Water heater - am I getting ripped off

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sergio
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Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by sergio »

Water heater has developed a small leak. The heater is 15 years old, so basically time for a replacement.

I called one of the very reputable companies around here, they only do water heaters (based on a friend's suggestion). They quoted $1500 for the following:
0. Delivery of new water heater
1. Bradford White 50 gallon natural gas heater install - the model runs around $700-750 online
2. Redo of venting (not up to code)
3. Removal and disposal of old heater
4. 3-year labor warranty (heater has a 6-year)
5. Pulling permits, free fixes for anything that fails inspection

I was expecting around $1000-1200 so $1500 seems a bit high. But here where I'm located (Twin Cities, MN) it seems that any home repairs tend to run a bit higher... Waiting on a call back from two other companies. The company that quoted the $1500 picked up the phone immediately and offered to be here within a few hours.

Thanks!
Teague
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Teague »

Have you considered doing it yourself? Water heater replacement is usually not very high on the relative difficulty scale of home repairs.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by RickBoglehead »

sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:54 pm Water heater has developed a small leak. The heater is 15 years old, so basically time for a replacement.

I called one of the very reputable companies around here, they only do water heaters (based on a friend's suggestion). They quoted $1500 for the following:
0. Delivery of new water heater
1. Bradford White 50 gallon natural gas heater install - the model runs around $700-750 online
2. Redo of venting (not up to code)
3. Removal and disposal of old heater
4. 3-year labor warranty (heater has a 6-year)
5. Pulling permits, free fixes for anything that fails inspection

I was expecting around $1000-1200 so $1500 seems a bit high. But here where I'm located (Twin Cities, MN) it seems that any home repairs tend to run a bit higher... Waiting on a call back from two other companies. The company that quoted the $1500 picked up the phone immediately and offered to be here within a few hours.

Thanks!
Yes, that is high, but not outrageous. I just had a 40 gallon put in for a bit less, and they wanted around $1,500 for the 50 gallon. Make sure you compare apples and apples, i.e. a 50 gallon BW is not the same as whatever a cheap hardware store sells.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Abe »

I have rental properties. I can buy an electric water heater for $450 to $500 depending on the size (40 to 50 gallon) at Home Depot. My guy will install for anywhere from $100 to $200. I live in a low cost of living area. The prices above do not include any additional work.

edited to add: Water heaters are not that difficult to install. If you can't do it yourself, you might find a good handyman to do it for probably a lot cheaper, and as I posted above, you can buy the heater yourself at Home Depot.
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delamer
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by delamer »

If this was a quote obtained purely over the phone, how do they know that the venting is not up to code?
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sergio
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by sergio »

delamer wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:16 pm If this was a quote obtained purely over the phone, how do they know that the venting is not up to code?
He asked for the size of the exhaust vents. They are 3". Code currently requires 4".
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by dsmclone »

Iowa here and I was quoted $1,700 for a Rheam 50 gallon natural gas. What makes it more expensive for me was that it had to have a power vent.
delamer
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by delamer »

sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:19 pm
delamer wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:16 pm If this was a quote obtained purely over the phone, how do they know that the venting is not up to code?
He asked for the size of the exhaust vents. They are 3". Code currently requires 4".
Got it.

If your anchor price of $1200 was realistic then maybe the $1500 quote is a ripoff.

You’ll find out once you get the other quotes.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by RickBoglehead »

Keep in mind that the cost to pull a permit varies.

In my town, it would be $30 for the permit, $50 for an inspection, and $6 for the water heater = $86. Where we have our cottage, the cost would be $55.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by megabad »

In my area, about $1000 is the going rate for a smaller/medium company, but a big name would price out a close to $1500 I think. If you are going to a company that everyone recognizes that has TV/radio/billboard ads, you pay for that. I think if you got other quotes from some medium sized companies, you should see a little lower since labor costs shouldn't be all that high there.
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elcadarj
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by elcadarj »

Get a quote w/installation from a big box like Lowe's or Home Depot.
J45
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by J45 »

It depends upon the area. I had it done 3 years ago, 75 gal. If I remember correctly, the installation was around $500 or so.

I bought from Home Depot, they found the installers, who brought the product with them, installed it without any problems.

