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  • #16
    Re: which contractor is correct?

    Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
    Adam is the correct contractor.

    What did I win?

    J.C.
    Yeah, I like his approach and his attitude. He's not going to half-*** any job, he's going to go in there and repipe the WHOLE SYSTEM TO CODE, and probably to more detail than the local inspectors even have knowledge of.

    I guess that is the saddest part of this, is that two of the "contractors" that bid on this tankless were going for the quick sale and ignored the undersized gas system for the proper operation of the tankless heater, and maybe the inspectors wouldn't even notice the problem, or maybe "No permit".
    So many people act like "permit" is a dirty word here in my neighborhood too. I am just trying to do an upstanding job and follow the laws that govern my license as a plumber. But so many handymen and "contractors" are doing water heaters now, that I am amazed how they get away with the unsafe code violations and yet I get turned down from some clients for following THE STATE LAW and filing a permit for the work and of course adding on the code upgrades that are legally required by the local inspection departmant. (Maybe not in L.A., but here in Asheville, PressureReliefValveS and ThermaleXpansionTanks are very important due to the high-pressure of mountain water pipes, and double-check-valves in all the new water meters. I have seen many a house flooded from the thermal and pressure relief valves erupting under the 150+ pressure and NOT shutting off for awhile. But I digress.)

    I charge for some estimates to let people know that I am a serious, licensed, insured contractor. I do the job right, to code and thats it, no "hack" work.
    The last estimate I went on with another contractor involved was rather funny. I told the customer that we had a $40 trip charge for a written estimate at their house. I talked to the tile contractor and laid out a quick plumbing plan to meet their needs. All details were discussed, I gave them a contract in writing.
    Just as my employee and I were leaving, the next plumber showed up. We smiled at them as we got in our trucks. I was smiling because I knew I had the $40 for gas money at least while they were likely doing a "free estimate." The other plumbers didn't smile back for some reason.

    An hour later, I got a phonecall...."When can you start?"
    The customer said: the other guy was mean, and quiet. He just walked in and glanced at the job and spit out a high number without any explanation of what it involved. I guess he was mad that my company was there when he arrived. I wasn't mad because I was getting paid for the estimate.
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    • #17
      Re: which contractor is correct?

      I honestly appreciate the candor on this forum!

      You see on the local TV news about all the scam artists out there!
      They tell us to become an educated consumer and understand what you need to have done. By doing this you can ask the right questions and get the proper work done for the right price.

      With the usefulness of the internet there are millions of pages of misinformation with millions of pages of viable information...Still the poor uneducated homeowner has no way of knowing fact from fiction. They are always concerned about the cost and smooth talking scam artists!

      Keep in mind there are more folks out there that have no clue what end of a screwdriver is up and are very easy targets! They then complain and make the professional look bad etc etc

      Many of you here take the time to teach the "right way" Maybe some on the forum are scam artists? who knows.... But you can get a feeling about those "regulars that help"

      Many folks will try to get away with anything and avoid building permits, safety, etc....
      They don't realize after they have an "incident" Their homeowners insurance will do an investigation, and when they realize shenanigans were done by the home owner...
      they will not pay out and the home owner will loose it all!!!!

      I am a pretty confident homeowner, knowledgeable, understands the UBC both local and nationally....I will admit I have done some short cuts but I have never endangered my home, myself, or family to save a buck!

      Recently I had to re-plumb my home. I came here for direction and advice. I then contacted a license plumber, told him exactly what I wanted, what I was willing to do and not do....We agreed on a comfortable arrangement....I saved a few thousand dollars, did some of the work myself, acted as a helper etc.

      The plumber was appreciative that I understood what he was telling me and we were able to discuss technical options. This saved him time and made him money...it saved me time and I saved money...a win win situation.

      I had the best stuff I could afford done by a professional [licensed, not a hack] and had it done "the way I wanted it"

      He has even followed up to ensure everything is still fine and no hidden problems. I have since sent a number of referrals to him.....

