Hot water heater question

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Hot water heater question

Postby tc101 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:34 pm

I am selling a house I used to live in to someone who is going to completely gut it and rebuild it. I have renters there now, and they will be there for another two months. The hot water heater just started leaking. Should I replace it?
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby Toons » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:45 pm

Do the "Right" thing :happy
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby jimmyrules712 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:48 pm

I would contact the person you're selling it to and find out if they have any expectation for the house to come with a working hot water heater.

If not..you'll have to make a judgment call on if it can make it another two months...
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby BruceM » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:52 pm

3 questions:
How badly is it leaking?
Where is it leaking?
How old is the WH?

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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby OnBoard » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:01 pm

Do you have a home warranty policy? If so, water heaters are covered.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby tc101 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:14 pm

I did not make this clear enough. The house is being sold "as is". The will be spending over $100K on the rehab and would probably put in a larger hot water heater. My big concern is if it will last two months and what will happen if it doesn't last. What is the danger of letting it go too long?

3 questions:
How badly is it leaking?
Where is it leaking?
How old is the WH?


It leaks about one drop every 3 seconds.
I am not sure where it is leaking from. It come out of the bottom, not out of a pipe.
It is about 10 years old.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby SimonJester » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:28 pm

Two months is a LONG time for a leaking water heater. When it goes the entire bottom may go out dumping 30 or 40 gallons of water along with a steady flow of water from the inlet.

I would replace it with the cheapest water heater you can find.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby FNK » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:32 pm

You could also reach out to the buyer and split the cost of a heater of his choice 50-50.

Although the bulk of the cost is the plumber anyway.

There's probably a market for used water heaters, too.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby tc101 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:01 am

Thanks for your help. I'll replace it with a cheap one. What does a cheap one cost?
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby BruceM » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:45 am

It sounds like the WH has failed. The most common cause of a bottom leak is rust pinholes in the bottom of the tank, particularly if the water has a high mineral content.

As to the replacement, the cost will depend on the size (in gallons) the efficiency rating (insulation) and whether it is electric or gas. You'll probably get the best price at your local Home Depot.

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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby gd » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:10 am

Call around to some plumbers to see if they have something useable second hand they'd slap in cheap.

I once rented a house that we all knew would be torn down soon and the land developed. The heating boiler (oil / hot water) had a leak. For 6 months we mopped the floor while the landlord insisted it was coming from the foundation next to the unit; we finally persuaded him to replace it with a second-hand boiler pulled out of a house expansion that needed a bigger model. He was a used car dealer, and made a deal with the plumbers-- used boiler for used work van. The oil burner wasn't set up properly and sort of exploded one night, and when the plumbers came to repair it they mentioned the van was rusted out. They got it working again but the burner chamber was cracked from the explosion, and the outside of the unit got so hot it would almost glow. So, fair deal all around. Best place I ever rented, oddly, and the longest I've ever lived anywhere since childhood. We got along great with the landlord, cheap rent and I did some work on the house, he helped me with some car repairs a few times and even sold me an adequate used car.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby bluemarlin08 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:31 am

You can get a 50gal water heater for about 300. Installation is fairly easy, I am not a handyman put my last 2 in myself. You will pay about the same price for installation.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby rixer » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:39 am

If the water heater is in a closet inside the house, I'd replace it as soon as possible. If the rusted out bottom completely fails, your home could get some serious water damage. Even your insurance deductable would cost more than a wh replacement.
If it's in the garage, it's your call.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby johnubc » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:56 am

check out Craigs list for a used water heater - no sense in putting in a new water heater, if it is only going to be replaced anyway.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby NateW » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:04 am

The urgency of replacing the water heater depends on whether or not the leak, if it gets bad, will damage the renter's property. If the water heater is in a drip pan with a drain, or next to a floor drain in a basement, I would not replace the waterheater unless it failed to work or the leak became so bad it used too much water and electricity/natural gas.

Otherwise, I'd replace it as economically as possible if the leak gets much worse.

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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby NateW » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:07 am

bluemarlin08 wrote:You can get a 50gal water heater for about 300. Installation is fairly easy, I am not a handyman put my last 2 in myself. You will pay about the same price for installation.

