Water Heater Warranties (Compare All Major Brands)

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One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make when buying a new water heater is to focus entirely on features or cost. True, these are important aspects, but what happens when that heater you bought with all the bells and whistles breaks? Will the warranty cover repairs, or are you left to fend for yourself?

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Every major water heater company has its own warranties and limitations. Some cannot be transferred to new owners, while others limit the issues it might cover.

Comparing warranties from various companies can be an important first step in narrowing down what brands you want to choose from before making that big purchase.

American Water Heaters Warranty

American Water Heaters warrantyFirst appearing in 2002, American Water Heaters is currently a subsidiary of A.O. Smith. This hasn’t stopped the company from producing high-quality models that rival their parent company, however. Options include gas, electric, tankless, and solar models.

Warranty Length

Depending upon the specific model, an American warranty may cover six, eight, or ten years. You can tell the warranty at a glance by examining the first two to three digits of the model number. The length drops to one year when the heater is installed in any building other than a single family home.

What’s Covered

American Water Heater warranties are limited in nature and cover the inner tank lining and defective components. It does not include labor, incorrect installation, or if it fails to meet certain criteria.

In addition, the original purchaser must continuously reside in the home and the warranty cannot be transferred, even if the house is sold.

Sample Warranty Sheets

American Standard Warranty

American Standard warrantyJohn B. Pierce bought a struggling tin factory and began the Standard Manufacturing Company, most noted for developing a sanitary coating for tubs in 1880. This company merged with the American Radiator company in 1929 to form American Standard.

Today, American Standard Water Heaters is one of numerous companies owned by American Standard, focusing on top-quality heaters for home and commercial use.

Warranty Length

American Standard offers a 6 or 12 year limited tank and parts warranty, often allowing the buyer to upgrade to the 12 year warranty for an additional fee. These warranties function the same regardless of length.

What’s Covered

The glass lining is covered for the warranty period and will be replaced if failure is due to a manufacturing defect. For warranty extensions, a second anode must be installed at the time of registration. The parts warranty is a little less restrictive and provides a replacement for any part that fails within the warranty period.

Registering for the warranty must occur no later than the time of installation. Shipping of any parts is free, but labor costs are not included. Additionally, problems caused by improper installation or use are not covered by the warranty.

Sample Warranty Sheet

A.O. Smith Warranty

Perhaps the biggest name in water heaters, A.O. Smith began as a simple hardware company and now owns a large percentage of the brands covered here. Their current lineup includes gas, electric, tankless, and even solar powered heaters.

Warranty Length

A.O. Smith has some of the longest warranties in the industry, with some tankless models being covered for 15 years. Most models will have a six, eight, or ten year warranty.

What’s Covered

All A.O. Smith warranties cover defective glass linings and parts. The period is reduced to one year (for six year warranties) or three years (for 10 year warranties) if the water heater is being used for non-residential use.

In order for the warranty to be valid for the maximum period, the homeowner must be able to provide proof of the sales date. Otherwise, the warranty begins at the date listed on the ratings plate.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Bosch Warranty

Bosch warrantyKnown for a wide range of products in Europe, the American branch, Bosch Thermotechnology, places a key focus on energy efficiency. Their range of tankless, gas, point-of-use, and heat pump electric heaters are all designed to make life easier without the expense.

Residential water heaters tend to be either tankless or mini-tank, requiring the least amount of space possible without reducing your hot water supply.

Warranty Length

Bosch products have a wide range of warranty lengths, depending upon the setup and usage. Starting at three years for a tankless heater with uncontrolled recirculation to a reassuring 15 years for a non-recirculation model, the basic warranty length varies only in regards to the heat exchangers.

Other warranty terms follow a more universal 5 years for parts and 1 year for reasonable labor. Warranty coverage begins on the date of installation (when proof of installation is provided) or date of manufacture.

What’s Covered

There are three points covered in all Bosch warranties. The warranty itself is non-transferrable and requires proper installation and usage to remain valid.

