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  • How did you cut your teeth?

    I haven't had the fortune of doing something like this (anything major anyways) but I have heard a few good stories. My question for you is how did you (or ohters you know) cut your teeth as an apprentice? I'll give you a story to help direct you as to what I'm talking about.

    Guy I used to work with was working for a company installing hot water tanks into a condo project in some suites. NO one ever told him so he didn't know, but what he ended up doing was after he piped some of the tanks, he began filling them up, or so he thought (opened the fill valves) and just let them run and then went to lunch. So he gets back and figures all of the hot water tanks in the area he was in must be full, and he flips the breaker to turn on the electricity. Well suffice to say they had some element work to do after that and it was something like 10 or 12 tanks that were toast. He didn't know you needed to open a hot tap to have somewhere for the air to bleed off when you fill them up.

    They say the best lessons you learn are the ones that you screw up the worst on. This couldn't be more true than plumbing.

  • #2
    Re: How did you cut your teeth?

    OUCH!
    Though you might get away with that on gas heaters...that hadda hurt.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How did you cut your teeth?

      I was given the almighty super intelligent task of putting gem caps on all the stubouts, make sure they was glued and all that fun stuff so we could do a 2nd rough test with water.


      Needless to say, I didn't get one on tight as I was in a hurry, it blew off as soon as water was cascading down the roof where the siding guys were americans trying to speak spanish because they was so angry.

      I was standing at the opening of the garage door cutting up with my boss and my boss's nephew, thinking I'm due for a raise since I've been there 2 months, even showing up every day.....


      BOOM!

      I hear water, lots of water and and don't know why. Then there's water starting to show coming from the first floor and now there's water coming out of the brick ledge over the garage door.

      Then, the ceiling in the garage gets impregnated and since it was just mudded, the joints were already soft.....

      BOOM!

      Probably 40 gallons of water, drywall, insulation all come erupting from the ceiling onto a 50 stack of drywall.


      I didn't lunch with my boss or nephew that day, I already had a doctor's appointment.....lucky me. heh


      Never again did I forget how to properly put the band on the gem cap along with pushing the test cap ALL the way on.

      1986 is the year that happened.

      I blamed it on recreational drugs which all 3 of us enjoyed.
      Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How did you cut your teeth?

        Remodelling a bathroom, after the rough had been done by another plumber.
        He'd apparently put one of those glue in plugs into the 3" x 4" tee-wye left on the 2nd floor for future use, without telling anyone.
        The tee-wye was buried, hard to see
        I was honored to be allowed to work on the drainage as a newbie...got it all connected and the licensed guy I was working for knew the inspector well enough to get signed off without a test.
        Not good.
        3 weeks later we were ripping open the freshly tiled floor to cut out the 3" PVC and redo it at the 4" stack..licensed guy was cool with me about it...he actually redid the floor & tile himself with my help on our time.

        Lesson: NEVER, EVER forget to test your work, regardless how easy going the inspector is.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How did you cut your teeth?

          When I was a 1 year apprentice we where doing a commercial building a new thing at the time retail below living units above it was a pretty big deal as all the big wigs showed up for the ground rough in test, I think we had like 12" lines buried in the sand place was a city block in size, we where using the fire hydrants to fill it up for our test, balloons where flying cameras where out and I got told to add a little sand with the bobcat and pack it down good, well I hit the lower lever and it wouldn't stop going down (rental bobcat) test was almost full too 1000's of gallons everywhere inspector said test wasn't complete everyone was mad at me. Got moved to another job site right then and there! (after I hand dug out the break and fixed it} Never forget that day.
          Seattle Drain Service

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How did you cut your teeth?

            Came to do the finish the finish on a condo remodel that a notoriously scabby plumbing co roughed in. I install the kitchen sink and faucet, and turn on the stops so I can test. I left the lever, and nothing out of the cold or hot sides. Knowing that the kitchen has shutoffs that were buried after the rough in, I contact the general trying to jog his memory to see if he remembers where the stops were. So he comes down and cuts 1 hole in the wall, one hole in the back of the cupboards, no shut offs yet. My boss happens to stop by, immediately screws the aerator off, cleans it, puts it back on. Surprise surprise, tap now works.
            West Trail Mechanical Ltd
            Service. Commitment. Expertise.

            www.westtrailmechanical.ca

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How did you cut your teeth?

