Quick basic advice on a dripping gas 40-gal hot-water heater

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Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

Correct. The heater may be okay but you have a leaking pipe. Improbable, but possible.

Seven years can be about right for an economy model in harsh water conditions. If the capacity has been adequate, replace it with the same. A larger capacity model does not last longer and may introduce connection issues (the pipes are in the wrong place).

For a traditional male with the right tools, it's a DIY. For wimps, metros, the aged, the infirm, those too busy, or for those who know the names of more than about six colors, it's a pro job.

Water heaters are commodity items. The same model is the same model. Installation is non-tricky - it's hard to believe even the fools selected by HD could screw it up. After removing the old heater, you set the new one in place and connect three pipes. You're done.

Too late, now. How often to drain (if ever) depends on the quality of your water. Study on this later.

Several. You'll need at least three (kitchen, bath, and laundry). This usually means running new electrical service to hard-to-reach places.

If you can live without hot water until your husband returns:
Drain the hot water heater:
1. Turn off the water supply valve to the water heater. There are two pipes attached to the top, close the valve that is found on one of the pipes. 2. Turn the heater's gas valve to OFF 3. Hook up a water hose to the outlet found near the bottom of the water heater, put the other end of the garden hose outside. 4. Turn the valve that's built into to the place on the water heater where you hooked up the hose. 5. Open any hot-water faucet (this allows air to enter the tank).
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 17:48:03 -0600, HeyBub wrote:

Hi guys,
Thanks for all the advice. I'm making progress in the past few hours, learning more than I ever knew about my hot water heater!
A call to the Home Depot Water Heater Servicing Center in 'da Bronx (877-467-0542) uncovered the following choices by price installed (sans about $55 for earthquake straps & another $50 for a local permit, if needed) by SKU, FHR, EF, Gal, BTUs, & warranty:
$608 SG40T12AVH/182-755 72galFHR 0.59EF ??KBTU 40gal 6-yr(drain 2x/year) $658 SG50T12AVH/183-717 80galFHR 0.58EF ??KBTU 50gal 6-yr(drain 2x/year) $677 SG40T12AVH/182-786 72galFHR 0.59EF ??KBTU 40gal 9-yr(self cleaning) $718 SG50T12AVH/184-076 80galFHR 0.58EF ??KBTU 50gal 9-yr(self cleaning) $728 SG40T12AVH/182-953 68galFHR 0.59EF ??KBTU 40gal 12-yr(self cleaning) $783 SG50T12AVH/185-191 83galFHR 0.58EF ??KBTU 50gal 12-yr(self cleaning)
Keeping in mind my existing (leaking) 65 gallon First Hour Rated 40 gallon 35,000 BTU gas-fired hot water heater is roughly equivalent to the first one (i.e., least expensive) on the list, it looks like I can't go too far wrong with any of these.
Do my assumptions (focusing on the cost per FHR) make sense moving forward?
Donna
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On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 01:09:43 GMT, Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

Does anyone know if these guys "bargain"?
That is, if I call the Sears Kenmore Water Heater Center 1-800-877-6420, and give them the Home Depot price - would they modify their prices in the call? Does that happen?
I'd try it but when I thought about it today, the Kenmore folks were closed.
So, I figured I'd ask if it helps to "bargain" with the online folks? Anyone know if they give "instant discounts"?
Donna
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 19:11:54 -0700, Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

For the record, this reference, pointed to me by someone on this thread, is FANTASTIC for helping a consumer figure out which gas water heater to buy!
http://www.gamanet.org/gama/inforesources.nsf/vContentEntries/Product+Directories?OpenDocument
The actual document for a gas water heater is http://www.gamanet.org/gama/inforesources.nsf/vAttachmentLaunch/C2AAFB8D41D003F485256E9000607F66 /$FILE/12-07-gas-rwh.pdf
I'm reading it now to learn more. A lot of what people said is right but a lot is wrong. It's so hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
But I'm trying! Donna
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 22:10:33 -0700, Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

Nobody mentioned the payback calculation yet. I'm trying to run the calculations in the invaluable Dec. 2007 document http://www.gamanet.org/gama/inforesources.nsf/vAttachmentLaunch/C2AAFB8D41D003F485256E9000607F66 /$FILE/12-07-gas-rwh.pdf
Given current PG&E cost per therm in my area http://www.pge.com/tariffs/GRS.SHTML#GRS of between $1.21 to $1.44 per therm http://www.pge.com/tariffs/pdf/G-1.pdf
For those calculations, does an average cost per therm in my area of $1.33 seem reasonable to you?
Donna
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Look at your utility bill, it should say exactly what the cost per therm is, they may call it CCF. That number sounds a little high, but then it varies by area and the cost has multiplied by several times in the last 10-15 years. I pay around $1.15 per therm, I still remember when it was closer to 33 cents.
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On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 07:24:20 GMT, James Sweet wrote:

