My quandry about hiring a plumber was solved on the Internet afterall. Did a search on the Internet and found a plumber with a nice website. I like a plumber who has do-it-yourself tips.
Service was fast and well executed, the price was fair, and now I have a new hot water heater and no cold showers.
Blogging about domestic plumbing problems is awfully dull, but I'm amazed at how much trouble stuff like this is.