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Like for Like Hot Water Service Replacement

Like for Like Hot Water Service Replacement

In Queensland, if you see online bunnings hot water service price beat guaranteewebsite  prices or are quoted over the phone a price for like for like hot water service replacement for an electric or gas storage tank¹ system, don’t believe one word of it. The prices are a sham designed to scam you into calling them to book in the job.

I can 99.9% guarantee² you will not receive that price for a legally compliant hot water service replacement issued with a QBCC Form 4 compliance certificate.

The pricing and terminology are deliberately deceptive and are a scam. I will categorically state the prices are absolutely bullshit and lies.

Going back over ten years ago yes all plumbers undertook like for like hot water service replacement when replacing electric or gas storage hot water tanks. Simply this was legally compliant at the time and accepted industry practice.

The pricing and terminology are deliberately deceptive and are a scam. I will categorically state the prices are absolutely bullshit and lies.

Going back over ten years ago yes all plumbers undertook like for like hot water service replacement when replacing electric or gas storage hot water tanks. Simply this was legally compliant at the time and accepted industry practice.

What is like for like hot water service replacement?

“Like for like” installation is frequently seen as the basis of pricing on websites as a starting point for pricing for replacing your hot water system. They usually use confusing terminology stating that the pricing is starting from what is a low price for a like for like installation. They then vaguely define like for like as being for replacing the hot water system where it is:

  • the same type of hot water system as the old hot water system
  • that the hot water system is being installed in precisely the same location as the old hot water system
  • that the new hot water system is the same size as the old hot water system
  • that the new hot water system has the same electrical requirements as the old hot water system

Of course, it’s not explained clearly like I have using sixty-seven words.  Instead, they tell all of that in one compressed vague sentence of thirty-four words.

And naturally, there will be getting out of gaol clauses that are again vague and confusing. These clauses will state that other costs may be incurred because:

  • you have individual site installation requirements to ensure your like for like hot water service replacement is compliant with all regulations
  • if you require any additional valves installed that were not in the like for like scope of works
  • if you request removal and disposal of the old hot water service
  • if you require a new concrete slab or support base
  • if you need any additional piping to be installed
  • if you require any additional electrical wiring or any electrical work other than disconnecting and reconnecting
  • any work what so ever that is required to the existing plumbing, electrical or gas infrastructure to ensure your like for like hot water service replacement is compliant with the council, state or commonwealth regulations
  • any additional labour or equipment required due to site access conditions

All of the above are standard requirements on any hot water system replacement to meet the legal requirements of the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019.

The whole reason all of the above and many more possibilities are excluded from a like for like hot water service replacement offer is to fool you.

Ultimately every existing hot water service installation has individual requirements when installing a replacement hot water service.  That is why a website price or a quote over the phone is meaningless.

You can only ever get a correct price for replacing your old, leaking hot water service after a comprehensive site inspection. In the small print on all websites that quote like for like replacements they almost always state somewhere that pricing may change once their plumber undertakes a site inspection.

The photo on the right is a Dux 50 dux 50 litre electric hot water servicelitre electric hot water service that has been replaced like for like. Except it is utterly non-compliant because:

  • the hot water pipes are not insulated
  • the relief valve is not insulated
  • there is no pressure reduction valve
  • there is no cold-water expansion valve
  • there is no tempering valve
  • as it is an internal installation, there is no hot water tray to contain water leaking from the tank, pipes or valves
  • there is no automatic shutoff valve to cut off the water should there be a leak
  • there was no QBCC form 4 given to the property owner

There is no such thing as a like for like installation. There is definitely no such thing as an exemption for a QBCC Form 4 compliance certificate if you are only undertaking a like for like installation.

What is required to replace a leaking hot water service?

If your hot water service is leaking and requires a replacement then in all likelihood it will be at least eight years old and probably much more. I can guarantee the infrastructure regarding valves and overflow drains will not be compliant with the legal requirements that we must now adhere to.

