Flood Stop installation $1000???
February 25, 2016 10:47 AM   Subscribe

My wife just called me and said the plumber came by and quoted her $700 for a flood stop for our washing machine in our condo not including the service fee. Is this normal?

When I look up flood stops online they seem to cost no more than $200. He's apparently wanting to install one with an electric console control or something, but $700???!!! without including the service charge?? They definitely do need two guys to carry the washer out of a narrow space to get to the back of it, but Is that price normal for this service? I honestly didn't expect to pay more than $500 for the job.
posted by manderin to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Unless there is something extremely unusual going on, that just sounds like what I call "sucker tax." I wouldn't even be sure two guys are needed to move the washer. One person and a dolly can move a washer anywhere they want.

I can't imagine it taking over an hour of actual installation time, and in fact this looks to be an easy do-it-yourself project.
posted by The Deej at 11:08 AM on February 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would always get another bid, or two.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Is it $700 just for parts? I can't imagine he'd need that much more than the flood stop part itself, and those run $150 to $300.

I'd ask him to itemize the parts cost, then you can just see what he's marking up.
posted by selfnoise at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Any reason you can't just do it yourself? It's all hand-tighten-able hose fittings, the FloodStop™ for washer hookups is ~$200, replace the hoses while you're at it, heck, buy a $10 Harbor Freight dolly while you're at it so you can move the washer by yourself and you're still at well under half the quote.
posted by straw at 11:21 AM on February 25, 2016

Response by poster: We can't do it ourselves because the dryer is on top of the washer and it is in a very tight closet space. So tight, that we would literally had to remove the door from it's hinges just to get the washer & dryer out of that space. (at least that I could do myself). You can't lift the washer up enough to put on a dolly unless you take the dryer off from the top of the washer first as they weigh a ton.

In other words if the flood stop was something I could get to on my own without the heavy lifting required, I might've looked into installing it myself. But the fact that the dryer would need to be taken down. Then the washer put up on a dolly, to move that. Then once they get back there to install it, they'd have to put the washer back and lift the dryer back on top of it. These things make it so that I can't even consider doing it myself.

So I understand having to pay more considering it's a two man job due to the small space and weight of the appliances, but I'm still floored by the ticket price. I can't see how this could possibly cost this much. And then he said he was leaving the invoice open??? LIke... does that mean there's a possibility the price could be higher at the end?
posted by manderin at 11:22 AM on February 25, 2016

So was he able to reach the back of the washer? It sounds like he wasn't. That's why he wants to leave the invoice open - because he has no idea what's back there.

I am not a plumber, but every time I move into a new house or apartment with a W/D this is what happens: The water valve is either stuck closed (ok, not likely in your case) or it's stuck open, meaning you can't disconnect the washer hose without turning off the water supply to the entire unit.

He's charging you a bunch of money because this sounds like a shit job with a lot of unknowns. If he didn't break down parts & labor (they have to mark up their parts too, so it's not going to match what you see on Amazon.com) you can certainly get a second quote from someone else - maybe an independent plumber who would be willing use your parts and cut you a lower rate in exchange for helping with some of the labor
posted by muddgirl at 11:37 AM on February 25, 2016 [5 favorites]

You could get the washer out yourself, but you'd need to take your time and be clever. A couple of ideas:

- Use low profile appliance rollers.

- Use a couple of 1x4s cut to depth for runners, and a couple of broomsticks cut to width for rollers.

- Two layers of melamine-covered shelving (the cheap white stuff) might be slippery enough to let you slide it out.

- If there's not enough vertical room to get any of those under the washer, use strips of slippery veneer or hardboard as sliders.

The part where you have to apply your cleverness is getting the sliders and/or rollers under the washer. Levers and blocks are the secret. Use a skinny metal lever to get a small block under; that will allow you to use a bigger lever and put in a larger block. Once the blocks are in place, you can maneuver the sliders/rollers under.

Make sure you use the levers on the frame of the washer, not on the sheet metal, since it's easy to forget how much you're amplifying your force. You don't want to bend the sheet metal.

You might find that rope or a metal clothes hanger comes in handy for pulling. For example, you might want to tie a length of thin rope around the appliance rollers to use as pulls before you slide the rollers under so that you don't end up sliding the washer off the rollers when you start pulling. If you buy rope, get braided nylon or twine, since twisted poly rope doesn't hold knots.

I fixed a bunch of tractors as a kid with my Dad, and I learned that you can get impossibly heavy things out of impossibly tight spaces. You just need your brain and the right collection of simple machines.

Remember to follow the rule: If you realize that you're about to do something that'll make you say, "Put it in there, quick!", you need to stop, take your time, and think of a better way to do it. That way you don't break your back or the machine you're working on.
posted by clawsoon at 7:48 AM on February 26, 2016

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