A limited labor coverage of one year is provided in the event of faulty parts. General parts have a five-year guarantee against defects, regardless of the overall warranty for tankless models and two years for storage (tank) models.

Finally, the variable term of the warranty is affected by the usage of a tankless model and covers just the heat exchanger for a period of three to 15 years. Mini-tanks have a 6 year inner tank warranty.

These warranties won’t cover relocated units, damage from misuse, or additional maintenance and fees incurred through normal use. Bosch also reserves the right to examine the unit to ensure any claims meet with warranty terms.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Bradford White Warranty

Bradford White warrantyNot only is Bradford White a leader in innovation, the company is one of the oldest still in business. They are credited to having the first power-vented water heater and they also have a LEED-certified training facility to ensure they stay act the forefront ecologically as well as technologically.

Warranty Length

Bradford White promises a limited warranty of six years. However, warranty lengths tend to follow a trickle-down system rather than a single length of time.

For example, the first year generally covers the inner tank lining and parts. After the first year, only the inner lining tends to be covered. Gas tanks will also have a prorated limited warranty for heat exchangers up to 20 years.

What’s Covered

The inner tank lining and components are all protected from manufacturing defects so long as the unit is not relocated, even if the home has changed hands. However, the warranty is invalid for any unit manufactured or purchased from a third party.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Kenmore Warranty

Kenmore warrantyWhen you hear the name Kenmore, your first thought is probably kitchen appliances. However, the company also has a fine range of water heaters that adhere to the same high standards of quality you’ve come to expect from this legendary brand.

Warranty Length

The duration of the warranty is either 6, 9 or 12 years, depending on the model. The length is reduced to two years for tank and one year for parts when used in a multi-family or non-residential application.

What’s Covered

All warranties are only valid when installation and maintenance are handled by a Sears technician. It only covers defects in material or workmanship, with any authorized defects in the first year resulting in free replacement and later problems being replaced without labor coverage.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Navien Warranty

Navien warrantyYounger and less well-known than most other brands, KD Navien is focused on creating efficient, environmentally-friendly products. Their tankless water heaters are some of the best in the industry.

Warranty Length

All Navien residential tankless heaters include five year coverage for parts and 15 for the heat exchanger. Using a residential unit for a non-residential function reduces this warranty to three years for parts and ten years for the heat exchanger.

What’s Covered

As with other companies, Navien’s warranty requires proper installation and use. Not only are the heat exchanger and parts covered, all Navien residential water heaters include labor for the first year.

Replacement parts must be Navien original factory parts and are also covered for the remainder of the warranty period. To activate the warranty, registration must be completed within 30 days of purchase and proof of purchase date provided.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Noritz Warranty

Noritz warrantyWith a strong emphasis on energy savings, Noritz is famous for its gas tankless water heaters. All of their heaters are eco-friendly and highly efficient, making them one of the best choices for modern homes.

Warranty Length

Noritz residential warranties provide a 1/5/12 length (one year labor, five years parts, 12 years heat exchanger) when installed and used properly. Commercial or multi-family use reduces the heat exchanger warranty length to three years or uses pre-heated/circulated water.

Controlled recirculation systems are permitted without warranty reduction for series NR83, NR98, NRCC111, and NR111 water heaters

What’s Covered

The heat exchanger is guaranteed free of defects for 12 years (or 6,500 operational hours), with a limited parts warranty of five years. Labor by an authorized Noritz technician is covered upon claim approval for the first year of the warranty period, which begins on either the day of installation or 30 days from the date of purchase, whichever is first.

The warranty registration must be received within 35 days of the purchase date to be valid.

Note that some models also allow for recirculation systems in the warranty. These units must have an aquastat as the minimum pump control requirement in order to maintain warranty coverage.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Reliance Warranty

Reliance warrantyA subsidiary of A.O. Smith, Reliance is another company that’s pushing the envelope in eco-friendly products. Their water heaters incorporate the latest technology as it becomes available, making them a company you can truly rely on.

