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

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installation?
to
So, how are you counting your time? The work itself may take an hour or so, but the plumber also has to drive to and from the installation site, and that takes time. Sometimes the plumber will also have to drive to the store or warehouse and pick up the heater.
And let's not forget that in order to drive, s/he needs a vehicle, one that is probably more or less dedicated to the business, and that has to be paid for also.
According to http://www.careeroverview.com/plumbing-careers.html the median wage for a plumber in 2002 was $19.30/hour. Assuming a 40 hour work week for 50 weeks a year, that comes to $38,600/year. Doesn't sound like a way to get rich quick.
A question on the cost of the permit - how much would it cost if you went to the town office and got the permit yourself?
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Lou wrote: <snip>

The wage to the technician is just a starting point, since few are independent contractors. Most work for larger concerns who also must pay ancillary personnel.

A cost that nobody seems to have factored in, is removal and disposal of the old water heater. In some areas of this country, that can be substantial. In others...well, I've seen a lot of old water heaters littering the countryside.
Also, access is a serious issue in many structures; and this applies equally to both removal and installation. I could easily replace the unit in my basement; but I once had a shop where the heater was mounted in the attic. That one would have required a couple of guys for a couple of hours to replace--involving ropes & pulleys, not to mention a significant amount of risk--in addition to the normal procedures.
jak
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scrap steel has value everywhere, minimial but still a little money. so you haul the junk heater and get candy bar money. around here trash takes them but they often get picked up before that
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I understand a business has to make money, but I don't, I have a fulltime job, I do this stuff as a favor for friends, hence the substantially lower price.

Cost? I get money for the old units at the recycler, it's an insignificant amount, but probably enough to cover the fuel spent getting it there.
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James Sweet wrote:

I understand that, in your case. The thread had to do with commercial installers. If we all had a 'buddy named James' there would be no need for businesses which do this day in/out. In fact, that's the way most things were done, 'back when', but it's not the norm anymore.

That's because you have access to the recycler, know where it is, and have a vehicle suitable to transport...also the time. I know it's trivial to many--but monumental to others. I'd be hard-pressed to get a 50 gallon water heater in my old Corolla, although it could be done (it's a station wagon). I'd want to put in several layers of padding and some waterproofing. Many would not want to do so in their late model Whizzmobiles.
Like I said, I've seen a lot of discarded water heaters....
jak
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Funny the title of this discussion was quick basic advice and now has over 160 posts:)
yep er quick and basic:) Lots of useful info!!
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Somewhere I saw the cost as 10 dollars at Home Depot for removal of the old heater. That's of course if you pay the 400 dollars for installation in the first place. Otherwise, the cost is to leave it outside for a week until someone with a pickup takes it to the recyclers for you.
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On Fri, 15 Feb 2008 13:16:27 -0600, jakdedert

All depends on locale. I replaced mine last year and the old one was gone in a couple hours. Night before garbage pickup the scavengers tour this area. My Corsica sedan isn't much bigger than your car, and I tied the new one to the roof to get it home, saving 50 bucks delivery. I use blankets on the roof and lots of rope sideways and fore and aft when I do that, so it's a bit of a hassle. But I don't want another vehicle for hauling, since I seldom do it. Don't have space for a trailer. If I lived where I had to haul away the old tank, I might just pay for the install and avoid the hassle.
--Vic
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On Fri, 15 Feb 2008 12:17:48 -0600, jakdedert wrote:

Home depot hauls away the old water heater as part of the cost of the installation.
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Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

I figured that. I was referring to the uncounted costs of doing it oneself.
jak
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wrote in

It's been better than a couple of decades since I bought a new water heater, and that one was electric, but...
the installation fee seems high - enough to double the cost of the appliance. sales tax on the heater? - I seem to remember that something that becomes part of real property is sales tax exempt, if you file the proper certificate, in NJ anyway earthquake straps?
The one time I had to replace the water heater, I bought it from Sears - the installed price was better than an independent plumber, the service was fast (called in the morning, heater was in that afternoon) and the installer was pleasant and informative. A lot can change in 20+ years, but if/when I again need a new heater, I'll at least see what they have to say.
Also, all the back and forth about the relative cost of operating a smaller heater compared to a larger one seems to me to be fairly easily resolved - take a look at the energy guide label. When I pick a 30 gallon heater and a 50 gallon heater at random and compare the estimated annual operating cost, the difference is $7.00 a year in favor of the smaller heater. Your actual operating costs will depend on the cost of fuel in your area and your actual usage, but while I don't advocate getting a larger heater than you need, the annual operating cost difference doesn't seem like a reason to get something smaller than you could use.
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On Tue, 12 Feb 2008 20:12:51 -0500, Lou wrote:

