A Day in the Life…Rental Maintenance, Water Heater Repair

A bit about rental maintenance.  One of many prospective landlords perceived nightmares.  

So my first rental maintenance since I started this blog – yesterday…  This was in my 4-plex.

A tenant in the building called to say there was water leaking in the common area floor.  There is a floor drain, so it was not a disaster.  One of the flexible stainless steel lines leading to the hot water heater had a leak.

A small stream of hot water was spraying out.  Another tenant in the same building saw the leak, and turned off the hot water heater supply and exit shutoffs, and called me as well.

I had an old supply line in my plumbing box, so I used that as a temporary fix.  Total time spent on the job, about 5 minutes.  If I had called a plumber, it would have been $200.  It may also have taken another day.

Later, when it gets warmer out, I will replace it, and all the other hot water heater supply lines in the building, with PEX.

So, it pays to have investment property close in proximity to you.  It pays to know a bit about building maintenance.  Add $200 to the bottom line this month that I would not have had, if I was an absentee landlord or an owner who does not participate in the management of the building.

LandLord Tip: When I install a hot water heater, I make sure there is a shutoff on both sides of the water heater.  It makes for an easier replacement, and less of a chance of water leaking if you have to shut down the water heater.

These types of water heater hookups are not code.  All the major home improvement stores sell them as a fast water heater hook up method.  I have had many fail.  Do not use them, except as a temporary measure.

What was your day as a landlord, or tenant like? Did you fix anything, or do a maintenance request? Of maybe you are just fixing stuff around the house, what did you fix? Have you ever used these water hook ups before?

4 Replies to “A Day in the Life…Rental Maintenance, Water Heater Repair”

  1. Do you have any thoughts on replacing elements in electric water heaters? Specifically, if the water heater is ~10 years old and an element goes bad- better to replace the elements- how long would that last? Or replace the whole water heater? Lastly, lime build-up seems to encompass the lower element, causing it to go bad- easy way to clean the inside to reduce lime build-up?

    1. Thank you for reading!

      I would just replace the water heater. It’s probably near it’s end of life anyway. A cheap water heater probably runs $400-$500. They are easy to install. Then you are good for several years. Replacing the element would be cheaper, but may only last for a few years until the entire water heater goes out.

      If you hire it all out, the labor may be almost as much to install a water heater as a new heating element. There are two heating elements.

      1. Yeah, I was on the fence on replacing the whole water heater. I replaced the elements myself, ~$20/each. $40 and about an hour total work (plus an hour I waited for the heater to drain while I did other things), just not sure the how many more years I added to it- time will tell. Next time this specific heater has a problem, however, new one it is!

        1. That may have bought a few more years. And might even be the most cost effective solution. In may case, time is my thing I have a shortage of, so I will often replace the entire ‘thing’ to make it faster and last longer.

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