Back when we moved into this house we had a home warranty covering all the major appliances. And the huge old water heater conked out while that warranty was in effect.
At first we thought it was sort of cool, since we hoped to get a slick, energy-efficient water heater. But, alas, home warranties don't work that way -- you have to get the EXACT SAME THING. So, we got another huge (75 gallon!) water heater. And it was a total circus, because the first plumbing company the home warranty people assigned to the job decided that they weren't going to do it (I forget the exact reasons) and the second company dropped the huge new water heater down the basement stairs and ruined it, meaning they had to get a new one which ended up taking a couple of days to ship in. (Although the guys claimed that it had been defective from the factory and totally not their fault.)
And the new one had a big dent in the side. And Rick's spider sense started tingling that the glass lining of the tank might have cracked, which would lead to eventual leakage and rusting and a leaky water heater. But we'd gone days and days without a water heater at that point, so we hope for the best. Although we decided that home warranties really suck, quite frankly, because you're totally stuck with whatever contractors and appliances they decide you deserve.
And it came to pass that 3 years later, while the new water heater was still under the water-heater-company-provided warranty, it DID start to leak.
So, remembering the total fiasco of 3 years ago, I started calling around to get it replaced with the exact same huge water heater model that I've grown to hate.
I called the plumbing company that we've called before when other plumbers have screwed up things around here (digression: my own spider sense starts to tingle when a contractor shows up festooned with Christian-fish jewelry and logos on their paperwork, and I should've sent the guy packing right then and there ... but I didn't and ended up with a huge mess. And let that be a lesson to you). And also called a plumbing supply place that another plumber (who was booked solid for the rest of the week) had tipped me off to as the place to call to find this particular model -- they turned out to have gobs of them in stock, knew all the plumbers I had talked to in the past couple of days, and were super-helpful. I have no clue why the guys who installed the previous heater 3 years ago didn't go there -- probably some bizarre twist in the home warranty said they couldn't.
And the plumbers wrangled that huge leaky water heater up out of the basement (although the helper expressed disbelief that it was actually going to make it up the stairs, which are narrow, although we never replaced the handrail from the last time the other guys changed the water heater 3 years ago, nor had we ever repaired the gouge they left in the wall) and popped the new one I had ordered from the plumbing supply company into place.
Et voila! A shiny new 75 gallon tank that has no apparent dents!
And there goes all of our Christmas money. Not nearly as cool as getting an embroidery machine, but just as expensive.