It turns out a lot of people were dead wrong on efficiency, including me. According to the www.gamanet.org web site, operating a 40-gallon hot-water heater is no more or less efficient than operating a 50-gallon hot-water heater.
The only thing that matters for efficiency is the Energy Factor (EF) which takes into account the tank size, insulation, and burner BTU. Reference site: http://www.gamanet.org/gama/inforesources.nsf
So, if a 40 gallon hot-water heater has an EF of, say, 0.63 while a 50-gallon hot-water heater has an equal EF of 0.63, then the costs are EXACTLY the same to operate the two heaters!
The math is all spelled out for us in the PDF at: http://tinyurl.com/38eh4d http://www.gamanet.org/gama/inforesources.nsf/vAttachmentLaunch/C2AAFB8D41D003F485256E9000607F66 /$FILE/12-07-gas-rwh.pdf Since almost all of us were dead wrong on this one, it would be nice if someone can read that reference document and let me know if my new conclusions that size doesn't matter has any flaws in it as I publically state that all that matters is the EF (based on my reading ten times of that document).
Donna
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On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 06:16:38 GMT, Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

http://www.gamanet.org/gama/inforesources.nsf/vAttachmentLaunch/C2AAFB8D41D003F485256E9000607F66 /$FILE/12-07-gas-rwh.pdf
PLEASE DOUBLECHECK THESE HOT-WATER-HEATER CALCULATIONS!
Here are the necessary calculations I believe we need to make in order to compare two gas-fired water heaters. All calculations are courtesy of the referenced PDF and charts at www.gamanet.org except the energy costs which are courtesy of PG&E at http://www.pge.com/tariffs/pdf/G-1.pdf
In reality, these calculations would need to be done for at least a half-dozen different water heaters (two each from Lowes, Sears, and Home Depot, for example) in order to properly choose an available water heater intelligently.
For simplicity, I'll use the values I plugged into the calculations for my home; yours may differ but the mathematical approach is exactly the same. 0. Calculate minimum legal efficiency (EF) 1. Calculate maximum peak-hour requirements (FHR) 2. Calculate total installed price ($/installation) 3. Calculate yearly operating costs ($/year) 4. Calculate payback period (months/installation)
Here are my calculations. PLEASE CHECK FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS AS WE ALL ARE LEARNING FROM THIS!
0. Calculate the minimum energy factor required by federal & local law: (based on October 1990 Dept. of Energy Test Procedure for Water Heaters as published in the May 11, 1998 Federal Register.)
For gas-fired residential water heaters, the minimum energy factor is: Minimum EF for 40-gallon water heaters = 0.67 - 0.0019 * 40 = 0.58 Minimum EF for 50-gallon water heaters = 0.67 - 0.0019 * 50 = 0.59
Note: Southern California uses different legal minimum numbers than northern California so be advised to modify the calculation for your area!
1. Determine your peak requirements: 20 gallons per shower x 2 showers in one hour = 40 gallons per hour 20 gallons per bath x 0 baths in one hour = 0 gallons per hour 2 gallons per shave x 0 shaves in that hour = 0 additional gallons 4 gallons per personal wash x 0 = 0 additional gallons 4 gallons per shampoo x 0 = 0 additional gallons (do it in the shower) 4 gallons per hand dishwashing x 0 dishes = 0 gallons 14 gallons per dishwasher load x 1 load = 14 additional peak gallons 5 gallons per food preparation x 1 meal = 5 additional gallons 26 gallons per wringer wash x 1 load = 26 additional peak gallons 32 gallons per automatic wash x 0 loads = 0 additional peak gallons ----- TOTAL PEAK GALLONS = 40 + 14 + 5 + 26 = 85 gallons First Hour Rating
2. Determine price installed (inclusive): Sears 33154 is $882 ($449 for the heater + $433 for full installation) HD 183-717 is $747 ($349 for the heater + $398 for full installation)
3. Determine yearly operating costs given your basal energy unit, FHR, EF, and average-use assumption.
For simplification, I'll only compare two heaters but the calculator we create needs to cover at least a few at a time. I did this in Excel for current northern California baseline (Schedule G-1 Residential Service) energy rates.
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
Note: Irrelevant specs would have been tank size, burner BTUs, gallons to recovery to 90 degrees in one hour, etc. as the only figures that matter for the calculations are the EF and the FHR since they take into account all other design-size specifications such as those you quoted.)
4. Determine payback period: 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)
5. Determine overall savings: The two water heaters compared in this simplified calcuation would be equivalent in overall costs at approximately 5 and a half years.
Considering the average water heater lasts 13 years, total savings for the more expensive yet more economical heater would be:
(13 years - 5.4 years) * $25/year = $190 savings overall
6. Choose the correct water heater:
Based on the math everyone should perform when selecting the proper water heater, I would buy the Sears 33154, which will save me almost 200 dollars over its lifetime over the Home Depot 183-717 assuming current energy prices and average usage.
Note: In reality, one needs to compare at least a half-dozen water heaters; here I only compared two for simplicity. I knew none of these calculations just two days ago, so, PLEASE CHECK MY NUMBERS after reading the reference document I refer to.
If the numbers hold water, then this should go into the alt.home.repair FAQ for everyone to benefit from all our efforts to understand how to properly size & select a home water heater replacement (yes, I know there are physical size issues also but this tutorial is already too long to go into those details).
Donna
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This is all very good but can you trust the figures given by the manufacturers as these are often derived by engineer calculations and marketing guru's and are manipulated to suit their agenda. an example of this is how many people ever get the rated fuel consumption as stated by any vehicle manufacturers, also appliance manufactures have devised ways of confusing the figures to get a better rating that it actually uses. The best way to purchase the water system is to get one that suits your requirements as in size and water capacity. Justy.
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bottom line provided you buy a large enough heater the other differences are minor,
operating costs warranty etc,
over the life of the heater, they in any form arent deal breakers. a little shorter life, a little more cost, and as the last poster pointed out manufacturers massage numbers, to make themselves look good. small differences dont matter much
as long as you buy a decent tank you will be satisfied.
The FHR is largely dependent on burner size. the 75K BTU tanks cost more but in the end what everyone wants is enough hot water. no running out please......
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Tank size is very important and cannot be completely disregarded since it provides the reserve capacity. It is this the tank's storage capacity, in conjunction with the burner size and the EF factor that determines the FHR rating, which determines how much "hot" water you will get before it is considered simply "warm" water. The storage capacity is also very important in regards to determining the physical dimensions of the tank. (I has to fit in the space allowed and the height and spacing of the exhaust flue, water inlet, water outlet and gas inlet will be dependent on the tank's size.)
I already posted my thoughts on warranty as well in a previous reply. The bottom line here is you certainly know more than enough to make an informed choice.
Bob
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On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 12:37:35 -0600, Bob Shuman wrote:

Hi Bob, My husband returns tomorrow. I'll give him all your information and then tell him what choice to make! Donna
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Donna,
Why should a water heater be any different then any other purchasing decision? (Referring to your telling your husband what to do on this...)
:)
Bob
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Donna Ohl, Grady Volunteer Coordinator wrote:

Please don't do that when I'm drinking coffee... my nose is burning now... Somehow I seriously doubt you're related to SWMBO but you certainly sound like you could be! :)
nate
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replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
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On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 22:14:39 +1100, Only Just wrote:

Hi Only Just,
I *think* you *can* trust these numbers (FHR & ER) ... but I'm just going by the written facts. You have the experience I don't have.
The facts are that there are *independent* labs paid to *verify* that these FHR and ER numbers are accurate, for example, OSHA recognizes ITSNA whose numbers I quoted throughout the latter half of this thread.
http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id 637&p_tableDERAL_REGISTER
Gama says, as of December 12, 2007, "Intertek Testing Services of Cortland, New York (http://www.intertek.com /) has been retained as the program administrator and *independent* testing laboratory responsible for conducting efficiency *verification* tests on water heaters" (emphasis mine).
If Intertek is truly "independent", and if they do randomly select units as their product literature says, then I think you *can* trust these numbers.
Donna
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