Shop around, you might find a better deal.

Also, ask questions whether you need more stuff in addition to just installing a heater e.g. a new fan, new outlet for hot air etc. That could add to the cost.
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Kenkat
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Kenkat »

A co-worker just got quotes to have a water heater replaced that is similar to your situation. The quote was $1400. He thought that was high and since he is pretty handy, he ended up doing it himself. The only problem is the old one is so heavy, he can’t get it out of the basement. Subsequent quotes for removing the old water heater ran around $400, so he’s trying to figure out a way to do this part himself as well.

Based on the information you have given, it sounds like you were quoted in the ballpark of the going rate.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by tev9876 »

Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:36 pm The only problem is the old one is so heavy, he can’t get it out of the basement. Subsequent quotes for removing the old water heater ran around $400, so he’s trying to figure out a way to do this part himself as well.

$29.99 - 20% coupon.
https://www.harborfreight.com/6-amp-hea ... 62370.html

Used this method to get an old washing machine out of the basement without killing myself.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by stats99 »

That’s what I had to pay, due to the code change in vent size. That was in 2011 in NJ
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hand
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by hand »

sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:54 pm
1. Bradford White 50 gallon natural gas heater install - the model runs around $700-750 online
Beware Bradford White - Often not made clear to the buyer is that their annodes are not easily user servicable, and and unlike most other brands, a service call is required to replace (for most owners). Not suprisingly, plumbers often seem to reccomend this brand.

Also, it is likely worth your time to understand your actual hot water use and size and specify appropriately - many plumbers simply replace like for like which may result in over or under specced. When I ran the numbers, I ended up with a smaller (more efficient) water heater, but with higher recovery speed. I have been very happy with the result.
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Kenkat
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Kenkat »

tev9876 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:03 pm
Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:36 pm The only problem is the old one is so heavy, he can’t get it out of the basement. Subsequent quotes for removing the old water heater ran around $400, so he’s trying to figure out a way to do this part himself as well.
$29.99 - 20% coupon.
https://www.harborfreight.com/6-amp-hea ... 62370.html

Used this method to get an old washing machine out of the basement without killing myself.
Lol, that option was discussed!
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by TexasPE »

May want to consider a dual-anode water heater. Extends the life of the heater, and comes with a longer warranty. Cost for me (in 2010) was an additional $100.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by michaeljc70 »

As others pointed out, one guy moving a 50 gallon is not easy. A decent gas 50 gallon is $600-$700. Add in miscellaneous parts, labor, removal, travel time and I don't think it is crazy. I installed one with the help of my father a few months ago.

How is this vented? I mean, how long is the vent pipe and what is involved in that? Through an attic/roof? Out a basement wall? That has to be taken into account.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by tesuzuki2002 »

I just paid $1450 in the Midwest for a very similar job. I would have done it myself, except this was for a rental property and legally there are issues there since I am not licensed for that work. In my own home.. I would simply do the work myself.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by sergio »

michaeljc70 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:36 pm As others pointed out, one guy moving a 50 gallon is not easy. A decent gas 50 gallon is $600-$700. Add in miscellaneous parts, labor, removal, travel time and I don't think it is crazy. I installed one with the help of my father a few months ago.

How is this vented? I mean, how long is the vent pipe and what is involved in that? Through an attic/roof? Out a basement wall? That has to be taken into account.
Atmospheric venting connected to the furnace flue that goes through the roof.

Another company called me back (general plumbing) and quoted $1300 but they can't get out until Friday. So I went ahead and paid the $1500 and 3.5 hours later, 2 guys had finished installing my brand new water heater.

No way I could've done this on my own. At the very least I'd need a second guy to help me haul over the new heater plus disposal, and this would've easily been a 1 day project for me. Doing the math - the heater, removal/disposal of the old beast, plus the permit fees - that is easily worth $1k to me. So another $500 for the install, venting work, and warranty seemed not totally out of line. And they were able to get here in 2 hours...

Going to sleep much better tonight ....
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by michaeljc70 »

sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:01 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:36 pm As others pointed out, one guy moving a 50 gallon is not easy. A decent gas 50 gallon is $600-$700. Add in miscellaneous parts, labor, removal, travel time and I don't think it is crazy. I installed one with the help of my father a few months ago.

