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Thread: Warranties: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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    DIY Member SemiHandyRon's Avatar
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    Default Warranties: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    I've decided to go on an expedition to the Land of Warranties. In addition to checking out length of warranties, I am intensely interested in whether any given w/h company's warranty is pro-rated or not.

    My first stop on the journey, naturally, was to read the warranty itself. This turned out to be not such an easy thing to do. I started with Bradford White. They have a place on their web site to download warranties, but it was out of action for several days. So finally I just sent BW an e-mail with this simple, direct question: "Are your warranties pro-rated?" The BW response was equally simple and direct: "The warranty is not pro-rated." Just the answer I'm looking for!

    Next, I tried Rheem. Try as I might, I couldn't find a warranty to read from their web site. So finally I sent Rheem an e-mail with the same question: "Are your warranties pro-rated?" Their response: "The warranty begins at installation." This obviously misses the question, so I resubmitted my query four days ago. Still waiting for a response. Maybe they're short-staffed during this time of year, with the warranty experts on Christmas vacation for a few more days.

    Next, I tried State, and I found this mysterious statement in their printed warranty: "The water heater replacement model or part will be warranted for only the unexpired portion of the original warranty." Being suspicious that this means "pro-rated," I asked them directly if this was the case. Rather than a direct "yes, it is" or "no, it isn't," I received this response: "Thanks for contacting into help at Statewaterheaters.com! If you get a replacing gas and pay for any upgrade fees then then warranty will take over on what is left of previous unit. If electric you will have the warranty go off the original warranty as well." If my interpretation is correct, this means it's pro-rated. Not good.

    Insights solicited! (If this topic has been explored thoroughly before, my apologies. But as an Air Force general once told me, "There's no horse so dead that you can't beat it some more.")

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Rheem Warranty's are not pro-rated, I don't know of any that are but things always change...but all, as far as I know, start when the heater is installed...so you need to have the paper work from the installing plumber and maybe the inspection sticker to show proof of install date...the reason is that without that info they will go by the date of Mfg. which could be almost any length of time before it is installed...and the heater could be a year or more old if you buy it at a hardware store...
    Last edited by Cass; 12-26-2009 at 05:53 AM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heaters

    Typically, the original heater installation is not prorated. BUT if the heater fails during the warranty period the replacement only gets the remainder of the original warranty. The warranty period is usually based on the heater's serial number plus a period when it could have been warehoused, unless you have an installation receipt showing a different time period. If your 6 year heater fails after 5 years and 6 months the replacement heater is supplied but it only has a 6 month warranty. Some wholesalers also charge a "service fee" to exchange the heater. Home Depot has a policy, instituted by GE, that when they stop selling a given model number, then you DO only get the prorated balance of the warranty against the price of a new heater. One reason, among many, that I would not sell a GE water heater, even though it is actually a Rheem/Ruud, and R/R does not have that policy.

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    In a corporatocracy like the US, you don't mess with corporations!

    Also, in a conversation, the person who asks the questions controls the conversation. The companies you questioned have to fix that right away and shift the balance of power back to them.
    Rumsfeld used an interesting variation on this: he asked himself questions and then answered them.

    WordGames R us!
    Last edited by Thatguy; 12-26-2009 at 12:45 PM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heaters

    ThatGuy; There is no shifting of power, and he asked the wrong people anyway. He should have asked a plumber. When I have a bad heater and the serial number indicates that it could be under warranty, I enter the number at a web site to see if the warranty is valid, i.e., the heater was not one which had replaced an earlier failure. If it is, I take it to the proper wholesaler and get the new one. I do not have to contact the manufacturer, his distributor, or any one else.

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Default http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hYV-JSjpyU

    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    he asked the wrong people anyway. He should have asked a plumber.
    There's truth in that; some corporate doors are closed to most people, other doors are open [if you can find them].

    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    i.e., the heater was not one which had replaced an earlier failure.
    Are warranties good for only the first failed heater?
    Last edited by Thatguy; 12-26-2009 at 04:56 PM.

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    DIY Member SemiHandyRon's Avatar
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    Thanks, guy! Fog of ignorance lifting.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default warranty

    The FULL warranty is only good for the first heater. Subsequent ones only get the remaining time of the original warrany. And as for 9, 10, 12, etc. year warranties, the heaters are usually the same as the 6 year ones, you are just buying an "extended warranty" with the extra cost of the heater. Bradford White does not make a 10 year heater. You buy a 6 year one and then purchase a certificate for the additional years.

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    DIY Member SemiHandyRon's Avatar
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    Just had a new Rheem WH installed about an hour ago. I paid $150 extra for an extended warranty and made an interesting discovery: the $150 included an extra anode rod. The extra rod is an integral part of the hot water dielectric nipple. So the tank operates with two such rods in place. Don't know if this is true with other WH manufacturers.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    It depends on the installing plumber.
    There are plenty of contractors that will take the money for the extended warranty without doing more then noting it on the invoice.
    It's not unheard of for tanks to last 20 years.
    It's a good gamble for the contractors.

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    DIY Member SemiHandyRon's Avatar
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    I can confirm the second rod in this case, because I helped him put it in. He had a devilish time getting the factory-installed "standard" nipple out, it was screwed in so tight. So I bear-hugged the tank while he wrenched. My old heater only lasted 1 month past its 6-year warranty, so I was quite interested in getting the extended warranty!

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    This one may also last 6 years and 1 month, or it could last 10 years and 2 months, but it would probably have done the same even if you had not sprung the extra money for the extended warranty. It's only if it goes bad after 6 years and before 10, that you will get your money's worth.

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    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    It's only if it goes bad after 6 years and before 10, that you will get your money's worth.
    And the chance of that is about 1 in 10 for NG WHs.

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    DIY Member SemiHandyRon's Avatar
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    I very rarely buy extended warranties. I can only remember doing so twice--and both times I needed them. Depends on cost of the warranty, who is underwriting it, estimated chance of failure, etc., etc. I'll let everyone know in 6 to 10 years how this one turned out!

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