(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20

Thread: Expansion tank for water heater

  1. #1
    DIY Member mar3232's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    82

    Default Expansion tank for water heater

    My Mother lives in a condo complex built 10 years ago and the water heater is shot.

    We have a home warranty that will cover parts and labor to replace the water heater itself but the tech who came out wrote up 495 bucks worth of additional costs including an "expansion tank".

    My realtor said that's hogwash -- there is no expansion tank in there now, we're on city water and my guess is, no one else in the complex is using an expansion tank but I will check on that Monday.

    It's a gas water heater and seems to me if they can find an exact fit model (which I realize may be tough) then it would be a cinch to somply replace it. (I'm going over there today and get the model number to see if they still exist, or at least a model with the same fittings locations). (The old heater was built in 2003).

    What is the deal with the expansion tank? Are they now required by code or something? I live in Indiana.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Bothell, Washington
    Posts
    14,202
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    My Mother lives in a condo complex built 10 years ago and the water heater is shot.
    If you have a separate water meter, and it's check valved, then yes the expansion tank is required. That became a requirement when they started added check valves at the meters. It makes the water heaters last longer. We charge $99 to install one at the same time with the water heater replacement.

  3. #3
    DIY Member mar3232's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    82

    Default

    Thanks Terry -- so I'll ask about the check valve and your 99 bucks is what I should expect to pay -- would think with a home warranty that the cost should also include requirements for code because in essence what they're saying is "we can replace you water heater and cover labor and parts".

    "but for it to be legal we need to charge ......." !

    sounds rather contradictory doesn't it? not to mention ridiculous.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Bothell, Washington
    Posts
    14,202
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    "but for it to be legal we need to charge ......." !

    sounds rather contradictory doesn't it? not to mention ridiculous.
    We price the two of them separately.
    Sometimes the expansion tank is placed on the cold water side and has already been done. They won't know until you tell them that the expansion tank isn't there.
    It's common for some shops to charge more for earthquake strapping, redoing relief lines if needed. Perhaps a stand for the water heater or work on the venting.

    You can't tell until you look whether you want to marry that gal.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,655

    Default

    quote; but the tech who came out wrote up 495 bucks

    The warranty company pays them a minimum amount to change the water heater, then they ALL add the "necessary changes" in order to make a profit. When mine went bad a few months ago, the company from the warranty company also tried to add charges to it. Rerouting the T&P valve line $85.00 although it would only be 2" from the existing drop line, $90.00 for a new gas flex line, and 80.00 for a 3x4 flue increaser even after I explained to him that the new heater already had a 3x4 increase on the draft hood. HE also tried to add $140.00 for an expansion tank and $80.00 for a water heater pan. I told him to do the basic installation and I would make the gas, T&P, and vent hookups, but he said his company required that he did everything. I told him in that case don't do anything and I will have the company pay me to do it myself, which I did. I had asked him HOW he hooked up any water heaters if those three items were not included, but he couldn't answer me. When HD or any other company, such as your warranty plumber, low balls the installation costs, you WILL be hit with additional charges that will increase it PAST what an independent contractor would have charges.

  6. #6
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Bothell, Washington
    Posts
    14,202
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I love your post hj.

    We too charge what it takes to do a basic water heater install.
    We expect to install new flex lines, connect the relief within reasonable distance, strap it and connect the vent.
    If it needs expansion, that's an add.

    The installers that post the low-ball price, lower than what I would have done, but when they get out there, OMG, it needs to be connected to the plumbing, that will cost you lady! What??
    That seems like a bait and switch.

    Our basic install, actually installs a water heater.
    We plug in enough to make it worth our time, and don't play the add, add, add game.
    We also sell better heaters than the box stores. At least that's how it looks considering how many box store water heaters we have been pulling out lately.

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,655

    Default

    qutoe; That seems like a bait and switch.

    Not much different than the contractors who charge $50.00 to show up and then give an inflated estimate, knowing that the majority of people will accept it since they already have $50.00 invested, (and the "guy" is already there ready to do the work), and it will be rebated against the price of the job. Otherwise, they have to add the $50.00 to the price any one else proposes to come up with a "total price of the job", so the "other company" has to be at least $50.00 cheaper to make it economically feasible to get the job.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  8. #8
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Yakima WA
    Posts
    7,246

    Default

    The short answer on the need for an expansion tank is this. If you have a "closed system" which is caused by either a pressure reducing valve (PRV) or a water meter that has a check valve build in, you need an expansion tank. Heated water expands and with a closed system, this expansion can not be absorbed by the city main. This results in the T/P valve on the water heater to open are release water when the pressure in the tank reaches the T/P limit.

