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Old 06-09-2016, 03:17 PM   #101
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I'm very curious about a cheaper alternative than what I've mentioned.
Condensing water heaters? They use PVC pipe as an exhaust.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:22 PM   #102
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I don't know biggest "emergency", but it seems all too frequent I have days like today: dentist- new crown for me $1250; then to optometrist, exams glasses, contacts for me and daughter, $1700; wife told she'll be needing 5 new crowns, so while not being billed for today, there's another $6000; new furniture for daughters bedroom delivered today, $750. So that's about $10k today, not "emergencies", but "nonrecurring", one- time items that seems to recur over and over.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:29 PM   #103
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And you would have most likely lost. Unless the previous owner attempted a repair and tried to hide it, you would probably be out some legal fees. Now...if you have a home inspection and your inspector SHOULD have seen it...then that's a different case.

Actually, not even a home inspection would help... they have language that they are not responsible for anything missed and their max damage is their fee.... and they can always claim it was hidden...
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:31 PM   #104
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If it's your money, nobody has the right to tell you you "should have" or "should not have." I'm amazed they can even cure dog cataracts. Was his vision saved?
Yep. He's getting up there in age (14) and lol now losing his hearing. Insulin runs around 120.00 a month
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:34 PM   #105
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I could probably do a separate thread about it. Basically, the current water heater replaced the original lowboy one installed in 1972. The current one is very tall, and the exhaust piping doesn't have adequate room to go up and out, so it goes over with a slight down slope then back up and out. Also not a 3' clearance between the exhaust outlet on water heater up to first combustible material on house.

Other solutions would be:
-an electric water heater ($$$ operating costs over the years probably plus probably some electrical work to get a new circuit w/ adequate amps over to the WH - this would be cheaper initially than the tankless install but probably cost an extra $20-30/mo to heat the water at least while the kids are in the house)
-a gas water heater installed inside the house in a newly built utility closet ($$$ to remodel, loss of square footage inside; still have to exhaust somewhere; my understanding is that combustion steals your air conditioned or heated air inside the house which equals higher heating/cooling costs).
-tankless - could be installed lower on the crawl space wall and vented out the side of the foundation wall or installed outside (but plumber said the elements will be harder on it).

I'm very curious about a cheaper alternative than what I've mentioned.
Ah, I wanted to ask the same question. Thanks for the explanation. Like someone mentioned, maybe a condensing version. My sister has them and they work OK. Downside is that even if it is gas, you do need electric for the fan impeller.

As for the closet, I worked on Habitat house in our municipality that had a baffled fresh air intake from the outside to stop the "stealing your conditioned air" issue.

I was wondering if you had the lowboy issue, seeing we've got similar age homes in the same area. I don't have a lowboy, but I have a WH in the garage. After I bought the house, the gas company came by to swap meters. The gas guy red tagged my heater because it was on the floor. I guess my inspector was useless. I raised the heater up and got it to code.

Jump to today. The latest gas heaters are even taller for efficiency. None would fit. I figured I'm out of luck and would have to go tankless. Nope. Turns out the latest heaters have explosion arrestors and are again legal to place on the floor of a garage -- at least in our municipality.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:38 PM   #106
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Actually, not even a home inspection would help... they have language that they are not responsible for anything missed and their max damage is their fee.... and they can always claim it was hidden...
Yes been there and done that. The basement wall that collapsed was recently inspected. Same bs we got, prior owner had built a false wall covering the damage. She quickly moved out of state selling any other assets in MO. Attorney said no problem to get a judgment here clearly fraud. Then I had to get a similar judgement in where she skipped to, sounded like too much to chase a deadbeat.

Moral is a home inspection isn't worth squat to go back on the inspectors legally.

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Old 06-09-2016, 05:11 PM   #107
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Condensing water heaters? They use PVC pipe as an exhaust.
I'll look into it. A quick search says $1700 for the typical condensing water heater plus installation, which would possibly end up being close to the same as a tankless install. And I'm not sure if I have enough clearance for the condensing units - they look tall.
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:21 PM   #108
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is a condensing unit a "boiler" unit? I have one of those and it isn't that tall
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:01 PM   #109
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Ah, I wanted to ask the same question. Thanks for the explanation. Like someone mentioned, maybe a condensing version. My sister has them and they work OK. Downside is that even if it is gas, you do need electric for the fan impeller.

