Connecticut Logo


Water Heater Installation 101: An Interview with Jay Sullivan of A Plus Plumber LLC

By Jay Sullivan

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We offer new and replacement installation services for all types of heating and cooling systems and domestic water heaters, specifically focused on high-efficiency options, such as heat pumps, condensing furnaces and boilers, combination boiler water heaters, tankless water heaters, etc.

What is the typical lifespan of a water heater? Are there certain conditions that would shorten or lengthen that?

Lifespan is completely dependent on the water quality being provided to the unit and maintenance. Even quality water heaters on untreated (hard) well water, without proper maintenance can start leaking only 5-6 years after installation. On the other hand, we have encountered 30+ year old water heaters on city water. Water heaters that received yearly service maintenance, and are provided town or city water (not well water) will all last at least 12 years minimum.

Can you describe some of the most common signs that an old boiler needs to be replaced?

Water Heater: If you can't remember how long it's been since the last water heater replacement, that's usually a sign it's at least 10 years old and it's at least time to visually inspect the water heater. Visual inspection are easy. If you see a puddle of water under the tank, or see it dripping from the top, side or under the tank, it's time to replace the water heater. 99% of all water heater tank leaks cannot be fixed. This is because, essentially, there is a tank within a tank, and you simply can't get to the inner tank to weld or attempt any sort of repair.

Boiler: Hydronic boilers can last 30-50 years or longer. If you're boiler is only 10-20 years, it likely has a lot of life left in it. If it's 20-30 years old, it's time to start thinking about getting it replaced. The nice thing about replacing a boiler is, efficiency has increased a lot over the past five years, so a boiler replacement can help you save some money from your heating expenses. If you heat with heating oil, on an old boiler, be aware: a new modern boiler can provide you with huge operational savings.

What are some of the main differences between old water heaters and the new ones that are available today?

Well, you will still see tank type water heaters, and storage tanks in every part of the world today and will continue far into the future. There hasn't been many advancements in standard tank type water heaters, and many applications will require or benefit from having stored water within a tank. All the major advancements are in two main areas: modulating/condensing units (existing 90% efficiency) and there are a lot of new options in the heat pump segment. The water heating industry is exploding with new products, and all boast high to ultra-high efficiency levels of over 95%.

How can getting a new water heater affect energy efficiency and long-term homeowner costs?

New advanced water heaters come with longer warranties and consume less fuel than older water heaters. NOTE: ROI can be misleading. For example, if you have been desperately trying to get some more storage space in your townhome, removing a tank type water heater and going back with a small wall hung tankless unit will allow the homeowner to gain over 15 square feet that can be used for storage. A contractor would charge you $2-3k for building out a new a closet, so why not get a new high-efficiency water heater and get that closet space for free? High-efficiency water heaters and heating systems always equal increased home value.

Do you have any tips to help Connecticut homeowners decide what type of water heater to have installed?

It's really important to talk to a true expert. There are so many factors, I can't possibly give you all the tips you need. Location, space, financing, rebates and income eligibility are some factors. The most important factor is the fuel source. All electric homes should be looking into heat pump water heaters. Gas and propane homes should go with condensing water heaters. Wall hung tankless water heaters are all the rage now. Homes with heating oil really need to speak to an expert like myself because we can also look into all the options I've mentioned above, plus solar thermal, solar PV, possibly converting from oil to propane, etc. Low-interest financing is available for high-efficiency heating jobs throughout the state with incentives and a loan program run by CIFA.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Call 203.376.5208 or 800.524.4280, or email My website Nice speaking with you, good luck new homeowners!

Share this:


Leave a comment:

* Login in order to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join for Free