When looking into what does a water heater cost you first need to know if it’s gas or electric. Gas water heaters are preferred in most installations as they are more energy efficient. But, dealing with natural gas and safety is not something your weekend handyman can be trusted to do. Here’s why:
Back in the old days of water heater installation, they used to just use single-wall exhaust vent, and that’s not code. The single-wall vent sends the harmful exhaust through the exhaust vent that runs through the attic to the roof. Single-wall vents could possibly have holes in them and the harmful exhaust gets sucked right back into your air conditioning system. If it’s single-wall vent, it definitely needs to be changed out.
The new type of gas vent is called Type B Gas Vent, which is double walled. Of course, the newer the better, and the exit method is pretty foolproof with double-wall venting.
Then, of course, even just the natural gas installation, hooking up the natural gas. That’s flammable material. Even if you just didn’t tighten the flex and natural gas fills up in your house, boom. Or it won’t kill you, but it’s going to give you and your family and your pets quite a headache.
On the gas pipe itself, you want to make sure that it has a drip leg, or what we call a drip leg/dirt leg, which is right before the connections to the gas control valve. You want that drip leg in there to catch any kind of dirt, sediment, crap that just goes through. How it gets there is a legend all it’s own.
The drip leg will actually hit the sidewall, the tee, and then fall down into the drip leg. If it’s just hard-piped straight into the appliance, then you’re going to get all that stuff in there which could cause mechanical failures in the water heater. That’s another thing that really is important that people should know and look out for.
As far as the flue pipe goes, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the first floor or the second floor.
You want to make sure that it goes up and out all the way through the roof and it goes through that flashing. You need a cap and collar. You need a storm collar. Usually, the flashings can last pretty good.
This is why the plumbing codes are very strict. The State Board of Plumbing examiner test all levels of applicants on gas water heater installations in order to get their journeyman or master’s plumbing license, it’s in both tests. Tradesman, journeyman and master’s test in depth to applicants water heater knowledge, about code issues, ventilation issues, the delivery method of getting rid of the carbon monoxide. There are several things at hand, here.
All of our new water heater installations comes with new water flex lines and new gas flex lines. The gas flex, you want to make sure that it’s installed properly. It’s corrugated stainless steel. Once again, here it is a health and safety code issue. You want it to be the right type of material, the right product, the right code to approve the product to ensure the safety of your home, house, pets, people, etc.
With older water heaters, say 25, 30-year-old heaters, they were installed most often with an undersized gas flex. If the gas flex isn’t sized properly, then the delivery method of gas fuel to make the water heater work properly, can’t work properly. You want to make sure that it’s full-bore half-inch corrugated stainless steel.