Mid-night on January 1, all tucked in and ready for a good night's sleep when my husband yells up from the basement "the water heater just blew and we have water all over the basement!" What better way to start the year...
Well, I can't really say it was a surprise, as a real estate broker, I've been on hundreds of home inspections and I know that water heaters are one of those items that don't fit with the idea "if it's not broken, don't fix it"! Water heaters need to be replaced before they break because when they let go, pretty much without warning, it's really a mess and when you call a plumber in an emergency, be prepared to pay! And good luck getting through to one on a holiday...
I knew I should have done it last summer like I kept saying I was going to, but who wants to spend money on a water heater?
My advice to home buyers is that when the home inspector looks at the age of the tank and says "it's closer to the end of it's life than the beginning and it should be replaced or you need at least start saving planning to replace it" you need to listen. He/she (yes, there are female home inspectors) is telling the truth! And the sooner you replace it, the less it will cost you. The time to shop around is before you need to! Otherwise, you'll end up hiring the first and only plumber who responds (like I did!).
When I meet with someone who is planning to sell their house I always ask how old the water heater is. No matter the age, the homeowner always tells me it works great! Well, that 12 year old water may work great for you, but almost guaranteed, as soon as your house goes on the market, it will not be working great! And, then there's that home inspection report...No, the inspector is not trying to be a deal breaker and most buyers are not just looking for a reason to re-negotiate.
My advice to anyone who owns a house: if your water heater has exceeded it's warranty which is about 6 years, start shopping for a new one. And, if you are planning to sell your house, replace it before you put your house on the market. That's when you'll have time to shop maybe even get a deal. And buyer's love the word "new." Waiting until you have a buyer will cost you a lot more money and stress! You certainly don't want a basement full of water the morning of closing!
January 3, two days and $2,100+ later, looking forward on a long, hot shower! BTY, have you had your dryer-vent and fireplace chimney cleaned lately? How about updating your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors...
About the author: Marilyn Messenger, a broker associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company in Concord has been representing home buyers and sellers in Concord, Sudbury, Wayland, Maynard and the towns west of Boston for 23 years. She is a Certified Residential Specialist, a Accredited Buyer Representative, Certified Luxury Homes Marketing Specialist and Million Dollar Guild member. More information about real estate, market reports and easy home searches at www.MarilynMessenger.com.