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Old 08-19-2008, 08:33 AM   #1
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


I had the plumber come to tie in my hot water tank to city water. How much would you charge a customer to install a hot water tank (knowing the tank was purchased by that customer and already put in its place, you used that customers scrap "L" piping and fittings, and the permit you have to get cost $40). Doing it myself wasn't an option, my state does not let home owners do their own plumbing for domestic water. I realize this is a DIY site but perhaps there's pro's.


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Old 08-19-2008, 09:05 AM   #2
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


What did it cost you?

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Old 08-19-2008, 09:27 AM   #3
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


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I had the plumber come to tie in my hot water tank to city water. How much would you charge a customer to install a hot water tank (knowing the tank was purchased by that customer and already put in its place, you used that customers scrap "L" piping and fittings, and the permit you have to get cost $40). Doing it myself wasn't an option, my state does not let home owners do their own plumbing for domestic water. I realize this is a DIY site but perhaps there's pro's.
I would have done it myself without the permit. Is this some sort of tyrannical/communist country you live in? It must be sad to live in a land where you have no say about your own property and freedom. Will they bust in the door and look for a suspiciously new looking water heater? Then what, maybe send you off to a re-education camp?
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:54 AM   #4
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


I would think you'd be at risk of having your homeowner's insurance claim denied if the water heater installation failed and caused a flood and extensively damaged your finished basement, and you'd installed it yourself without a permit.

Though it goes without saying that insurance is a communist plot and real Americans don't rely on it.
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:13 AM   #5
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


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Though it goes without saying that insurance is a communist plot and real Americans don't rely on it.
Nah, Insurance is a good thing. I've never heard of an insurance company asking for copies of permits. Of course, I've never lived anywhere that required a permit to replace a water heater by yourself in your own home. And most folks actually take a minute or two to admire their handiwork and check for leaks when they turn the water back on so there's no risk for flooding basements.
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:34 AM   #6
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


Oh yes I live in a communist state... I think anyway!

I couldn't sneak by the permit cause I'm installing solar in my house and it isn't something I can hide from the building inspector. Getting the building inspector involved they will make sure a plumbing & electrical permit were pulled as well. My state does only mention a licensed plumber for anything dealing with domestic water or sewer (which means I can't even change out a kitchen faucet NOR replace a toilet as a homeowner) BUT does not mention anything else. They will let a homeowner install a heating system for ones house since it doesn't deal with sewer or water used for domestic use, meaning I can at least install the glycol loop for the solar panels myself (thank goodness I couldn't imagine how much it would cost to have a plumber on my roof!).

I was hoping for an estimate of what others charge or had paid before telling you how much I did but here's the breakdown from my plumber:

Permit: $40
Labor to fill out permit: $120
Parts: $100 (two 1/2" ball valves & a 90, the rest he used stuff I had)
Labor: $385 (took him 3 hours)
-------------------------------
$645 total

I think that is high, the previous owners had a tank removed where this one went so the plumbing for the most part to install the tank was all floating above and capped off ready to attach this one. I would guess he used less than 10' of pipe (and it was my pipe I had laying around). I had 5 friends who used this guy and in each case he was extremely reasonable even I was shocked how low he was. I use him and none of my friends can believe he charged that much, maybe he didn't like me, or maybe that's the standard for tank installs that's what I'm hoping to figure out.

Last edited by Piedmont; 08-19-2008 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:57 AM   #7
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


Ouch!. Could have done it yourself for $20. In defense of the plumber this was not your ordinary water heater install. It sounds like a complicated install and perhaps he felt he was going to be held responsible for the proper functioning of the system as a whole.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:18 AM   #8
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


The price actually sounds fairly average to me, depending on what area of the country you live. Bear in mind that operating a "real" plumbing company has a lot of cost involved. There are insurance costs, licensing and continuing education costs, overhead and personnel costs and more taxes than you can shake a stick at. That's why you can really save some bucks by learning to do your own basic repairs. It's unfortunate that your state won't let you do your own work and just inspect it to make sure it's safe. By the way, I would probably "forget" to call them if a faucet needs changing.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:46 PM   #9
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


The tank being for solar didn't increase the difficulty, it was the same as a typical water tank. My tank has a heat exchanger that lets me plug in the piping of my solar but, I don't have the solar done so we didn't hook it up yet.

