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Was this plumber honest and fair with me?

I recently had my 10 year old tankless water heater replaced with a similar model by a professional plumber.

The plumbers didn’t replace every part though. Actually, they used many of the old parts and I was wondering if it was acceptable. They did install 2 new vent adapters at the top of the unit (but that came with the unit) yet they purchased and added new stainless steel vents until it reached the nearby ceiling. However, that is all that was purchased.

They didn't replace any new vent parts past initial ceiling wall. Parts of the vent that went through a small section of open space before going through the roof and the outside terminal were the original parts. I asked if this was ok and they said that since the original vents were made from stainless steel, the exhaust vents and terminal didn’t need to be replaced. In my mind, I was also wondering if they should have checked the outside flashing and other possible problems but they didn't do it.

They also ended up using the same old pressure relief valves, the same copper tubing and black pipe. They didn't test the incoming gas pressure and the exhaust CO2 content in order to adjust speed of the internal fan. Etc.

I was wondering if this was normal or else I was taken advantage of.

Thanks everyone for your help. I just pray i didn't get scammed. I want to believe that people are inherently good but these days, it's making it hard. Can you guys tell me bluntly what the real deal is?

Thanks you guys.


  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
    If the iron gas pipe and copper were in good shape there is no need to change it.
    It sounds like they were able to hang it on the only bracket and connect.

    The venting may have been fine, but should be checked for corrosion at the least.

    The combustion test should be done.

    The isolation/flush valves may be ok as long as they still seal correctly.

    It will come down to what the contract says. You may have gotten a good price because they could hang and connect.
  • MikeJ
    MikeJ Member Posts: 103
    Did you get any other bids? Were they the cheapest? If other bids were higher did you compare bids? How did you choose this plumber?
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
    Are you sure they didn't perform a combustion analysis?

    Get the install manual from the manufacturers website... if it states a combustion analysis must be performed on commissioning- show that to the installer or his manager.
    It's not negotiable if it's required by the manufacturer.
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    I know that stainless steel is expensive like an elbow is something like $40. But I would think that given the acidity of the condensate, that the entire 10-year-old stainless steel vent system as well as the terminal should have been replaced. But that's my uninformed opinion so that's why I'm asking the experts here. The inside of the old vent adapters looked pretty beat up on the inside so it worried me about the original parts above the ceiling - the vents and the terminal on the outside. I was wondering if this was permissible. I was hoping I could get a solid answer here.

    I do know that the gas pressure and exhaust CO2 wasn't checked. The gas pressure was low because they never touched the regulator to turn it up. (There is a very long list of other problems too.)

    At the end, when the heater is started and temp set at 130, the temp at the tap is about 120 after letting the water flow for a while. I don't know if that's normal drop in temperature when the tap is just 2 rooms away. Of course, I don't know if the domestic water lines are insulated in the ceiling but the weather was not cold.

    Another thing is I don't necessarily think how the final product "looks" is an absolute indicator but it does kinda' show how much pride the plumber has in his work. I'll attach some pictures to show you what I mean. (He used the same old 10-year-old plastic tube for the new condensate trap.)

    By the way, how do you tell the manufacturer and make of the vents? I want to see if the new and old vents are the same. Thanks.

    And I'm know most people are honest but can someone tell me if it is a thing for a few untrustworthy employees to tell their boss that they bought all of the material necessary to replace the entire system but will actually only replace some of the old equipment and then, pocket the cash or the new materials?

    Thanks for your help guys.

    Picture of the exhaust vent going into the ceiling.

    Picture of the exhaust vent elbow.

    Picture of the same 10-year-old plastic tube he used for the condensate trap.

  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,373
    Your pics didn't post.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
    They show for me
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    edited November 2017
    Do you have a contract that spells out what work would be completed? Was there a permit for the install? Has the town/city inspected said unit? Personally I do not reuse old venting on a new system. You are correct that you cannot mix different brands. The condensate hose should have a trap in it. can you post some pictures of the system itself?
  • GBart
    GBart Member Posts: 746
    My understanding is that it's code to change safety/relief valves in any installation, even used equipment.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,664
    What's with all the red rtv?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment