What Should We Do? Plumber Installed Wrong Hot Water Heater

cmw0829March 30, 2010

A plumbing company replaced our hot water tank that was damaged by basement flooding. They came same day (a plus since our plumber was out of town). We asked for, and I heard them order, a 10-year Bradford White tank.

They installed a 6-year tank. The invoice states that it's warranted for 10-years. When we called about the discrepancy, they said they warrant the tank for 10 years, non-prorated. We'd pay labor only if it went before that. We asked for this in writing - 2 weeks later we haven't received anything.

However, in thinking about it, we've been disadvantaged:

- They say the tank should surpass warranted life, lasting at least 10 years. But then wouldn't a 10-year last maybe 15 years?

- We'd be responsible for labor only to replace the tank if it failed before 10 years. If so, we'll incur this cost sooner than if a 10-year had been installed.

- We're now tied to this company from years 6 to 10 and don't have any real control over the cost to install a new tank.

I'd like to stop the credit card payment and have them yank the thing out but it's not practical. But I do believe that I am due some adjustment. The cost was $250 over what our regular plumber charged to install a 10-year tank a year ago. I think they inflated the job, judging by an estimate they gave us to provide a sump pump, which we later purchased from a local supply company for half their estimate.

We would value your input on how to proceed with this. Thanks in advance.

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First, I think you need to be clear about the issues... and it sounds as if there is more than one issue.

Once you clarify the issues, you need to figure out which ones - if any - matter to you. I get the feeling there's some "buyer's remorse" at least in regard to the price. I also appreciate that a lot of little injuries can add up.

Personally, I don't think there's much real physical difference between the 6 and the 10 year water heater other than the price and the warranty.

That said, if you ordered and paid for a 10 year water heater, you should get that or you should get the bill adjusted to reflect what was actually installed (this is what I would insist on). With all due respect, I don't want a verbal warranty from the installer (or even one written on a service order).

Other than the adjustment for the change in the water heater, I don't think it's fair to try to re-negotiate the bill unless they made a mistake or it was grossly unfair. (I hate to waste money, but an extra $250 probably doesn't rise to the "grossly unfair" standard). Presumably they gave you an estimate and you accepted it. You do generally pay for "same day" service.

Good luck, stick to your guns on getting the price adjusted because of the wrong heater, and chalk the rest of it up to fast turnaround.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:11PM
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I wouldnt wory about it too mch you most licky recieved a 10 year wareenttee on the water heater. You don't have to use them when it times to change the new one out.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 2:47AM
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Thanks for your replies. I was willing to pay the price to have a new heater installed, and so quickly, so no buyer's remorse there. I will contact them about an adjustment for the tank.

The experience with the tank and the price quoted on the sump pump make me question their honesty, so they will not have me as a customer again. Too bad. But thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:03AM
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