My hot water heater warranty replacement experience (rant - long)

I had a 4-1/2 year old 50 gallon Bradford White gas hot water heater spring a leak. I called B-W and their customer service rep said the heater was still under the 6 year warranty. However, because of a federal law passed last year I would have to pay for the upgraded model that has the sealed pilot light and burner. She would not say how much the upgrade would cost and that I would have to get it replaced by a licensed plumber and the price from them. She would not tell me who to call for service and that I should call numbers in the Yellow Pages to find someone who could handle a B-W warranty repair.
So, I called several places. After four phone calls I found one who would handle it. I asked for a quote over the phone and they said there was no way to give a quote without seeing the water heater first and it would cost me $13 for them to come out. They came out in 2-3 hours. The guy quoted me $209 "for everything" and I said to go ahead. He left and then returned 10 minutes later. He profusely apologized and said the $209 was for the replacement heater and that the entire job would cost $496. I cancelled the service and still had to pay a $13 'fuel charge.'
$209 for a heater that is covered under warranty? I felt like I was getting bent over and the lube was soon to come. I called B-W back and told them I felt like I was getting ripped and that I wanted to do the job myself. They said I could and gave me three distributor's names to call to see 'if they would work with a homeowner.'
The first one wanted $209 for the replacement heater plus a $35 warranty paperwork charge. I told the guy that before I paid $244 for a heater under warranty I would buy a different brand even if it cost more. I knew I could buy a Whirlpool with a 9 year warranty at Lowes for $328.
The second distributor wanted 'about $140.' He was the distributor that the plumber was going to get my replacement from because he already had my serial number. It took two more tries at how much was 'about $140' before he would commit to the price.
The third distributor quoted 'about $120 to $130.' What's with the 'about' crap? Don't people know how much they sell stuff for? I bought the replacement from #3 and it cost $127 plus change including tax.
Taking out the old heater and putting in the new one was a piece of cake with the exception of the gate valve on the cold water line to the heater. The stem broke inside the assembly which meant I could not refill the tank. Rather than sweat the old valve off and put on a new valve right away, I unscrewed the assembly, pulled out the broken gate and screwed the assembly back on. The water main valve is right next to the water heater so the temporary fix was easy. I'll pick up a new valve this weekend and replace it is convenient to shut the water off to the whole house.
It still irks me to have to pay for a water heater that was under warranty. Any other time something like this has happened the manufacturer says they are sorry for the inconvenience and here is the upgraded model at no extra charge. Is this a common practice in the plumbing business?
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Ike wrote:

Was that a full 6 year warranty or was it pro-rated?
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Joseph E. Meehan

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If full warranty I would file a complaint with the state attorney general office.

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On Sat, 14 Aug 2004 20:22:18 GMT "Joseph Meehan"

It was a full 6 year warranty. The up-charge was said to be due to a federal law passed in July '03 that required all gas water heaters to have enclosed pilot light and burners. This is so someone who stores an open can of gasoline next to their gas water heater cannot blow themselves up if the water heater ignites the gasoline fumes.
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Ike wrote:

Check with your Attorney General of your state. I don't think they can do what they are doing.

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Joseph E. Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

Really! The AGs have a staff of people paid (by you) to help out in this kind of thing.
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chuck yerkes wrote:

can
That did not come out very clear. "I don' think they (Bradford White) can do what they are doing."

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Joseph E. Meehan

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Ike wrote:

<snip>
Ah, don't you love the federal government. Here in Phoenix we used to have a weekend talk show that talked about home repair. The host was Ken Moon. He had a rant about this new regulation.
With the "older" design, if someone were to store gasoline next to the water heater, the vapors would travel to the water heater and ignite. Ken Moon said something like 8 or so people die a year from this.
He also stated that it's stupid to make a law that about doubles the cost of the water heater, and requires the old water heaters to no longer be manufactured. Is it really worth all that cost for 8 people a year who do something like store gasoline next to the water heater?
Perhaps the market should make the choice? Perhaps you can have the choice between the older and newer model? If you want to be more safe, than buy the safer model. But if you are on a budget, and don't plan to store gasoline next to the water heater, then save your money and buy the cheaper water heater.
I think there are other ways to stop/reduce deaths per year that are far cheaper and more effective! --Mike
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Double the course.... what a joke. By the way the water heater is supposed to be elevated to give you a few seconds before the whole basement blows up if you spill a flamable fluid by mistake. The insurance savings alone will probably be more than the manufacturing cost.

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I have never heard of a heater that heats hot water. Maybe that is why you had to pay too much? I would have just installed a "water heater" and saved a bunch of money.
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Oscar_Lives wrote:

Many furnaces for baseboard heat also include a water heater...
Brad
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Hi Brad, hope you are having a nice day
On 15-Aug-04 At About 07:22:05, Brad Bruce wrote to All Subject: Re: My hot water heater warranty replacement experience (rant - long
BB> Oscar_Lives wrote: >> I have never heard of a heater that heats hot water.
BB> Many furnaces for baseboard heat also include a water heater...
If it is for baseboard it is a boiler. not a furnace.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. "Hermits have no peer pressure." - s.w.
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wrote :

Really Oscar? Does your water heater wait until the water is room temperature and then kick in? Were do you live? Appalachia where water heaters are wood fired? I have one of the newer gas models that keeps the water at a temperature range I set.
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But why would you want to heat hot water? Why not just use a plain ol' water heater, instead of a hot water heater?
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Oscar_Lives wrote:

Because us smart folks run the water up to a solar water heater first. Depending, the water that hits the water heater can be between 50 degrees (if the system's in heavy use - eg. 3 showers taken, the washing machine and dishwasher running) or 120 degrees.
My PV installer was troubleshooting someone who had a tankless that was failing. If he put a tarp over the solar water panels, it was fine. They narrowed it down to when the incoming water was over 140 degrees! (which is kinda close to too hot).
They solved it by putting a 20 gallon holding/circ tank in the loop to replace the 10 gallon tank. (no gas on this tank, just a place for the solar panel to dump in hot and draw out cold(er) from the bottom.
It basically means that he pays a LITTLE for heating the water early in the morning when the holding tank is down to 100 degrees or so. Most of the heat is free.
It's not the answer you want, but you were just trolling.
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wrote :

Um, to *keep* it hot?
Don't you have something more productive to do in your retirement years than post unhelpful messages? Is retirement that lonely that the only joy left in life is to criticize the semantics of someone's post?
Those questions are rhetorical, Oscar. You don't need to respond nor will it matter. And, in case you are still bored and want to learn something new today, here is something for you to do. Here's a new Internet acronym for you to look up: WTMKF
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