New to the forum and new to home improvement. Our 2-year old under warranty AO Smith 50 gal. electric hot water heater seized suddenly overnight last week and half the tank leaked into the hallway carpeting (condo unit where hot water heaters are installed on ground floor closet - dumbest thing I've ever seen). When the plumber who installed the heater (prior to our purchase) came, he was very surprised to see that the electrical element in the top panel had caught fire and all the wires were melted to the plate and it was full of water. The outside of the heater looked like it was 20 years old and this happened in a matter of hours overnight. Long story short -- heater was under warranty, BUT... I was charged "Warranty Handling" of $150, Permit Fee of $65 and $337 in labor ($75 for the first visit to diagnose and empty the tank and $262 for the installation with new pipes). The condo is 10 years old and built on a concrete slab, the tank was 2 years old with new pipes. Total cost was $675 and we got a "free" replacement of a new AO Smith 50 gallon heater. What's the point of having a warranty if the unit you are replacing is $375 and they charge you $150 for "handling"? Did we get a fair deal, or should we go to the plumber or manufacturer for further investigation? We could have had a much more serious situation, but thankfully, nothing more than water came out of the tank. Oh, going rate for plumbers in our area is $175/hour. I don't even want to tell you what the emergency carpet cleanup company charged to dry out the hallway carpeting -- too low to put through insurance but too high to ever consider these robbers again. I could have recarpeted the hallway and living room. Lesson learned.