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Water Heater Replacement Strategy
Old 01-04-2017, 09:57 PM   #1
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Water Heater Replacement Strategy

Here in CA, replacement & install of waters heaters range from $1300 - $ 1500.
Currently have 6 year old Sears (Kenmore) heater. Purchased extended warranty last year. Just received renewal letter. One year, about $59. Three years, about $139.

Here's the interesting part. Warranty says, if Sears cannot repair the water
heater, they will install and replace. Seems, as long as Sears stays in business, would seem worthwhile to keep purchasing the extended warranty.

Anyone out there try this plan, and what was the outcome.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:03 PM   #2
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Not sure I would bet on Sears........
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:24 PM   #3
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Of course they may just stop covering it , once it reaches a certain age.
So if you are not a diy, then the warranty will give you peace of mind until then.

Installing a water heater is pretty easy, the heater only costs about $500 for a good one at home depot (mine has a manufacturer warranty for 9 yrs).
I think CA uses the flexible gas and flexible water connections which would make it a breeze for diy.
Plus you probably need to strap it to the wall for earthquakes.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
Not sure I would bet on Sears........
+1
I honestly don't expect them to be around in five years or so.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:36 AM   #5
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+1
I honestly don't expect them to be around in five years or so.
Things don't look promising. They just announced they are closing some stores.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sears-...231812011.html
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf View Post
Here in CA, replacement & install of waters heaters range from $1300 - $ 1500.
Currently have 6 year old Sears (Kenmore) heater. Purchased extended warranty last year. Just received renewal letter. One year, about $59. Three years, about $139.

Here's the interesting part. Warranty says, if Sears cannot repair the water
heater, they will install and replace. Seems, as long as Sears stays in business, would seem worthwhile to keep purchasing the extended warranty.

Anyone out there try this plan, and what was the outcome.
Are you certain the replacement heater has a value of $1300 - $1500? What does the warranty say?
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:38 AM   #7
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I have replaced many 50 gallon water heaters at my rental properties and the going rate here in MN is more like $850.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:06 AM   #8
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Things don't look promising. They just announced they are closing some stores.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sears-...231812011.html
Just sold Craftsman brand to Stanley/Black&Decker
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:27 AM   #9
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I have replaced many 50 gallon water heaters at my rental properties and the going rate here in MN is more like $850.
About the same here in AZ. I replaced my gas water heater last year and HD wanted $950 for a 40gal water heater and the install. I purchased it for $450 and installed it myself, not too difficult.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:45 AM   #10
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Replaced my leaking water heater a few months ago, myself. $369 for a new 50 gallon Rheem from Home Depot. 7 year warranty. I used Sharkbite flexible hoses. It wasn't exactly a breeze but definitely doable.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:39 AM   #11
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Whether you decide to buy or not buy extended service agreement based on the cost and the benefit, you should know that all extended warranties are underwritten to provide their service if the originator goes out of business. Remember companies like Circuit City, who sold extended warranties on a lot of their products? All of those warranties were serviced through reserve funds that were required to be put aside out of the original purchase price. With all of that said, it may not be clear whether it's a good value or not. Good luck! Nobody likes a cold shower....Brrrr!
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:53 AM   #12
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Not sure I would bet on Sears........

I agree.

They just announced the closure of one of their two locations near me (and many others in other locations across the country). Doesn't sound like they are doing all that well.
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New water heater standards
Old 01-05-2017, 08:21 AM   #13
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New water heater standards

Energy efficiency standards for water heaters changed in 2015, and most retailers are now out of stock on the old less expensive models.

Our local newspaper runs an occasional column on issues of concern to homeowners. Here's an excerpt from a story :

"On April 16th of this year [2015], new energy efficiency standards from the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) go into effect for water heaters. Starting that day, manufacturers will only be allowed to make water heaters that conform to the new energy standards. Existing water heaters will still be allowed to be sold, but I don’t expect that supply to last for more than a few months."

New Water Heater Energy Standards Structure Tech Home Inspections

I asked a plumber about it. Because of the higher cost of the heater, and more complex installation, the final price for a remove & replace is 50% to 100% more than what it would be for a simple swap-out of the old style units.

We have our water heater and furnace in a small utility closet. When it comes time to replace we will either have to go to a smaller capacity, or switch to a "tankless" design.

Oh yeah, permits add to the total cost - our city requires a plumbing permit for replacing a water heater, it costs about $100!
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:50 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by BrianB View Post
Energy efficiency standards for water heaters changed in 2015, and most retailers are now out of stock on the old less expensive models. ...

New Water Heater Energy Standards Structure Tech Home Inspections

I asked a plumber about it. Because of the higher cost of the heater, and more complex installation, the final price for a remove & replace is 50% to 100% more than what it would be for a simple swap-out of the old style units.