      Could I re-plumb my home? probably, would I have done it correctly? pretty close I'm sure,
      Would I use the correct materials and tools? no question!

      I chose to use a professional so It could be accomplished in a timely manner..actual plumbing work took a total of four days as he was called away for an emergency. We actually lost the use of our toilets for about 3 hours the entire time!

      It was the information I gleened here that allowed me to have a successful project.

      I truly believe there are more stories like mine than the village idiot using electrical conduit to plumb a toilet.


      Cactus Man

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      • #18
        Re: which contractor is correct?

        Thank You for the Thoughtfullness and time you took to write that post
        Cactus Man
        I appreciate it
        Adam

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        • #19
          Re: which contractor is correct?

          Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
          well that's the problem when you have 4 so called licensed contractors and 2 are wrong and 2 are right.


          so coming here has saved him a whole lot of trouble.

          what he should do is refer the 2 losers here for the same advise

          rick.
          Pretty much. I come to these forums to get a background on what "should" be done, in an attempt to sort out the hacks. I have a 2 yr old indirect of the oil boiler, and my wife had to sit through a 30 minute sales pitch because the tech who came to clean the boiler said "no one is using these anymore, they're a big energy waster." So, for a mere $3400 his company could install a tankless propane water heater, and maybe $11,000 for the whole boiler replacement. Just because you have a ticket doesn't mean you don't suck.

          The best part about a recession is it kills off the hacks. They go back to flipping burgers or mowing lawns, or maybe even go back home.

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          • #20
            Re: which contractor is correct?

            Thank you for everyone who replied to my original question. Why 4 contractors... The first one came out looked around and said no problem to tap off the existing gas line, said he would fax quote (a Rinnai dealer). Business must be great as I never heard back from him. I then called two others, both Noritz dealers (and found on Noritz website). One came out and only wanted to put in a Navien "as it is a better unit and my pricing is better". He also did not want to pull a permit and said my gas line was fine. I will be finishing my basement later this year with full permits and have no problems with getting and wanting proper permits. The 4th was working on my neighbors kitchen remodel, saw one of the other plumbers leaving and came over. The other Noritz dealer will be doing the install in 3 weeks with a new gas line and they were not the cheapest.

            It seems despite the "licensing" two were quite happy to install without the proper gas line and or permit. At times it makes me question the value of licensing. Althoug not related to this issue my house (in a neighborhood of 1500) was supposed to be built with a gravity feed foundation underdrain system. I assume it was installed by licensed professionals and passed on by the county inspector as well as the various national builders involved. Unfortuately none of the people involved apparently understood that water only flows downhill. So now about half of the homes have sump pumps to move the water from our "gravity" system. We now need to inspect, maintain and replace the pumps when none were supposed to be needed. Perhaps this problem with licensed professionals is unique to Colorado. I would have long since had my securities licenses revoked if I worked liked some of these contractors.

            Again I sincerely thank the members for helping both directly with this thread and on the many others I read. The opposing sides of tank vs tankless helped to make sure I understood the pros and cons (price aside as space was the most important) I am not sure of the complexities of adding a 3/4 gas line, but I would assume my installer knows and has priced the cost and profit into his bid. So why all the contractors did not is a mystery to me other than to increase profits. All of the pricing was within about 10%.

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            • #21
              Re: which contractor is correct?

              Licensing is a fickle thing, Our city license here grandfathered in a bunch of less than qualified people when they began it. So what we've ended up with is a group of plumbers who know how they were taught to plumb, right or wrong. There are the ones who wanted to stay competitive and keep up with the changes in code. and Then there are those of us who started on our license from scratch, we Have to know the code to get our license.

              Licensed or not, you're always going to have people that try to cut corners, and try to pad their own pockets, a smart homeowner will identify those people, and not hire them.
              No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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              • #22
                Re: which contractor is correct?

                Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                well that's the problem when you have 4 so called licensed contractors and 2 are wrong and 2 are right.

                he's turned to this forum for help and i can't blame him. the ones to blame are the 2 contractors trying to do a half a$$ job on the install. sizing gas is not rocket science. unfortunately the 2 contractors who want to install the tankless without properly sizing the gas should not be allowed to fly a kite.
                I could not agree more. I dont think its unreasonable @ all for him to ask for advice, he's not DIY'ing the project. He brought in a lincensed plumber for the bids and depending on the order of the bid's could have gotten 4 contradictory explinations for running the line...a gas line no less which for most homeowners is a safety concern for himeself and his family.

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                • #23
                  Re: which contractor is correct?

                  Originally posted by mjm2950 View Post
                  I measured the black pipe diameter at 1.3" rather then what one contractor told me. .................................
                  So looking online the pipe is probably 1.25" not 1" black pipe off meter.
                  .........................................
                  Also told contractors I would like to add a gas stove in a future kitchen remodel.
                  First, you muddied tha waters with statements about pipe that are off base. It just happens that 1" sch. 40 black pipe measures 1.3" outside diameter. 1 1/4" pipe would be measured at 1.6" outside. So you have one inch pipe.

                  So you are talking about a 199Kbtu tankless, AND adding a stove ( how many Kbtu?)

                  I would just hope that at some point, one of your advisors has pulled out a copy of the National Fuel Gas Code and leafed through the gas load charts to come up with some of his answers. You can now actually find these charts right in some code books, such as the 2007 CA Plumbing Code (UPC)

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                  • #24
                    Re: which contractor is correct?

                    Originally posted by mjm2950 View Post
                    Thank you for everyone who replied to my original question. Why 4 contractors... The first one came out looked around and said no problem to tap off the existing gas line, said he would fax quote (a Rinnai dealer). Business must be great as I never heard back from him. I then called two others, both Noritz dealers (and found on Noritz website). One came out and only wanted to put in a Navien "as it is a better unit and my pricing is better". He also did not want to pull a permit and said my gas line was fine. I will be finishing my basement later this year with full permits and have no problems with getting and wanting proper permits. The 4th was working on my neighbors kitchen remodel, saw one of the other plumbers leaving and came over. The other Noritz dealer will be doing the install in 3 weeks with a new gas line and they were not the cheapest.

                    It seems despite the "licensing" two were quite happy to install without the proper gas line and or permit. At times it makes me question the value of licensing.
                    The whole point of plumbing contractor licensing is that it allows a plumbing contractor to pull a permit and get the work inspected by the local inspection department tp make sure that the job is done correctly.
                    THAT IS YOUR ANSWER: it is not up to the contractors or us or anyone else to tell you how the gas-piping job SHOULD be done, it is up to the local inspection department. The ones who didn't mention a permit and inspection are trying to sneak one by without an inspection, and that should raise a red flag! How else can you know they did the job right?
                    Whoever you choose to do the work...MAKE SURE THEY OBTAIN A PERMIT AND GET AN INPSECTION. That is the only proper, legal, correct way to know that they are doing the job right.
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                    • #25
                      Re: which contractor is correct?

                      Geez........Rick is right.

                      The guy is trying to go about it the right way, but there is nothing wrong with asking a few opinions on a site like this.

                      I dare one of you that posts on this site to say he's wasting your time. If you don't want answer, then don't.

                      This is an awesome thread because of the discussion it has provoked and some good opinions on both sides.

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                      • #26
                        Re: which contractor is correct?

                        Now he has many more to digest and figure out what is right, if your main draw for hot water is closer to your gas meter, move the heater closer to it if possible and put it outside if you live in a climate that is tolerant of this. Saves on the gas line, venting, and time to get hot water. Definitely 3/4" as a minimum (depending on length)

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                        • #27
                          Re: which contractor is correct?

                          Oops forgot to mention the electrical you will need there too.

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                          • #28
                            Re: which contractor is correct?

                            oops oops MO isn't very weather tolerant.....

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