Dito on replacing it yourself. I replaced the one in our house with a GE natural gas 40 gallon one from Home Depot for about $450. In my location plumbers replace hot water heaters for about $1600. I did have to move the inlet and outlet water pipes a little and shorten the vent stack because the new one was about six inches taller than the old water heater. If you can't sweat solder copper pipe, it's easy to learn or you can use flexible (corregated) copper hook up pipes you can screw on.

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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby SteveNet » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:12 am

Having a leaking WH is akin to asking for a disaster.
It could turn into a major leak at any time especially considering the age of the heater.

And it will most likely happen in the middle of the night if you are on city water and don't have a pressure regulator installed.
City water pressure rises at night as most homes and business are not reliving the pressure in the community thru usage.
A small leak can turn into a huge leak and at a higher water pressure during the night will go unnoticed till morning yielding
a swimming pool of water flood when it finally gets discovered.

Change it.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby TN_INVEST » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:02 pm

The hot water heater just started leaking. Should I replace it?

Why the heck are you heating HOT water? :mrgreen: :D :P I had to do it. I couldn't stop myself.

"Lord please forgive me and may God bless the Pygmies in New Guinea"

I replaced ours a couple years ago. It wasn't all that difficult or expensive.

And then again, maybe some towels, sponges and/or a drip pan will help you limp home....just be sure to keep an eye on it.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby bluemarlin08 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:18 pm

In addition, if the water heater bursts and causes damage and the insurance company asks if it had been leaking and you didn't fix it, your claim could be denied.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby SteveNet » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:32 pm

As far as a DIY installation, I have changed out about 5 or so Electric WH through the years. Not hard IF you know what you are doing.

IF you don't know what you are doing you could have some very bad experiences.
1. 220v electric
2. Plumbing, copper, pvc/cpvc Cold/Hot, PEX, the correct kind of glue for each. Teflon tape, Pressure relieve valve, expansion tank.

And thats just an electric one.

I...don't have a clue how to change out a Gas one and I don't know if I would give it a shot or not as I have never played with Gas WH's or owned one before.

There are people who should NEVER DIY with anything, if you are one of those hire a plumber.
If you know what your doing then go for it.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby drs85 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:35 pm

I just had a new HVAC system installed, and while they did it they put in a higher efficiency water heater. The cost of just the water heater, and installation may have been lower due to the other things, was $675.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby NateH » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:08 pm

there are places that rent / lease water heaters. might be one in your area.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby HedgeHog » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:15 pm

Actually, it's called a "water heater," not a "hot water heater." I used to work at the local electric company and we used to joke about people saying this all the time. No need to heat up water that's already hot...
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby tc101 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:32 pm

I am having it replaced Monday. A cheap 40 gallon gas heater at home is $350. My handyman will charge another $400 to pick it up, repair wood under it and install it. I am not very handy myself. I will be spending $750 but I need to do it for the renters who will be there another 2 months. People here have convinced me of the danger of doing nothing for 2 months.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby Abe » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:47 pm

The hot water heater in one of my rentals went out recently. The renter is a licensed plumber. He said he charges $100.00 to replace water heaters and that is what he charged me. I bought a 40 gallon electric water heater at Lowes for $270.00 plus tax. Total cost was $370.00. One of the posters said that plumbers in his area charge $1,600.00 just to install a hot water heater. I don't know where he lives, but that sounds like a lot for installing a hot water heater.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby tc101 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:04 pm

I don't see how you could afford to do it for $100, unless you sell the heater at a profit. I would like to find someone to do it for $100, but both of the guys I talked to wanted $400, but that included fittings, pick up and wood repair. On the other hand I can't imagine paying $1600.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby Abe » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:16 pm

tc101 wrote:I don't see how you could afford to do it for $100, unless you sell the heater at a profit. I would like to find someone to do it for $100, but both of the guys I talked to wanted $400, but that included fittings, pick up and wood repair. On the other hand I can't imagine paying $1600.


As I said, my renter is a licensed plumber. He actually works for a plumbing company, but he does work on the side including installing water heaters.That might be why he did it so cheap. Also I picked up the water heater at Lowes and brought it to him. He didn't have to go get it. The only thing he had to do was install it. Also, since I have rental properties, I am always looking for service people who are reasonable. I also called several places to get the cheapest price on the water heater.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby SteveNet » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:16 pm

tc101 wrote:I am having it replaced Monday. People here have convinced me of the danger of doing nothing for 2 months.


