Plumber question

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artibug
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Plumber question

Post by artibug »

Just wondering what other BHs will do in my situation.

Our new water heater that was put in 2 winters ago didn't pass the draft test by the energy audit company. There is no detectable CO level in the house, but the auditor asks me to have it fix ASAP since we have little kids and pets in the house. In addition, he pointed out that the pipe for drip? ( on the side of the water tank) should have been metal and not PVC pipe. My question is: should I ask the plumbing company who put in the heater to correct the work or we are better off to get a new plumber to do the work? since now I feel I cannot trust these guys...which is kind of sad since we have used them for several years and they came highly recommend by my neighbors.

What would you do? Thanks!
dbltrbl
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Re: Plumber question

Post by dbltrbl »

I would call the company and tell them what the inspector said. As a long time customer of your company I am sure you will come in and fix the problem. Give them a chance to fix the problem.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Plumber question

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (plumber).
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MichaelRpdx
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Re: Plumber question

Post by MichaelRpdx »

Second the advice from dbltrbl - call them and give the chance to make it right.
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livesoft
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Re: Plumber question

Post by livesoft »

Is anybody else thinking that the water heater is electric?
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robertalpert
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Re: Plumber question

Post by robertalpert »

artibug wrote:
didn't pass the draft test by the energy audit company.

.......


pipe for drip? ( on the side of the water tank) should have been metal and not PVC pipe.
What are the credentials of the energy audit company?

Talk to your original plumber; But you may need a chimney sweep for the draft issue.
UpstateNY86
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Re: Plumber question

Post by UpstateNY86 »

I would call plumber and explain as well. Do not bash the plumber until you hear is response. I am surprised they did not want to install a "spill switch".
UpstateNY86
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Re: Plumber question

Post by UpstateNY86 »

Also the relief pile being pvc and not metal is a complete non issue .
LeeMKE
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Re: Plumber question

Post by LeeMKE »

echoing what Livesoft mentioned:

If the water heater is electric, the auditor was under the influence when doing your audit. Only a gas water heater requires ventilation if memory serves.
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tibbitts
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Re: Plumber question

Post by tibbitts »

Presumably the installation passed inspection two years ago, so I'm not sure you'll get too far with the plumber. Our water heater failed inspection when it was installed a number of years ago, so the city contacted the plumber and had him correct the work - although the plumber didn't completely agree with the required remediation.
Mudpuppy
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Re: Plumber question

Post by Mudpuppy »

You're allowing a multi-year relationship to be tainted on the word of one auditor, who may or may not even be correct. You first need to verify that the auditor is correct (as opposed to trying to scare you into buying some expensive service he sells). The home energy audit market unfortunately varies greatly in terms of skill, and you can get someone who is more salesman than technician. You want a technician for this particular concern.

If the auditor is correct, give the plumber the chance to fix the problem. Perhaps they had a bad crew at the time who didn't perform up to expected standards.
jbuzolich
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Re: Plumber question

Post by jbuzolich »

UpstateNY86 wrote:Also the relief pile being pvc and not metal is a complete non issue .
Was going to say the same thing. If by drip pipe OP is talking about pressure relief line it's just a emergency drain and pvc is just fine. Metal fine too. Just be sure the line is open to drain somewhere and not blocked, capped, or routed down into the dirt somewhere blocking it.
If you talking about a drip or leak pan under the tank and that pan has a drain pipe, pvc is fine there too. Don't need metal pipe.
Topic Author
artibug
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Re: Plumber question

Post by artibug »

It is a gas powered water heater. We have 2 water heaters side by side. The older one passed the inspection without any issue. It's this new one :(

Sounds like we should give our plumber a chance to make it right and I will give them a call first thing Monday morning.

By the way, how often do you have the water heater inspected/maintained? If ever? Necessary? Do they drain the tank and clean out the sediment?

Also where do you find your trade people? Yelp? Friends?

