Water Heater Replacement PM

16 Replies

@Arnie Guida - Great PM forethought. My reasoning is similar to yours, in that they were most likely installed simultaneously. So, they are near or at their end of life.

You got a warning with the single leak, that there might be more trouble ahead with the others.

Yes, I will be proactive and do the changeout now.

Good luck.

You definitely got your moneys worth out of those. If you replacing them yourself, for sure do it. But if not its a great time to use the fact that you want to replace 4 to lower the cost of doing them all. More should mean less cost for each. Or more reason for someone to want to do it as a side job.  

And I think proactive is better than reactive.

I'd do them one at a time as they die and do the work myself, but that's just me.  While I was there, I would flush the others and at least look at them.   Are they in the basement where a little leaking won't matter much?  That would factor into my decision as well.  Good luck @Arnie Guida !

Arnie,  What you are proposing is called "predictive maintenance".  Almost always the best way to go.  If you "Run until Failure"  you will likely pay double for the after-hours or expedited service.  You may even see water damage expenses.  

I say do them all - you look more professional and get much better price.


Typical Milwaukee 4plex mechanicals, furnaces and water heaters centrally located in the basement. I would not be doing them myself, those days are behind this fat old Sicilian ... ;-)

I assume it is all tax deductible. So why risk having a tenant be without hot water? (Think - weekend, holiday) If you can afford it -  I'm with Will, in that you would look more professional by being proactive. 

Get the price of one install, then ask for a 'volume discount'. (And get at least three bids.) Since the plumber is already there you should get a good price for the additional installs.

I would suggest change out as soon as possible

My personal residence


Recently I was out of town and came back to a leaky water heater issue.

Bottom of the water heater had a hole   :(

Lowes wanted $200 surcharge for the same day service

Next day to my surprise water heater repair person was 

a local small scale flipper.

Definitely change them all at once. Buy a good quality and make sure to get a discount on the purchase and installation (Lowes is good if you use their LAR Card and your delivery fee is only about $20).

If they are all the same make and model, and the date on the units is in the same year, it's probably a good idea to do all at once. I have seen the same units fail shortly after each other when they were all same make and model and year (with replacing one by one as they failed).

But if they are different, who knows how much longer one might last over another. 

have a similar issue and was lucky to find Two replacement Rheem Smart Water Heaters at home Depot for $584 off of each only needed the one. but bought two for the savings my other will go sooner or later and now i have a spare.

Great suggestions by the forum on proactively replacing the water heater rather than waiting for failure and facing expediting costs. I just went through this on my SFH rental in Albuquerque. A few lessons I learned along the way:

  1. If you have active renters currently residing in the unit, this presents some additional challenges. Since you don't want to burden them with a lack of hot water for longer than a day or so ("Can you take a shower at your gym?"), you'll need to act pretty quickly after you receive your repair/replacement estimate. When I scheduled my appointment, I figured worst case it would be around $600 for a new 40 gallon water heater plus a couple of hundred bucks for labor. However after I was presented with a $1,100 estimate just to replace the heating coils, things changed a bit.
  2. Sometimes when taking apart an older water heater, things can go past the point of no return. My heater had not been flushed on a regular schedule (whoops), and there was a lot of calcification build up. When the technician opened and tested the unit, it stirred up this buildup, essentially forcing me to go with a full water heater replacement, or risk pushing this water through my pipes and damaging the pipes/sink and shower fixtures.
  3. Strongly recommend calling several providers in the area ahead of time to get an idea for a price range. I did not do this ahead of time and was forced to scramble and call 6 different offices in just over an hour while I had the contractor at my house, just trying to get an idea if he was ripping me off. I received a lot of "we don't provide pricing over the phone", but on the 6th call I was finally provided a number which was at least in the range of what my present contractor was quoting me.
  4. City codes are becoming more stringent on installations of appliances like water heaters, so inquiring about this ahead of time will help to avoid sticker shock. I was ultimately presented with an $1,800 quote to replace a 40 gallon electric water heater, which included installing a new mounting pad and earthquake straps. Apparently Albuquerque had make this a requirement a year or two prior, due to the high level of fracking currently in New Mexico. I had no idea, but when dealing with an underperforming water heater which was now disassembled, full of calcium deposits ready to destroy my pipes, and renters who would be returning home from work in a few short hours, I had little choice but to move forward.

Hope this helps provide some suggestions on how to fully prepare for your "proactive" water heater replacements. I little added due diligence goes a long way!