Warranty Length

Reliance water heaters have a wide range of warranty lengths based upon the type. Electric water heaters may be covered for 3, 6, 9, or 12 years. Gas water heaters are covered for either 6, 9, or 12 years. Meanwhile, electric heat pump water heaters have a 6 or 10 year warranty period and tankless water heaters are covered for ten years.

What’s Covered

All warranties provide one year of parts labor. With the exception of tankless water heaters, parts and tank lining are covered the full length of the lease. Tankless heater parts are only covered for five years.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Rheem Warranty

Rheem warrantyOne of the most famous names in water heaters, Rheem places a strong emphasis on quality and customer care. Their warranties reflect this, with comprehensive coverage and the ability to extend the warranty and coverage.

Rheem owns the Richmond brand and has a reputation for long remaining at the forefront of water heater technology.

Warranty Length

Rheem offers one of the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. Not only do most models have a limited or conditional five or ten year parts and replacement warranty, but some gas units have conditional lifetime replacement coverage. Additionally, many gas models have a 20 year or limited lifetime heat exchanger warranty.

Even more impressive, Rheem’s Protection Plus extended service protection may be purchased along with the unit to add four more years to the warranty length. This warranty extension comes in several different plan options,  providing regular maintenance and repair for the water heater at no additional cost.

What’s Covered

Rheem warranties provide repair or replacement due to manufacturing defects to the inner tank, heat exchanger, and parts. Labor is not included unless part of a Protection Plus program. The unit must be installed by a qualified HVAC technician and online purchases are not covered.

One of the unusual benefits of a Rheem warranty is that the base (not conditional) parts warranty can be transferred to a new owner for a small $25 fee so long as the transfer happens within 30 days of closing.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Richmond Warranty

Richmond warrantyA subsidiary of Rheem, Richmond water heaters retain the same level of quality as those belonging to their parent company. Many boast self-cleaning capabilities and all share a high level of efficiency.

Warranty Length

Warranties for Richmond products cover the inner tank and parts for a period of six, nine, or 12 years. Commercial use of a residential heater reduces this warranty length.

What’s Covered

Richmond’s warranties cover both the tank and parts. In most cases, these share the same warranty length, although some water heaters may have a limited lifetime warranty on the tank itself.

A replacement water heater by Richmond or Rheem is generally covered in the event of failure due to a manufacturing defect. It should be noted that Richmond water heaters often have warranties backed by their parent company (Rheem), with much of the wording reflecting this.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Rinnai Warranty

Rinnai warrantyRinnai is not only a leader in innovation, there’s a good chance you’ve used their products without realizing it. The company manufactures water heaters for both GE and Bradford White in addition to their own name brand units.

Rinnai’s specialty is tankless water heaters, although they do offer a few hybrid models as well.

Warranty Length

Rinnai’s name brand water heaters carry a 1/5/10 year (one year labor, five years parts, ten years heat exchanger). The heat exchanger term is extended to 12 years when installed with a tankless isolation valve kit.

However, the warranty is reduced to three years in the event the unit is hooked up to a hot water circulation loop that doesn’t involve on-demand recirculation.

What’s Covered

Rinnai is one of the few companies that honor DIY installation, although they recommend the task be performed by a professional who has attended classes in Rinnai brand installation.

Reasonable labor costs are covered, so long as any replacement parts are official Rinnai manufacture and handled by a qualified technician.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Ruud Warranty

Ruud warrantyRuud’s founder is credited with inventing the world’s first true water heater, the rights to which he purchased upon leaving Westinghouse. More than one hundred years later, Ruud is owned by Rheem and remains known for some of the best quality water heaters and customer service in the industry.

Warranty Length

Ruud water heaters come with a three, five, or six year warranty for tank and parts. LIFEGUARD components carry a three year warranty. Some warranties also include one year of labor. Tankless models feature a 12-year heat exchanger warranty (reduced to five years for commercial use) and five years for parts.

