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Thread: Master Plumber and hot water heater swap out

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  1. #1
    DIY Member augusta's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    Augusta GA

    Default Master Plumber and hot water heater swap out

    Contacted licensed plumbing company on Thursday last week around lunch to go ahead and swap out a hot water heater (from gas to electric on plumber's advice since I've had to replace the thermocouple 2 times on the existing Whirlpool...the class action law suit on them makes the part free, but labor ain't cheap). To speed things up, because I know how long Augusta Plumbers take to do the most remedial tasks with every excuse in the book, I disconnected the gas line and water lines from the existing gas water heater, delivered the new electric water heater and placed it next to gas water heater on the day before the Plumbers were given the go-ahead to do the swap out. There are no pipes to sweat, only a few lines to connect along with just connecting the newly run electrical line. Several days prior to Thursday, I had the Plumber's preferred Electrician run a line from the breaker box, that is within arm's length of the water heater you see in the picture, up through the attic and back down the wall.


    1. Why would the electrician put a junction box right there in the middle of the wall? I've only had to add a junction (I'm no electrician by any means) if I guessed the distance wrong and had to add to my run, and I only did that when I was running expensive copper wire over 150' in a crawl space up and out to a hot tub. This was the Electrician's response to my question, which made absolutely no sense at all: "He said there was no access to drill a hole via attic, so he had to run down the wall."

    2. Wouldn't you say it would take a licensed Plumbing company, like, an hour to do the swap out? This house is a ranch, you could back your truck up to the front door, the laundry room is about 6 feet from the front door, and there are no step-ups/step-downs in the entire path.

    Tomorrow makes one week that it's not done. The plumber has made 2 trips out so far. First they said that the Electrician didn't label the breaker, so they couldn't figure out which breaker went to the water heater - so they left. I asked if they had ever heard of a multi-meter, and that I was pretty sure even my mom could figure out which breaker went to the water heater. Below are the pictures I took a few hours ago. I mean honestly, is it just me, or is this task really that hard? Anything else you see that's not quite right? I depend on you guys because it really is that bad in Augusta.

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  2. #2


    2 trips fro that really.Wire not secured into the water heater. The old vent for the gas still there. Easy water hookup with the flex copper.Looks like a hack job to me.Electrician took the easy way,but that hopefully saved $$$$.Where is the disconnect for the electric? is the breaker box in the same room?If not need a disconnect or a lockout breaker. Plumber IMHO is not professional. Not to sure about the electrician.

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    You'd have been better advised to scrap the Whirlpool and get a good gas heater. Whirlpools are dawgs! Have to agree with Jacobsond about the quality of workmanship.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Bothell, Washington
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    I notice that the plumber reused your old flex connectors. We always use new ones. Old flexes get thrown out.

    You old heater was a Whirlpool. It would have made way more sense to replace with a Bradford White or Rheem water heater. They don't have problems with thermal couplers.
    It would have cost you less, and you would be saving money on your monthly heating bills, and you would have more usable hot water.

  5. #5
    DIY Member augusta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Augusta GA


    Thanks for the responses. So, what do plumbers usually do with the vent pipe in this scenario? Is that PVC ok? Any good reason you can think of as to why the electrician would put a junction box in the middle of the wall? The plumber (the owner of the company) is supposed to finish it up today. I have to question everything with contractors. They honestly all think they are top notch when their apprentices are on the level of handymen.
    Last edited by Terry; 03-24-2011 at 04:29 PM.

  6. #6
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
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    Cool that is beautiful

    bored again , and I just saw this one.....

    you should have kept the gas heater or gone with a rheem or bradford

    the electric heater on average cost you about 500 bucks a year

    the gas heaters on average cost about 225 per year

    this looks like a mess,,, but now you are in it up to your chin

    the junction box is no big deal, actually I dont know the codes
    but just some 10-3 wire form that box down to the heater would have passed in this state

    Please , please post the final pictures....

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