Thanks everyone for your responses! Sure glad I asked before buying something I wouldn't be happy with.
I won't be going tankless, too many negatives.
I can't go gas, it's not available in the neighborhood.
I'm still leaning toward the Rheem Marathon. I've put in 2 for other people, one a year ago, the other last week. So far so good. Paul, good to hear yours has been working for 20+ years, that's what I wanted to hear!
I did hard plumb a 3/4 ball valve for a drain on both, plan to do the same with mine. I do have hard, scaly water and no softener. With the plumbed in valve I can flush the lime out without dragging out the hose, which means I'd probably never do it...
The reason I'm hesitant to change the element in the old heater because no one stocks the Marathon heaters locally. Takes about 2 weeks to get one. Don't want to be forced to buy another steel tank if I twist the fitting out of the old one!
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