We recently replaced the nine-year-old Siddons heat pump unit in the photo on the right that was no longer functioning with a CO2 Smart Heat Pump hot water unit. Even though it was only installed nine years ago, it was utterly non-compliant with the current requirements.

Since 1 July 2019 every hot water service whether its a new installation or a replacement installation must be installed in complete compliance with AS/NZS 3500.4:2018 Plumbing and Drainage Part 4: Heated Water Services.

This standard, along with several other standards, is called into law via the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 and the Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2019.

The installation of a new or replacement hot water service must comply absolutely with the standard and in particular Section 5 Installation of Water Heaters – General Requirements. The scope of this section states explicitly: This Section sets out general requirements for the installation of water heaters, their location, support, cold water service valves, the vent or drain lines, and the first 2 m of heated water supply piping.

This section sets out exactly how all hot water service installations must be undertaken. Nowhere does it refer to a like for like hot water service replacement.

No professional, reputable plumber will quote you on a like for like installation as they know it does not exist. Companies who market on this basis are engaging in deceptive and misleading marketing to get their foot in your door, so they can then upsell you.

Any plumber who starts telling you that you can get a lower price with a like for like replacement is simply a liar.

Every hot water service replacement must have a Form 4 compliance certificate lodged with the QBCC and the appropriate fee paid. Ultimately this is for your protection as compliantly installed plumbing, and drainage installation is about protecting your health.

Replacing a hot water service does not involve guesswork it’s about merely obeying the law and being compliant with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018. If you have had your hot water service replaced as a like for like replacement you need to report it now to the QBCC as an offence complaint. The plumber who undertook the installation will be required to return and complete the installation in compliance with the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 at his cost.

If you are uncertain about your hot water service replacement or need assistance contact us on (07) 5551 5193 and we will give you our opinion on how to proceed.

¹ : Replacing an instantaneous gas hot water unit is frequently like for like as it is a straight disconnection and reconnection to the gas connection and to the water pipes. In most instantaneous units, there is no need to install or replace valves as all management of temperature is undertaken in the unit.

² : The only time I have seen a compliant like for like replacement is when a faulty hot water service has had to be replaced within the first 12 months after installation and was already fully compliant. This is a genuine like for like replacement under the manufacturers guarantee where the client pays nothing and where everything concerning the plumbing and electrical infrastructure was already compliant.

 

Credit Card Payments

Credit card payments to pay accounts is now the most common method of payment our clients use to pay for the plumbing services we provide at Whywait Plumbing. Yes we accept the following credit cards:

  • American Express
  • MasterCard
  • Visa

And NO we don’t charge you any form of surcharge.

Unlike many companies Whywait Plumbing do not charge you a surcharge on credit card payments

From our perspective the fees the bank charges us to accept a credit card are negligible, with the benefits of same day payment far outweighing the bank fees.

This policy is unlikely to change as we continually see other companies charging excessively their own clients to make payment via a credit card. It is increasingly the norm with businesses that charge a surcharge for using a credit card to charge double what the bank charges them. This is disguised as administrative fees that would be incurred whether you pay by credit card, cash or cheque. Far too many companies are making additional profit from their own clients using a credit card.

At Whywait Plumbing we bank with Bendigo Bank and the fees they charge us for processing Visa and MasterCard is 0.72%. Unlike other banks Bendigo Bank deposit credit card payments into our bank account same day. With American Express it is slightly different as we have to pay 1.8% and it can take up to 48 hours for the money to be deposited into our bank account.

Put simply the installation of a toilet suite for a service partner costs $758.02 and if they pay by Visa or MasterCard the cost to us is $5.46. Even if they pay by American Express the cost is still $13.64. Either way you look at it those fees are much less than the administrative cost of sending out an invoice, then waiting for payment to arrive.

At Whywait Plumbing we guarantee we will never charge clients for the convenience of using a credit card to pay. We urge you to challenge the validity of businesses that frequently charge you 3-5% for using a credit card when it is highly unlikely they are paying anything like that to their bank.