How is this vented? I mean, how long is the vent pipe and what is involved in that? Through an attic/roof? Out a basement wall? That has to be taken into account.
Atmospheric venting connected to the furnace flue that goes through the roof.

Another company called me back (general plumbing) and quoted $1300 but they can't get out until Friday. So I went ahead and paid the $1500 and 3.5 hours later, 2 guys had finished installing my brand new water heater.

No way I could've done this on my own. At the very least I'd need a second guy to help me haul over the new heater plus disposal, and this would've easily been a 1 day project for me. Doing the math - the heater, removal/disposal of the old beast, plus the permit fees - that is easily worth $1k to me. So another $500 for the install, venting work, and warranty seemed not totally out of line.

Going to sleep much better tonight ....
Glad it worked out. Two guys at three and a half hours is 7 hours of labor so I don't think that's so bad. I often think quotes to have things done around the house are sky high, but then if I decide to do the project myself halfway through I often question whether it was worth it.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by sergio »

michaeljc70 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:05 pm
sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:01 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:36 pm As others pointed out, one guy moving a 50 gallon is not easy. A decent gas 50 gallon is $600-$700. Add in miscellaneous parts, labor, removal, travel time and I don't think it is crazy. I installed one with the help of my father a few months ago.

How is this vented? I mean, how long is the vent pipe and what is involved in that? Through an attic/roof? Out a basement wall? That has to be taken into account.
Atmospheric venting connected to the furnace flue that goes through the roof.

Another company called me back (general plumbing) and quoted $1300 but they can't get out until Friday. So I went ahead and paid the $1500 and 3.5 hours later, 2 guys had finished installing my brand new water heater.

No way I could've done this on my own. At the very least I'd need a second guy to help me haul over the new heater plus disposal, and this would've easily been a 1 day project for me. Doing the math - the heater, removal/disposal of the old beast, plus the permit fees - that is easily worth $1k to me. So another $500 for the install, venting work, and warranty seemed not totally out of line.

Going to sleep much better tonight ....
Glad it worked out. Two guys at three and a half hours is 7 hours of labor so I don't think that's so bad. I often think quotes to have things done around the house are sky high, but then if I decide to do the project myself halfway through I often question whether it was worth it.
It was around 3 hours of labor total (took them 2 hours to get out, then both were here 1.5 hours). They had to cut off the old copper lines and solder new couplings required by code. That alone would be a deal breaker for me.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by samsoes »

I have an oil-fired water heater (natural gas is not available in my area). A couple of years ago, I got three quotes to proactively replace it. Costs were all in the $3000 range. I recoiled from that price and have been in denial ever since. Apparently, oil-fired water heaters are much more expensive. My current unit is from 2005, so I know I'm borrowed time.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by whodidntante »

Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:25 pm
tev9876 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:03 pm
Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:36 pm The only problem is the old one is so heavy, he can’t get it out of the basement. Subsequent quotes for removing the old water heater ran around $400, so he’s trying to figure out a way to do this part himself as well.
$29.99 - 20% coupon.
https://www.harborfreight.com/6-amp-hea ... 62370.html

Used this method to get an old washing machine out of the basement without killing myself.
Lol, that option was discussed!
There is an easier way. The water heater is light once drained. You can bear hug and take it out dancing if you like. If the drain is clogged, holes can be made with a drill or a sledgehammer.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Fletch »

February 2013. Replaced 50 gal 40,000 BTU input natural gas hot water heater with Bradford-White 75 gal, 70,000 BTU input, 6 year warranty - $1506. Replaced vent duct, installed new water shut-off valve, expansion tank, soldered all connections and associated copper plumbing. Replaced catch pan that water heater sits on. Removed old water heater.
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JimMolony
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by JimMolony »

I used to own a company that specialized in water heaters (nationwide).

Here are the costs:
50 gallon gas at Home Depot $558 (online)
B-vent 4" material (really depends on how far that have to run it ($30-70-ish)
Some new black pipe parts ($20-30-ish)
New copper for water hook ups and P/T line ($20-30-ish)
Permit - MSP area is generally quite high for permits (could be upwards of $200-250)

So it could be close to $900-950 just for hard cost of materials.

