And more major appliances are breaking…

Our 12 year water heaters lasted 15 years, so I shouldn’t complain.  But they are expensive to replace!

So we bought two more 12 year water heaters from home depot ($1750) and called the plumbers in.

The plumbers opened up the boxes … and the water heaters were severely dinged and damaged, both the “jacket” and a bunch of the valve things.  Not usable.  (The boxes were super dinged up, and I watched one of the guys open the second water heater so definitely no shady business on the part of the plumber.)

So, since our garage water heater was literally dripping, we made the executive decision to let the plumbers sell us some not as good/more expensive water heaters ($3100, but also they didn’t charge for the installation itself, so that must have been built into the price) by the same company (Rheem) that they had in stock (6 year water heater plus 4 year additional warranty and replacement valves = 10 year warranty).  Not necessarily the best decision, but that’s what happens when you are in an emergency situation and DH is making the decision from an airport on his way to a conference and if you weren’t living with DH to do all this stuff you would be renting.  And at least these water heaters wouldn’t be dinged.

While they were out, we got our broken whole house filter (still under warranty) replaced and we got a pressure regulator added to the house so the whole house filter doesn’t break again AND so we stop going through toilet innards so rapidly.  (Plus, in theory, one would not be able to injure oneself with the bidet, though I do not plan to test that.)  That was ~$300 for parts and service.  They also checked to see that our shower stall was no longer leaking after DH caulked it and they determined that the bathtub leak in the children’s bathroom was just them not completely turning the middle faucet that switches between shower and tap and they didn’t charge for either of those.  So I feel less bad about the total bill since it seems like they loaded some of the labor onto the cost of the water heaters.


The moral is that things shouldn’t break when DH is at a conference.  Or maybe if your major appliance comes in a super dinged box you should open the box before calling the plumbers.  I don’t know.

A few years ago this kind of kerfuffle would have made me anxious and worried, but this time it just me tired (so tired, in fact, that instead of finishing making the dinner I was halfway through making, I went online and spent another $40 on pizza delivery).  People say money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can buy peace of mind.


17 Responses to “And more major appliances are breaking…”

  1. CG Says:

    Ugh, sorry! We tend to live with things that are worn out or don’t work properly for a long time because DH is cheap and I guess I am now, too. Sometimes it’s good to have something that so obviously has to be fixed right now! And you won’t have to worry about any of it for quite a while.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’re not cheap– we generally buy the highest quality thing that is predicted to last the longest. But we are lazy! DH is pretty good about getting things repaired, but we do still have the same super cheap refrigerator we bought in grad school (though it has gone through several motor replacements), and we generally repair until something can be repaired no more or is spending more time being repaired than actually in use, or rarely, costs more to repair than to replace.

      I do wish we could wait another 15 years to worry about it instead of however many this set is going to last.

  2. Alice Says:

    Oh, I think money can buy a certain amount of happiness. There’s a lot of happiness in being able to say, “This bad situation has been dealt with and does not have to linger around until I get the money together.”

    I’d be interested in hearing more about the specific type of water heater you got and any factors other than cost that you considered. We don’t need to replace ours yet, but it’s something that’s been a “most likely in the next few years” topic.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We ordered top of the line Rheem: Rheem Performance Platinum 40 Gal. Tall 12 Year 40,000 BTU Natural Gas Tank Water Heater. (We only need 40 gallons because we have two water heaters–YMMV.)

      You want the longest warranty you can get (usually 12 years) because the water heater is better quality. Rheem makes all the lists for best quality water heaters. Also this one fit into our water heater cupboards.

      We ended up with the same thing, but only 6 year warranty with a 4 year warranty extension and replacement parts because that’s what our plumber’s guy had in stock.

  3. Linda Says:

    Less than a year after I bought my house, the water heater started making rock tumbling noises after I’d been doing anything that drained more than a small amount of hot water. I had a plumber out to do something else and asked her about it. She recommended draining it to see if that made it better. It did not. I put up with it another year and was amazed that it continued to work. Eventually I figured my luck was running out and I had saved enough money to tackle the replacement. I had another big plumbing project (replacing the main water line, which has made a huge difference in the water pressure!) and I decided to deal with the water heater at that time, too. Because my garage is very small I replaced the old water heater with a tankless one and had it installed in the storage area above the garage. I also have a recirculating line installed so I don’t have to run the water for a long time when I turn on the shower. I love the extra space in the garage. I also had the laundry service moved to where the old water heater had been, so I have much more usable space in the garage.

  4. rose Says:

    Cost for tankless was why I did not go that way last time faced the issue. MUCH higher upfront cost here. I was lucky I hit the issue Just Before the whole ‘Supply Chain Chaos’ hit in full force.
    Being able to absorb such a cost is part of the ‘happiness of having money.’/’reward for saving & budgeting’…..

