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  • Least Favorite Plumbing Job

    What is your least favorite job. In my end it is:

    1) Setting a drinking fountain.

    2) Setting wall-hung closets.


    Other than that I love plumbing.

    the dog
    the dog

  • #2
    dog, are you referring to a particular job or an incident that occured once?

    least favorite job. hooking up the log lighter valves in prefabed metal fireplaces. too many sharp edges and the guys that rough them in are not the ones who set finish. caps too tight and sometimes hard to access. finish the first one and look foward to the next 40-500 units. too much production work.
    dog you didn't mention about pealing off all the protective tape from the stainless drinking fountain punched louvers. how about the twin high low fountains? lots of fun?
    wall hung toilets i actually enjoy. especially when there are lots to do. once i'm set up, it's production. i enjoy more than production floor mounted toilets. too much moving around.

    worst job, i'll think of a doozie and get back in a few days.

    rick.

    Comment


    • #3
      My least favorite was cleaning those big fugly smelling grease traps in commerical kitchens. I did a couple of those when I was in the first year of my apprenticeship. The first time I puked my guts out in when I pulled the lid off, that thing stunk like nothing I had ever smelled before. Wasn't funny to me at the time but everyone left the room and didn't return until the thing was cleared out, I was on my own

      Luckily, I did not do too many of those, and every time I thought I had a bad job after that, I just remembered those grease traps and the current job didn't seem so bad

      Comment


      • #4
        wall-hung or floor-mounted closets never really bothered me, as Rick said, when you have a bunch to do and get set up they are pretty easy but boring after the first couple hundred. I worked a few high-rise hotels with 500 or more rooms and four of us could average a floor a day (30 some rooms). This included setting the sink in the vanity, setting the closet, installing the faucets, stop valves, and traps, and all the trim (towell and grab bars, paper holder, robe hooks, etc.)

        I do remember one hotel job in the mid 80's that was pre-fabbed units. Each unit arrived wired and piped and pretty much finished, we just had to make the connections between the units, run whatever piping was needed for the boiler room and chillers and make the tie-ins to water and sewer, etc.

        The sinks were alreay set and plumbed up and the accessories were installed. The toilets were shipped loose and installing the toilet was about the extent of the work in each room.

        The floors in the bath units were already pre-drilled and anchors set for the floor mount, back-flush toilets. Problem was the anchors were all (about 95%) set too close to the wall and didn't line up with the bowl, we had to install new anchors for just about every one. Also, they did a poor job of packaging the closets and they got roughed up in transit, most of the tank lids were cracked and many of the tanks too. Lots of punch list stuff fixing sub-standard work done during pre-fab that cost the contractor. No doubt he back-charged the fabricator, but still he ended up looking bad in the eyes of the GC and the client through no fault of his or the workforce.

        Comment


        • #5
          Bob, the nightmare you described on the prefab unit is common for all pre fabs I think, at least the few I have seen.

          I agree that grease traps are disgusting but so are the blood pits in slaughterhouses. The worst job I ever did was cleaning a series of floor drains in the basement directly under a functioning kill room. The intestines and other discards were shoved into a leaking conveyor down to a pit on the basement where they filled a large tub like vat that another leaky conveyor emptied out to the rendering trucks. What kept the health dept. from shutting them down is only a guess but the rotted and rotting flesh and guts from the leaky conveyors and backed up drains were beyond description and the smell even worse. The maggots and every other kind of foul lifeform you can think of were everywhere. The floor was so slick that walking was not possible, one inched along keeping his feet close together and holding on to a wall or piece of equipment.

          It took two days to get the drains open. I cleaned what seemed like miles of intestines off of the cables each time I brought them out. The cables were so slick from animal fat that it was nearly impossible to hold onto them. The place had been in business since the 1800s and was grandfathered in to where there was not even an interceptor between the killroom and the city main.

          That was the last cable job I will ever do, if you gave me the choice of being eaten alive by a grizzly bear or using another cable machine I will volunteer to be bear food.
          Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

          Comment


          • #6
            OK, I think you won the "Can you top this?" competition plumber. I would not even have been down there the first time let alone go back.

            "A man's got to know his limitations", Dirty Harry

            Comment


            • #7
              Bob,

              Had I not been so stupidly dedicated to my job I would have walked. It did have to be done and I was doing a new stainless water system on the otherside of the plant, the butcher and packaging side was quite up to date so when I accepted the job I had no clue what I had done to myself.

              Never let anyone ever tell you a plumber is over paid.
              Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

              Comment


              • #8
                plumdog,

                I think my least favorite job doing new work is anything in a crawl space or access tunnel. It kills my aging knees.
                Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't like wall-hungs because I've set many that were not roughed-in correctly. They have to be anchored down correctly. If not, you are looking at problems with movement.

