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Re: standard plumbers' rates

Well, $500 for labor is a lot less than $880. Keep getting estimates. You will find one for less.

I think it would take longer than an hour to replace a WH in a basement. Also, it depends on what else has to be replaced, changed or modified to accept the new heater.

I would say it shouldn't take longer than 2 hours for an experienced WH changer who works alone.

Friendly advice: be there for the installation process.

Re: standard plumbers' rates

Besides the water heater, there are a few other things that will be involved in the replacement:

  1. Bracing/strapping to prevent shifting of the water heater during an earthquake
  2. Extending supply lines or replacing aging valves
  3. Installation of thermal expansion tank
  4. Extension of gas or electrical lines (I know yours is gas)
  5. Some areas require placing the water heater on a stand above the floor
  6. The T&P relief valve pipe may need to be run to a drain or outside
  7. Purchase of a building permit and arranging for inspection

The exact scenario will be dependent on what you already have in place and what local codes require. Around where I live, if you replace a water heater you must bring the installation up to code. In an older house, doing what's necessary to meet code may exceed the cost of simply replacing like for like.

Re: standard plumbers' rates

Our thermal expansion tank is only 6 months old, so everybody agrees it should be left in place. The only other item on your list that's required here is the supply lines will have to be extended a few inches. That really doesn't take all that long.

In fact, the killer about all this is that every plumber who comes out says that it's a simple deal, no problems. I hate to think what they'd charge if it was a hassle!

Re: standard plumbers' rates

Makes me wonder why I quit plumbing (I was an apprentice for two years) and went into computer consulting.

My company charges $125/hr for computer consulting (small city in southwest Washington). Electricians charge $70-90/hour; I think plumbers are around that.

The outfit that I worked for now gives a guaranteed price before starting the work. They have very efficient crews and I'd think that it should take one man less than two hours to do the job. Then again, I've been out of that business for 12 years now. :D

(By efficient I mean that a crew of three guys typically rough-plumbed TWO new construction subdivision houses EVERY DAY. One day we did five 1000 SF houses. Oh yes, that's why I got out. Too much stress to meet extreme production goals.)

Re: Installing gas Hot Water Heater -- standard plumbers' rates

My last water heater was installed 7 years ago -- it was $588 for a 40-gal mid-level Rheem Fury model the guy had in his truck, that included $94 for the permit. I was sticker shocked but after no hot water on a weekend, I wrote the check. Years later, I discovered it was fair pricing.

I would price the heater your want ($300 to $500), add 2.5 hours ($100/hour) for labor/travel time and $50 in parts.

Call your local govt to see if a permit is required (if required, they actually send an inspector out if you make an appointment) - it is also a test of the installer's integrity to hear about the permit.

If it's $500 or $880 for installation alone, I would say go elsewhere.
You should try Lowe's, HD and Sears where you can get an all-in price, even same day.

I was in Silicon Valley and there was a firm that also brought the heater to you (you couldn't choose which one).

Re: standard plumbers' rates

As someone in the middle of an odd hot water heater issue, I can at least give you the numbers I've heard and paid. Right or wrong, hopefully it's an additional data point you'll find helpful.

The plumber who did an atrocious job and installing my heater (this included swapping out the hot and cold pipes with copper, rolling the old water heater out to the street), charged me $400.

If Sears had installed the same heater (looking back now this may have been a good idea since the heater came from Sears) their charge was $800.

Re: standard plumbers' rates

Just thought I'd close this thread out.
Got the new water heater put in today. Rheem Fury water heater was $385, then just under $275 for labor, materials, and haul-off. It would have been even less, but the saddle valve for the ice maker broke somewhere in the process, which screwed things up a bit. Other than that, it was simple and quick.

The plumbing company and the guy who came out seem straightforward and reliable. They price jobs at labor ($65/hour) plus materials. If anyone in the Asheville area wants their name, I'd be happy to oblige.

Re: standard plumbers' rates

Your patience paid off, big time.

Good you listened to us by getting more bids.

If you can post a photo, it'll be great.

A. Spruce
Re: standard plumbers' rates

Glad that it all worked out for you. :cool:

Plumber's Rates

I followed this post and glad to hear the original poster found what he was looking for. What caught my attention was how much attention the "price" issue gets.

My question to those that posted is. Do you shop your doctor, lawyer or similar professionals? Should a family doctor charge the same as a spe******t? Why does gas cost less in one state and more in another? Same goes for groceries and just about anything we purchase as consumers.

Plumber rates are dictated by one thing. The cost to operate your business while making a profit. Hourly rates are not what he is putting into his pocket. Been to the gas station, paid workmans comp, sales tax or insurance premimums lately?

For consumers to think that the price in California is the same or should be the same as the price in NY is fooling themselves. I'm glad the poster found someone who was affordable to him.


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