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  • I try not to remove the old ones in bad locations

    Votes: 7 11.3%
  • Yes, I remove them for the scrap value

    Votes: 23 37.1%
  • No, due to insurance reasons

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, too risky of a back injury

    Votes: 1 1.6%
  • The truck says PLUMBER, not junk removal

    Votes: 4 6.5%
  • We incorporate 2 guys to remove water heaters

    Votes: 22 35.5%
  • We remove it only if it is a hot water heater

    Votes: 11 17.7%
  • It's junk, why are acting like garbage men instead of plumbers?

    Votes: 2 3.2%
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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Over the years and the many times I've forced water heaters up steps, in dangerous fashion to my entire career in a matter of minutes... I've removed water heaters from homes where I should of left them.

Can't ask the customers for help as you're asking for things to go wrong.

Not all of us have "help" to remove these, but I have no problems removing a water heater that's minimal steps out of a house, or a 3 run stringer. It's when it gets into those heavy ones where you've drained it, sediment sitting in the tank and no way to remove it does it become dangerous.

As many years I've been in this trade, I've racked some serious numbers in how many I've removed, it's in the hundreds. Not one of them have I thought was a good idea when it involved coming out of a basement with a full set of steps.

I even ask the customer now if the water heater is located in a basement with steps. If they say yes, I'm telling them before I even give a price that we do not remove the old ones, get your neighborhood kids or your sons to do it.

Last year I had someone play a game with me, I already told them I wasn't touching that old water heater full of sediment, then he asked again to have me take it around a sloping yard. I told him again, "I'm not risking a back injury when I've told you before I arrived that I will not chance it." He ended up doing it himself, even though I supplied the two wheeler and straps to hold it into position.

There's a reason I'm not a total yes man to every question my customers throw at me. It's called experience, wisdom, and self preservation in this business.

I can be the best plumber in the area, but don't ask me to do unskilled labor that can harm my future earnings in this business. I'm sorry doesn't do anything for a back injury that leaves me without the ability to work.

"Most" of the customers that are demanding I remove these water heaters? Usually have junk laying everywhere, like the world is going to stop with the old one sitting in the basement.

I've seen countless times where the history of old ones start collecting in the basement, it looks bad, but it really looks bad when it's a walk out basement.

Dangerous/old rickety steps? Purely understandable. We earn our wages for our skills, not for garbage collecting.
 

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"I only remove HOT water heaters"
Is that a setup? Lol
 
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brown is down
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Not only do I get to remove whatever current relic they having sitting there but on occasion I've had the honor of removing the previous 2 heaters that were left by the last guy.:furious: On once such occasion I slid the new heater down the steps to distribute the weight more evenly because the actual stair treads were cracking under my weight.
I moved the old heater back in the corner, told the owner to give us a call when they got some decent stairs installed, even gave her the name of a good carpenter, and left. I'll give it a go when at all feasible but in those situations I'm not gonna end up with a busted leg or back because some cheapa#$ can't maintain access to their mechanical area.
 

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Super Moderator
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I am not looking to bash you Dunbar, but my opinion is the plumbing contractor needs to remove the old heater. To leave it on site is not professional. You wouldn't leave an old toilet or faucet behind, right? Hire some out of work dudes to get it out of there. Or you could probably find a scrap man who will gladly come behind you and take the old heaters away for free. Just my two cents.
 

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"I only remove HOT water heaters"
Is that a setup? Lol
 

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DUNBAR PLUMBING said:
Gotcha... heh:thumbup:
I'm learning from you guys everyday! Ha, I like this game!
 

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We have a couple of guys around here that scrap, and they will come out and get them. I have not called them, cause I am not sure if I can trust them. I could get the homeowner to call next time.

As the King of Water Heaters, I would like to hear what Master Mark does. :yes:
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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5,478 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I am not looking to bash you Dunbar, but my opinion is the plumbing contractor needs to remove the old heater. To leave it on site is not professional. You wouldn't leave an old toilet or faucet behind, right? Hire some out of work dudes to get it out of there. Or you could probably find a scrap man who will gladly come behind you and take the old heaters away for free. Just my two cents.

I take criticism well, always. :thumbsup:

As I mentioned, walk out basements I'll pull them. But expecting a plumber to pull 200+ pounds up a set of steps, leaning forward pulling backwards at the same time, it's high risk.

I've lost a couple down steps, refusing to ride down the steps with them, I just let go. I'd rather do damage that way than medical bills galore.


In today's scrap prices, I can see scrap guys still not chasing a single water heater at a home, especially when it is in a basement with no walkout.

Pulling a water heater ranks pretty high on the injury list of destructive injuries in the plumbing profession.

I've got to ask you directly,

Would you consistently pull water heaters out of basements in dangerous situations (by yourself) just for the benefit of your customers? My customer base is very reasonable, they know that I'm not a young buck anymore and I'm known for my skills, not so much my brawn anymore. :cry:


Remember, you can win the war (daily) but lose the battle (career) very easily in this profession. Look to your plumbing elders and those who became victims by circumstance.
 

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Hecho In America
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4,161 Posts
Basements aren't bad.......come on!

How about getting an ol rust bucket out of an attic on the second floor with 10' ceilings and white carpet, too. All this has to be negotiated on a cheapo attic access stairway with a 200# rating..............:laughing:.

BTW, I remove all heaters.
 

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Basements aren't bad.......come on!

How about getting an ol rust bucket out of an attic on the second floor with 10' ceilings and white carpet, too. All this has to be negotiated on a cheapo attic access stairway with a 200# rating..............:laughing:.

BTW, I remove all heaters.
\

Same here

I get to see many of the 10' feet ceilings with white carpet, and of course they are always on the second floor.....
 

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I Married Up
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Mr D,

I agree that there a physical limits that we all must live with. But you don't HAVE to be alone on the job. Are there any temp labor agencies in your area? Price the job to be a "complete" service and include the cost to have 1, 2, 5, or even 20 temp laborers assist in the removal of the old unit. Don't sweat the cost. It is not your fault the client has a poorly designed home that doesn't allow easy access to service mechanical equipment. Charge a fair price for what it takes to really complete the job. The laborers will be covered by all the needed liability and worker's compensation insurances through their agency.

OR...cut the heater into pieces to make it more manageable.

Either way, price the job accordingly and provide COMPLETE value. Both of these are safe options for a plumber working by himself.

Leaving the trash for your client to deal with seems like a really bad move.
 

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I always remove any of the old equipment that we replace. I add it in my price and I get the scrap value as an added bonus. Happy New Year my brothers!
 

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Well, I've always had to remove them even when I really really wanted to leave one behind. The boss always factored in removing and hauling away the old one in the price.

I have had to cut one into pieces to get it out of a crawlspace access before. That one was an old State low boy. I have no clue how the plumber who installed it got it in there. It was physically larger than the access door.:001_unsure:

The Rinnai I replaced it with went in smooth though!:thumbsup:
 

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I sub out a garbage removal guy, he meets me at the house around the time I'm done un-installing the old tank and takes it from there. His fee is built into what I charge my customers.
I could take it away in the truck, but this system has been working out for me. Time wasted driving to and from the recycling center, which is on the outskirts of the city, could be time spent doing a small job and thus making money. Plus, I don't want a back injury.
 

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We haul them off as well. If a H.O. wants us to remove something where we didn't provide the replacement, it's on a case by case basis and we do charge. I.E. - H.O. supplies new toilet and wants us to take away the old, might tack on $15.-$25. depending on the circumstances.

If there is a danger of getting hurt, can't blame you for not wanting to take a chance though. If your customers are fine with it, then it really doesn't matter what others do.
 
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