I pay around $1.33 per therm. I'm going to do the calculations today.
I just called Sears Kenmore (actually AO SMith State Industries makes all the Kenmore brands) asking for their highest-efficiency consumer hot water heater models. - Sears Kenmore Home Water Heater Department: 1-800-877-6420
Here's the summary from Sears for the 40-gallon 12/1 year water heater: - $420/$853 #33144 FHR 81 gallons, EF 0.63, BTU 40K, - 58" tall, 20.5" diameter, 63.5" tall with diverter
Here's the summary from Sears for the 50-gallon 12/1 year water heater: - $450/$885 #33154 FHR 97 gallons, EF 0.63, BTU 40K, - 59.5" tall, 22" diameter, 65" tall with diverter The installation fee includes a bunch of possibly mandatory extras. - Mandatory Installation Fee $300 - Mandatory Disposal Fee $10 - Mandatory Plumbing Permit $77 - Mandatory Flex Pipe Replacement $46 - Mandatory Sales Tax on the water heater ~8.75% - Possible Earthquake Straps $68 - Possible pipe retrofit fees ~100 - Possible trip charge of $35 to $80 if any service is refused
I still have to do the calculations to see if the EF makes any real difference at a cost per therm of $1.33 particularly since the "average" water heater at HD was 0.58 or 0.59 EF, but I could special order a HD one with 0.62 EF but I could get from Sears one with an EF of 0.63.
I wonder how much exactly it all matters ... for that ... I need to build the calculations.
I think I have enough now - certainly more than I ever thought I needed to know - to make a reasonable not-dumb decision on replacing my home water heater that started leaking yesterday morning.
Please let me know if you have any calculators on the web which can COMPARE two home water heaters given the specs we have posted in this thread!
Thanks, Donna
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On Feb 11, 12:50pm, "Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator"

If you plan on flushing the tank and inspecting the anode annually from here on out, I would expect that the higher efficiency model will be your better buy unless the price is *significantly* higher. Proper maintenance could make the tank last 30 years or more, it's just that few people actually do it.
I write the flush/inspection dates right on the side of the tank in Sharpie, that reminds me when it's time to do it again.
nate
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lets assume a 300 buck a year operating cost and it sounds like you might save 4% on a more efficent model.
4% of $300 is $12 bucks a year, thats no biggie.
now the 90+ tanks might cut your water heating bill by nearly half, but purchase cost will be a lot more
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On Mon, 11 Feb 2008 13:40:11 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Actually, the cost savings for a more efficient model is as follows: CHOICE A: Sears 33154 (marketed as Kenmore but made by AO Smith) FHR EF=0.63 (41,045 btu/0.63)($1.21106/therm * 1 therm/100,000 btu) x 365 = $288/year
CHOICE B: Home Depot 183-717 (marketed as GE but made by Rheem) FHR EF=0.58 (41,045 btu/0.58)($1.21106/therm * 1 therm/100,000 btu) x 365 = $313/year
a. Additional cost of more efficient model = $882 - $747 = $135 b. Annual savings of more efficient model = $313 - $288 = $25 per year c. Payback period = $135 / $25 * 365 / 30 = 65 months (5.4 years)
The overall savings over the average lifetime of a home water heater is: (13 years - 5.4 years) * $25/year = $190
Donna
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Do you get a choice of KY or Vaseline too?
Call al local plumber and save a bundle of money. The flex pipe should be replaced with every installation though.
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or a local handyman, tanks are easy to change, few DIYers get permits
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What on that list is so excessive or wouldn't incur a similar charge from a local plumber? They all seem within reason, depending of course on the area.
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The total is in the $680 range for most options. Start with he basic $300 charge. Double what a local guy may charge. Permits can very , but probably closer to $25 if you actually get one. I'd not get one. What about that $80 trip charge? Sears will hose you no matter what. Last place I'd go.
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Install 300 Disposal 10 Permit 77 Flex Pipe 46
That's $433 plus tax for a straightforward typical job. You may be able to get it done for less, but it's not an outrageous price either.
Start with he basic $300

$300 is a typical price here in NJ.
Permits can very , but probably

Any decent licensed plumber is going to get a permit, if one is required. It's not a customer option, either you need one or you don't. Now $77 may be a bit high, but with the way all kinds of fees and permit charges have been jacked up here and in many other parts of the country, it wouldn't surprise me to find that it could cost that much. How about the plumber's time in going and getting it?
What about that $80

What $80 trip charge? That was IF SERVICE IS REFUSED. Meaning they make a wasted trip and are locked out, etc.
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On Feb 12, 4:42�pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

sears charges a trip charge for travel.
as a matter of fact if you get your furnance with air serviced they charge a trip charge twice, then discount the second trip charge by half.........
sears is a rip off that deserves to go into the dustbin of retail history
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On Tue, 12 Feb 2008 21:02:20 GMT, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

You must get a plumbing permit in my town: Home Depot charges $77 Lowes charges almost $90 Sears charges $95 for that same permit.
The overall installation fee (includes all sans tax & straps) is: $400 Home Depot 877-467-0542 $410 Lowes 877-465-6937 $433 Sears 800-877-6420
What would a typical plumber have charged for the permit and installation?
Donna
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Jeez.
I'd feel like I was ripping someone off if I charged more than 100 bucks to install a water heater, but then I'm not licensed or bonded so I don't do this for random people, but still, last one I did took less than an hour, it's literally 3 threaded pipes and a flue vent.
Best way to find out what a plumber charges is to call one.
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On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 08:09:01 +0000, James Sweet wrote:

Most plumber wont even park in your driveway for less than 80 bucks.
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That's one reason I've never called a plumber. I know most of them aren't getting rich, but still. I've been doing everything myself for so long that I forget sometimes just how much it saves.
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