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Question DetailsAsked on 11/25/2015

was quoted $500 to replace fitting at top of water heater and Ex tank. Sounds expensive for low hot water flow.

My mother has low flow to all faucets on hot water side. Plumber quoted $500 to repair by replacing cold and hot water fittings at top of tank (needle valve?) and replacing expansion tank. Also, gave quote of $2000 to replace the water heater that is in crawl space. This is a highly advertised plumber in Atlanta area.

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1 Answer


I would say get another bid or two - many posts on typical water heater installed costs here -

But the $2000 number is roughly double the normal range for a water heater not over 60 gallons, unless the access is terrible.

I don't know what needle valve he could be talking about at the top of the water heater - normally the inlet and outlets are simple threaded pipe fittings, which if a heater gets real old or has highly mineralized water can fill in with buildup and restrict flow so need replacement, but parts are in the low $10's total (a few fittings) and labor should not be over normal service visit charge of typically $75-150 - and that should include servicing burners/pilot and flushing the water heater too if it includes 1 hour of labor as opposed to the 1/2 hour some give with it.

Another possibility - plastic water fill tube has disintegrated inside the tank and some models have had problems with, and a piece has gotten into the outlet fitting and partially blocked it - again, similar fix cost to above.

Expansion tank typically $40-70, and again about 2-3 minutes to replace in most cases, assuming it has gone bad. BTW - expansion tank is for safety of piping and heater, to take up water expansion as it heats, and would NOT ordinarily be involved in the low flow issue.

The only "needle valve" I can think of is the air inlet valve on top of the expansion tank - about a $2 part and 2 minutes to replace, if it is letting the balance air out of the tank.

So - without knowing about any specifics of your case, just based on what you said, I would say appears to be likely VASTLY overpriced and get another plumber to give you a quote. Worst that can happen is one or two others give you same price for some reason (obviously, tell them what first vendor said but NOT price) and you are back to where you started, but I expect you to get the total for 1/3-1/2 that quote.

Oh - BTW - are you sure the crawl space water heater needs replacing - or was that perhaps an upsell too , in lieu of removing the blockage in the existing heater ?

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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