Yet another update!

The Sears technician came by Wednesday and inspected our water heater. He confirmed that it was new but was shocked at both the amount of dents and the size of the dents. He stated that the two "larger" ones were abnormal, but let me know that the interior of the heater was not damaged.

He couldn't come up with a hard reason why the vent valve/release was leaking around the ring. He felt the line of what I thought was rust water (he stated this discoloration was not rust but the water reacting to the sealant)and seemed only vaguely concerned. I pushed a bit, and he pulled back the plastic ring and jabbed one of his keys into what appears to be some sort of foam like insulation inside the heater. More water come from this probing (to me it looked significant), but he still seemed nonplussed.

After more looking around, he let me know that he wasn't "comfortable" with how the heater looked, and was going to call to have it replaced. He made a call to someone - whoever it was he had to give some numbers and state he was a Sears water heater spe******t - and began to answer questions about the appearance and state of the heater. I heard him recommend that it be replaced, and again answer questions after this recommendation. Off and on I could hear the woman on the line with him, but could only make out that she was asking specific questions. He was put on hold, and when she came back on I heard what I knew right then was the end of the "replacement" idea. She asked who installed the unit, to which he replied it was not a Sears installation.

Fast Forward 2 minutes and he was off the phone, stating that Sears would replace the unit, but they would not pay for the installation. He began to tell me that I should keep the unit and call Sears back in a month or so and inform them that it was leaking. I didn't quite understand why I should wait, and when I asked him to clarify this, he told me that although Sears would replace the heater free of charge, the installation was $800. This is more than the heater actually cost, so I declined.

He again suggested that I wait a month and call, and by then Sears would ignore the fact of who installed it because it would have been proven that the issue was not installation related because the problems had developed over time - not right when the install occurred.

Odd direction from the Sears spe******t.

With that out of the way for the time being, I contacted my plumber. Unfortunately our conversation was odd, I found out he'd recently had a family emergency which had taken over his responsiveness. I informed him again that I needed to get the heater up to code, and sooner than later. He agreed to call me Thursday morning so he could come by and look at the heater Thursday or Friday.

It is now Saturday, 1:00AM PST, and I've yet to hear back from him. Unfortunately, as much as I truly like him and have grown to respect and have faith in him over the years, I'm going to have to find another plumber to work with me on my home.

I'll keep you all posted of next steps. If anything, I hope that this is at least an interesting read.