The electric hot water heater decided to give up the ghost some time
last night. It's an 80 gal electric model. I'm located in Exton, PA
(west of Philadelphia). Anybody got a guess at what might be a fair
price to have someone come out to replace it today? How much less
would it be if I were to wait until tomorrow and shop around?
Mine always fails on the weekend and plumber charges time and a half.
Probably not an emergency so waiting a day should not hurt. If you
have a plumber you deal with, I would put in call today to get on his
list. Fortunately, we've had a warm winter here as plumbers are
usually busy this time of year with frozen pipes.
I'd guess it would cost 2X or 3X what it would cost tomorrow. Just finding
a plumber willing to come out is going to be difficult. Then he has to be
able to get a heater. Boil water in a pot as needed to get through the day
and save a bundle of money.
Gas water heater around here last 8 to 10 years,. So I replace them a
little early at MY schedule after shopping around!
The little $ I lose is replaced by the inconvenience time and hassle
Let6s say a new tank is 500 bucks installed. Kinda high and I install
my own but we need a number
the 500 buck tanks annual cost is between 40 and 60 bucks. for 20
bucksa a year a early replacement is well worth it
Unless you are handicapped, replacing it is about one of the simplest
of DIY projects. Entire job shouldn't take much over 1/2 hour once you
have the new one on premises.
Tools required would be a medium pipe wrench (12 - 18") and a
screwdriver (assuming no new pipe is needed).
Add to that "assuming the prior heater was installed correctly."
The house I recently bought had some handyman or DIY special replace
the water heater apparently. No cutoff valve, no dielectric unions,
and brilliantly rotated at the most inconvenient angle for adjusting
or lighting the thing.
My house the previous owner had all kind of records where they paid
"professionals" to install things such as the hot water heater. When it
started leaking a couple years ago I drove to Lowes and bought a new one
and all the shut off valves and unions to install it right. You can't
always blame a bad install on DIY. Didn't take more than a couple hours to
desolder the old pipes, install valves and unions and put the new heater in
I had to replace a hot water heater once. The guy at Home Depot made it
sound so easy I figured I'd do it myself. He sold me a hacksaw and a
blowtorch, explained how to do a sweat coupling, and sold me some little
copper unions and some solder and flux for re-joining the copper tubing
after I cut it. Then I went home and did it. Fourteen years later it's
coming up on time to do it again...
I'll try to explain it, but it's a lot easier to explain with parts in
front of you. The hot water heater is attached to the house by some
copper pipes. You hacksaw through the copper pipes and pull out the old
hot water heater, which weighs a TON even after you drain it, because
after 15 years of heating hard water it's got 18-24 inches of scale
(rock) at the bottom. Mine was a 40 gallon heater; I'd hate to pull out
an 80 gallon heater by myself. (I had to "bear hug" mine behind me and
tip it forward onto my back to move it.)
Then you put the new heater in place and arrange it so that all the
pieces are easy to get to. The new hot water heater will have a copper
tube sticking out, and this is what you have to join to the copper tube
that leads into your house. To join the copper tubes, you use little 2"
long copper tubing union pieces from Home Depot. These fit inside of
each of the copper pipes you're attempting to join together. You have
to brush on some flux before sliding the union into the pipes. The flux
helps homogenize the heating process so you get a better solder joint.
Once the union is in place, use the blowtorch to heat the copper. When
the copper is good and hot, you apply the solder to seal the joint.
When the unions are all soldered, let it cool and you're done. (Tip:
heat the copper a little bit away from where you're applying the solder
so that all the copper in the area is good and hot. I applied the flame
with a little back and forth motion about an inch and a half from the
solder spot. If you heat the solder spot directly, you can apply the
solder when the surrounding metal is still cold -- this looks like it's
working, but you can end up with a "cold solder," which can leak.)
The spot you need to solder is the circumference of the pipe (all the
way around) where the outer copper pipe meets the union piece. The two
solder spots will be very close together, but to get a really solid
solder joint you should heat each one of the outer copper pipes
separately. It takes a few minutes longer, but you get a better seal.
Oh, before you put in the new hot water heater, make sure you put down
one of those plastic trays underneath it. The guy who owned this house
before me didn't do that, and I found out my hot water heater was
leaking when there was water all over the kitchen floor and I couldn't
find where it was coming from.
- The guy at Home Depot ...sold me a hacksaw .
OK...I gotta ask. How many people cut their copper pipe with a hacksaw?
At least tell us the guy at Home Depot recommended a tube cutter first
and you decided on a hacksaw because you thought you would use it more
And HD strikes again. Clerk wrong on two counts - wrong tool for
cutting the pipe, wrong term for the torch. A real blowtorch is an
awkward, dangerous tool and I doubt very many people under the age of
about 50 have ever seen one much less used one.
Pretty good but:
The "unions" you are refering to are "couplings". If the WH was
intalled correctly, there will be a "Union" Very near to the cold water
inlet. It will have a big nut in the middle. Unscrew that and the
pipe comes apart. If there is no union, then install one with the new
tank. Same with the shut-off valve. If none is present, install one.
Best is a 1/4 turn ball valve.
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