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rbeckey

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Plumbing blows! Water heater was 20 years old and wasn't really heating very well. Took some rocket motor budget and bought a new 50 gallon high recovery tank, and all the bits and pieces to install. Naturally the gas line was 1 inch and the new connector was 3/4, so an unscheduled trip to the hardware store was necessary. A bad solder joint caused me to have to drain the cold side an extra time, but other than that it went well. I didn't blow up the house or burn it down with the torch, and I was able to take a nice hot shower only 45 minutes after I turned on the heater. The plumber wanted to charge me a 50% premium on the heater and $200.00 to install. I guess it beats paying that much.
Maybe. :rolleyes:
 

teflonrocketry1

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I did that hot water tank install once. I soldered a new brass gate valve on the cold water side to replace one that broke when I tried to turn it off. When the job was completed I noticed some water dripping from the valve stem. I put a wrench up to the packing nut and even before I put any torque on it, the whole face of the valve blew off. The 1 inch wide column of water that shot out literally pushed me across the basement soaking me from head to toe. I never thought I could turn the main valve off so fast. It turned out there was an air pocket in the brass from the casting process, making a significant part of the valve paper thin!

After sucking up all the water with a shop vac, I thought I was going to have to replace the whole valve. Luckily, the broken part was so thin I was able to carefully peal all the rest of it out of the valve body and use the same part from another valve that I purchased a day later.

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055
 

doxiedog315

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Man, i hate cold showers,Every time i run out of lpg,i get just enough hot, to get in.Then,Surprise!:eek:
 

CTimm

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Originally posted by rbeckey
Plumbing blows! Water heater was 20 years old and wasn't really heating very well. The plumber wanted to charge me a 50% premium on the heater and $200.00 to install. I guess it beats paying that much.
Maybe. :rolleyes:
Wow! 20 years out of a water heater. Thats amazingly rare nowadays. Only 2 of you in the house, eh? Low useage means longer life normally.

(climbing up on soapbox)

50% mark-up on heater & $200 to install.
Sounds reasonable as the 50% mark-up would normally include doing the gas line piping as needed, changing the shut-off valve if needed, and proper venting. $200 to install is on the cheaper side of normal. (assuming a 4 hour labor charge)

It used to be that WH's could be had for $130-$150 for 40 Gal NG (slightly more for LP), and a standard change-out price of $350-$400 covered installation & parts, and removal of old tank from premises. Permit not included extra.

Recently, our federal government decided to enact laws to protect ourselves from our own stupidity (well, mainly the really dumb people who store gas cans on the floor next to the WH!!!)
by requiring manufacturers to redesign the WH so that they will not allow the ignition of flammable vapors from the pilot light.

This is accomplished by a plastic "screen" looking like a tiny lint trap attached to the bottom air-intake with a liteweight rubber "flapper" to let air in only, preventing the flame from shooting out and igniting any vapors in the area.

The combustion chamber is now sealed, has a little push-button to spark-lite the pilot when the lint trap gets plugged with dust-bunnies (how clean is your basement?).

All this "safety" for a cost increase. Now a standard 40 Gal NG heater runs $200 wholesale ($250 for 50Gal).

Add $50 for shutoff valve, safety relief valve, copper pipe and fittings, rigid black iron pipe gas fittings & valve (if needed), and whatever is needed to properly vent.

Oh yeah, the old tanks that used a 3" vent now require a 4" vent when using the newer design.

Double that and you get $500 to changeout a water heater by a professional.

(climbing down from soapbox)

CTimm
Licensed Master Plumber
 

rbeckey

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CTimm,
I know a fellow who sells AO Smith water heaters wholesale and he got me a price. The unit is "last year's model" without the new idiot proofing, which I got at his recommendation. He sold me one of the last ones they had. The new venting is 4 inches, but it was easy enough as my chimney is right there and it took 5 minutes to enlarge the exsisting hole. It required 4 inch venting because it is a high recovery model. The unit was $265 including tax, five percent over contractor's price. The safety valve was pre-installed. I spent another $65 on parts including gas line and fittings, copper tubing and fittings, 4 inch galvanized vent pipe, masonary patch for the chimney and a 24 inch aluminum pan for underneath the tank. Of course, I paid retail on those parts, not wholesale or bulk rates that a plumber who buys that stuff in quantity would pay.
I don't doubt it is worth every penny to pay a pro to do a job like that, but unfortunately I can't afford it. Believe me, I'd rather you did it than me. ;) That extra $200 is a good portion of my motor budget for this year. The prices quoted to me were $200 over the WH price and parts., so it would be more like $265 + the premium price on the WH.
The old water heater was a Courier 40 gallon. I bought this house in 1991 and it was installed "6 or 7" years before that, according to the previous home owner. It was just him and his wife during that time, and my kids are 6 and 8, so it was only two for most of that time. I was warned that I should not expect the same longevity from a newer unit.
 

CTimm

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Originally posted by rbeckey
CTimm,
The unit is "last year's model" without the new idiot proofing,

Dang, you lucked out!!!

I don't doubt it is worth every penny to pay a pro to do a job like that, but unfortunately I can't afford it. Believe me, I'd rather you did it than me. ;) That extra $200 is a good portion of my motor budget for this year.

Maintaining a home is always more expensive than one feels comfortable with. You have to look at it from the perspective of "$500 for 10 years" or $50 a year for the convenience of hot water PLUS a safelt installed and vented gas-fired appliance.

I was warned that I should not expect the same longevity from a newer unit.
Boy, ain't that the truth!!!

I mainly install the power-vented models that use a 2" PVC vent.
(new homes rarely have chimneys anymore)
They don't become mandatory idiot-proof for a little while.
If they last 10 years I'm ecstatic.
(they do have a 6yr parts & labor warranty though)
They cost double what standard vented models run.
Replacement charges average $1000.
The dollar/year cost averaging seems the best way to soothe the riled homeowner.

Happy hot water to ya!!!!

CTimm

P.S. to keep this rocket related, heres a pic of a Bullpup and Sidewinder combination. No foolin!!!!
Would it be called a Bullwinder or a Sidepup???
 

rbeckey

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Its called bad news for the targeted aircrew! :D
 
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