I just want to make sure $645 is "average", I live in a poor area of my state I think house prices sum an area best a typical 1,600 sq ft colonial house w/basement in good shape sells for $210,000 here. My electrican has a lot of overhead too but charged $65/hour not $130 (my plumber had no assistant). Electrician charged me $12 for each $10 breaker the plumber charged me $50 for each $6 ball valve, and the electrican charged me cost for the permit and filled it for free my plumber is charging me cost for the permit but also an additional $120 in labor to fill it out. I'm just having a hard time believing licensed plumbers get $130/hour, mark up their parts 760%, and charge $120 to fill out paperwork and it's all standard practice of licensed professional plumbers.

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Old 08-19-2008, 03:03 PM   #10
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


Find a good local plumber (one man shop if possible) you can trust and let him know you rely on him to do it right.

We were in a small town and found "Eddie Plumbing". I never did know what his name really was.

If we needed something and described it to him, he would come during the day, do the job, clean up and leave his bill on the kitchen counter. The bill consisted of a list of all materials (to the inch), fittings (to the penny) and labor (to the minute). All this was on a waitress order pad from and older type greasy spoon. He was not dirt cheap, but he was a bargain! - One time he did some work and called at 9:00 PM to see if he could come over because he was afraid he may not have lit and checked all the gas applicances - no problem. The only bad thing is that he was a smoker but never smoked in the house (took his shoes off also), but you knew he was there.

I don't know what he charged for the water heater he bought , delivered and installed for me. The cost of your permit is a minor thing, but the $120 for filling out the application was a little rediculous unless he had to spend time and gas to get the permit filed also.

Find a good plumber if you have a house and will be in the housr for a while.

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Old 08-19-2008, 04:25 PM   #11
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


In these parts that would be a great deal.
I gather his labor rate is in the $125/hr range. By the time all was said and done it probably did take the better part of an hour to fill it out, drop it off, and do whatever else he needed to do. Why should be do that for free?
That is a high markup on materials. Are you sure that's all he used? How did he attach the pipe to the water heater? He must have used female adapters of flex lines. Their really aren't any more fittings then that? What about a fuel source, electric, gas, oil, indirect? Did he use parts for that? I have to list every piece of material I use on an invoice, did he give you one?
As for labor like I said before it sounds like a reasonable rate. Around here that would be the best deal going.
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:18 PM   #12
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


From what was posted, I can say the cost of the permit, labor for permit and cost of parts are most likely justified because you are paying for his time to acquire these items in addition to their cost; and it shows on his bill. I applied for a permit to tear out and install a new railing for my deck and I spent over an hour at cityhall to get my permit application approved due to other people who where there before me. Add the cost of fuel and other business expenses and it easily adds up to what you paid.
At first, the labor cost does not seem justified because it should have taken no more then 2 hours to install the heater. But I am assuming you did not watch the whole installation. I am also assuming the plumber spent a good hour just to test the system and check for gas leaks and water leaks while waiting for the heater to complete its cycle so that everything is working properly. So there's your 3 hours for labor.

Its too bad you live in an area that does not permit you to do your own plumbing. I did my own waterheater install 6 years ago and all I needed 3 feet of copper tubing and a 1/2 valve. All other fittings came from the old heater. I replaced the flexable gas connection with new. Total cost for parts excluding the heater: Less then $40.00.
I also had all the tools needed for the install. It pays to learn how to be a do it yourselfer. However some jobs do require a pro.
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:35 PM   #13
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How much would you charge to plumb a hot water tank?


That's amazing that your area doesn't allow you to do your own plumbing. I'm a building inspector, and I'll agree that a policy like that is nothing short of ridiculous.

As for the permit requirement...

Fact is that many licensed master plumbers cannot manage to safely install water heaters. Sounds silly but I see it on a fairly regular basis. There are a number of hazards that are associated with them. Fuel gas, combustion by-product (carbon monoxide) venting, combustion air requirements, vent clearances and requirements, just to name a few.
The fact that a water heater can blow up, burn people, leak gas, or kill you in your sleep justifies the permit requirement. Water leaks are the last thing I would look for. Any city or jurisdiction that has adopted the International Residential and plumbing codes should require a permit for a water heater replacement, based on the requirement for a permit in the code.

Getting permits shouldn't be a hassle, and I realize that some cities make it that way. That is unfortunate, but must be dealt with anyhow.

Anyone that feels that a permit/inspection requirement is unjustified for something as potentially dangerous as a water heater has no credibility in my opinion.

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