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You've got to be kidding me

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  • You've got to be kidding me

    Was at a new customer's house yesterday for a couple toilet issues and faucet leak. Turned out it was a pressure regulator issue.

    But in the process of reading pressure, I went to the water heater closet and stumbled upon a 1/2" gas line tee stubbed out of the closet to the outdoor grass. Not uncommon to see a bootlegged gas line for an outside BBQ. But this was not. It was for a Pool Heater. Line was increased from 1/2" to 1" as it stubbed into the grass. Realize our gas pressure is only 7" wc.

    Looked outside and it's not pretty. The gas meter is at the curb and only a 1" main from the curb to the house. This is serving the entire 3000' house. So, no way to upsize the pool line without going back to the meter out at the curb.

    Spoke to the owner at work. Pool was installed in 1999, heater was just replaced less than 1 year ago.

    Too me it's fraud and the 10 year statue doesn't apply. Her husband is a lawyer and will share the information with him. She now knows why it takes so long to heat the pool and spa. Pool heater is 267,000 btu's plus the 40,000 water heater all on a 1/2" line approx. 100' total developed length.

    Rick.

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    1/2" tee supply from water heater closet . The price tags are from my local hardware store.

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    1/2" to 1" pipe upsize to underground 30' to pool heater.

    What the heck did the city inspector think when he signed off on this?

    Rick.



    phoebe it is

  • #2
    I bet you there were no inspection whats so ever. Black market hack, took the money and ran laughing. You know what it's not because it's a lawyer that he's going to pay for a proper installation. They can be cheap too and hire hack.

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    • #3
      Impossible to build an in ground pool without permits and all sorts of inspections.

      Question is, who's on the hook. Pool contractor from 1999, city inspector who signed off on the project, or homeowner who didn't know until yesterday of the issue.


      Rick.
      phoebe it is

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      • #4
        I'll say it's the homeowner's problem. The "hack" is long gone!
        The city inspector is retired or in jail.

        Any legal action is way beyond any statute of limitations as this issue is 19 years old!
        Finally I'm sure the local codes for swimming pools have changed a few times in 19 years.

        I'm surprised the gas company has never red tagged at the meter and turned off their gas?

        Cactus Man

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        • #5
          Any chance the house might have been all electric? Doesn't look like a real plumber did the work or even a decent handyman. It does look like a shoddy repair. I've never seen questionable work done on pool installations for the reason you stated.

          If the pool contractor submitted plans and calculations for review with this configuration and they were approved for construction, the on site inspector may (or may not ) have scrutinized the pipe sizing during the rough inspection and merely signed off on how it was designed. During the final inspection he may have confirmed that the heater lit off and didn't stay to witness complete functionality much less the proper operation of the homes stove, furnace, dryer etc along with the heater going full bore.

          While it's nice to get your work signed off so you can get paid and move on to the next project, I learned not expect or rely on the city inspectors to know more than us. It's a relief when the inspectors do, but there is a lot to absorb, to learn and its constantly changing. It's up to the contractors to know proper sizing. The city often assumes contractors know what we're doing after all. Examples like these, which we come across them in our trade occasionally are taken back to the city with the idea to help the city improve the plan review process and it helps the onsite inspectors provide a better service as well to further reduce shoddy work.

          Silver lining though, you might end up with a good job!

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          • #6
            Unless the main line is low pressure you'll have to increase to 2 psi and step down everywhere.
            ~~

            ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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            • #7
              Good luck if not impossible to get medium pressure inside a home. Especially with an in ground meter at the curb.

              The reason I say they might have a chance is the job was done under fraud. That eliminates the 10 year statue.

              I'll wait for the homeowner, lawyer to follow up with me.

              Rick.
              phoebe it is

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              • #8
                Well, first of all, it's statute.

                Secondly, without the original contract, regardless of what anyone says, passes, permits, or remembers....we cannot prove a "fraud" has occurred.

                The installer could have agreed to make it operate to code. Only stubbed up a 1" riser to be connected later to upgraded service. Someone connected to this smaller line with the understanding that things would be changed, but never were. etc. etc.

                It being installed without proper sizing does not necessarily prove "fraud". Add that to the statute of limitations of the 10 year rule on construction I believe you are referring too, and there is no case in my opinion.

                And a 30 second Google states that people in California have only 3 years to file for any Civil case and/or recovery.

                In short, it's over, move on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Interesting find Rick, but medium pressure isn?t all that hard to get into a house these days. Typically just requires a call to the gas co.

                  As as far as gas calcs, in the city of LA, gas calcs aren?t required for residential unless it?s a 2? or larger required line or if there are 10 gas outlets or more.

                  I don?t agree that this is fraud though. You?d have to be able to prove that this contractor promised one thing and delivered another, it could just be that he wasn?t knowledgeable on gas sizing and the inspector missed it. An accident where none of the involved parties intended to do any harm.
                  Ideal Plumbing

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                  • #10
                    a licensed contractor is suppose to be proficient at sizing gas. especially when they went from 1/2'' and then stepped it up to 1''. they knew it was wrong or they have no place being a licensed plumber/ contractor. speaking to the pool contractor his excuse was that he subbed out the plumbing back then.

                    had a call today from an existing customer that just moved into a flipped house that was passed 2 months ago. the guest house, tankless gas water heater is not working as it keeps flashing error code 12. yet they do get hot water for a short period and then it faults. without going there to look at it, she sent me photos and i believe it's an undersized gas line on the 150,000 btu heater. gas company weht there today and told her the same thing.

                    Fortunately the house flipper is on the hook as it's only 2 months old. but what do you expect for 1.6 million in a not so great location. The main house is ok with the other tankless heater.

                    She tried calling her home warranty company first and of course it's not covered without even knowing the issue, they claim it's a maintenance issue. really on a 2 month old heater that's never been used. manufacturer want's $200.00+ just to look at it.

                    my price, was priceless and didn't cost her a penny.

                    Rick.

                    phoebe it is

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                    • #11
                      Rick, that?s going to be a common problem with these ADUs popping up everywhere. State gave the go ahead for people to build them with very relaxed standards and as they?re getting built, nobody is taking gas or water sizing into consideration. You?re going to see a lot of 120k-180k tankless heaters with less than adequate gas piping.

                      True that contractors should know how to size gas but the sad fact is that most don?t and/or don?t tell their clients they need to upsize gas lines because they want to be able to bid lower and get the job. There?s really no excuse for that because CSST is an easy install and they can come right off the meter with the right size and shoot straight back to the ADU.
                      Ideal Plumbing

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                      • #12
                        Best part is that the 1? line isn?t even sufficient! Lol!
                        Ideal Plumbing

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                        • #13
                          Looked up the property activity report and both the main house and guest adu had permits finaled in April. / Less than 2 months ago.

                          The person on record is a licensed engineer. Pulling up the address shows the house on different websites during construction and finished. The house was flipped in 8 months at over 800k the purchase price .And sold for over 100k asking price.

                          ​​​​​Might be a partially open valve that the gas company.didn't spot, might truly be undersized.

                          Our gas is about 7"-8" wc. The heater requires a min of 4"' wc. It's only a 150k tankless, but I don't know the footage.

                          Where as the pool gas from the original thread was approx 100' total developed length on a 300k heater being feed from a 1/2" line and it works. But then again a pool heater isn't a tankless with the same computer boards. Especially from 19 years ago.

                          Who knows, might go there later today and look at it for the new owner who's been a customer of mine for several years at her prior home.

                          Rick.
                          phoebe it is

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                          • #14
                            Might be a good candidate for a new supply and solar pool heat.

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