Author Topic: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair  (Read 2233 times)

Neo

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Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« on: January 11, 2017, 04:47:26 PM »
Hi All,

Need some help from my more experienced mustaches. We got a call from a tenant that his bathtub won't shut off. It's basically constantly running with a stream of water about the diameter of a penny. It's an older shower with separate hot and cold handles. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to share. I don't have any experience with plumbing, but I believe this is the "stem" type of shower and not cartridges.

Roto Rooter went out there today and they are quoting me $425 to repair it and $1,100 to replace it altogether. I about fell out of my chair when I heard those quotes. I don't know anything about plumbing, but it seems like a relatively simple repair.

For those of you who have been landlording longer than me, or who are familiar with this type of repair, are those quotes reasonable? Thanks for your help!

rothwem

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 07:04:58 AM »
Seems high. 

If it were me, I'd go out there and try replacing the stems first, its a 20 minute job and the parts are about ~$10 per stem.  If they've got to replace the fixture (usually because the seats are stuck in the fixture and they're pitted), then it'll be a bit more, but I was quoted $525 for that replacement. 

Drifterrider

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 08:10:11 AM »
It could be as simple as replacing an O ring.

supomglol

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 10:08:22 AM »
Ah plumbing.... the bane of my existence at times. 

Note that in most cases when using Roto Rooter that you're paying top dollar for guaranteed service.  It's a bit like taking your car to the dealership.  You're defionetly going to get the issue fixed, and fixed correctly, but it's going to cost you a pretty penny.  You might be able to get the same job done elsewhere but you're taking a bigger risk the further down in the price pool you go.  However, there might be a shade-tree mechanic who can fix you up for almost nothing.  Not to say that Roto Rooter doesn't do good work, they do, but it is almost always at a premium. 
Nothing wrong with getting a quote from another plumbing company/individual. 

For the task at hand, water leaking at the diameter of a penny is an absolute shitload of water.  I haven't done the math but if it's leaking like you stated somebody is going to be on the hook for massive water bill.  Many standard faucets don't even produce a diameter of a penny on full blast.  Hopefully you meant the thickness.  Any repair job is going to consist at most of replacing the internal valves and should include new o-rings.  If you can find the model of your faucet online you can get an idea of what these parts cost as they are usually sold together in some kind of repair pack (including everything you should need minus tools).  For replacement in a typical shower they're going to have to destroy part of the wall to replace the faucet, and if it is a variety of situations the wall destroyed might end up being one of the shower walls, which would then need to be replaced.  Long story short, the quoted replacement cost could be just the tip of the iceburg. 

Berubeland

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 04:00:37 PM »
Yes you're getting ripped off. Look for a licensed small local plumber or do it yourself

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ARJpksmNIw

Neo

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2017, 10:10:13 AM »
Ah plumbing.... the bane of my existence at times. 

Note that in most cases when using Roto Rooter that you're paying top dollar for guaranteed service.  It's a bit like taking your car to the dealership.  You're defionetly going to get the issue fixed, and fixed correctly, but it's going to cost you a pretty penny.  You might be able to get the same job done elsewhere but you're taking a bigger risk the further down in the price pool you go.  However, there might be a shade-tree mechanic who can fix you up for almost nothing.  Not to say that Roto Rooter doesn't do good work, they do, but it is almost always at a premium. 
Nothing wrong with getting a quote from another plumbing company/individual. 

For the task at hand, water leaking at the diameter of a penny is an absolute shitload of water.  I haven't done the math but if it's leaking like you stated somebody is going to be on the hook for massive water bill.  Many standard faucets don't even produce a diameter of a penny on full blast.  Hopefully you meant the thickness.  Any repair job is going to consist at most of replacing the internal valves and should include new o-rings.  If you can find the model of your faucet online you can get an idea of what these parts cost as they are usually sold together in some kind of repair pack (including everything you should need minus tools).  For replacement in a typical shower they're going to have to destroy part of the wall to replace the faucet, and if it is a variety of situations the wall destroyed might end up being one of the shower walls, which would then need to be replaced.  Long story short, the quoted replacement cost could be just the tip of the iceburg.

Thanks for everyone's replies. This was the bathtub faucet leaking, so yes I stand by my estimate that the water stream was the diameter of a penny. And it ran for about 53 hours I'm guessing. In the end the issue was a seat/washer replacement. I talked to the roto rooter guy and got the cost down to $230. That's still a massive ripoff considering we could have done it ourselves, but it would have been our first time attempting it and I just wanted it fixed ASAP. Now, I just have to wait to see what this water bill is going to be...

Carless

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2017, 02:31:33 PM »
Practice changing the seals on another tap when you've got time.  That way when it happens again (and it will, this is a common issue) you'll be all set to tackle it yourself.

mires

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2017, 03:37:34 PM »
As a landlord, you need to find a good plumber that you can rely on. You'll save yourself a lot of money in the long run (generally) by sticking to a smaller company. Roto Rooter, Mr. Rooter, Ben Franklin etc. have a lot of overhead and therefore have to have higher prices in order to make the same kind of a profit that a smaller shop might.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2017, 09:01:24 PM »
Couldn't you shut off the water to the house for the times that the tenants weren't using any water? Did the water have to run all day while the tenants were at work?

FIreDrill

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2017, 09:32:17 PM »
I had an issue like this for our tub.  Bought a new moen cartridge and replaced if for 50 bucks.  Took about an hour to figure out where the water shut off was and YouTube how to do the repair.  I even overpaid for the cartridge because I bought it from a local store.  Could of gotten it for 25 bucks from Lowes.  425 seems ridiculously high if it was the same issue....

I wonder what "replacing" it entailed in the 1100 estimate...

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fishnfool

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2017, 08:25:53 AM »
I recently saw the plumber from "this old house" replace a old 3 handle tub faucet to a modern one handle valve. The kit even included a cover plate to hide the 2 extra holes you would no longer need. Just a thought in case those ever give out on you again.

I installed a new shower valve this past weekend. My first time sweatin copper pipe. It was a lot easier than I thought. But having wall down to bare framing made it easier to access.

Hopefully your repair holds another 30 years and you never have to revisit this. Good luck!

NeonPegasus

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Re: Am I getting ripped off!?!?!? Bathtub repair
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2017, 11:21:47 AM »
We had the same issue in one our rentals. The tenant (a handyman by trade) couldn't fix it. The previous owner's handyman couldn't fix it. My husband tried and couldn't fix it.

We paid Roto Rooter $392.44 to fix it after trying to get a smaller plumber out to fix it. At that point, we just wanted it fixed.

The only problem I see with the story above was not knowing a better plumber to call.