I selected Ridgeway since they have so many very good reviews on Kudzu. Glad I did. Guys like Rusty reflect well on the plumbing profession.
So, my water heater may have had a couple years life left – if parts were available so it could have been fixed in a timely fashion (some Whirlpool parts are special order)
So I decided to go right ahead and get a new unit. Called Saturday evening and Rusty showed up Sunday morning with a new water heater. He was great – called ahead half hour before arrival, personable/friendly service and on his way in about an hour (there’s easy access to the utility room.)
I might have saved money at a big-box store, but I think I made up for it since there’s no up-charge for weekend work at Ridgeway, and I have *not* had good luck with big-box store contract installers – AND I got a higher quality water heater, too.
Ridgeway is now in my file – I’ll take my future plumbing business to them!