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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My hot water tank is over 13 years old (exact age unknown) and I just got a quote from a local plumber of $2,000 for a standard 50 gallon gas hot water heater. There is a high recovery water heater option for a few hundred more.

People I've talked to said that's crazy and that I can go to Home Depot and have it done for a few hundred.

Would you guys recommend using HD? I don't have any experience with using the big box stores for installs but for whatever reason I'm not 100% confident in these guys.

Am I nuts? Should I just let them do it for a fraction of the cost?
 

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Call another plumber----and here is why--

The home depot uses licenced plumbers--at least in this area---so the installation should be done about the same---BUT---

You want a water heater that can be repaired quickly if it breaks----Depot does not stock parts for thier machines--nor do any local plumbing supply houses--so if it breaks--you wait for parts to be mailed---

Plumber will use Bradford White or other tank that is from a local supply house--that also has parts.

Depot installers are also well known for 'surprise' extra charges---gas nipple work--modifying the vent--pipes don't line up---to name a few---so the great price over the phone does not match the check written.
 

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HD/Lowes are a crap shoot. Sometimes you get a good contractor, sometimes you don't. Unfortunately, you don't get to pick who does the work.

I've had a few bad encounters using their services, but then again I've had a few bad encounters when I've used contractors directly.

I recently had a gas water heater installed through HD. It was a 40 gallon tank. I got a 12 yr. model. It was ~$700 installed. The guy who did the work was really good.

In my new house, we made the owner replace the water heater before we moved in. She went through Lowes. The tank sits crooked, and the venting is completely screwed up. I'll eventually have to redo everything.

HD installed my new metal garage door. The installer thought it would be a good idea to use a lot of staples to attach the rubber gaskets to the door frame. The first time I opened the door, the staples took the paint off the door. HD wanted to repaint it, but I made them give me a new door.

That's what I mean by crap shoot.
 

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Taken from post #3 on this thread. http://www.diychatroom.com/f7/new-50-gallon-tank-water-heater-advice-364690/

"Looks like:
Gas 40 gallon 6 year runs about $400
Gas 40 gallon 12 year runs about $650
Gas 50 gallon 10 year runs about $550
Gas 50 gallon 12 year runs about $650
Gas 50 gallon 6 year direct vent runs about $1200 - I suspect greater efficiency"

Sure doesn't look like it should get up to $2,000.

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
just called another plumber and they quoted $1,600. My water heater is from 1998...18 years old! I've had no problems or leaks but I should probably replace it before something happens.
 

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For that kind of money I'd go HD/Lowes in a second.

Unless there's a lot of additional prep work required in your house, that seems crazy expensive to me.

Is this just a simple replacement, or does it require new venting, a change to PVC venting, or something like that?
 

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If you are going direct vent it does require new venting. 1600 isn't bad for 50 gallon power vent. Google home depot installer issues and you will see why you should shy away from them. In my area they can use anyone and it is generally someone who will do it for little money as the Depot likes to keep the bulk of it. If you do have a issue the cheapo that installed it for next to nothing will not want to go back and service or fix the problem.
CHEAPER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER. Would you buy a car with bungee cords for seat belts. But people will find the cheapest possible person to mess with a gas appliance in the dwelling they sleep in. Good luck with your heater, i hope it turns out good for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
are those quotes from plumbers that came out to your house and looked at the job? I should start raising my prices...:wink2:

The one plumber that came to the house wanted $1,800-$2,100. 3 others I called ranged from $1,600 - $2,000. Another, who comes highly recommended, and a company I've used before for a smaller job, quoted $1,225.
 

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$1225 sounds about right....but without pictures on what one has to deal with, it would be unfair to say the higher quotes are out of line...the cheaper one could be because you are a customer already..I have had people tell me over the phone..oh its an easy job all you have to do is......then go look at it and its a nightmare..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Either way, don't expect to get 18 years out of this one. I start getting nervous when they hit about 8+ years.

I'll probably be able to get another 8+ years out of my current one!! But I don't have the balls to find out.


Other quotes I need now are to add a make up air vent/pipe for combustion (for the water heater and furnace). I don't have one presently but since my basement is unfinished, it's pulling air from there and upstairs. Not ideal but it is what it is. I'm going to finish my basement and will be making it "tighter" with extra insulation and will be enclosing the boiler room.


The guy who quoted $2k for the water heater quoted $950 for the make up air vent/pipe.
 

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I have a Richmond/Rheem 50 gal. Power Vent unit. If I recall, we paid around $900 for the unit and labor to install, along with putting in a tempering valve for the toilet was around $600.00. That is about the norm. in my area for labor and parts. Disposal of the old unit was free, because my guy uses a couple that picks them up and recycles them for the scrap.

I will say that the 50 was a lot heavier to carry downstairs then the old 40 gallon we had.
 

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Either way, don't expect to get 18 years out of this one. I start getting nervous when they hit about 8+ years.
There are some that are out there that are over 20 years old. They last that long, because they are properly maintained. It really depends on water quality. I am sure that those in Flint, Mi are gone, including brand new units. All because of the bad water.
 

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I'll probably be able to get another 8+ years out of my current one!! But I don't have the balls to find out.


Other quotes I need now are to add a make up air vent/pipe for combustion (for the water heater and furnace). I don't have one presently but since my basement is unfinished, it's pulling air from there and upstairs. Not ideal but it is what it is. I'm going to finish my basement and will be making it "tighter" with extra insulation and will be enclosing the boiler room.


The guy who quoted $2k for the water heater quoted $950 for the make up air vent/pipe.
Any type of gas appliance will take make up air from inside the structure. Depending on how bad power outages are in your area. If not bad in having a lot of outages, I would just go with a Power Vent unit, instead of Draft.
 

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Many times there are things that have to be done to bring a new heater up to today's code, it is not always a mater of pull one out and stick a new one back in,
there is NO SUCH THING AS GRANDFATHER IN when you buy a new car it has to be built up to today's standards same as with new appliances installed
 

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Many times there are things that have to be done to bring a new heater up to today's code, it is not always a mater of pull one out and stick a new one back in,
there is NO SUCH THING AS GRANDFATHER IN when you buy a new car it has to be built up to today's standards same as with new appliances installed
So what you are stating is that every used vehicle has to be tarn down to the chassis and rebuilt with all new materials and parts.

Yes there is such a thing as called grandfathering. With Draft appliances, if there is enough leakage in the structure, there is no need for a make up supply from the outside.

If the building does not leak much, the original B Vent is good, the new unit would be installed and a make up air pipe would be ran and have a 5 gallon bucket at the bottom, to keep the cooler or warmer air from outside, flowing over the floor, raising the temp of the area.

The only thing I had to do with my power vent unit, was just install a pipe for the power vent. No extra pipe needed, because there is enough air exchange from the house being old and dose not pressuriZe to cause starvation.
 
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