As for the closet, I worked on Habitat house in our municipality that had a baffled fresh air intake from the outside to stop the "stealing your conditioned air" issue.

I was wondering if you had the lowboy issue, seeing we've got similar age homes in the same area. I don't have a lowboy, but I have a WH in the garage. After I bought the house, the gas company came by to swap meters. The gas guy red tagged my heater because it was on the floor. I guess my inspector was useless. I raised the heater up and got it to code.

Jump to today. The latest gas heaters are even taller for efficiency. None would fit. I figured I'm out of luck and would have to go tankless. Nope. Turns out the latest heaters have explosion arrestors and are again legal to place on the floor of a garage -- at least in our municipality.
The electric for a condensing unit is no problem. We have underground utilities and I think we're on the same subgrid as the commercial developments along the main road so we seem to get power restored nearly immediately (I guess as soon as the substation is turned back on). There are 120v plugs near the water heater.

Yes, we had a lowboy before (maybe 3' tall) then replaced with a "short" unit that's probably closer to 4-4.5' tall with only a foot or so clearance to the floor joists (after excavating 6-8" of gravel/clay in the crawl space).
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:02 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
is a condensing unit a "boiler" unit? I have one of those and it isn't that tall
Tall for my crawl space (I have to stoop over in the section where the WH is installed; I'm 5'10)
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Old 06-09-2016, 06:38 PM   #111
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FUEGO - we put in a tankless water heater about 6 years ago. In our case it's because they did stupid stuff when they built the house - like having the hot water heater away from the plumbing in the house - then run the hot water line through concrete slab (no insulation on the pipes). Took almost 5 minutes to get hot water to master bath shower because of the way the plumbing ran. (We're in arrid Cali where conserving water is an issue.) Our neighbors were, one by one, getting the water lines cracked inside the slab.... so there was that risk.... so we installed a tankless - outside the kitchen wall... Pipe runs were routed in a much more efficient way.

Only downside is everyone takes longer showers now because we never run out of hot water. Now that my sons are teens - this is having an impact on the nat. gas bill. LOL. But they'll move out eventually.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:00 PM   #112
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I lost a tooth several months ago. Fractured and they could not save it. So looking at 4k-7k for an implant. uugghh.
Last year DW and I each had a single tooth implant and I had two root canals and two crowns at a cost of 17K.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:12 PM   #113
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I have more crowns in my mouth than they have in England !
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:36 PM   #114
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I'm hoping our $0 deductible, $500 max OOP insurance plan will mitigate most illness or injury related costs (but sure, there might be out of pocket expenses not covered by insurance).







Here's a buck twenty five for the bus fare on the way to your newly acquired job to help you pay for your new car?

Sadly no bus in the countryside ...but he is working to cover the repair cost. Insurance totaled it. Gave him a check. And we're trying to DIY for half the cost so he can use the other half to cover the likely higher insurance rates and some new tires ...
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Old 06-10-2016, 12:41 AM   #115
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The electric for a condensing unit is no problem. We have underground utilities and I think we're on the same subgrid as the commercial developments along the main road so we seem to get power restored nearly immediately (I guess as soon as the substation is turned back on). There are 120v plugs near the water heater.

Yes, we had a lowboy before (maybe 3' tall) then replaced with a "short" unit that's probably closer to 4-4.5' tall with only a foot or so clearance to the floor joists (after excavating 6-8" of gravel/clay in the crawl space).
I had wondered, couldn't you simply dig a large pit for it to sit in in the crawl space ?
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Old 06-11-2016, 12:03 AM   #116
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I had wondered, couldn't you simply dig a large pit for it to sit in in the crawl space ?
Maybe. But then I'd probably need a sump pump to drain the pit.

And I'd be at risk of undermining the foundation footings. Pier footing and outside wall footing are ~11' apart, maybe more like 9' depending on how wide the base of the footing is underground. I've already dug down maybe a foot, but I'd need about 2 more feet to meet code I think, and I'm not sure if having the water heater in a pit would meet code anyway. Then there's the issue of accessing the base of the water heater for maintenance and repairs or something as simple as lighting the pilot (with the piezo trigger) and verifying it's lit (the current mini-pit makes this onerous).