Owning A Plumbing Business Is Easy. Isn’t It?

“You have overcharged us because I rang three other plumbers and told them what you charged us for that job and they all agree you have overcharged us.” This was I phone call we received at Whywait Plumbing last week.

A call like this always makes us wonder about the competence and integrity of the three plumbers who said we overcharged. For a start no professional plumber can, should or could give a price over the phone without inspecting the job on site thoroughly and undertaking a complete diagnosis of what the problem is.

Generally the plumbers who indulge in giving prices over the phone use it as a tactic to gain entry to a clients home. The final price always ends up being much more expensive because they find all these additional problems after they start the job. These “Joe Bum-Crack” plumbers seldom last in business long but in the short time they exist they cause legitimate plumbing businesses countless problems with their poor business ethics and lack of business acumen.

Every day here at Whywait Plumbing we receive phone calls or email from plumbers looking for a job. A significant number of these plumbers fit the category of Joe Bum-Crack plumbers who have been running their own plumbing business and discover it is much harder than they thought it would be.

We have in the past employed such people, always to our detriment. The last person we employed that could be described as a Joe Bum-Crack plumber was a perfect text book example. In fact lets call him Joe as he came into the interview perfectly dressed in answer to our advertisement for an experienced maintenance plumber. Joe was in his 50’s and had done it all from working in construction to being an inspector to running his own business. When asked why he was giving up running his own plumbing business he replied that his wife had told him to go and get a real job.

Joe then went onto describe what it was like running his own plumbing business which he had started with high hopes after 27 years as an employee of various large companies and a water authority. Joe described how he knew what he wanted as his own boss as he knew there was a fortune to be made running his own business plus for the first time ever he was in control of everything and best of all could work when he chose and be at home when he chose.

Reality was much different to Joe’s perception of being the boss. Joe soon discovered that being the boss is much harder than it looks. Joe had discovered that running a business was more than being a good technical plumber because it also meant now he was the boss that he was in charge of marketing, employee relations, customer relations, credit management, book keeping, answering the phone, dealing with plumbers merchants and so the list went on. All Joe wanted to be was a wealthy plumber.

Joe now knew that running a plumbing business was not a path to instant wealth in fact the opposite was the truth with every minute of his time being spent on running the business. Joe was shocked at the reaction of Reeces Plumbing Supplies when his account was late being paid. Joe as an employee had used Reeces for years and the people behind the counter he considered as mates. He was shocked when his credit was suspended because after all these were longtime mates of his and he was sure they would understand that a client had not paid him so he could not pay them.

Joe was well aware of Whywait Plumbing and he confided that he had always believed we were  ripoff merchants. Joe was aware of our sign-written Utes, websites, yellow pages advertising, radio advertising, broadcast email, diagnostic charges and letter box drops which he had always regarded as a waste of money because everyone knows word of mouth gives you plenty of work or so he once thought. He was astounded when word of mouth did not provide a multitude of work and that to get his phone ringing he would need to spend what he believed was a “shitload of money” on advertising and marketing to get his name out there.

After 18 months of being the boss Joe now understood why Whywait Plumbing spends what he calls a “shitload” of money on advertising and was astounded when he was informed it was only 4% of our turnover.  Now Joe was wanting us to give him a job because his wife had told him after 18 months of struggling to make ends meet to get a real job.

Joe did work for Whywait Plumbing for 3 months but in the end was unable to adapt to a plumbing business that was up front about the cost of the work before undertaking the work. Joe just wanted to turn on the taxi meter and keep charging the client until the work was complete and then let someone else worry about who was paying. This was why Joe the boss had his credit stopped at Reeces. This was why Joe the boss had constant arguments with clients. This is why Joe the boss is just Joe the disgruntled employee who still thinks he knows more than the boss.

Very simply there is only one rule in business and that is to make a profit and to make a profit you must firstly know your costs. That is why at Whywait Plumbing we price every job in advance….no if’s, no but’s.

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