When you add in labor, costing of rolling a truck, advertising, other overhead, profit, etc. I'm not sure $1,500 is that far out of line. If the permit cost is lower that what I've outlined (quick call to city building department to confirm), then you may be able to get it for $1,200-1,500.

The other factor is supply/demand of labor. If more full service plumbers have larger jobs or if there aren't enough people with plumbing experience in the region than costs go up.

Hope that helps.
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sergio
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by sergio »

JimMolony wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:46 pm I used to own a company that specialized in water heaters (nationwide).

Here are the costs:
50 gallon gas at Home Depot $558 (online)
B-vent 4" material (really depends on how far that have to run it ($30-70-ish)
Some new black pipe parts ($20-30-ish)
New copper for water hook ups and P/T line ($20-30-ish)
Permit - MSP area is generally quite high for permits (could be upwards of $200-250)

So it could be close to $900-950 just for hard cost of materials.

When you add in labor, costing of rolling a truck, advertising, other overhead, profit, etc. I'm not sure $1,500 is that far out of line. If the permit cost is lower that what I've outlined (quick call to city building department to confirm), then you may be able to get it for $1,200-1,500.

The other factor is supply/demand of labor. If more full service plumbers have larger jobs or if there aren't enough people with plumbing experience in the region than costs go up.

Hope that helps.
Plus the removal and disposal of the old water heater.

And the heater they installed is in the $6-700 range.

I feel a bit better about this haha.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Kenkat »

whodidntante wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:33 pm
Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:25 pm
tev9876 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:03 pm
Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:36 pm The only problem is the old one is so heavy, he can’t get it out of the basement. Subsequent quotes for removing the old water heater ran around $400, so he’s trying to figure out a way to do this part himself as well.
$29.99 - 20% coupon.
https://www.harborfreight.com/6-amp-hea ... 62370.html

Used this method to get an old washing machine out of the basement without killing myself.
Lol, that option was discussed!
There is an easier way. The water heater is light once drained. You can bear hug and take it out dancing if you like. If the drain is clogged, holes can be made with a drill or a sledgehammer.
I asked him if he drained it all the way and he said yes but said there’s 25 years worth of sediment in there as well. But you make a good point, it could be time for a little surgical procedure for Mr. Water Heater.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Artful Dodger »

sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:01 pm
michaeljc70 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:36 pm As others pointed out, one guy moving a 50 gallon is not easy. A decent gas 50 gallon is $600-$700. Add in miscellaneous parts, labor, removal, travel time and I don't think it is crazy. I installed one with the help of my father a few months ago.

How is this vented? I mean, how long is the vent pipe and what is involved in that? Through an attic/roof? Out a basement wall? That has to be taken into account.
Atmospheric venting connected to the furnace flue that goes through the roof.

Another company called me back (general plumbing) and quoted $1300 but they can't get out until Friday. So I went ahead and paid the $1500 and 3.5 hours later, 2 guys had finished installing my brand new water heater.

No way I could've done this on my own. At the very least I'd need a second guy to help me haul over the new heater plus disposal, and this would've easily been a 1 day project for me. Doing the math - the heater, removal/disposal of the old beast, plus the permit fees - that is easily worth $1k to me. So another $500 for the install, venting work, and warranty seemed not totally out of line. And they were able to get here in 2 hours...

Going to sleep much better tonight ....
I went thru this a few years ago. People doing our HVAC check saw the water heater leaking. They quoted $1250 or so, and also had to modify the exhaust flue. I called around some, and we could have saved $100 or so, but went with them to get taken care of sooner rather than later.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by whodidntante »

samsoes wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:24 pm I have an oil-fired water heater (natural gas is not available in my area). A couple of years ago, I got three quotes to proactively replace it. Costs were all in the $3000 range. I recoiled from that price and have been in denial ever since. Apparently, oil-fired water heaters are much more expensive. My current unit is from 2005, so I know I'm borrowed time.
Realistically, you can get it replaced in a few days. Assuming you have a water alarm, I would let it ride.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by IMO »

sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:54 pm Water heater has developed a small leak. The heater is 15 years old, so basically time for a replacement.

