The Reliance 12 50 EART electric water heater is a tall model equipped with an easily adjusted electronic thermostat with touchscreen controls. With a push of your finger, you can determine the temperature and the operating model you want for this 50-gallon water heater. Reliance is one of many water heater brands manufactured by AO Smith.

It comes with standard, energy saver or vacation operational modes, so you can change its operation and energy use depending on whether anyone will be home and, as a result, trim utility bills. The energy saver mode tracks water use and adjusts accordingly. The vacation mode adjusts the set point for the water temperature to 60 degrees F, which means far less energy use but will nonetheless avoid freezing.

The control panel also includes a safety lock mode that you can press to keep the controls adjusted to where you want them. You can see the diagnostic codes for the heater and tell what is happening by checking the icons on an LCD display. For example, you can see whether the upper or lower heating elements that extend into the warm are working as they should. Flashing icons alert you to any problems.

The two 5500 watt/240 volt incoloy heating elements are designed to be more functional and durable than standard heating elements. This appliance also provides dry fire protection, which means that the upper heating element that extends into the water will shut off if it determines the tank is not full, which prevents the unit from burning out.

The Reliance 12 50 EART is factory set at 120 degrees F, which is considered to be a safe level, although any warmed water can cause scalding. You can change that if you want hotter water to completely clean dishes in your dishwasher and clothing in your washing machine, but at that point, you might want to install thermostatic mixing valves at taps in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas where an unsuspecting person might turn on a tap and get accidentally burned by too-hot water. These valves are extra equipment you must buy, but they will protect your loved ones and ensure that you still can kill off bacteria with very hot water where you need it.

This hot water heater is a tall model that stands 60 1/2 inches high and its diameter is 22 inches around. As a result, you will need enough overhead space to accommodate it.

The Reliance 12 50 EART presents an energy factor of .95, which means it is a high-efficiency appliance. The tank is encased in foam insulation to conserve heat.

You get first-rate warranties with this electric water heater. There is a 12-year warranty for both the tank and its parts, which is great for this industry. You also get a one-year warranty for labor, which is what most manufacturers offer.

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