sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
2/21/20 12:21 p.m.

Ok, so I've read the couple of recent threads about water heaters on here already.

We've had a plumber out to our rented residence to fix our water heater, at the direction of our management company (recall, we're living in Europe right now... and the house is in NoVA).  Minor issues are fixed, but the plumber believes the heater is 'end of life'... no, I don't have the age of it handy.  Plumber quoted us ~$4200 for a replacement.  Apparently it's that much because it's gas (it's the only gas appliance in the house), and it has "Power Venting".

Our house is modern/split-level.  And the heater is on the bottom floor of one split.  It's on a wall that's 'underground', but not a basement.  I think it vents out on the wall opposite to it, which is all but 10-12" above ground..  We do have a dehumidifier in our basement, but I think it's been of little use since we installed internal french drains (which will be a thread in-itself at a later date).  Relocating the water heater to the basement is not in the cards... so I think a hybrid unit is out.

So, pull the trigger, and just get a new gas one?  Switch to electric and turn off the only source of gas in the house?  Something else?

Note: I'm bald, so 'light your hair on fire' isn't a valid option.

 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
2/21/20 1:27 p.m.

$4200 seems ridiculous. I had a new chimney vent type installed for a hair less than $1000 including permit. The power vent type aren't that much more. Home Depot offers a 50 gallon power vent water heater for $1000. Is the plumber saying it's $3200 just to install one? It would take a good plumber about two hours to do it. Including removing the old one it should be 3 hours tops. I don't know what a good plumber charges but $1000+/hr seems a little steep.

Edit: Oh, I say go ahead and replace like for like. No sense spending more money than needed on a rental, and a gas water heater is a good setup with quick recovery and low operating costs.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/21/20 1:34 p.m.
dculberson said:

$4200 seems ridiculous. I had a new chimney vent type installed for a hair less than $1000 including permit. The power vent type aren't that much more. Home Depot offers a 50 gallon power vent water heater for $1000. Is the plumber saying it's $3200 just to install one? It would take a good plumber about two hours to do it. Including removing the old one it should be 3 hours tops. I don't know what a good plumber charges but $1000+/hr seems a little steep.

Yup.  Sounds crazy high.  Get a couple more prices. 

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy UltraDork
2/21/20 1:50 p.m.

Call your gas company, they may replace it, and roll it into your bill. Or LowesDepot may install one "today". 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/21/20 1:54 p.m.

Ah... welcome to NoVA pricing... 

Good luck. 

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
2/21/20 2:04 p.m.

I need to move there and start installing water heaters.  Seriously, I could drive there from Kentucky.  Stay in a high end hotel.  Install the water heater.  Stay another night and get an in room massage.  Drive back to Kentucky in my gas hog Suburban.

And STILL be $1500 cheaper than that guy.  I suspect he's aware of you being out of the country and counting on you to just go with his "estimate".  Find someone else.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
2/21/20 2:20 p.m.
sleepyhead the buffalo said:

 

Note: I'm bald, so 'light your hair on fire' isn't a valid option.

 

Is the plumber's hair available?

Unless this is some sort of 150 gallon industrial water heater, that estimate looks way too high, and you should be able to find a better estimate from another plumber.

 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
2/21/20 6:58 p.m.

I don't know pricing but remember that the direct vented type of water heater is a lot more expensive than a conventional type, plus there's more work involved for installing them.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
2/22/20 3:15 a.m.

Alright, thanks for the feedback.  We're gonna ask for more detail on the quote, and to get two more quotes on the replacement.

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