Need help with replacing my water heater

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by gaucho100, May 13, 2008.

  1. gaucho100

    gaucho100 New Member

    May 13, 2008

    I am looking to buy a new water heater to replace our existing one (an A.O. Smith model about 10 years old, with a first hour rating of 74 gallons). We have a 4-bedroom 3 bathroom house. While our current family of 5 are not exactly water hogs (e.g. we don't typically take very long showers), I also want to anticipate that if we sell the house, the size would be appropriate for a typical 5-person family with teenagers.

    In doing some research and talking to local plumbing companies, it seems like I should target a heater with about 100 gallons or more for the first hour, so probably a 60+ gallon tank. The models I have been quoted are:

    A.O.Smith GCVX50 total installed about $1200 - $1400
    A.O.Smith FCG-75 total installed about $1700

    Bradford White MI504S6 $1300
    Bradford White MIXR65 $1500

    It seems like the actual heaters run about $600-$800, so these guys are asking for about $800 in labor.

    I would appreciate any help in understanding
    (a) which models to go for - are there other models/companies I should be looking at?
    (b) if these quoted prices are reasonable.

    I live in the Chicago area, so I do expect that labor costs are going to be on the high side.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Jul 24, 2007
    Robber, with some DIY on the side.
    The labor seems on the upper end of the range if it's just a plain swop out the old for the new (but see my comment below). In the nation's capital I had a Bradford White 40 gallon installed for 800. I am guessing that equates to about 500 labor.

    It also depends on what else you need though. I did not need an expansion tank with my install and you may need one. But I did need a new gas shut-off valve. Luckily my plumber did not ask extra for the valve, but most will add on for any extra bits, which can soon add up.

    A bit more pipe here, an expansion tank there and a new ball valve over there can soon add an extra few hundred.

    By the way, go for a Bradford.
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
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  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    By the time a professional plumber adds in his overhead, there is a pretty hefty labor charge for water heater installation. This will vary by the area of the country where you live, so it's hard to say if $800 is an excessive charge or not. Frankly, this is one of the jobs that inspires many of us DIYers. While a straight change over for a water heater is really not difficult, I do not recommend you attempt it if you do not have some basic plumbing knowledge or if this will be more complex than a straight swap of tanks. Bradford White would be an excellent choice, but these are supposed to be sold only to professional plumbers, not the general public. There has be a very long discussion on this forum recently about this. A good choice for a DIY install is the GE/Rheem. Smith, State, Whirlpool in particular are not highly recommended due to quality issues.
  5. greekguy7

    greekguy7 Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    I sent you a private message. Good luck.
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