Good decision :sharebeer
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby NateW » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:21 pm

Abe wrote:The hot water heater in one of my rentals went out recently. The renter is a licensed plumber. He said he charges $100.00 to replace water heaters and that is what he charged me. I bought a 40 gallon electric water heater at Lowes for $270.00 plus tax. Total cost was $370.00. One of the posters said that plumbers in his area charge $1,600.00 just to install a hot water heater. I don't know where he lives, but that sounds like a lot for installing a hot water heater.

That was me. Northern Virginia. Everything is expensive here.

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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby Abe » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:51 pm

NateW wrote:
Abe wrote:The hot water heater in one of my rentals went out recently. The renter is a licensed plumber. He said he charges $100.00 to replace water heaters and that is what he charged me. I bought a 40 gallon electric water heater at Lowes for $270.00 plus tax. Total cost was $370.00. One of the posters said that plumbers in his area charge $1,600.00 just to install a hot water heater. I don't know where he lives, but that sounds like a lot for installing a hot water heater.

That was me. Northern Virginia. Everything is expensive here.

--Nate


Thanks Nate: I bet if you check around, even where you live, you could probably get it done much cheaper. Ask people who work at hardware stores and people who own rental properties if they could recommend someone who does this kind or work reasonably. A lot of time, people work for someone else, but they do it on the side. Their overhead is low so they can do it cheaper. I'm not trying to meddle, but just thought this might save you some money in the future.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby yosh99 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:52 pm

Abe wrote:The hot water heater in one of my rentals went out recently. The renter is a licensed plumber. He said he charges $100.00 to replace water heaters and that is what he charged me. I bought a 40 gallon electric water heater at Lowes for $270.00 plus tax. Total cost was $370.00. One of the posters said that plumbers in his area charge $1,600.00 just to install a hot water heater. I don't know where he lives, but that sounds like a lot for installing a hot water heater.


I just purchased a water heater from Sears on-line and paid $370 to have it installed. The Sears installer charged an additional $580 even though it was a simple 1 hour install bringing the total installation to $950. I called Sears to say I considered this excessive and a form of "bait and switch". The response from Sears was, "if you could have found a cheaper plumber, you should have used them". Needless to say I'm through with Sears forever.
Last edited by yosh99 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:22 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby wshang » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:39 pm

Timely question. My WH just started leaking one night. Wife and I spent two hours draining it, carrying the water up the stair to dump down the sink, as we have no floor drain.

Since it was a GE WH and under the 12 year warranty, HD honored a full replacement. A friend showed me how to use the "Shark Bite" flexible, no weld tubing. After hiring someone to get the old one up the stairs, and bring the new one back down from HD for $60, the two of us installed the new gas WH in about an hour for ~$50 parts.

SharkBite, whoever invented that is a genius and probably a multimillionaire.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby FNK » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:39 pm

Did you have to enter your personal PIN number in the automatic ATM machine to get cash for your residential DHW heater?
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:58 pm

FNK wrote:Did you have to enter your personal PIN number in the automatic ATM machine to get cash for your residential DHW heater?

It's a good thing we have PIN numbers. If all we had were PI numbers we'd never finish entering them.
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Re: Hot water heater question

Postby jayars35 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:29 pm

yosh99 wrote:
Abe wrote:The hot water heater in one of my rentals went out recently. The renter is a licensed plumber. He said he charges $100.00 to replace water heaters and that is what he charged me. I bought a 40 gallon electric water heater at Lowes for $270.00 plus tax. Total cost was $370.00. One of the posters said that plumbers in his area charge $1,600.00 just to install a hot water heater. I don't know where he lives, but that sounds like a lot for installing a hot water heater.


I just purchased a water heater from Sears on-line and paid $370 to have it installed. The Sears installer charged an additional $580 even though it was a simple 1 hour install bringing the total installation to $950. I called Sears to say I considered this excessive and a form of "bait and switch". The response from Sears was, "if you could have found a cheaper plumber, you should have used them". Needless to say I'm through with Sears forever.


I don't understand. You paid $370 to have it installed and you paid $580 to have it installed?
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