cost of repair

indianajoniMarch 25, 2010

I live in a small mobile home park in northern Indiana. Last week, my hot water heater (at least 13 years old) decided it was done working. our code enforcement person, in our county, said that the hot water heater has to be made for a mobile home. My home is a 1980 Sterling - double wide.

I've received a quote of $1,280 to replace and install a new gas water heater. I was told that the cost of the water heater is about $670 - no brand name - but it shows label for mobile home use.

1) does that price seem fair?

2) the old water heater is in a small closet inside the mobile home. is that code in most counties? normally, you see them installed from the outside with a panel.

3) the flooring is bad, so the repair person would need to also lay new flooring in and around the closet. that is included in the quote along with materials and labor.

4) i have heard that Lowe's also sells and installs water heaters - have you any opinion on their work?

i have so many things wrong with the mobile home - i do not know if it is feasible to fix it up. it needs underbelly work, water lines, sewage, new skirting, flooring and ceilings replaced in one half of the double wide.

slightly overwhelmed - but hey it's getting warmer (that's the good news).

thank you for listening.


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I wonder if this isn't the straw that gets you to look at moving... how much do you want to keep pouring into the place, and how much can you afford to move even to something a bit younger and in better shape? Only you can make such a decision. I can't help you about the heater itself as, in Canada, the heater is considered to be "rental" property like the land, and the utility co. replaces it for free when it needs doing.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 5:44AM
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I'm not familiar with the mobile home code in your area but aside from that I think you might be looking at a reasonable price. Replacing the flooring is not usual in installing a water heater. You might want to check out how much a carpenter would charge you to do that part of the job for you instead of having the plumber find a carpenter and tack on a fee over and above what he has to pay to have the floor fixed. Then call around and find out what other people will charge you for the water heater plus installation. It's always reasonable to get at least two quotes and usually three.

I don't know of any mobile home park owner who would replace a water heater if the home doesn't belong to him. I didn't get that the OP was renting. If so, I would be looking for him to find a unit in better repair.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 12:16PM
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The park doesn't replace them (here, in Canada), the provincial power company does.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 6:42PM
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That's interesting, larke. Do they replace all water heaters? The most our utility companies will do is come out and light the pilots for you and make sure they are adjusted properly. So, how does that work? When you buy a home, does it have a water heater already or do they install it when you have your utilities turned on?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 10:19AM
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thank your for the input. i do agree that i may need to make a decision about keeping the mobile home or not. even to sell the mobile home, i am pretty sure i will get more offers with a working hot water heater.

i like the idea of checking with a carpenter on the cost to fix the water heater area flooring.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 11:16AM
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I don't know about building codes and so forth in your area, but we had a similar problem with the floor in an older mobile home, except it was under the washer rather than the water heater. The hose had leaked where we couldn't see and kept the floor wet.

Rather than having a carpenter install a new floor, we got a 4'x4' square of plywood, I think 3/4" thick but it was in our previous home so I can't recall exactly. We just laid the plywood on top of the old bad flooring, and put the washer on top. It worked fine as a cheap, practical solution. We were in the same situation as you, not sure if it was worth putting too much more into the home, so low cost was more important than looks, but you'd need to make sure it would meet building codes or whatever in your area.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 3:26PM
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The water heaters are considered rental apps in mini homes (NOT other homes) and so are taken care of by provincial agents, not home owners. I can only speak though for the province I'm in - it could be different elsewhere.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 7:23PM
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We've replaced ours with a standard water heater from Lowes and not had any problems....In fact, we never even told anyone we were in a manuf. home. Step-daughter is in a single wide, in another county. We replaced hers with same kind and the only problem we had was the closet it was to go in was too small. DH removed some moulding and it squeezed in. I'd say it has the same amount of room around it as the one in my old stick built home.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 7:47PM
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amandasgramma, OP's water heater is gas. Is yours gas or electric? There's a possibility hers needs propane fittings rather than natural gas and I would think that a gas heater would require more space around it. As for size, water heaters come in several sizes so I'm sure she can find one that fits her space.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 6:57PM
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