US Craftmaster Water Heater Review: Features, Price, And More

Published by 
AllThingsHVAC
Last updated: 
June 30, 2018

If the warranty for your water heater is ticking down to its last months or even expired years ago, it’s time to think about purchasing a new water heater. In some cases, especially in homes with soft water, the water heater may not even last the entire warranty period. The good news is that modern water heaters are more energy efficient than ever. These newer heaters may cost a bit more upfront but will end up saving you money on your utility bills over time.

While there are many water heater manufacturers out there, one of the most popular is U.S. Craftmaster. This company offers both gas and electric water heaters, along with hybrids and tankless heaters. Today, we’ll look at what you can expect if you buy one of their products while offering purchasing tips as we go.Choice of Products

The products we are reviewing in this article are from the current U.S. Craftmaster line. They are all available right now, which is essential for someone who may be looking to purchase a new water heater. We look at everything from the type of water heater it is to the price, features and extras. We also consider other expert and buyer reviews when determining how to review each water heater. We hope to provide you with reliable information that you can use as you choose your next water heater.

Top 5 U.S. Craftmaster Water Heaters in 2018

High-Efficiency Atmospheric Gas Water Heater

The first heater we’re going to look at is a gas heater that is exceptionally efficient while also being accessible to the average person. It can install with the same venting, gas and water connections as a traditional atmospheric model, so there’s no need to put money into converting to a condensing or tankless water heater. This water heater is Energy Star-certified and includes an eco-friendly burner that helps lower NOx emissions.

This water heater comes in 40 or 50-gallon capacities with an energy factor of 0.70, giving you a savings of up to 25% when compared to a water heater made a decade or more ago. The smaller option is best for a family of three or four, while the larger one is best for families of five or more. The electronic ignition is also safe, as it has no standing pilot or standard vent.

When it comes to user control, there are easy-to-read LCD controls for service diagnostics and temperature adjustments. The heater also comes with a 12-year warranty on the tank and parts and a 1-year limited warranty on labor. Since this is an Energy Star product, it may qualify for state or national government rebates to save money on the product.

Electric Heat Pump Water Heater

This is a hybrid water heater model, which means it can provide extreme energy efficiency. This type of heater absorbs heat from the air and uses that heat for the water inside the tank. This U.S. Craftmaster water heater has four different modes to choose from.• Electric Mode – Operates as a typical electric water heater• Hybrid Mode – Operates using the heat pump along with heating elements to increase efficiency and performance• Efficiency Mode – Operates utilizing the heat pump for water, and will revert to heating elements if incoming water or air temperatures are outside of the ideal operating range• Vacation Mode – For up to 99 days, maintains the tank temperature at 60 degrees Fahrenheit while on an extended vacation or absenceThis water heater has an eye-level display that is user-friendly. The screen shows the mode of the heater, the set point and displays any service messages. It also operates with a SmartPort, which allows connection to Smart Grid and home management mobile apps. The heater is CSA-certified and has an ASME-rated relief valve for outstanding safety.This hybrid heater can operate in hybrid mode for as little as $125 a year and is quiet at only 51 de compared to other models. It also includes 84-gallon first-hour delivery, which meets requirements for a home with six bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. It comes in 50, 66, and 80-gallon options with a uniform energy factor of between 3.52 and 2.73, depending on size.

Energy Efficient Gas Water Heater

This is the second gas water heater offered by U.S. Craftmaster and is a less expensive and efficient option than the first. The water heater is Energy Star-qualified, which means it provides more efficiency than a traditional gas water heater. The reason for this difference is that it uses an automated flue damper with an electronic gas valve. These components receive required energy through a power cord that will fit into a typical household outlet.This water heater is available in 40 and 50-gallon iterations with an advanced electronic gas control valve for exceptional temperature control. It comes with a six-year warranty on the tank, nine years on parts, and one year limited on labor for work required on the water heater.This option is best for a small family who needs an average water heater for their home. It offers a few excellent features, but mainly it just does precisely what it is supposed to do. The Energy Star rating may even give you the option of taking advantage of national or state discounts.

Energy Smart Electric Water Heater

The Energy Smart water heater is available in 40 and 50-gallon sizes with first hour rates between 60 and 81. As a premium U.S. Craftmaster water heater, it features a 12-year warranty on parts and tank and a one-year guarantee on labor. It is also 100% Smart Grid-ready for easier utility management through mobile apps.Many diagnostic reports are automatically generated if anything goes wrong, making it much easier to determine the best course of action. The monitors include:• Dry Fire Detection• Energy Smart Module Defective• Electronic Thermostat Failure• Lower Element Failure• Lower Thermistor Failure• Upper Element FailureAll diagnostic codes are on the LCD screen that is part of the user interface. You can also choose from various operating modes, including Energy Smart mode. This mode becomes aware of typical water use patterns to avoid heat loss. There is also a vacation mode for when you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time.

