Retail vs. Plumbing Contractor – Where to Buy a New Water Heater

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Who Should You Choose to Install a Water Heater?

Hand adjusting the temperature water heater - Jarboe's Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling

If you’re due for new water heater installation in your Louisville area home, budget is naturally a concern. If you want to maximize savings, the discounts and low prices on a new water heater offered by retailers certainly look appealing. However, the savings generated when you buy a new water heater from a home improvement store or online retailer really aren’t such a great deal. 

Some Louisville area homeowners question where to shop when it’s time to purchase new water heating equipment – a retailer or a local plumbing contractor? While the advertised low price from retailers seems like a good idea, you’re really better off purchasing a new water heater from your trusted plumber. 

If you think this sounds fishy coming from a plumbing contractor, don’t worry – Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling backs up our thinking below. Check out a comparison between the two routes for new water heater purchase and decide for yourself!

When you’re ready to move forward with purchasing a new water heater, we hope you’ll choose to give us a call. Our licensed plumbing professionals are ready to help you find the right equipment, as well as perform the work needed to install it in your home.

Shopping Retail for a New Water Heater

Retail stores, including home improvement, big box, and even online shops, offer a varied selection of new water heaters depending on where you look. Retailers use low prices and deep discounts to attract buyers, but a new water heater from a retail operation may not be what you bargained for.

Subpar Equipment

Buying a new water heater from a retailer is tricky – while it may appear like stores offer the same new water heater models as plumbing companies, there are often important differences. Those for sale from retail giants are often not of the same quality as contractor grade water heaters sold by plumbers. Lower product quality is one way retailers are able to drive down equipment prices. These water heaters often are built with subpar components, such as aluminum instead of alloy anode rods, plastic valves versus metal, and not as much insulation.

Solo Shopping

Even if a store employee is available to assist you, these individuals rarely have experience working in the plumbing industry. When you shop for a new water heater at a retailer, you must depend on your personal knowledge and research of systems. The lack of plumbing professionals makes it hard for homeowners to ensure they are making the right equipment choices. When you shop at a retailer, don’t expect much more information beyond the printed product specs on display or details found online. 

Because they are not experienced in the plumbing industry, retail employees cannot help you out regarding new water heater selection or installation concerns. When you want to make upgrades, change fuel sources, or even switch to a tankless water heater, your home and plumbing system need to be able to support your new equipment. Retail employees are not able to advise you what is needed to accommodate a new system in your home, because they don’t know nor do they visit your home to assess the application, like a plumber does.

Service Stops at Sales

At a retailer, all service stops at the sale, as that is the company’s priority. There’s no professional support to ensure the new water heater is installed correctly, nor services to help you manage your system’s needs over the years you use it.

To a large national or international retailer, your purchase is just a sale – there’s no ongoing relationship or investment in your satisfaction like there is when you work with a local company.

Buying a new water heater from a retailer, whether online or in person, is risky business for Louisville homeowners. There’s no guarantee the unit you buy is appropriate for your needs, because a professional was not consulted in selection. While you may have got a great price, you still have to worry about getting the water heater home and installed.

New Water Heaters from a Plumber

When you pick a new water heater, this is a choice that will affect your household daily for years to come. Don’t leave it to chance – shop with a local plumbing company and receive the expert product guidance needed to make this important decision, plus professional installation services. With a plumber, it’s more than just buying a water heater – it’s a complete package.

Experience Matters

When you call a local plumbing company to buy a new water heater, you are guided through the equipment selection process by a professional with years of experience in the industry, not to mention advanced training. It’s a plumber’s job to know how various water heater models function and perform in Louisville homes, making your plumber an excellent resource to turn to as you make a purchase decision.

Working with a plumbing company ensures the right fit when you buy a new water heater. A plumber determines your household’s demand for hot water so your new model can be sized appropriately to meet the needs of all occupants. For advanced replacement projects such as installing a larger tank unit, using a new fuel source or retrofitting for tankless water heater installation, a plumber is able to assess the home and its plumbing system to identify necessary work needed to facilitate the installation – you won’t find that expertise from a retail employee.

Count on Equipment Quality

Purchasing a new water heater from your plumber means you receive top of the line equipment of leading quality. Your plumber has an interest in making sure you’re satisfied with the performance of your new unit, therefore matches you with systems that are built to last. Contractor grade water heaters feature durable components backed by great warranties.

Once a new unit is decided upon, your plumber orders it and delivers it to your home – you don’t have to mess with this part. Plumbers buy equipment for customers through distributors and wholesalers in the industry, relying on relationships built over years to ensure the best price for you.

Comprehensive Services

When you buy a new water heater, you don’t just want new equipment – you want it installed! That’s exactly what you get when you buy new equipment through a plumber, as plumbers don’t just sell equipment to homeowners, but installation services along with water heater purchase.

Licensed plumbers possess the skills needed to install new water heating equipment and make alterations or install new components to facilitate use of the new unit in your home. Extra services such as gas line installation or plumbing line rerouting are no sweat.

Another key benefit of working with a plumber is the labor warranty your contractor offers, which provides coverage for issues that arise due to installation work after the job is done, if applicable. Licensed plumbers also handle repairs covered by manufacturer warranties, so you know where to turn when you need help.

Buying a new water heater through a local plumbing company is a comprehensive deal that goes beyond a new unit. Local plumbers have an interest in ensuring your satisfaction and building a trusted relationship so you call them in the future when you need help. With a plumber on your side through the equipment selection and installation process, you know who to call when you need repair or maintenance service.

Why Not Buy Retail and Have a Plumber Install?

Buying a new water heater from a retailer and getting a local plumber to install it seems like an obvious workaround if you’re really interested in getting low priced equipment, but you are going to run into a road block finding a contractor to install your retail-purchased unit.

Local plumbers don’t typically install water heaters (or other equipment) that a homeowner already has acquired elsewhere. The plumber does not know where it came from, can’t ensure what it is, or know it’s right for your home. If you do find a plumber to install a unit you buy from a retail store, it’s almost guaranteed the plumbing company will not warranty their work for these reasons.

Retail Installation Services

Recently, retailers have began offering installation for products purchased through them. They contract with licensed plumbers to have your store-bought water heater installed. This may seem like a good idea if you want to get your new water heater from a store, but you could run into problems.

You have no choice over the contractor used to install your new water heater – you get whichever company the retailer chooses. Even though retailers claim their contractors are licensed, there are no guarantees the contractor will do a proper job.

Many homeowners report subpar installation services when working through the retailer for water heater installation. Plus, problems become harder to resolve with the retailer acting as a middleman.

Buy Your New Water Heater from Jarboe’s

Instead of taking the retail risk, buy your new water heater from the local plumber you trust – Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Our licensed plumbers have years of industry experience and training to help you select the right equipment for your home. Our professional installation services ensure the new unit is properly installed and ready to use. Over its years of service, we are always here to support you with repairs and maintenance.

Call Jarboe’s today for a free estimate for water heater installation in Louisville.

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