What’s Covered

Warranties for Ruud follow the Rheem model, providing coverage for manufacturing defects. Replacement units are provided upon approval, so long as they are official Rheem products. Residential warranties only cover single-family homes, and units installed outside of this criteria have a reduced warranty term of only one year.

Sample Warranty Sheet

State Warranty

State water heaters reviewState water heaters provide excellent quality for the price. The company is famous for producing the first water heater to use foam insulation between the jacket and tank. Today, they are a subsidiary of A.O. Smith but have only grown in popularity.

Warranty Length

Most models carry a warranty length of six, eight, or ten years, with tankless models including a 5-year chamber and one year parts warranty length. As with most brands, the warranty length is reduced when not used for a single-family residential unit.

What’s Covered

A defective tank or tankless unit will be replaced once per warranty upon approval, with a similar model being substituted in the event the original model is no longer available. Likewise, components are only covered for a single replacement upon approval. Tank models have an additional T&P placement requirement before the warranty is valid.

Sample Warranty Sheet

Stiebel Eltron Warranty

Stiebel Eltron warrantySomething of an underdog in the US, this brand is quite popular in Europe. Stiebel Eltron specializes in mini-tank and tankless water heaters with a focus on quality and efficiency. The small size and compatibility with US outlets means you can install them just about anywhere.

Warranty Length

Mini tank models carry a six year limited warranty against defects and two years against failure. Tankless models are covered for seven years with a three year failure protection.

What’s Covered

Due to their small size, Stiebel Eltron water heaters may be shipped to the company for repair or replacement (cost of shipping is not covered) upon authorization or parts sent to the owner.

The longer term in the warranty covers manufacturer’s defects to the tank or parts, while the shorter term provides replacement in the event of a defective unit failing.

Sample Warranty Sheets

Warranty Comparison Chart

BrandLength (Years)IncludesExcludesTransferrable?
American6, 8, or 10Defective components, inner tank liningBad install, labor, non-residential, vacation homesNo
American Standard6 or 12Inner tank lining, partsLate registration, single anode at upgradeUnknown
A.O. Smith6, 8, or 10Defective components, inner tank lining, non-residentialImproper install/use, vacation homesNo
Bosch3, 5, 6, 10, or 15Inner tank, heat exchanger, parts, labor (1 year)Improper install/use, relocated unitNo
Bradford White6Inner tank, partsDry-fired elements, improper install/use, natural disasters, relocated unitYes
Kenmore6, 9, or 12Heat exchanger, inner tank, parts, labor (1 year)Improper install/use, install by non-Sears tech, unreadable info plateYes
Navien5/15Heat exchanger (15 years), parts (5 years), labor (1 year)Improper install/use, non-Navien partsUnknown
Noritz5/12Heat exchanger (12 years), parts (5 years), recirculation systemImproper install/use, natural disastersUnknown
Reliance3, 6, 9, 10, or 12Heat exchanger, parts, tank, labor (1 year)Corrosive environment damage, improper install/use, natural disastersNo
Rheem5, 10, or lifetimeDefective components, heat exchanger, inner tank lining, partsCorrosive environment damage, improper install/use, natural disasters, relocated unitPartially
Richmond6, 9, or 12Defective components, heat exchanger, inner tank lining, partsImproper install/use, labor, relocated unitNo
Rinnai10, 11, or 12Heat exchanger, parts, labor (1 year)Improper install/use, natural disasters, relocated unit, unauthorized dealersYes
Ruud3, 5, or 12Heat exchanger, inner tank lining, parts, labor (1 year)Improper install/use, natural disasters, relocated unitNo
State5, 6, 8, or 10Heat exchanger, inner tank lining, partsImproper install/use, natural disasters, relocated unitNo
Stiebel Eltron5 or 7Full unit failure, partsImproper install/use, natural disasters, relocated unitNo

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