What Does it Cost to Replace a Gas Water Heater?

The cost to install a gas water heater varies according to the installation and which water heater is best for your home. Gone are the days that a water heater can be installed in less than hour. This is why we give free in home estimates to replace water heaters. Some of the common upgrades that are required are:

City Permit

The price for the gas water heater permit varies from city to city. Sometimes it is very low, about $60, and sometimes it can exceed $200. This is for the permit only and does not include the labor and driving expenses to purchase and coordinate the permit. This is one of the reasons that so many plumbers try to avoid the permit process. The current fine for installing a water heater without a city permit can exceed $5,000. One of the big box retailers received a $415,000 fine for failing to have their water heaters inspected plus double permit fees on each they missed and they were forced to make all the needed corrections at their expense.
See the news story.

Earthquake Restraints

Your water heater most likely has earthquake restraints already installed on it, but they may not be code approved. All earthquake strapping now must be code approved. When your water heater was last installed (pre 2007) many of the earth quake restraints on the market were not approved by the code and none of them were grand fathered into the code for reuse. This means that they may need to be changed out. Many of the older water heater earthquake restraints allowed the water heater skin to actually touch the wall behind it. This is not allowed and there must be at least a one inch air gap between the tank and the wall.

Temperature Pressure Relief Valve Piping

Some water heaters have the temperature pressure relief valve mounted on top of the water heater and others have the temperature pressure relief valve located on the side. Many are not installed correctly. The TPR valve must actually be on the tank. It cannot be raised above the tank with a nipple and coupling. The drain for the TPR valve must not be flexible and must be full size internally. This means that if the TPR was installed with one of the copper flexible water heater connectors it is not code approved. It must be a solid cooper, galvanized steel, PEX or CPVC hot water rated piping. It cannot be the white PVC and it cannot less than ¾” in diameter. It must drain to the outside of the home and terminate downward between 6” and 24” from the ground.

The Venting

Often we see cement asbestos vent piping for the water heater. This is not a problem provided that the water heater has a pilot light. If the water heater does not have a pilot light the vent will sweat and the condensation will roll down it through the metal vent transition when the water heater fires up. This is acidic and will eat holes right through the metal after a few years. Often we see a 4” asbestos vent through the roof with a 3” metal vent pushed up into it. This is very dangerous and not code approved. The proper 3 to 4 increaser must be used to prevent carbon monoxide gases from building up in the home or garage. The opening from the 3” metal flue to the 4” asbestos flue creates another draft hood and cools the combustion gases off too much enabling them to become heavy and drop down around the water heater. This situation leads to people dying every year here in Southern California from sleeping in the garage with a water heater.

The Vent Cap

Often the cause of pilot light outages the vent cap tends to collapse after 20 or so years. This must be checked every time.

The Aluminum Safety Catch Pan

All water heaters are going to leak eventually and when your next water heater leaks wouldn’t be nice to know that it isn’t going to damage your home? We install aluminum safety drain pans and pipe them to the outside of the home on every install. If we install a water heater for you, and it leaks sometime in the next 10 years and causes damage to your home, your insurance company will expect us to pick up the tab. It is common for plumbing contractors to be sued for water heater leaks by the big insurance giants, even if the tank rusts out and the plumber did nothing wrong. As I write this I am currently being sued by State Farm for just such a leak. The water heater was installed 9 years ago.

The Gas Line

In 2011 a code change was adopted that requires that all water heaters have a sediment trap on the water heater. Sediments traps at the wall or in wall are no longer code approved. This is to stop debris and moisture from entering the valve and causing it to stick open or closed.

The Gas Flexible Line

Here in Southern California we install our water heaters with flexible connectors so that they don’t break in an earthquake. This flexible connector cannot be reused. According to the manufacturer’s instructions these are one time use only. Reusing one can lead to failure from the multiple times of tightening it. Every time a wrench is put on these damage occurs.

The Incoming Water Heater Shut Off Valve

Did you know that your water heater must have a fully functioning valve according to code? If you have a gate valve installed (the ones with the wheel) then chances are good that it does not function. These rarely last more than 10 years. What if you had a hot water line burst in your home and rushed to the water heater to turn it off only to have the valve fail to close?

So Why Did The Water Heater Fail In The First Place?

Many water heaters last 20 or more years and in 2011 we worked on fully functioning water heaters that were installed in 1956 and 1953. Most water heaters start to leak due to a problem with the installation, the manufacture or the maintenance. We will take a look at your water heater and attempt to determine why it went bad so that it doesn’t happen again at any time in the near future. Most are easily diagnosed as to the reason why they started leaking.

So, after reading through all these things, I am sure that you realize that pricing a water heater out over the phone or the Internet leads to a false sense of security. If I gave you a price over the phone it would be for a best case scenario and rarely, if ever, is there a best case scenario.

So Why Can The Big Box Retailers Price them Out In Their Stores?

They really cannot and the really don’t. There are a host of up charges for the plumber to assess once they are on the job. And guess what? You’ve already obligated yourself to the purchase of the water heater and you’ve sat home for the day taking off of work or stopping your life to wait for that plumber to show up. Oops, I said plumber. No, it is very unlikely that you will have a plumber show up to install your water heater from the Big Box Retailers. They have a plumbing contractor who hires “water installers” to do the work. You can translate that into a fresh off the boat teenager working for $10-$12 a hour without benefits, but with a a big promise to become trained to become a plumber. They run through employees quickly with some of those companies having a 100% or more turn over each year. Bear in mind that get a 90 day warranty from the plumbing company and no warranty from the retailer. You don’t need to believe me. Just type in the name of your favorite big box retailer and follow it with “water heater complaints” and you will find thousands of complaints about poor service, up charges and more.

So, if you want an honest up front price for a perfect water heater installation and rock solid warranty, you call us and we will provide a very competitive price and extremely good service before, during and after especially after the water heater sale.

Call Today for Fast, Friendly, On Time, Under Budget Water Heater Service 1-877-247-6426

You water heater replacement and your water heater repair is just the sort to thing that we specialized in. I am confident that we can fix any of your water heater problems straight away with out the slightest problem. give us a call and find out the quality and type of service that you have been missing all these years.

So just what are you waiting for?

We are here to help and if you are not absolutely overwhelmed with our outstanding service then we will, at your request, give you back all of your investment.

We are that confident that you will be impressed with our service.

When you hire us to help you and your family out, you are in good hands. We are your friends and helpers in all of your home repairs challenges.