Thanks again for all your replies.
UpstateNY86
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Re: Plumber question

Post by UpstateNY86 »

Re-emphasize what mudpuppy said . I am involved and see the results of these " audits " every day . And even while there might be a technicality where this is a " problem" , I would not panic . It really pisses me off because I have seen the " backdraft test " , or that "failed to draft under worse conditions ". All of a sudden poor customer buys wall hung water heater . :moneybag
dolphinsaremammals
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Re: Plumber question

Post by dolphinsaremammals »

artibug wrote: Also where do you find your trade people? Yelp? Friends?
Friends, with caution online reviews, checking the BBB website for complaint history. Mostly it's trial and error. I went through 2-3 plumbers before I found the good ones I currently use. I think it took 2 tries to find a electrician I'm comfortable with.
tibbitts
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Re: Plumber question

Post by tibbitts »

dolphinsaremammals wrote:
artibug wrote: Also where do you find your trade people? Yelp? Friends?
Friends, with caution online reviews, checking the BBB website for complaint history. Mostly it's trial and error. I went through 2-3 plumbers before I found the good ones I currently use. I think it took 2 tries to find a electrician I'm comfortable with.
I think friends are one of the worst sources of references, unless they're familiar enough with the work to do it themselves if they had the time, tools, etc. A great example is references for financial advisers - some of the worst advisers get the best references.

Those of us who live in smaller cities or rural areas are going to typically find 2 or 3 online comments about a provider, sometimes with questionable origins. As for BBB, we chose an establish A+ contractor with a 20+yr track record for some work we had done a few years ago, but they still went out of business before the warranty on the work expired. That just tends to happen a lot with trades like plumbing, electrical, hvac, etc.
derosa
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Re: Plumber question

Post by derosa »

I assume that --- All of the waste pipes in your house are pvc. The pipe from the house to the sewer is pvc. This is a a waste pipe if it is ever used.

Hey its hot water - so is the water from your washing machine, dish washer, sink, shower, etc.

The fact that they want you to put in a metal pipe - that can rust out of course - says these guys may not be all that they say they are.

Where exactly did these energy audit people come from? Why did you contact them?
SimonJester
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Re: Plumber question

Post by SimonJester »

derosa wrote:I assume that --- All of the waste pipes in your house are pvc. The pipe from the house to the sewer is pvc. This is a a waste pipe if it is ever used.

Hey its hot water - so is the water from your washing machine, dish washer, sink, shower, etc.

The fact that they want you to put in a metal pipe - that can rust out of course - says these guys may not be all that they say they are.

Where exactly did these energy audit people come from? Why did you contact them?

CPVC piping is fine if allowed in your jurisdiction, however PVC should not be used. PVC begins to breakdown at 140 degrees where at CPVC can goto 200.

I would point out when the TPR valve releases due to a pressure buildup in the HW tank its not water that comes out, its steam. High pressure and very hot steam.


From the Uniform Plumbing Code:
UPC 608.5 Relief valves located inside a building shall be provided with a drain, not smaller than the relief valve outlet, of galvanized steel, hard drawn copper piping and fittings, CPVC, or listed relief valve drain tube with fittings which will not reduce the internal bore of the pipe or tubing (straight lengths as opposed to coils) and shall extend from the valve to the outside of the building with the end of the pipe not more than two (2) feet (610 mm) nor less than six (6) inches (152 mm) above the ground or the flood level of the area receiving the discharge and pointing downward. Such drains may terminate at other approved locations. No part of such drain pipe shall be trapped or subject to freezing. The terminal end of the drain pipe shall not be threaded.
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UpstateNY86
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Re: Plumber question

Post by UpstateNY86 »

And if you want to change it to CPVC it will cost you less than 5$ and take 30 seconds ...
dolphinsaremammals
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Re: Plumber question