  9. #9
    DIY Member mar3232's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    82

    Default

    So --

    In an EXISTING installation where there is NO expansion tank and was built in 2003, unless it's required by code there is no need to install one. I'm linking the home warranty company to all of this.

    If it IS required by code then the home warranty company is saying exactly this --

    "We'll pay for a new water heater and it's installation (less my 100 deductible)" ......
    "But it won't be legal"


    Sounds kind of ludicrous, doesn't it?

  10. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,655

    Default

    quote; "We'll pay for a new water heater and it's installation (less my 100 deductible)" ......
    "But it won't be legal"
    1. they only "reproduce" what is there;
    2. A reputable company will NOT make and "illegal" installation
    3. The warranty company has no control over any requirements introduced after the original installation
    4. Reputable companies will NOT try to sell you anything that is NOT required to give you a legal installation,
    5. Disreputable companies will try to take advantage of your trust and WILL try to "sell" you stuff that should be included in a standard installation. (In their eyes there are no standard installations, and have never been.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,591

    Default

    Just call the plumbing inspector (building inspector) in your jurisdiction and find out what's required and when.

    PS Enough with the "ludicrous". What's being proposed by your insurer is not a great deal but of itself it isn't outrageous. What's outrageous is the prices that the techs are putting on the items that they believe need to be added. And that's them, not your warranty company.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 12-23-2013 at 08:40 PM.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Yakima WA
    Posts
    7,246

    Default

    FWIW an expansion tank installation is child's play. The water line is cut and a tee is installed to rejoin the line. On the other end of the tee, a couple of simple fittings are sweat on which include an adapter that is furnished with the tank. The tank is then screwed onto that adapter and the job is done. The tank does have to be well supported and the pressure in the tank matched to the PRV setting, but this too is very easy. If the plumber is already there to install the heater, this should not add very much to the bottom line, but if you can sweat a joint, (that's sweat not smoke) it's a simple enough DIY. Now, it is possible that you do not need the tank, but that you will have to determine as others have suggested.

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    21,412

    Default

    Bottom line, some places require an expansion tank, regardless. Other than the initial cost (not really all that much), and that they do eventually fail (cheap to replace), it doesn't hurt any installation to have one there. If you need one, and while you may not right now, if they require one, it is likely that sometime down the road, the utility will service or replace the meter and then you WILL need one, so it is being done as a prep so they don't' have lots of calls coming in complaining that their WH T&P valves are now weeping.

    When they do fail, they become full of water, so, say it has a 4-gallon volume, that's nearly 40#...that's why you need to support it, not so much when new, but for when it fails.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  14. #14
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Posts
    25,655

    Default

    quote; so it is being done as a prep so they don't' have lots of calls coming in complaining that their WH T&P valves are now weeping.

    If it didn't do it with the old one, it should not happen with the new one.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  15. #15
    DIY Member mar3232's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    82

    Default

    3. The warranty company has no control over any requirements introduced after the original installation

    but they should. what's the point in paying for the insurance then, from a consumer's view?

    they wanted my 100 deductible PLUS 495 to replace the 2003 water heater. (and that's just my share !) add the water heater and labor cost to that.
    *&%k 'em -- (I'll end up doing it myself with a licensed buddy for the cost of the water heater and a pizza -- < 300 bucks).

    they need to cover the cost of any updates in code as well or it's really in essence -- just a LIE.

Similar Threads

  1. Water heater expansion tank
    By igornys in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 10-10-2013, 01:57 PM
  2. A riddle about water heater expansion tank
    By Firstreno in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-14-2012, 06:59 AM
  3. Water Heater Expansion Tank
    By Roccoo in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-01-2009, 04:55 AM
  4. Expansion Tank for a Hot Water Heater
    By driem in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 10-28-2008, 06:01 AM
  5. No Expansion Tank for Water Heater
    By vasanvasan in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-14-2006, 06:34 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •