Replacing your Water Heater
LESLIE: Bill in Alaska is having some water heating issues. What can we do for you today?BILL: Well, good evening and yes, I’m wanting to replace a 20-plus-year hot water or hydronic boiler heating system.TOM: OK.BILL: And I’m looking at the latest models that are out nowadays. Some are very efficient – up to 93 percent efficiency – and some others like in the 80-some percent range. And just wondering what your recommendation is.TOM: Well, right now is a perfect time to replace your heating system because that replacement could qualify for a federal energy tax credit. They’re available for both gas and oil boilers as long as you put in a high-efficiency unit but you can get up to $1,500 off of your tax liability by installing one that qualifies. The key is to make sure it qualifies. So this is an exercise, actually, that we just did for Leslie’s mom. You guys – they needed a new boiler and we took the products that were recommended by the contractors, went to the manufacturer’s website and determined that some of the ones that they recommended actually did not qualify for the tax credits.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Yeah. And you definitely want to make sure that it does.TOM: Right. So I would, you know, get some recommendations on brands and then I would go to their website and make sure which models qualify for the federal energy tax credits because the manufacturers keep a pretty tight ship on that kind of stuff; the contractors, not so much.BILL: Right, right. Yeah, I’m looking at both and I’m – got kind of mixed feelings about the high-efficiency. Some of the plumbers are telling me that they’re not too trustworthy in terms of the components in them; the power surges and so forth might cause the circuit boards to go out. So, I’m kind of looking at going to the original style, cast-iron boiler – but the new upgraded model – and even though I may not get that rebate …TOM: I’ve got to tell you something. The contractors get stuck in the mud. They like to install what they like to install. They don’t like change; they don’t take change very well (Bill and Leslie chuckle). They don’t like to deal with any of the newfangled, high-tech heating and cooling systems but this is where the market is going. These manufacturers are not manufacturing boilers that are so delicate they’re going to blow up the first time you get a power surge.BILL: Right, right.TOM: So I would recommend that you use a high-efficiency boiler and you make sure it qualifies for the federal energy tax credit and find a contractor that is confident enough in himself to be able to install that properly.BILL: OK. Well, we’ll go from there then and I thank you very much.TOM: (overlapping voices) Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And let the contractor hate mail begin. (Leslie laughs) It’s true; they get stuck.