I called one of the very reputable companies around here, they only do water heaters (based on a friend's suggestion). They quoted $1500 for the following:
0. Delivery of new water heater
1. Bradford White 50 gallon natural gas heater install - the model runs around $700-750 online
2. Redo of venting (not up to code)
3. Removal and disposal of old heater
4. 3-year labor warranty (heater has a 6-year)
5. Pulling permits, free fixes for anything that fails inspection

I was expecting around $1000-1200 so $1500 seems a bit high. But here where I'm located (Twin Cities, MN) it seems that any home repairs tend to run a bit higher... Waiting on a call back from two other companies. The company that quoted the $1500 picked up the phone immediately and offered to be here within a few hours.

Thanks!
Go to Lowe's and have them do a quote in the store for a comparison. Home Depot had required a house visit 1st, even though it was a straightforward garage located water heater. Some have pointed out some possible things to compare on water heaters (anode replacement ease) otherwise it's difficult to really compare one brand over another brand. Online reviews? Maybe helps if there are lots of lemons with the brand, but one only replaces these things every 10-20 years practically speaking. Plumber expert opinions? Maybe helps, but then they probably recommend the brand they get the best wholesale pricing.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Cubicle »

tev9876 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:03 pm
Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:36 pm The only problem is the old one is so heavy, he can’t get it out of the basement. Subsequent quotes for removing the old water heater ran around $400, so he’s trying to figure out a way to do this part himself as well.

$29.99 - 20% coupon.
https://www.harborfreight.com/6-amp-hea ... 62370.html

Used this method to get an old washing machine out of the basement without killing myself.
I can vouch for this saw. Bought it cheap 2 years ago. Still works fantastically. Cast iron sewer pipe, tree branches, tree stumps (with extra long blades), plywood, studs, scrap metal.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Cubicle »

Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:36 pmThe only problem is the old one is so heavy, he can’t get it out of the basement. Subsequent quotes for removing the old water heater ran around $400, so he’s trying to figure out a way to do this part himself as well.
I've had excellent luck with movers from craigslist to move one off very heavy items. Most recently I paid 2 movers $60 each to carry 2 steam radiators up 14 stairs. I have no idea how much they weighed, but the 2 guys struggled. I would not have attempted. They were happy to make $60 each in 15 minutes of labor. I was happy I didn't throw my back out, or sprain my wrist, or strain my thumb tendon, or ... Keep this in mind everyone who is reading.
"Oh look another bajillion point declin-Ooooh!!! A coupon for pizza!!!!" <--- This is what everyone's IPS should be. ✓✓✓
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by SrGrumpy »

Cubicle wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:45 am
Kenkat wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:36 pmThe only problem is the old one is so heavy, he can’t get it out of the basement. Subsequent quotes for removing the old water heater ran around $400, so he’s trying to figure out a way to do this part himself as well.
I've had excellent luck with movers from craigslist to move one off very heavy items. Most recently I paid 2 movers $60 each to carry 2 steam radiators up 14 stairs. I have no idea how much they weighed, but the 2 guys struggled. I would not have attempted. They were happy to make $60 each in 15 minutes of labor. I was happy I didn't throw my back out, or sprain my wrist, or strain my thumb tendon, or ... Keep this in mind everyone who is reading.
Random people doing heavy work on your property. What could possibly go wrong?
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4nursebee
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by 4nursebee »

If it was my house and gas I would go with instantaneous hot water heater AND pay for the install.
I have not done a gas one but electrics are easy to do.
I am older and don't mind paying for a pro to do things.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by goblue100 »

sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:01 pm
Another company called me back (general plumbing) and quoted $1300 but they can't get out until Friday. So I went ahead and paid the $1500 and 3.5 hours later, 2 guys had finished installing my brand new water heater.

No way I could've done this on my own. At the very least I'd need a second guy to help me haul over the new heater plus disposal, and this would've easily been a 1 day project for me. Doing the math - the heater, removal/disposal of the old beast, plus the permit fees - that is easily worth $1k to me. So another $500 for the install, venting work, and warranty seemed not totally out of line. And they were able to get here in 2 hours...

Going to sleep much better tonight ....
I've come to the realization that people want to get paid for their work. The older I get, the more willing I am to pay for the convenience of having the the thing done for me. Never hurts to check that we are not being taken advantage of, but I think your water heater cost was in the range of plausible expenses.
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns
-ryan-
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by -ryan- »

For what it's worth, we also had a situation with a vent that was no longer up to code, and was going to be cost prohibitive to bring up to code. It ended up being so substantially cheaper to convert to an electric water heater that we couldn't possibly justify any potential energy savings of sticking with gas. I believe the 50 gallon heater came in around $450, and about $100-150 for an appropriate breaker, 10ga wire, etc. etc.

We had an advantage in that we were able to do the work ourselves, but labor charges for installing an electric water heater should be lower than gas, especially when considering your vent situation.

Since our gas heater was about as old as yours, it was no longer very efficient. Switching from gas to electric we saw our utility bills drop rather than rise. I attribute that to higher efficiency standards for new water heaters, and a larger tank (less dilution of cold water each time hot is used).
atikovi
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by atikovi »

RickBoglehead wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:42 pm Keep in mind that the cost to pull a permit varies.

In my town, it would be $30 for the permit, $50 for an inspection, and $6 for the water heater = $86. Where we have our cottage, the cost would be $55.
Why would you need a permit or inspection to replace an appliance? Do you also need one when replacing a refrigerator, washing machine or stove? And if you do, how would the county know about the replacement in the first place? Does Home Depot report to the county on every water heater sale?
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Dilbydog »

atikovi wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:24 am [quote=RickBoglehead post_id=4849360 time=<a href="tel:1574278943">1574278943</a> user_id=130960]
Keep in mind that the cost to pull a permit varies.

In my town, it would be $30 for the permit, $50 for an inspection, and $6 for the water heater = $86. Where we have our cottage, the cost would be $55.
Why would you need a permit or inspection to replace an appliance? Do you also need one when replacing a refrigerator, washing machine or stove? And if you do, how would the county know about the replacement in the first place? Does Home Depot report to the county on every water heater sale?
[/quote]

I’ve lived in several states in the West, and every local AHJ has required a permit and inspection for the replacement of a water heater.
atikovi
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by atikovi »

It's just a money grab by cash strapped governments. Why water heaters and not a refrigerator, washing machine or stove? Well, that might not be too far off.
wilked
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by wilked »

samsoes wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:24 pm I have an oil-fired water heater (natural gas is not available in my area). A couple of years ago, I got three quotes to proactively replace it. Costs were all in the $3000 range. I recoiled from that price and have been in denial ever since. Apparently, oil-fired water heaters are much more expensive. My current unit is from 2005, so I know I'm borrowed time.
Hopefully you’ve replaced the anode!

One of the best ROI out there, $20 spent to double the life of the asset
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by RickBoglehead »

atikovi wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:24 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:42 pm Keep in mind that the cost to pull a permit varies.

In my town, it would be $30 for the permit, $50 for an inspection, and $6 for the water heater = $86. Where we have our cottage, the cost would be $55.
Why would you need a permit or inspection to replace an appliance? Do you also need one when replacing a refrigerator, washing machine or stove? And if you do, how would the county know about the replacement in the first place? Does Home Depot report to the county on every water heater sale?
They wouldn't know. However, you'd be breaking the local laws.

Why would they need to inspect? Because you're connecting to the water supply, and because you're connecting to gas or electricity. They need to see that you did all that properly.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by criticalmass »

atikovi wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:24 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:42 pm Keep in mind that the cost to pull a permit varies.

In my town, it would be $30 for the permit, $50 for an inspection, and $6 for the water heater = $86. Where we have our cottage, the cost would be $55.
Why would you need a permit or inspection to replace an appliance? Do you also need one when replacing a refrigerator, washing machine or stove? And if you do, how would the county know about the replacement in the first place? Does Home Depot report to the county on every water heater sale?
Depends on the laws where you live. Many places require permits for a gas stove.

My County requires permits for natural gas connections. Replacing an electric water heater does not require a permit. Installing/replacing a gas water heater requires a permit. They check the connections and vents. An inspector found a loose vent the plumber missed. You could not legally sell a house without valid inspector tags hanging from gas appliances.

