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Question DetailsAsked on 4/29/2015

How much does it cost to install a water heater pressure regulator?

Recently I had a water heater flush deal & had the service provider tech come over. He found the pressure to be 100 psi & suggested that if I don't replace the regulator valve, the water heater might burst shortly (should be below 75 psi). Since it was a safety issue I wanted to replace the valve. He gave me a quote of $493. It seemed too high for a plumbing job. But I had no idea how much a job like this generally costs. I gave him the go ahead for installation. Item- Watts LF 25AUB Z3, Size: 3/4. Still I had a nagging doubt in my mind about the $493. I looked online for the same valve and found out that Home Depot and Lowe's have the exact same model for $67.56, Walmart for about $135. He had an additional 10in brass pipe for fitting. After looking at the big box store prices I'm wondering whether $493 was too high? Even with parts and labor my guess is it shouldn't top $200-$250 for a $70 valve. Please let me know if the $493 is ok or too high. Appreciate your responses.

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Depends of course on your location somewhat - I have heard of plumber rates of $300/hr in higher-priced areas of Boston, NYC, West LA/Beverly Hills, SFO/Silicon Valley where $75-150/hr is more normal in the real world, so in that case might not be so extravagant. But basically, especially since doing at same time as water heater service call so the trip charge was already paid for, this would normally be a 5-10 minute job (10-15 with galvanized/ductile pipe), so an added $100 or so for the parts and $50-75 for the install should have done it.

Put the phrase - pressure regulator - into the Ask box above, and it will suggest several prior questions with responses about pressure regulator installation cost - some stand-alone jobs, some as add-ons.

My gut feeling - they sold the flush deal as a loss-leader (let me guess - $49.95 or 69.95 ?), hoping to be able to do a pressure regulator, backflow preventer, pressure tank, or such upsell to really provide the profit for the trip. That is one reason (especially for dishonest contractors) why they do Coupon or Deal discounts - to provide a foot in the door for upselling.

One other thing I caught - maybe - certainly should had one put in with 100 psi pressure, no question about that - assuming it could not have been just adjusted down to 75 psi or less. But generally should have been put on incoming water line (typically right after the household main shutoff valve), not just on the water heater - not clear where he actually located it. But 100 psi is asking for trouble in household plumbing, will promote water hammer issues, and certainly makes for more of a mess (and earlier failures) when your piping starts going bad, so entire household system should have been protected by it - maybe it was.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Thanks LCD for your prompt response. That was very insightful. This job was performed in Atlanta area, not a very pricey area. You are right about the flush deal. It was for $49. The service provider has a decent reputation (from various home advior sites) and I reviewed Angie's List as well. But some of the recent reviews have similar experience as mine. The job was done witin 20-30 minutes about the time the flush was also done. The other thing that jumped out during our discussion was if I installed a new water heater with the new EPA regulation ($1400 his quote), he would waive the pressure regulator valve charges. That's a $500 waiver!! That's what started me thinking about the pricey pluimbing job. Now I feel I overpaid by about $300. The service provider is RS Andrews.

Answered 5 years ago by Guest_96369681


Sounds like time to do a Review to alert others - and call AL member services to discuss possible upselling practice if you got the Deal through AL, as it sounds like.

Might not hurt to call him too and compklain about what you felt was an overcharge and deliberate upselling - he might give you a credit to try to keep you quiet.

On the new EPA regs thing - if gas water heater is over 55 gallons, then yes cost has gone up many hundreds on the heater itself. If equal to or less than 55 gallons, should be minimal or no price increase (I hear about $100) because many water heaters already met the slightly increased efficiency standard.

The BIG difference was on electric heaters over 55 gallons, where they now require almost twice the energy efficiency and a mandatory heat pump on them - from what I have heard, roughly doubling (or more) the installed cost from $1500-2000 range ballpark to several thousand.

Rumors on the web is manufacturers are taking the new reg, even though it only minimally increased efficiency requirements for 55 gallon and smaller gas heaters, as an excuse to increase prices across the board - saw one wholesale price sheet showing 20% increase for 55 and under, about 75% (variable with size and design) for over 55 gallon gas units; and 35% and about 150-200% respectively for electric.

And the crying shame is much of the efficiency numbears are phony - they do not account for the lost heat heating the house in most installations, or for the fat the heat pumps (for indoor water heater installation) is stealing heat from the house that then has to be made up by the furnace for much of the year.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Your plumber is not as suspect as some of the "advice" you are getting here.

First, you know the $49.00 flush is a loss-leader, meaning the contractor loses money on every job he "sells". There are many reasons for loss leaders, used by retail stores everywhere, the first being, it is promoted by advertisers. This practice is highly encourage by advertisers as it creates leads, or "hits" for their clients justifying the cost of advertising.

The second reason contractor might give things away (it costs any service provider $50.00 just to back in the driveway), is to meet and greet new customers.

Unless the contractor intentially condemns a current, functional, piece of equipment (a rare but not-under-heard-of crime) you always have a choice. Large plumbing and heating chains train commissioned technicians to "sell" up, but you have the final word and you can get a second opinion, any time.

All manufacturers of tank type-water heaters recommend annual flushing. Whether it is a good idea depends more on the water quality in your area, than age or operating time.

Most people are unaware of the preventitive maintenance required on plumbing and heating systems and wait-until-it-breaks to call a provider. This common practice can create health hazards, reliability issues and shorten the life of plumbing and HVAC appliances.

It appears that the plumber you met, and got to interview for less than the cost of dinner and movie, gave you good advise and likely installed the Watts LF 25AUB Z3 at the meter potentially saving you thousands in repairs on faucets and water valves on dishwasher, wash machine and ice maker all designed to operate below the 80 psi maximum dictated by the International Plumbing Code 604.3, which requires an ASSE approved pressure reducing valve.

As for the cost of the water heater, if a tank type water heater is 10 years old it has reached its expect life. Suggesting that it be replaced is likely good advice and the price he gave you was in fact very competitive for most markets. It sounds like he wanted to be your plumber.

The new energy code dictates a rather dramatic increase in residential water heater efficient (an unfunded mandate dictated by the federal government with zero input for you local plumber) the bulk of which will be achieved by increasing insulation. Heat pump water heaters are approved but are certainly not mandated by any model plumbing code I am aware of. Whether they make sense for you depends on the DHW loads/use, the comparitive cost of energy and your climate.

In predominantly cold/damp climates where the water heater may be in a basement the heat and moisture extracted from the space is a good thing saving electricity and recovering energy by using the waste heat in a cool, damp basement.

In Georgia the heat pump may work against you unless placed in a garage.


Answered 5 years ago by MSPmasterplumber

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