It bugs me that I'll have to spend so much $$$ to get a new water heater but I can't come up with a good alternative solution that wouldn't cost almost as much as a good, clean solution.
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Old 06-11-2016, 05:20 AM   #117
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All this fuss about a missing tooth, I had a tooth removed when I was 19 as family didn't have the money to put a cap on it. Never been a problem in 47 years. But I would not want to lose another one in that quadrant. But did spend $1200 last year on a double crown (one piece over two teeth). Not sure what I'd do if faced with an implant situation, maybe just leave a gap.
DH lost a tooth and did not replace it probably 25 years ago. I don't know why because we've always had good dental insurance and have been diligent about dental care. At any rate about ten years ago our dentist felt DH needed braces as a result of tooth movement, then an implant and then caps or recaps of most teeth-pretty much a total reconstruction to preserve his teeth for the long haul. Total cost was probably $25,000 over three years, partially covered by insurance to the tune of about $10,000. Not sorry we did it but very expensive. I had an implant 3 years ago that ran $6K before insurance of about $4K( managed to use two years of dental insurance maximums). And last year had to have a bridge replaced that probably incurred similar costs to the implant. Dental work can be a very big category and one which even good insurance only partially covers. Thank goodness DD and DS who are 31 and 33 have never had a cavity.

On a somber note, Condolences to those who have lost their children. A terrible event that one surely never totally recovers from.
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Old 06-11-2016, 06:42 AM   #118
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The loss of children makes my emergencies look small. My heart goes out to you.

With my coworkers and friends, the largest preretirement expense seems to be divorce. One guy quips that divorce turned his 401k into a 201k overnight. Another one pays $70,000 / year, and says it is worth every penny. Florida has this thing call 'alimony for life' that eliminates the possibility of FIRE for most higher wage earners. Fortunately, my wife puts up with me and I love her.

Biggest pre-retirement unplanned personal expenses:
- Son taking two victory laps in college - two extra years support $14/yr.
- Two hurricane direct strikes on the house in 2004. Estimates for a metal roof and replacement of the pool enclosure were $45k. Insurance check was $17k. With help from family and friends, I put on a permit-inspected metal roof for $12k (took 9 months of weekends for 48 square). The next year I rebuild the pool enclosure myself for $4k
- Back surgery for my wife. Constant pain for 8 years - loss of her income. Probably $40k out of pocket for medical over the years including painkillers - thank heaven for insurance. After several surgeries creeping paralysis set in - so we went 'concierge medicine' (no insurance accepted) for a highly rated specialist at $25k. It worked to stop the spreading paralysis. Two months ago, she had a spinal cord surgically implanted battery powered stimulator that works so well she is getting off the drugs now. Looking forward to an active retirement again!
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Old 06-11-2016, 08:25 AM   #119
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I am humbled...
Thought that the $500 water heater replacement 3 years ago was a catastrophe.
On a brighter side... A recent hail storm. Aside from two holes in our screens, no apparent damage. A local roofer came and asked if I wanted the roof inspected for damage. I looked, but could see no damage. (roof is 16 yrs old).
Anyway, why not?... He suggested I call our insurance. The adjuster came out and agreed to a total roof replacement, plus an inside ceiling repaint to cover a small stain near the kitchen vent pipe. Is that a windfall?
" 'tis an ill wind"....
Emergency fund? Dunno... keep lots of cash in our savings account, because we have no interest in or aptitude for investing.

Re dental... still have 5 "temporary" ss caps installed in 1969 @ a total cost of $700... Speaking of high expenses... That was a budget buster.
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Old 06-11-2016, 08:51 AM   #120
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A friend down in La Quinta is having implant work down in Puerta Penasco Mexico by a dentist he raves about and has seen for many years. $1200 for the job from extraction to implant, abutment, and implant crown. Modern equipment, great staff, super gentle. My wallet was very jealous. Dunno how far you are from there, but...


I do not have bad teeth, but if I ever do, pulling them and living with a gap in my mouth is a nonstarter... But I do have plenty of time, and definitely like to save money if this would happen, so I am just thinking out loud here.... Say a person needs 2-3 implants... Is it truly going to save money flying from MO to Mexico to get treatment after allowing for air travel, hotel, and all over expenses associated with getting there? Or is this just a potential cost savings for people within driving distance to seek treatment?


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