In Massachusetts a permit is required for all water heater replacements. The inspection also checks anti siphon/ back flow preventers are installed properly.
Last edited by criticalmass on Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by neilpilot »

RickBoglehead wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:12 am
atikovi wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:24 am

Why would you need a permit or inspection to replace an appliance? Do you also need one when replacing a refrigerator, washing machine or stove? And if you do, how would the county know about the replacement in the first place? Does Home Depot report to the county on every water heater sale?
They wouldn't know. However, you'd be breaking the local laws.

Why would they need to inspect? Because you're connecting to the water supply, and because you're connecting to gas or electricity. They need to see that you did all that properly.
I don't disagree that a permit is advisable for safety, but it's primarily to confirm venting and clearance from combustibles. After all, my refrigerator is also connected to electricity and the water supply.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by RickBoglehead »

neilpilot wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:22 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:12 am
atikovi wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:24 am

Why would you need a permit or inspection to replace an appliance? Do you also need one when replacing a refrigerator, washing machine or stove? And if you do, how would the county know about the replacement in the first place? Does Home Depot report to the county on every water heater sale?
They wouldn't know. However, you'd be breaking the local laws.

Why would they need to inspect? Because you're connecting to the water supply, and because you're connecting to gas or electricity. They need to see that you did all that properly.
I don't disagree that a permit is advisable for safety, but it's primarily to confirm venting and clearance from combustibles. After all, my refrigerator is also connected to electricity and the water supply.
Right, missed venting. Of course if it's electric there is none.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by criticalmass »

sergio wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:54 pm Water heater has developed a small leak. The heater is 15 years old, so basically time for a replacement.

I called one of the very reputable companies around here, they only do water heaters (based on a friend's suggestion). They quoted $1500 for the following:
0. Delivery of new water heater
1. Bradford White 50 gallon natural gas heater install - the model runs around $700-750 online
2. Redo of venting (not up to code)
3. Removal and disposal of old heater
4. 3-year labor warranty (heater has a 6-year)
5. Pulling permits, free fixes for anything that fails inspection

I was expecting around $1000-1200 so $1500 seems a bit high. But here where I'm located (Twin Cities, MN) it seems that any home repairs tend to run a bit higher... Waiting on a call back from two other companies. The company that quoted the $1500 picked up the phone immediately and offered to be here within a few hours.

Thanks!
With a 6 year warranty, your anode is expected to be gone after 6 years. After the anode is gone, the tank corrodes instead.

Be sure to check your anode every year and replace when depleted (about $35). You will also notice if scale builds on the anode, preventing it from working. A functioning anode will prevent your tank from corroding indefinitely.

Bradford White makes their anodes hard to check. You may need to hire a plumber to check each year on a Bradford White. Most other brands just involve turning off the valves, relieving all pressure, and opening with a 1 1/16 socket. I check mine after draining sediment, which you should do regularly. I turn off the heat before using water (showers, washing) for a while, so I’m not draining very hot water.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by SimonJester »

atikovi wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:24 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:42 pm Keep in mind that the cost to pull a permit varies.

In my town, it would be $30 for the permit, $50 for an inspection, and $6 for the water heater = $86. Where we have our cottage, the cost would be $55.
Why would you need a permit or inspection to replace an appliance? Do you also need one when replacing a refrigerator, washing machine or stove? And if you do, how would the county know about the replacement in the first place? Does Home Depot report to the county on every water heater sale?
Permits for replacing a water heater are required by many building departments. Will you get away with it in you area, perhaps, until you sell your house and any competent inspector notices you did not pull a permit.

In my area the permit for a water heater is $40, however if you did not pull a permit the inspection jumps to $120. In my area the county is allowed to place a lien against a property for the permit fees.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
atikovi
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by atikovi »

SimonJester wrote: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:46 am
In my area the permit for a water heater is $40, however if you did not pull a permit the inspection jumps to $120.
Looks like a government money grab similar to speed traps. Just checked my gas water heater. Has an inspection sticker from the water company dated 2004. Why not the gas company? A gas explosion is far more serious than a water leak.
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Re: Water heater - am I getting ripped off

Post by Luke Duke »

michaeljc70 wrote: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:36 pm As others pointed out, one guy moving a 50 gallon is not easy.
I removed and replaced a water heater in my attic by myself. A dolly and come-along made things easy.
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