Coffee heat rising

Day from Hell After$shock: The Water Heater Bill

Nine hundred eighty dollah and twenty-six cents. That’s what a new water 50-gallon water heater costs, installed.

I expected this, because the last time I bought a water heater — about 11 years ago when I moved into this house — the plumber said prices were headed for the stratosphere because of new safety requirements. He said then that heaters would run upwards of $600, which indeed they do. This one was $820, plus the cost of installation.

And now I see that Bradford White, the brand my new guy installed, is almost universally disliked and reviled. One buyer said their four-year-old model turned into a “blowtorch,” burned their house down, and killed their dog. That was just outside of Tucson…three months ago!

Well, the plumber didn’t get the icemaker line reattached. I may tell him to return the thing, when he comes over here tonight to connect that. Wish I’d had the sense to look it up yesterday before he installed it!!

Wouldn’t you think a plumber would know the products better?

What am I gonna do here…? There’s no way the guy is going to be able to return the thing, now that he’s installed it and filled it full of water. But holy mackerel…another Consumer Affairs commenter said a year-old model filled their home with carbon monoxide, poisoned her and her husband, and killed their dog. The thing is in the garage and the door between the garage and the kitchen is supposedly a fire door. But that door leaks like a sieve.

He wouldn’t take AMEX, so I had to give him a check. So that means I don’t have the credit-card warranty/insurance deal.

Why do I think I’m lined up for a royal screwing here? This does not look good.

I guess what I’ll have to do is buy a home warranty, which will replace the unit when it craps out (assuming it doesn’t explode my home), and also put a fire alarm and a CO alarm in the garage. There’s already a smoke alarm in the kitchen.

Another half-assed home warranty…dayum! Just what I need: another monthly charge. They cost about $500…maybe I’d be better off to simply put $42 each month toward the next water heater, which, if this one doesn’t burn the roof down around my ears first, will be in about six years and two days. It comes with a six-year warranty…which the guy failed to give me attached to the unit.

Five hundred dollah times 6 years is $3,000, enough to buy three new water heaters…

Well, meanwhile, it’s off to Costco to return the Panasonic telephone lash-up. The instructions are so complicated they are simply incomprehensible. I never have figured out how to bring up the “menu,” and to use the “Block Call” button to beat back the phone solicitors, you can’t just push the button. You have to somehow “select” the phone number, but you can’t find a way to “select.” And apparently “out of area” is not a blockable code.

The thing wasn’t that expensive, but with a thousand-dollar bill for a new water heater that may kill me, the dogs, or all of us, every little bit helps.

8 thoughts on “Day from Hell After$shock: The Water Heater Bill”

  1. Is that the only review site you went to? Seems that everybody that reviews on that site is dissatisfied. If that was the only site used for reviews, I don’t think that people would ever buy anything again. I guess another way to frame the question is to ask whether there are any water heaters or manufacturers of water heaters that get glowing reviews on that site.

  2. Wow….Forget college …. send your kid to “plumbers school”…In this neck of the woods you have 3 days right of resission (sp?), don’t know about where you reside. $1K seems a bit high to me…$160 and some change for labor is about average . For the record those water heaters should have at least a 6 year warranty and may actually have a 12 year. Take a look at the paper work or go on line with your model number. You could go on line to Home Depot .com and take a look at their water heaters to compare prices…I believe they are Rheem…a pretty good name. I’m assuming in the $820 is connectors, parts and incidentals. MAN, when contractors don’t take AMEX I generally look else where. If they take no CC at all…. I’m looking for a BIG discount. Thankfully I install my own water heaters and perform as much maintenance as I can on my properties as the costs have just gotten out of hand as you have illustrated.
    If I might suggest, purchase a CO2 indicator/alarm adjacent to the water heater area. These come in many shapes and sizes and act in the same manner as a smoke detector. Actually you can buy devices that are smoke detectors and CO2 indicators combined. Might allow you to sleep a bit easier…..

    • Okay, here’s the plan, Jestjack: We’re gonna move you to Arizona where the weather’s lovely all the time (assuming you consider 118 degrees more lovely than 6 feet of snow piled up against your back fence) and you can rent ANYTHING anytime and the legislators love entrepreneurs (especially of the landlord variety), and then you become part of the Combine, in which we will defeat the free market through sheer will, savvy, and brilliance. 😉

      Rheem is very well liked, I found. Prices, I have not looked up and, on last night’s four hours of sleep, am not about to do right this instant. Our Guy was willing to take Visa or MC and would have taken my debit card, but I offered him a check. Discount: good thought.

      Yes, I did find a combo unit. Costco had a) CO alarms and b) smoke alarms, both in aggravating consumer-proof packaging, so I went over to the hardware store where I found, for less than the price of that Costco combo, a two-in-one by First Alert (pretty well reviewed: for less than the two Costco items combined. It awaits my attention.

      Returned the Phone For Engineering Grads to Costco; re-pocketed $140; at Ace, put out $50 for the combination CO/Smoke Detector. Came out $90 ahead.

      Sort of. 😉

  3. @ MoneyBeagle: Yeah, Consumer Affairs is an awful bitching board. I looked at Amazon (average: amazingly low) and at one other that seemed to be targeted at the trade (not very good).

    Consumer Affairs has a “Best of [fill in the product)” feature, but it’s unclear how (ahem) objective that is. It has the look of paid advertorial…that’s just a gut reaction, tho’, and may be unfair.

  4. Oh, Funny, I am so sorry you had to pay that much and for a model that’s gotten a lot of bad reviews, too. Thank goodness, I’m a renter! I’m happy to let the building owner deal with replacing appliances.

  5. Thank you for the invite to relocate…LOL. Gonna stay put for the time being….My apologies if I come across as a “smarty pants”… that is/was not my intent. I have been there when a major appliance goes and a decision has to be made at that moment. And then have “buyers remorse” after the smoke clears and wish that I had done things differently….more efficiently…cheaper… In the grand scheme of things it went well for you…an old water heater is gone, a new one is in and you have hot water. The CO2 indicator should keep you safe and the warranty on the device should be ample. A “happy ending” from where I’m sitting….

  6. Sympathies from So Cal, also, funny. I would bring you a nice chilled bottle of wine if you weren’t so dang far away. But I think Money Beagle might be right, lots of people complain about brands, but you hear nothing when all goes well.

    I started to be leery of reports when I bought a top rated rug shampooer recommended by Consumer Reports (back in the ice age before the internet) and it did a lousy job and burned up within a year.

    The cost of your water heater sounds about right to me.

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