              I remember this time I was helping a younger apprentice pressure test water lines in some condo's we were working in during rough in. Well they water lines were done in Wirsbo and the younger apprentice was told that sometimes you need to take the heat gun to the Wirsbo rings if they are leaking. Well we didn't mean that literally. You have to drain the system first so you can properly heat them up and then refill it and pump up the pressure for the inspector. Well anyways we had one pumped up to 200 PSI (the norm testing pressure up here) and I was downstairs tending to something else, and I guess the guy found a small leak around a wirsbo connection to a shower diverter adapter. So he starts heating up the fitting with pressure in it, and he ends up melting the pipe and the Carpenter backframing a few feet away from him got a big shot of 200 PSI of water! LOL

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How did you cut your teeth?

                Difficult to point to one thing as I have had many. The main thing I can say is that they all were brutal. I have ate enough humble pie to last me a lifetime.

                The latest one was a furnace that needed a hot surface ignitor. It was the last one we had and you can guess what I did.
                Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How did you cut your teeth?

                  I had to tear out almost a hundred feet of four inch and mens and womens multiple toilet bathrooms.Because they were FLAT VENTED.

                  The backhoe digging the new grocery store branch line was not supplied a knowledgeable spotter from our company to keep him at 1% grade from our inlet core.I thought I was helping the company by figuring out a way to fix a screw-up.

                  The inspector could tell it was rising faster than it needed.He had me shoot both ends with a laser for a varification.After verifying that it was not a structural condition to determine the need to flat vent,he told me to tear it out,re-dig and put in the more reliable vertical venting system.

                  Very expensive.

                  This is why I don't like just putting in flat vents whenever it's easier.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How did you cut your teeth?

                    Im still cutting my teeth in this trade..and HVAC....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How did you cut your teeth?

                      Installing heat loop for 2nd floor. The copper feed had to run up through a 1st floor closet, so I'm drilling up from the basement when all of a sudden the bit catches. So I go upstairs to see whats up. I had managed to drill up through not one but two suitcases and finally the bit wound up in the ladys fur coat. Why in hell I did'nt drill from the closet down I'll never know.

                      Someday I'm going to write a small book titled Zen and the art of hole drilling.
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Re: How did you cut your teeth?

                        Here's a better one though I was not the perp here. They were doing a re-model on a 200 year old brick building in downtown Portsmouth. An apprentice was doing a vent through the roof and for some reason decided to sawzall a beam in the attic. Turns out the beam held the whole damn building together. They had 3 excavators with their buckets against the back wall for 2 days while they made the repair.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Re: How did you cut your teeth?

                          I always like when we have threads like this.Lets me know who the Chicken Sh!ts are.

                          Everyone has made mistakes,Big Ones.

                          Sooo afraid to let go of the pose.

                          It's O/K my brothers,it's the internet you can build your funny little box.

                          I have a close friend that has never made a mistake,still love the guy


                          Adam

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                          • #14
                            Re: How did you cut your teeth?

                            Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                            Installing heat loop for 2nd floor. The copper feed had to run up through a 1st floor closet, so I'm drilling up from the basement when all of a sudden the bit catches. So I go upstairs to see whats up. I had managed to drill up through not one but two suitcases and finally the bit wound up in the ladys fur coat. Why in hell I did'nt drill from the closet down I'll never know.

                            Someday I'm going to write a small book titled Zen and the art of hole drilling.
                            I had a similar one with the drill.I moved the fridge to put in an ice maker line.Ran the piping from the other side of the wall.Went to drill my last hole into the fridge space to stub in.As soon as the drill motor shut off I heard hissing.I ran around the outside of the house and into the kitchen to see where the water could be coming from,I thought I had drained it.The painters had pushed the fridge back into place.I had nicked the 1/4" coolant tubing at the bottom.

                            This is what I like about my job.When someone is thoughtless or self focussed.It is acceptible to let them know exactly what's on my mind.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: How did you cut your teeth?

                              Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                              I always like when we have threads like this.Lets me know who the Chicken Sh!ts are.
                              "I have never gotten a leak on my copper."
                              Always the easiest way to smell out a newbie.

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