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Thread: Bradford White Energy Efficient Water Heater-Texas Trade Up Appliance rebate question

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member MEENag's Avatar
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    Question Bradford White Energy Efficient Water Heater-Texas Trade Up Appliance rebate question

    Last week I was one of the lucky few to get one of the government rebates (Texas edition) for a new water heater. The program allows for a $190 rebate for a model with an EF of 0.62+ and $255 for a model with an EF of 0.67+. Today I had a plumber come out to give me an estimate and he informed me that to qualify for the $190 rebate, I was looking at spending at least $400 more than I would for a unit that didn't qualify. I was only requesting a quote for Bradford White models (he said that's all he wanted to sell me anyway).
    I know prices vary by location, but does the extra $400 estimate seem reasonable? I would also consider Rheem. Would the same thing be true for their units as well? This is for a gas water heater.
    We are looking to buy a new house, so I'm not willing to spend an extra ~$200 for someone else to get the benefit from.

    I don't have any problems with the State water heater that I have now. It is 17 years old and located in a closet in the middle of house and doesn't have a drain, which makes me a bit nervous. It does make a popping noise after we use a lot of hot water but the plumber said it was harmless (something about the sediment in the bottom popping as it gets heated).

    Thanks for the advice,
    Jeff

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Most plumbers like selling product that doesn't bite them later.
    If you have to keep going back, all you've done is bought yourself trouble.
    We hate call backs.

    Bradford White and Rheem have been good.

    Some brands like Whirlpool have been grief.

    As far as the price difference, I haven't priced that model, but all of the rebate tanks are costing us more.

    One cost that homeowners don't know about is:
    The time to pick up the water heater from the supplier.
    Sometimes, it takes two plumbers to install. It can sometimes be done with one, but that also means you are taking a risk with your back.
    Medical bills and loss of work can be costly to the plumber.
    When the job is done, you wind up with a bulky, rusting tank in your van.
    You need to dispose of it, and that means a trip to the metal recycle next.
    That takes time, time that could be used for the next customer in line.
    It would be nice if the water heater was waiting at the home, and they you could leave the old rusting one there.
    Yeah, that would be sweet!

    One of my customers suggested I fill up my back yard with rusting water heaters.
    Yeah, my neighbors would love that.
    Last edited by Terry; 04-16-2010 at 10:51 PM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    VERY few tank type heaters qualify for the rebates, and the ones that do ARE the expensive models. I have access to the list of models for each manufacturer which qualify. As for the noise, it is scale nodules on the center flue of the heater. Water gets trapped in them and the heat from the burner turns it to steam. When it "bursts" out of the nodule, it condenses back into water, creating a "mini explosion" as it releases its latent heat. Eventually the opening in the nodule gets large enough so the water cannot get overheated and the noise goes away. And even later, eventually, that nodule will rust through the steel of the tank and cause a leak.
    Last edited by hj; 04-17-2010 at 08:50 AM.

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    You are faced with a couple of things with a new water heater...

    Your water heater at 17 years old is certainly well past its expected life. Who knows it may last 20 more years or it may blow out a minute from now...

    You are being offered a rebate to offset the cost of a new one. There is also a 30% tax credit you can take up to $1500. The timing of those offers is good for you.

    Texas I believe is a state that has adopted the ultra low NOx emission standard on water heaters which in addition to the efficiency standards of the rebate offer cost more.

    The higher efficiency will save you money on your gas bill so yes there is a payback and you should consider that the tax credit and rebate make the payback happen faster.

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    DIY Junior Member MEENag's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses guys. I talked to another plumber who primarily deals in Rheem units and their 0.62 rated 50 gallon unit is only $40 more than a standard unit. Unfortunately, it is going to cost me another $23 over that for a lower capacity 40gallon unit because I don't have room for the pan required for the 50 gallon unit in my hall closet. The unit itself would only clear the door opening by 1/4" anyway (23" wide unit, 23-1/4 wide door opening), so 40 gallon it is. I currently have a 40 gallon unit and it would've been nice to move up, but it is extremely rare that we ever have capacity issues.

    The new plumber is a little higher on install costs ($1100 vs $950), but getting the rebate brings the total to ~$835.
    Thanks again,
    Jeff

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Some of the rebate tanks have thicker insulation.
    You can run into clearance problems if you have a tight space like that.

    The last one I installed, I had to move some piping to get it to fit.
    If they are in the garage, then you normally have plenty of room.

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