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Reliance Water Heaters: Review and Buying Tips

Reliance gas water heaterReliance gas water heater

The Reliance Water Heater Company is the subsidiary of the largest producer of water heating equipment in North America, the A.O. Smith Corporation.

The Reliance company designs and manufactures electric and gas-powered water heaters for residential and commercial applications, mainly storage tanks and tankless types.

Reliance water heaters: Things to consider

Reliance electric water heaters

Reliance electric water heaters come in many sizes and models and with a warranty ranging from the industry standard of 6 to 12 years.

Models with an extended warranty of 12 years are the best choice not only due to corrosion protection but as they utilize the quality elements and features such as the heavy-duty anode and self-cleaning system.

Most models, especially the tall and standard electric type, utilize two heating elements that provide a 0.9 efficiency and faster recovery. Those water heaters that combine the electric elements and the heat pump have an energy factor of over 2.3 making them ultra-efficient and Energy Star compliant. These are known as hybrids or heat pumps.

Reliance water heater heat pumps (hybrids)

Reliance heat pumps (hybrids) are a desirable solution for homeowners who prefer electric heating and want to get better savings than the standard electric units.

The heat pumps are Energy Star compliant that work with high recovery rates, providing a sufficient amount of hot water for family sizes of up to five members. The heat pumps are called "hybrids" because they use two technologies to heat water.

When there is a high demand for hot water, the unit automatically switches from the heat pump mode to hybrid mode, engaging the electric heating elements to boost efficiency.

According to the manufacturer, annual energy costs range from a little over $100 to approximately $170 (year 2020), estimated savings are around $300, and the payback period is about three years.

Reliance heat pumps utilize a simple control panel with multiple settings and operating modes to maximize energy savings. This is the command center where you can set and control the temperature and operating modes or check the status.

There are four operating modes you can select at any time. The default mode is the hybrid mode. The operating modes can help you save, produce more hot water, or protect from freezing and unwanted energy loss.

Reliance heat pumps are covered with the 6 and 10-year warranty on the tank and its parts.

Reliance gas models

Reliance gas water heaters can run on natural or propane gas, and as the electric series, are found in many sizes and types; storing hot water inside the tank-type models or heating on-demand as tankless.

Some gas water heaters are designed as economy models (priced several hundred dollars), and some are built for high-demanding homes and customers who are looking for the most advanced technology followed by greater savings.

Most models from the gas series use the old fashion pilot light, while the best gas models utilize advanced features such as the electronic ignition, known as hot surface ignition, which is more reliable and does not waste energy.

Thanks to the Green Choice gas burner, Reliance offers eco-friendly models that have low NOx emission (some estimations show a reduction of 33%).

The factory built-in powered anode rod provides a longer heater’s life, and since it does not deplete over time, it eliminates the need for services.

The Reliance Sta-Kleen system utilizes the specially designed dip tube that reduces the lime and sediment buildup inside the tank.

The best Reliance gas water heater are mainly Energy Star approved, where the energy factor is at least 0.67, including high water recovery for high demanding homes and low NOx emission units.

The best models include water heaters from the atmospheric, power, direct, and power direct group, while the most efficient are condensing.

Reliance tankless models

The tankless group of Reliance water heaters does not utilize the storage tank but a heat exchanger, which allows on-demand water heating and an endless and continuous supply of hot water.

Reliance tankless units are small and compact, allowing easy and space-saving installation mainly on the wall. The high-efficiency operation is its greatest advantage, especially the condensing type, which carries the longest warranty of 15 years.

Top features

The best features found among the tank-type Reliance water heaters are the Sta-Kleen and automatic self-cleaning system, which helps in reducing sediment build-up, and non-sacrificial power anode that protects the metal tank from corrosion.

In contrast, the tankless models include condensing technology and advanced electronics that make the problem diagnostic easy.

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