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C
"Friday evening we noticed no hot water. Taking a look at the water heater I noticed the pilot light would not stay on when I lit it after holding/releasing the red" button. After multiple attempts I resign to admitting there must be a problem. I don't really want to fool around with gas so I would rather call a professional. I call
early Saturday morning and leave a message. Their tech returns my call within 30 minutes as promised - so far very good. My understanding from Internet
is the thermocouple is most common cause of this problem. Tech goes right to saying its going to be the controller, couple hundred of dollars for the part, plus since it is a weekend it's going to be $150/hr with a two hour minimum plus parts. So my guess is ~ $600. I ask about the thermocouple and he says we could try that but his experience says it's going to be the controller. In shell shock, I say I'll call back after discussing with the wife. This figure sends me back to the to Internet to see how hard it is to replace the thermocouple. After looking at a couple of youTube videos I figure I can try to do it and call
back if it does not work. Run down to OSH for the thermocouple for about $8, then have it installed in about 15 minutes. Everything seems to be working now. I am not sure how to grade
. They have a good rep on Angie's List, and the weekend rate may be the going rate. Their guy was prompt in returning my call and was courteous and friendly. So the determining factor was what was his motivation for going straight to the controller - something I can't know. Was he trying to pull one over on me, or was he just wanting to prepare me for the worst? If I need plumbing help again I might give them another shot - but I am not certain of this.

-Gary L.

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Local Articles in Modesto

When should I replace my water heater?

Dear Angie: My water heater is past its expected lifetime. Should I automatically replace it or wait until it fails?

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Standard storage tank water heaters typically need to be replaced after about a decade, but they can last years longer with some homeowner maintenance. When the time comes to buy a new one, there are more options for consumers to consider.

Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List
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Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, answers a member question about troubleshooting water heater efficiency.

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Water Heaters

Changes coming this year will make water heaters more energy efficient, but may create some difficulties for homeowners.

Angie's Answers

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You have to put your self in the shoes of a business that is in business to turn a profit of some sort. All businesses have different overhead which in turn decides what their bottom line would be on their services. I personally would not go with an unlicensed professional for this type of install. You are messing with gas, venting issues, electrical wiring{electric water heater} and updated code issues such as a drain pan and tempature and relief drain lines for heaters that currently do not have them. I do agree that there are some companies that are way out of line for their installs but most of these companies are the really big companies that have very high overheads  I would assume. Tank type water heaters have changed over the last several years and with these safety changes come bigger prices. The price of steel thanks to China is skyrocketing and tank type water heaters are made of steel. Most wholesale plumbing supply companies cannot match what the big box stores are selling at retail to consumers. I happen to think from research that heaters such as Rheem, Bradford White and AOSmith who have been in business forever make a better product than what you can buy in the big box outlets. You also have to take in consideration the location of the water heater that is being replaced. Is it in the house, basement, garage or attic. Most 40 and 50 gallon water heaters that are purchased in a plumbing wholesale store in Texas cost between 300-340 for a 6 year warranty heater with 6 year on parts and tank. Speaking of warranty. Most big box companies will take a least 24 hours to a week to get your warranty problem taken care of. Most reputable plumbing companies will give same day service if they installed the heater.

So lets break down a typical install at cost to a licensed plumber in Texas

Heater: $315, water shut off $6.50, water flex lines or unions to code $20, gas flex line and cut off to code $12, misc fittings $15, Total $368.50 Lets add a 35% profit which is some what low  for a business $129, Total 497.50

This doesnt  include permits, pan and drain or any venting issues. The vent must go from the heater to the outside of roof using double wall vent.

Cost of permit on average $60

Most plumbing companies allow for 3 hours of time for a water heater. This includes picking the new one up. Delivering out to house. Draining and removing old water heater. Hauling off old heater. Installing new heater up to code. Going down to city and pulling permit.

Average Labor charges for heater installs $400

That would make this install run without extras on any code issues $957.50

I just had a 50 gallon gas water heater installed in my house for $1200 but I needed a pan installed. I used a licensed plumber.

 

 

 

?

I've seen and heard mixed reviews.  They aren't really popular here due to our super hard water which clogs and rots everything it sits in.  A company I used to work for tried electric units about 10 years ago in several homes but had to replace many of them within a few years because the build-up from the hard water hindered their productivity to little more than enough supply to run a sink.  I've heard better success with gas units since there are no electric elements to burn out and gas can get hotter, faster to get through the deposits on the tubing walls inside the unit.

