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Question DetailsAsked on 4/14/2013

Do I really need a 75 gallon water heater and is the install estimate of $4500-$6000 fair?

My water heater (currently 50 gal) is in my basement. On the second floor is a smallish jetted tub which I can't use because I can't get enough water loaded into the tub to cover the jets (even though they are placed low in the tub) while the water is still coming through hot. A big-company plumber told me I'd need to install a 75 gallon vented water heater (a special type) and the job would cost between $4500 and $6000. That seems outrageous, and left me unsure I could trust that estimate and left me with questions. Do I really need a 75 gallon water heater? Or could the problem be caused by something else?

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Depends a lot on your configuration - he may have been including direct outside venting because your existing heater/furnace duct was not large enough to handle the added load, and may have figured running larger piping to the jetted tub and maybe upsizing the valve and flex tubing at the gas line. This all assumes you have adequate access and installation space for the larger tank - they tend to be fatter rather than much taller.

I would talk to several plumbers - if you get quotes from 3 or more, it should become obvious right off if one is high-balling you. Of course, do not tell the others what the other's bids were.

The water heater itself will cost about $1000-2000 for that size - about double a 50 gallon, which usually costs about $800-1500 installed (replacing an existing plumbed-in one). The larger heater may take a bit of beefing up of the support platform for the added weight, but assuming you have adequate headroom, installation cost using existing ductwork and piping would not be any more than for a 50 gallon, so say $2000-3500 range installed. The $4500-6000 definitely sounds high if it assumed using existing hookups.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD




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