                  The drinking fountains I was refering to are the water cooled type. There is so little room for water supply and drain that unless it was roughed-in exact, and I mean exact, It is difficult to make the connections. I have also dealt with numerous water coolers that were roughed-in exact, but were still a pain in the ***.

                  the dog
                  the dog

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Plumbdog,

                    Agreed that rough in needs to be exact on carriers and water coolers. Also I can't figure out why so many people are afraid of installing enough anchors to do a job properly. The single sided carriers always seem to be the ones most often improperly anchored. I actually had a contractor try to chew me out for installing the sleeve anchors and all thread on the back side of a single fixture carrier. He said it took too long. It took nearly 15 minutes of explaining to this "know it all" why it needed to be done. I could have had it anchored five different times in the amout of time it took to convince him it needed done.

                    One of the things I have always pushed for is for the men who rough in a project to go back and trim what they have installed. They will be much more careful how they perform their work.

                    Its a pleasure to have other professionals come in and compliment you on your work when they have trimmed after you. Likewse its always enjoyable to trim after another pro who takes pride in their accuracy.
                    Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dog,

                      On your tool list thread I mentioned that it was a good idea for all journeymen to carry a briefcase in which they can carry documents and such. When the rough in plumber has access to the proper cut sheet for the cooler he is roughing in it makes it much easier to be accurate.
                      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by plumber:
                        Dog,

                        On your tool list thread I mentioned that it was a good idea for all journeymen to carry a briefcase in which they can carry documents and such. When the rough in plumber has access to the proper cut sheet for the cooler he is roughing in it makes it much easier to be accurate.
                        Plumber,

                        As a foreman I not only provide cut sheets, but usually detail them myself, because in California we deal with extensive ADA requirements which exceed federal law. I normally figure out the dimentions based on the manufacture's cut sheet, and adjust the elevations as per California codes.

                        Unfortunatly, I have found that the maufacture's sheets are not always accurate. I have seen many times that the water and waste were roughed-in per their specifications, but still ended up using a sawzal on the back plate.

                        In my opinion they are a pain in the ***.

                        the dog
                        the dog

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bob D.:
                          OK, I think you won the "Can you top this?" competition plumber. I would not even have been down there the first time let alone go back.

                          "A man's got to know his limitations", Dirty Harry
                          Bob D.,

                          I agree a grease trap is worse than a closet or urinal anyday.

                          But I can top you.

                          I once worked on a former motuary that was being remodeled into a real estate office. We cut the floor and attempted to make a tie-in into the main building drain. I was in the trench with a pair of ratchet cutters. I'm telling you, as soon as that cast iron cracked the fumes of old human blood, etc came up. I crawled out of the trench looking for fresh air. I didn't puke, but it was close.

                          During the whole ground work we jim capped every pipe as we worked.

                          I'm used to the common plumbing smells, but I hate three of them:

                          1) Urinal piping is always worst that closets.

                          2) Grease traps are worst that urinals.

                          3) Dead human smell is worst than any of the above.

                          the dog
                          the dog

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Dog, that does certainly sound worse than my experience with the grease trap.

                            How about hottest (temperature) job?

                            Mine was probably not the worst out there but was hot enough for me.

                            My partner and I had to calibrate a positioner on a valve in an operating reactor (yeah, the nuclear kind with zoomies flying around). The valve was located in the reactor building on top of the pressurizer in a enclosed metal shed (which we refer to as the Doghouse) so little air movement.

                            The temperature in the doughouse was 135F. The HP (Health Physics Tech) took a temp reading and told us we could work in there for up to two minutes at a time then had to come out where it was cooler (right, it was 110F outside the doghouse). We took turns going in and tweaking the positioner. Mind you this was done while wearing double PCs and three pair of gloves. All you body is covered to protect against contamination except for your face. One layer of PCs is a heavy cotton jumpsuit, cloth booties over your shoes, a hood over your head which drapes down over your neck and shoulders, and at least two pair of gloves. The only place you have to perspire is your face. All openings such as sleeve and leg cuffs, zippers, etc are taped up tight. Of course you need safety glasses and a hard hat (we got the hard hat waiver for this task). We had to wear two sets of PCs (Protective Clothing) because of the high contamination levels in the doghouse. Under the PCs we wore an ice vest, they lasted about 10 minutes at those temperatures. Two minutes gave you about enough time to take one turn on the adjustment screw and then check the result. One time when I was coming out after making an adjustment I left the screwdriver beside the valve instead of carrying it out and handing it to my partner. When he got in there he came back and asked what happened to the screwdriver. I said its right there by the valve. He held up the metal shaft of the screwdriver with a molten blob of plastic on the end where only 2 minutes before there was a handle.

                            When we got done the calibration and had verified the indication in the control room we were both beat. The HP told us we had to take a rest and remain under observation for a half hour to be sure we were OK.

                            I've worked in a few glass houses with their large furnaces and around big boilers and in refineries, but this is the place that sticks in my mind as the hottest I have worked temperature wise, dose (as in milliRem) is whole different kind of 'hot'.

                            [ 09-02-2005, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: Bob D. ]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Bob D.,

                              That's sounds pretty bad. I used to do quite a bit of work in a glass factory, also. But I don't think that was in the same league with your reactor job.

                              the dog
                              the dog

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