 

Standard electric water heater usually take a 30 amp circuit so they are often wired with 10 guage wire.  Electric on-demand units large enough to service an entire house usually take 50 amps (or more) from what I've researched in the past.  That means they need a 50 amp breaker and will be wired with 6 guage wire.  By the time you factor in the initial cost of buying the much more expensive on-demand unit and rewiring for it I'm not sure you'll save money in the long run. 

 

A better and cheaper option would be to put a timer on your standard water heater so it only kicks on during typical demand times.  They have override switches so you can turn it to cycle normally when you are off of work or need it during the day/night if not during the preset times.  A cheaper point of use water heater at the kitchen sink will ensure you have hot water there even when the main heater is off.  This is usually the point that requires hot water the most frequently.  Remember that your water heater will hold hot water for over an hour once it has cycled off.  Take advantage of that.

 

Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX

?
There could be. Different municipalities have different rules (codes). However, I have never heard of a plumber being the code enforcement guy. I have never heard of a plumber being able to collect a fine from a homeowner. It may cost you $150 to bring it up to code, but that should be included in the repair cost. You would need to check with your city (usually Department of Code Enforcement or Plumbing Commission). If he put it in writing, you need to send them a copy.
?
Make sure they get a permit if required. Ask if they will haul away the old. Type of new heater installed and tank warrantee. What kind of parts will the price include, you should have an expansion tank installed and make sure they counter balance the pressure to match the static pressure in the home. Should also include new dielectic unions, do not reuse the old ones. See what the rate for extras is in case they need to do additional work. Check references if possible.

Tim Littrell
Littrell Plumbing and Bath Designs
?
?

All Water Heater Installers in Modesto

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

A-1 Quality Plumbing

3892 Old Oak Dr.
Ceres

A-1 Quality Plumbing Contractor

2601 Oakdale Rd. Suite H2 #179
Modesto

AARON RICHARDSON CONSTRUCTION

3701 coye oak dr.
Modesto

Aaron Sanders Plumbing

1636 Green Springs Ct.
Tracy

Abba Builders & Construction

517 Stein Way
Waterford

Air Kustoms Inc.