We have our water heater and furnace in a small utility closet. When it comes time to replace we will either have to go to a smaller capacity, or switch to a "tankless" design.
...
I don't understand a 50% to 100% more for a swap out? The new specs for a <55 Gallon gas water heater ( 40 Gallons seems typical and adequate for most homes) just call for 2" insulation in place of 1" insulation. If your closet is so tight as to not accommodate a couple inches in diameter and height, it could be a problem, but other than that, what's the issue? Shouldn't cost a penny extra to install in most cases.

I got a new water heater along with my new AC/Furnace. It also has a power damper so the flue is only sucking air through the unit when the flame is on. Not sure how much that helps standby losses, and since this was all bundled I'm not sure how much extra it cost, but it is pretty simple mechanism and has a fail-safe lockout - seems like a good idea.

-ERD50
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:05 AM   #15
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My last water heater replacement had to meet the new codes. So....

$65 for a permit for the city and inspection.
$25 for a 'pad' to keep it off the garage floor
$70 for a backflow tank
$50 for an earthquake kit

And, of course the extra labor to install all of the above in addition to the water heater installation labor.

So much for just 'swapping out' the old heater and putting in a new one.

One thing I have found is that labor costs vary greatly from area to area. A fellow in Stumptown Missouri may pay $60 an hour for a plumber, but in LA it might be $150 an hour.

Thankfully my water heaters all seem to last at least 10 years, and usually closer to 15.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:10 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf View Post
Here in CA, replacement & install of waters heaters range from $1300 - $ 1500.
Currently have 6 year old Sears (Kenmore) heater. Purchased extended warranty last year. Just received renewal letter. One year, about $59. Three years, about $139.
The problem with those ongoing warranties is that after the device hits a certain age they won't renew the warranty. So, you pay and pay and pay when the the device is relatively new and unlikely to need repair. Then, when it gets to the point that repair or replacement is much more likely, they will no longer offer you the warranty. Not so good
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:30 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
My last water heater replacement had to meet the new codes. So....

$65 for a permit for the city and inspection.
$25 for a 'pad' to keep it off the garage floor
$70 for a backflow tank
$50 for an earthquake kit

And, of course the extra labor to install all of the above in addition to the water heater installation labor.

So much for just 'swapping out' the old heater and putting in a new one.

One thing I have found is that labor costs vary greatly from area to area. A fellow in Stumptown Missouri may pay $60 an hour for a plumber, but in LA it might be $150 an hour.

Thankfully my water heaters all seem to lat at least 10 years, and usually closer to 15.
None of those costs appear to be related to any new efficiency requirements, just updated codes (responding to the other poster who mentioned 50-100% more for efficient units).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
The problem with those ongoing warranties is that after the device hits a certain age they won't renew the warranty. So, you pay and pay and pay when the the device is relatively new and unlikely to need repair. Then, when it gets to the point that repair or replacement is much more likely, they will no longer offer you the warranty. Not so good
That's the key. The numbers don't sound bad, but if they won't extend the warranty (or raise the price), when the unit is actually approaching its typical end-of-life, you probably paid a lot for nothing. Just like life insurance for a 90 YO is going to be much higher than for a 40 YO.

-ERD50
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:30 AM   #18
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Although I'm somewhat handy, I generally don't do any heavy-labor DIY projects anymore. And that would certainly include water heater replacement. In my case, there's no way I'd attempt to bring a new water heater down my basement stairs.................never mind lugging UP the old one!
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Water heaters
Old 01-05-2017, 09:33 AM   #19
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Water heaters

Quote:
I don't understand a 50% to 100% more for a swap out? The new specs for a <55 Gallon gas water heater ( 40 Gallons seems typical and adequate for most homes) just call for 2" insulation in place of 1" insulation. If your closet is so tight as to not accommodate a couple inches in diameter and height, it could be a problem, but other than that, what's the issue? Shouldn't cost a penny extra to install in most cases.
For us the extra 2-3 inches diameter and height will make a big difference. We don't have a basement, and the utility closet is so small that putting anything bigger in the space would require realligning the plumbing pipes, gas line, and exhaust.

Also, many natural gas water heaters (the most popular type in MN) are now power vent, so they require air intake be installed to get combustion air to the burner.

Our last replacement 5 years ago was just under $800. Estimate for a new install now would be $1100 to $1200 (non-power vent) to $1500 to $1600 (power vent). Of course inflation accounts for some increase, but higher product cost and more labor definitely affect the total.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:32 AM   #20
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I'll need to replace my 15+yr old gas water heater but like a few other neighbors was thinking of upgrading to the small instant electric ones. I can free up room for more tools in my garage.
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