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He said it might be the thermostat, but suggested I consider replacing it since unit was already 10 years old .In this original meeting, he stated I had a short or "low boy" unit.
He then called back on Monday and quoted me $600 for the job based on the fact that the unit was in the cellar, and there was a few inches of standing water at the end of the steps that would have to be pumped out. He stated that he would need some one to help. Based on our previous discussion about the type of unit I had, and based on my implicit trust that the good review on Angie's list, I told him to go ahead with job.
I had to leave work to come home to pay and inspect the job. It appeared that the job was done adequately; I had hot water. I noticed the new hot water unit seemed taller than the previous one. I asked him about it, and he stated that it was the same. I paid him, but returned to work, feeling like something was not right.
I came home and further inspected the unit, making note of the serial number. My home is old and the previous owner had left debris around the water supply pipes running to the hot water heater. Although I had not spelled it out, I had assumed that he would have picked up the debris and thrown it in the trash as he had to move it around to get to the pipes. Not so. I also noticed that he had left some debris on the floor around the unit. I know this is not a major issue, but it upset me, nonetheless.
With serial number of new hot water unit in hand, I went to work. I discovered that he had replaced my unit with a standard $225 tall unit, which would have been fine, had he not charged me $600. Lowe's installs hot water heaters for $189. Even with a small upcharge for having to take the unit down 5 or 6 steps, I could have had the same job done more quickly, with less effort, and for somewhere between $200 to $100 cheaper. HOW FRUSTRATING! My advice, do your homework and check to make sure his price is right!
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