Post by dolphinsaremammals »

tibbitts wrote:
dolphinsaremammals wrote:
artibug wrote: Also where do you find your trade people? Yelp? Friends?
Friends, with caution online reviews, checking the BBB website for complaint history. Mostly it's trial and error. I went through 2-3 plumbers before I found the good ones I currently use. I think it took 2 tries to find a electrician I'm comfortable with.
I think friends are one of the worst sources of references, unless they're familiar enough with the work to do it themselves if they had the time, tools, etc. A great example is references for financial advisers - some of the worst advisers get the best references.
A financial adviser is totally different. I would never hire such a person. With a plumber or an electrician who messes up or overcharges, the customer knows that pretty soon.
spectec
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Re: Plumber question

Post by spectec »

dolphinsaremammals wrote:
tibbitts wrote:
dolphinsaremammals wrote:
artibug wrote: Also where do you find your trade people? Yelp? Friends?
Friends, with caution online reviews, checking the BBB website for complaint history. Mostly it's trial and error. I went through 2-3 plumbers before I found the good ones I currently use. I think it took 2 tries to find a electrician I'm comfortable with.
I think friends are one of the worst sources of references, unless they're familiar enough with the work to do it themselves if they had the time, tools, etc. A great example is references for financial advisers - some of the worst advisers get the best references.
A financial adviser is totally different. I would never hire such a person. With a plumber or an electrician who messes up or overcharges, the customer knows that pretty soon.
I agree. Personal references for tradespeople are very reliable, since the customer can usually judge the quality of the work based on follow-up experience. We also rely heavily on Angie's list. The small subscription cost is worth it, and I believe we've only had one bad experience in many years.
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tibbitts
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Re: Plumber question

Post by tibbitts »

dolphinsaremammals wrote:
tibbitts wrote:
dolphinsaremammals wrote:
artibug wrote: Also where do you find your trade people? Yelp? Friends?
Friends, with caution online reviews, checking the BBB website for complaint history. Mostly it's trial and error. I went through 2-3 plumbers before I found the good ones I currently use. I think it took 2 tries to find a electrician I'm comfortable with.
I think friends are one of the worst sources of references, unless they're familiar enough with the work to do it themselves if they had the time, tools, etc. A great example is references for financial advisers - some of the worst advisers get the best references.
A financial adviser is totally different. I would never hire such a person. With a plumber or an electrician who messes up or overcharges, the customer knows that pretty soon.
I disagree completely. The only reason you would "never hire such a person" is that you know enough to either do the work yourself or evaluate someone you contract to do it. "Messing up" sometimes isn't obvious in plumbing, electrical, or other trades, at least not for years or decades. Have you never watched a DIY home improvement program on TV, where things like improper plumbing and electrical are uncovered during renovation? In cases where the homeowners had the original work done themselves and are asked how they found the contractors that did the defective work, they'll often say they got a reference from a friend - or even that the contractor actually was a friend.
Woodshark
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Re: Plumber question

Post by Woodshark »

CPVC (plastic) is standard where we live and passes all codes. IF there is a pressure problem, it's just hot water. Maybe very hot water but copper is not required.
Topic Author
artibug
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Re: Plumber question

Post by artibug »

What's the difference between CPVC vs. PVC and how I can tell?

I am so glad to have found this forum and you guys! After reading some of the replies, I realized now that our current plumbers didn't have our best interest in mind when they recommended us to replace one of the 2 water heaters couple years back. We had a house full of guests during the winter holidays and demand for hot water shot up. We noticed that there was a small amount of water by one of the water heaters on the basement floor. Now that I know it's from pressure relief drip pipe. Back then we didn't know where the water came from. Called our plumbers in and we ended up paying $1200 to put in the new water heater which now I know was completely un necessary. I will be doing my homework this time and find a good plumber from BBB. Talk about paying stupid tuition!
Topic Author
artibug
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Re: Plumber question

Post by artibug »

And as a follow up question: anyone with experience of Aeroseal for the AC ducts? That's initial reason why we had energy auditor to come out since one of the bedroom is always hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
dolphinsaremammals
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Re: Plumber question

Post by dolphinsaremammals »

Just as an amusing (to me anyway) little anecdote, there is a ripoff plumbing company in my area. A gizmo in the toilet tank needed replacing. I looked on youtube and found out how to do it, but I still have fear of plumbing. The part was a few dollars. So I called ripoff company, they sent out two plumbers, and quoted almost $300 to do the work.