P.O.Box 998
Patterson

Aire Serv of the Gold Country

PO Box 533
Valley Springs

Alliance dba Felix Heating and Air

1147 Klemeyer Cir.
Stockton

ALLIANCE HEATING & AIR COND

1147 Klemeyer Cir.
Stockton

Alpha Team

Oakdale

American Heating & Air

762 W Los Felis Ave
Stockton

American Home Shield

889 Ridge Lake Blvd

AMERICAN PRIDE AUTORIDE

34 N GALLATIN AVE

AMRON MECHANICAL

PO BOX 4123
Manteca

Appliance repair gurus

1501 Almaden Expy
San Jose

AppliancePartsPros.com

16501 Ventura Blvd Ste 500
Encino

ASAP PLUMBING SERVICE

P O BOX 1451
Oakdale

AW Construction

3525 E. Forest Lake Rd
Acampo

B N K CONSTRUCTION

2204 Park E Dr
Modesto

Bayshore Plumbers

3158 Rolison Rd
Redwood City

BEL CONSTRUCTION

3917 Chatsworth Cir
Stockton

Bexar Maintenance Supply

1275 Red Bluff Rd.

Bier Construction

18824 Sugar Pine Dr.
Twain Harte

Brad's Plumbing

2455 N Naglee Rd.
Tracy

Comfort Air Inc

1607 Turnpike Rd
Stockton

Crystal Plumbing

PO Box 697
Woodbridge

cth Installations

2314 Reile Ave
Escalon

D H CONSTRUCTION INC

2201 GLASGOW DR
Ceres

Daniel Snedegar Handyman Unlimited

4637 E Service-Road
Ceres

DB Enterprise

502 Coleman Ct
Modesto

DeHart Plumbing Heating & Air Inc

311 Bitritto Way
Modesto

Donald Mount Construction

PO Box 4279
Manteca

EcoSmart

400 Captain Neville Dr

EVANS CONTRACTING

1938 Baldwin Ln
Stockton

Fred Hill Mechanical Inc

1137 Needham St
Modesto

Freschi Service Experts

715 Fulton Shipyard Rd
Antioch

Garcia plumbing and drain

4836 Littleton way
Salida

Generation Builders

P.O. Box 23
Riverbank

Green Home Solutions

3255 W. March
Stockton

GreenerSolutions

2331 Stagecoach Rd
Stockton

Handyman Construction

5331 Pirrone Ave
Salida

HANDYMAN TO THE RESCUE

2364 Victory Ln
Turlock

Hill Systems Heating & Air

Grafton St.
Manteca

HOME DEPOT

5010 FEATHER RIVER DR
Stockton

Hometown Handyman

1505 Colima Ave.

Honey's Air & Solar

5536 Pirrone Rd
Salida

Hpi plumbing service

2908 E Whitmore

J H Simpson Heating & Air Conditioning

4025 Coronado Ave
Stockton

jimmy hendricks construction

5425 nanette drive
Modesto

Johnson Plumbing inc.

2190 Yosemite prkwy.
Merced

KEVIN JORDAN HTG & AC SVC

2407 GILBERT RD
Ceres

Knights Plumbing & Drain

1177 Vanderbilt Cir
Manteca

Knights Plumbing and Drain

426 14th St
Modesto

Leffingwell Construction

1312 Princeton Ave.
Modesto

LINGLEY ENTERPRISES

4218 Technology Dr
Modesto

Lingley Enterprises

P.O. Box 430
Modesto

Marengo's

po box 690531
Stockton

Mariposa HVAC Maintenance

1609 Bryn Mawr Way
Modesto

Martin Plumbing

1221 Post Rd
Oakdale

McCain Construction

P. O. Box 577231
Modesto

Mr Rooter Of Modesto

1233 Kansas Ave
Modesto

Mr. Drain Plumbing of Hughson

4268 Pioneer Rd
Hughson

Mr. Drain Plumbing of Modesto

1268 N Carpenter Rd
Modesto

Mr. Drain Plumbing of Riverbank

2767 Stanislaus St
Riverbank

Mr. Drain Plumbing of Turlock

2488 N Walnut Rd
Turlock

Mr. Drain Plumbing of Waterford

12262 Yosemite Blvd
Waterford

Mr. Plumber

P.O. Box 692873
Stockton

No Limit Builders

1801 Greger St
Oakdale

Old Republic Home Protection

PO Box 5017
San Ramon

Paramount Plumbing

6167 Jarvis Ave
Newark

Pinnacle Plumbing Service

2401 E Orangeburg Ave
Modesto

Preferred Plumbing & Drain

655 Birchwood Way
Turlock

Preferred Plumbing & Drain

503 Bangs Ave
Modesto

Priority Plumbing Co

P.O. Box 578157 Modesto, Ca
Modesto

Quality Plumbing

9245 Wagner Heights Ct
Stockton

RC Plumbing

915 E Market St
Stockton

Repipe 1

15791 Rockfield Blvd
Irvine

Rooter Pro Plumbing

2591 Edgebrook Ln
Manteca

ROOTER PRO PLUMBING

1177 VANDERBILL CRL
Tracy

Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Services

220 Demeter St
East Palo Alto

Sandovals Plumbing

1553 W Euclid Ave
Stockton

Sargents Plumbing

1852 W 11th St
Tracy

SIMPSON PLUMBING

672 W 11th St
Tracy

Smitty's Home Repair

2632 Cabrillo Dr
Tracy

Stanley S Plumbing & Drain

7233 Excalibur Cir
Stockton

Stockton Ace Hardware

3201 W Benjamin Holt Dr
Stockton

Super Drain Plumbing

1221 W Fremont
Stockton

sweeney construction

1911 sherwood pl
Manteca

Thorsen's Plumbing Heat & Air Inc

2310 North Walnut
Turlock

Tony's Plumbing Service

3900 Pelandale Ave
Modesto

Top Estate Construction, Inc.

5013 Kimball Hill Circle
Stockton

Top Rank Heating & Air Conditioning Inc

9100 Elkmont way
Elk Grove

TRI VALLEY HONEYDO-LLC

PO Box 1976
Tracy

TRICE PLUMBING SERVICE

1006 CARPENTER RD
Modesto

V-Builders

PO Box 231
Salida

valley view plumbing

2621 Stoneridge Dr
Modesto

Warmzone

12637 S 265 W Suite 100

Warrens Heating & Air

3025 E Palm Ave.
Manteca

Weber Plumbing

POBox 1164

West Coast Heating & Air Inc

4085 Kalland Ct
Turlock

West Coast Solar, Inc.

2155 Elkins Way, Suite F
Brentwood

WILL PLUMBING

1657 Wylma Way
Modesto

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