operate during power outages.
  • Energy Star compliance (where applicable).

On the side, they are not as safe and clean as electric, have shorter lifespans, and installation is more complex and expensive.

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