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Take Your Pick – Cosmetic Or Not Everything Comes With A Price Tag!

Take Your Pick – Cosmetic Or Not Everything Comes With A Price Tag!

Cosmetic finishes. That’s all we are really doing. That was the topic of our discussion just this weekend! Until…H returns to bed Monday morning after feeding the inherited cat and the foster cat, with this statement. “The hot water tank is leaking.”

I knew that. It had been leaking, but just a bit and not all the time. We had seen some water standing on the carport the last few days and thought it was due to all the rain and wind we had been having.

I got up and looked and sure enough, it was leaking – drip… drip… drip…drip. H was right on spot! What next? We had just gotten that faucet in the bathroom sink changed out with no leaks after three partial days of working on it. I know – it should have been an hour and a half job. We were not in on the survey they took when that was written though! And yes, for a fleeting moment only, we actually thought we may tackle this project ourselves. Have you every tackled a home improvement project and wish you hadn’t?

It was a holiday and I had planned to get some work out of the way while H did a little yard work because I had a deadline to meet on Wednesday. Instead we took a trip to Lowes and Home Depot. First, we stopped at the gas company to check out the prices there. Of course being a holiday, they were closed.

As I have said before in this past post everything’s a project in this house. We knew we were going to have to replace the hot water heater that had been installed in 1996. It was on our list of summer projects, not this weeks projects! They said at Home Depot we were lucky it had lasted this long. The warranty on those things are only 6-9 years. Ours had lasted 18 years! We were lucky.

There isn’t much to look at when you are shopping for hot water heaters, but anything beat our old, leaking, rusted one. They pretty much all look the same when new – shiny, white, various outlets and inlets, short, tall, squatty, slim, electric or gas. We needed a gas one and could go with a tankless version that could maybe save us a little money, give us more room, and an unlimited supply of hot water. The only room we would gain would be under the tank because we were informed you can’t store anything in front of it. In front is the only space there! Or we could go with the same kind we had and gain no space at all.  Either way the stackable washer/dryer will have to be removed to installed anything. That would be a headache and since Andrew was off at school I would be forcibly volunteered to help.

There are just the two of us here unless Andrew is home on break and we have never run out of hot water with our 40 gallon tank so we decided to stick with the same kind. Now… comes the good part. Either one of these options come with a $900 – $1000 price tag and up! What? for a tank that holds water? It was either that or heat water on the stove. Ha! That wasn’t going to happen so we had to bite the bullet.

Yep! Since we didn’t want to tackle installing this baby ourselves – we didn’t want to have to go without hot water for what could be days with our track record of home maintenance – you actually have to look at the fine print and take a few details into consideration when seeing a $368 – $398 price on the hot water heater tank of our choice. We also were not very fond of messing with gas. (scary)The gas stove had been enough of an experience for us. This is what we were hit with basically at both stores we inquired at.

  1. That price is for the tank. The tank ONLY! Then there is a $270 installation fee. (basic fee which is not what the sign says)
  2. You also have to buy an expansion tank and some kind of fitting for $40 and $30 respectively. That being because we had neither we could reuse. In 1996 that wasn’t the case to keep it up to code.
  3. A permit. Yes, the city has to make money somehow and a licensed plumber needed a permit to the tune of $115.
  4. A detail charge of $35. I still haven’t figured out what that is.
  5. A $7 water heater drain line.
  6. A  $35 gas water heater install kit.
  7. Something else for $39. I couldn’t make out what that was on the estimate.

After it was all added up with labor and permit included the estimate totaled $916.36 – tax not included!

We decided to let it drip, sleep on it, and call our local gas company in the morning. That was a surprise! Their TOTAL cost was $599.69 – tank, supplies, installation and permit all included.  And they moved the washer/dryer  and installed the water heater the same day in less than two hours! We would still be trying to decipher those directions.

The city came by and inspected it the next day and we are good to go! Yay! A little extra money was well worth it! 🙂

Sometimes it pays to take the easy way out, but not necessarily the most expensive. We were lucky this time. I wonder what will be next!


About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

6 responses »

  1. So, Elle, what are you going to do with the few hundred dollars you saved? Ha ha! I’m glad you thought to call the gas company.


  2. I could have come helped. I’ve fixed the washer once and the fridge twice. I let Jason do the hot water heater!!!


  3. That is one reason why I am so glad we rent- these repairs are not our responsibility! Hopefully, next week will be better for you!



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