Need To Replace Gas Hot Water Heater

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by btmoore9, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. btmoore9

    btmoore9 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ok, I know I have told you all how UN handy my husband is when it comes to things around the house so I am back for your advise and expertise again :)

    We bought our house in October of 2003 and the house was built in 1995. So it is now 10 years old and the hot water heater is just on it's last leg....it's the original water heater from when the house was built. It is a 40 gallon gas tank. Well we went to Lowe's tonight to purchase a new one and found a 50 gallon tank for $308.....then they told us it is over $200 for the install!!!!!!!!! So I asked my husband if he could just do it :rolleyes: and of course the answer was no.....no way......anyway, I am determines that we can do this and can't afford the extra money anyway so I am hoping someone can tell us the tricks of this and help me out.

    Thank you so much in advance

    Bridget
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,329
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Installing a water heater is not all that complicated, but there are some things to consider. First, you have to remove and dispose of the old one. Depending on where you live, that may be easy or it may be difficult. Second, you have to get the new heater home and into the house. A tank is not gosh awful heavy, but they are a bit awkward to handle, and you sure don't want to drop it. As far a the disconnecting and connecting is concerned, it's pretty straight forward so long as the new vent matches the old or the modification is simple. If I were doing it, I'd install new copper flex lines for intake and output with diaelectric nipples into the tank. I also use a new TP valve. The gas is connected with a flex line already and that can be reused. You will need a pipe wrench (two would be better) for installing the nipples, a can of pipe sealing paste or a roll of teflon tape, channel lock plier or a large adjustable wrench for the gas fitting, removing the old TP valve, and copper flex pipes, and some liquid dish soap for testing the gas connection. Fill the tank completely before turning on the gas and ignition (electronic or pilot) To do this, open a hot water faucet, turn the water supply on. When the tank is full, the water will run out of the faucet. Test the gas fitting before lighting the burner with the soap. Any bubbles indicates a leak. Of course, check the water fittings for sign of leaks, too. That's about it.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,487
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    wh

    The $200.00 is for a "normal install". There are very few normal installs and therefore, by the time it is done the price could be much higher. Is the heater in the basement or the garage?
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Most area REQUIRE a permit for a water heater replacement. Most places ( NOT MASS or NY) allow a homeowner to pull the permit and then call for inspection upon completion.
  5. btmoore9

    btmoore9 New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ok...hj...the water heater is in the basement. Jimbo.....We live in Colorado and I think you are right that we would need to get an inspection because if I recall I remember the guy at Lowe's saying it was an additional $30.00 for the permit....can we buy the permit from Lowe's?? Thank you guys so much for your help....I'll let you all know when we get it done how it went :D
  6. RioHyde

    RioHyde Plumber

    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Lowes doesnt issue permits. You'll need to go to your government agency that issues building/plumbing/electrical/etc permits, fill out the proper paperwork and pay the fee. Most permitting agencies I've dealt with are very helpful and will walk you through the process...not a tough process, but a process none the less. Good luck! :D

    P/S: The place to go for a permit here in Clermont County Ohio is called "Permit Central". Original huh? lol
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Here in San Diego they have made it easier for homeowners to get permits for relatively straightforward projects like a WH. It is called e-permits...you can do it on line, then just call for inspection when ready. Check with your city or county to see if they have such a system.

    Here, a new water heater install must meet all current codes. Some issues which come up here: T/P relief valve pipe must discharge to the outside of the dwelling, or into an approved drain. Earthquake straps must meet current CA codes. Water connections must be made by flexible connectors.
  8. ikaurs

    ikaurs New Member

    Messages:
    8
    I just had a 50g electric water heater replaced. Sears quoted a base install price of $200 (plus fees for permit, attic installation, and haul away). They warned me that any required code upgrades would be between me and the plumber. The plumber arrived with the heater and wanted another $700 for code upgrades. I declined and had him just drop off the heater. I called a local plumber who installed it for $300 and didn’t say anything about a permit or codes upgrades.
  9. RioHyde

    RioHyde Plumber

    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Then perhaps your water heater and piping isnt up to code. Or perhaps it is but the first plumber was gonna take you for a ride? I couldnt say one way or the other without seeing what you have there. However, in most circumstances a permit is required.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005
  10. chucknewell

    chucknewell New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    One thing not mentioned yet. . . Make sure you leak check the Gas connections! Also you mentioned you were going from a 40 gal. to a 50 gal. Chances ar the new one will be a little taller, so you'll need a shorter vent. I'd also recommend having Lowes deliver it into the basement since getting it there will probably be the hardest part of the job.

    If you use soapy water to check for leaks make sure you rinse and dry the pipes afterward.

    Chuck
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