After I got up off the floor where I had collapsed laughing, I paid their basic $50 charge for showing up and showed them the door. I was able to fix the problem myself, although I had to hacksaw part of the thing off so it would fix.

Then I found the humongous overcharging, ripping off the elderly reviews on the web. Should have looked before, of course. I was naive and figured a company with modern trucks, big ads, etc. was legit.

A couple of years later, the head of the company (named after him) decides to run for office. The comment sections were full of ripoff stories and his vote was invisible to the naked eye.
nordlead
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Re: Plumber question

Post by nordlead »

You should put a carbon monoxide detector near the water heater and furnace. Even if you get the supposed back draft problem fixed now, that doesn't mean something doesn't clog the chimney later and it becomes a problem.

This website has a good guide for checking for backdraft yourself and what to look for that might be causing the problem - http://www.structuretech1.com/2013/09/w ... ing-signs/
Mudpuppy
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Re: Plumber question

Post by Mudpuppy »

artibug wrote:And as a follow up question: anyone with experience of Aeroseal for the AC ducts? That's initial reason why we had energy auditor to come out since one of the bedroom is always hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
Did the auditor discuss the design of your HVAC ducts or just offer to install a product? When I had a similar issue, my HVAC company went up and realized it was a design defect in the ducts. Basically, the short run to the family room is a very large diameter duct, while the long run to the master bedroom is a small diameter duct. So of course the majority of the air flow is going to go to the family room, as it has the least resistance due to its design (short length, wide diameter), while the master bedroom would get the least air flow due to its design (long length, narrow diameter).

They took pictures of the issue and showed them to me. Then they fully discussed the options. The ducts were already sealed and insulated, so not much to be gained there. It wasn't a leakage problem, it's a fundamental design flaw. The ultimate solution would be fully replacing the ducts, but that is time consuming and expensive. So they also discussed several retrofit options (and gave the downsides of each option).

The point is, they didn't just try to sell me one thing and be done with it. They fully explained the problem, complete with documentation (pictures and diagrams). They provided several options of varying expenses, with the pros and cons of each, including how likely the options were to improve the air flow imbalance and any effects they might have on the HVAC unit. They provided concrete information to make an informed choice, not a marketing pitch.
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N1CKV
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Re: Plumber question

Post by N1CKV »

artibug wrote:What's the difference between CPVC vs. PVC and how I can tell?

I am so glad to have found this forum and you guys! After reading some of the replies, I realized now that our current plumbers didn't have our best interest in mind when they recommended us to replace one of the 2 water heaters couple years back. We had a house full of guests during the winter holidays and demand for hot water shot up. We noticed that there was a small amount of water by one of the water heaters on the basement floor. Now that I know it's from pressure relief drip pipe. Back then we didn't know where the water came from. Called our plumbers in and we ended up paying $1200 to put in the new water heater which now I know was completely un necessary. I will be doing my homework this time and find a good plumber from BBB. Talk about paying stupid tuition!
Slow down, you are jumping to a lot of conclusions.
The water on your basement floor very well may have come from a leaking tank, which means replacement is the only option. You state that you didn't know where it was coming from. If the original was properly installed then you would not have seen any discharge from the TPR valve.

The difference between PVC and CPVC are easy for someone accustom to handling it, to the casual person: look for imprints on the fittings and read the writing on the pipe that will say PVC or CPVC. CPVC is slightly off white in color, looks aged almost. PVC is bright white (when new). Pipe glue rated for CPVC is usually a gold color, PVC is either clear or blue (primer is purple).
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