Residential Gas Condensing High-Efficiency Tankless Water Heater

If what you need is a tankless water heater, U.S. Craftmaster also offers those. The chosen heater here provides ultra-low NOx condensing technology for an energy factor of 0.93. This unit comes in both indoor and outdoor models. Each of these includes advanced diagnostics and temperature control to troubleshoot the device easily. These units can be powered by propane or natural gas, depending on your need. Each has a minimum gas consumption of 15,000 BTU and a maximum of 120,000 BTU. They have safety features that include air-fuel ratio sensors, overheat cut-off fuses, and exhaust and water temperature safety controls. All indoor models also come with a power cord.

Buyer’s Guide

Heating water in your home can amount to almost 20% of your energy costs. With new efficiency standards, upgrading to a modern heater can cut your utility bills while boosting efficiency. While we’ve given an overview of the U.S. Craftmaster brand water heaters above, choosing the right option can be tricky. We’ll look at what you need to know when making a decision.

Tank Capacity

In most cases, when you look at water heaters, you will see a number associated with how many gallons it holds. For example, a family of four might run the dishwasher, do some laundry and take several showers a day, using up 100 gallons of hot water. You might think that means you need 100 gallons in your tank, but that’s not true.

You should also look at the first-hour rating for storage tank water heaters. This tells you the amount of hot water it can deliver in an hour. Once you reach that number, the water will begin to cool down.

Water Heater Type

There are five major types of water heaters: storage tank, heat pump, tankless, solar and condensing. Some are excellent for offering lower utility bills, but others might cost less up front instead. We’ll look at the basics of each so that you can get an idea of the option best for you.

Storage Tank Water Heater

The tank type is the most common and includes an insulated tank where water is stored until needed. It also features a pressure-relief and temperature valve, which open if either hits a certain level. Choosing a gas water heater can mean lower energy bills, but electric water heaters tend to be less expensive upfront.

Tankless Water Heater

A tankless heater doesn’t store water; it heats is as needed. These are super-efficient but have a very limited amount of water available at any one time. You might consider this type if you rarely find yourself drawing water for two things at once (such as running the washer and taking a shower). These are also best for those who use natural gas, as electric models can be pricey to upgrade to.

Heat Pump Water Heater

This type of water heater is also called a hybrid because it uses traditional heating along with a heat pump that transfers heat from the air to the water. This option is known to use much less energy than a typical electric model. They often cost more upfront, but payback time is relatively short, and installation isn’t any more difficult. The only real issue is that they don’t do well in cold areas and should work best where the temperature is usually between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Solar Water Heater

This is a less common type of water heater that is mounted to the roof of your home or office. It absorbs the sun’s heat and uses it as a fluid that runs into the water tank. This can provide cheap water heating in areas that are sunny but is less useful in cloudy or cold regions. In most cases, there will be a backup heater to use when needed.

Condensing Water Heater

A condensing water heater is an option for those who need a capacity of more than 55 gallons and prefer to heat with gas. These use a tank like a traditional gas water heater, but they also hold onto exhaust gases, which release through a coil in the base. The incoming cold water then absorbs most of the heat.

Warranty

Most water heaters will have a warranty for somewhere between three and 12 years. The more extended warranties can be indicative of a higher quality product. They typically have larger burners, which speed up the heating of water, as well as insulation, resulting in less heat loss. It’s always a good idea to choose a water heater with a more extended warranty.

Digital Display

It’s a matter of taste whether a digital display is something that interests you. These do make it easier to customize the operation of the heater and monitor levels. One thing that many people will make use of is a customizable vacation mode. This adds extra efficiency to the heater when you are not home. If you are using a solar heater, you will see things like tank temperature and pressure readings.

Drain Valve Materials

Most drain valves are going to be made of either plastic or brass. These valves sit at the base of the water to drain excess water. If you are interested in durability, it’s best to choose brass over plastic. Plastic is cheaper but has no distinguishing features beyond that.Wrapping UpU.S. Craftmaster offers a selection of water heaters in various types. It offers hybrid, electric, gas and tankless water heaters for homes and businesses. Its products are of high quality, and there are plenty of options to appeal to everyone. If you aren’t sure which water heater to choose, our buyer’s guide should provide more information to help you decide. Depending on your home’s needs, one of these options is likely to work for you.

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