  5. Matthew D Healy Says:

    We rent now, which means it’s the landlord’s problem when stuff breaks. But we owned a condo for many years, and a few years ago had to fix up the house that DW inherited from her mother so we could sell it. So we’ve had to replace various things.

    Early in our condo ownership we had a leak in a shower stall. Plumber #1 fixed it, but it didn’t stay fixed. Came back, fixed again, and that did not last either. Got name of Plumber #2 from church friend. He explained why repairs by Plumber #1 had failed, recommended approach that “might work for a few years or might last longer, but at least would postpone need to replace entire fiberglass stall.” Despite his warning that we might eventually have to replace the stall, his repair was still fine when we sold the place. Guess which Plumber we used for the rest of our years owning the place?

  6. First Gen American Says:

    Sorry sages, but I was not happy regularly when I was dirt poor. I may be able to live without a lot of material things if I need to, but having that buffer for emergencies does buy a lot of contentment.

    It hasn’t owned my appliances 10 years yet but all but one of my kitchen appliances all have something wromg…but I really don’t want pandemic durable goods for a variety of reasons. The oven in my stove runs cold, my dishwasher is not washing the dishes well anymore, my fridge is leaking water. Nothing has failed catastrophically so we are limping along. My microwave still works though. These products can be made to last 20+ years but companies choose not to. This is why In some cases change doesn’t happen unless a fix is legislated.

  7. Maya Says:

    I’m sorry for your house troubles! It does feel like a constant race against breakdown and obsolescence–for us currently its carpenter ants, leaking roof, noisy appliances predicted to die soon. My partner and I had a conversation about home ownership yesterday and it turns out we’re ready for condo living when our younger child graduates HS… this is decades sooner than we originally planned.

  8. heridfel37 Says:

    Here’s my emergency water heater story from my last house:
    We were having a new fence put in and the worker hit the gas line. After the fire trucks came and the utility fixed it, the utility guy refused to turn the water heater back on because it was a propane heater on a natural gas line. One of many questionable decisions from the previous owners. We found a plumber who could come the next day to put in a new one.

  9. Lisa Says:

    In our first house, the water heater died the day before my mother and 80 something year old grandmother were coming to visit. My partner and I both had to work, so we called the handyman and he came and replaced the unit while we were at work. That is one my happiest home repair memories – that handyman was so great, we couldn’t even tell he’d been there except that we had hot water and a shiny new water heater! I didn’t care at all what he replaced it with (though I’m sure he ran it by us and it was his top recommendation).

    I find it amusing how different people draw the line between frugal and lazy. We are not particularly handy but have the money to hire others do fix things for us, so we’re on the lazy end of things. The landlord of the house we’re renting while we renovate our own house is clearly on the other end, though. We had a sprinkler problem yesterday (even though sprinklers are pretty straightforward, in our own yard we’d always call our sprinkler guy!). The landlord showed up with a box of sprinkler parts and his dad, and the two of them spent the evening yesterday fixing things. Both the landlord and his dad are surgeons, so they could easily afford to pay someone to do the work. Clearly the most overpriced yard repair team in the world if they charged by the hour (or the procedure). But they seemed to be having a great time tinkering around.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      For us a lot of it depends on whether we like our regular professionals. Our last sprinkler people weren’t great so DH did most of the head replacements himself, but after we finally got rid of them (the owner left a really nasty reply to DH’s generally positive review on Yelp because he mentioned one small negative thing) we got super great people and now we have them come out to test the sprinklers at the beginning of summer before we even know what broke over the winter. And DH gets paid a fraction of what the average surgeon makes. Maybe If it were a bonding exercise with one of the DCs.

  10. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I thought that Rheem was supposed to be one of the good brands but clearly was not the one doing the research on our water heater because I don’t know what we have now! I hope the ones you ended up with work great and last longer than the ten years.

    We were going to do tankless but it cost twice as much AND it wouldn’t work in the case of power outages. I couldn’t be convinced that being without power AND without hot water was acceptable. (Persuaded by myself, I tried to persuade myself but PiC just nodded and went back to regular tank research). I’m still curious about whether we could make solar-anything work but probably not. We don’t get much sun here regularly.

    Things shouldn’t break when DH or PiC are away! But I am glad that we are both in a position to just tiredly pay money to make most day to day problems like this go away. It’s a vast improvement over the heartburn of yesteryear.

    How often do you recaulk the shower? I feel like that’s one of those things I’d never think of and probably should.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Rheem is one of the good brands! But whoever Home Depot used as shippers dropped them, probably more than once!

      We don’t recaulk the shower often enough as is evidenced by the Mystery of the Musty Cupboard and also some old water stains in my closet.

  11. Bloomfield Appliance Co. Says:

    As an appliance dealer for 75 years, my advise is to never accept an appliance in a damaged box. If the box looks bad, the appliance inside will be damaged almost everytime.

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