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Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

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  • Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

    Let's say you're going to replace Water Heater element, and you notice that the T&P going uphill. Do you mention to customer but not insist on repairing T&P drain? Do you refuse to work on WH at all unless customer allows you to repair T&P drain? Would you tell customer you needed to notify city? Or would you at least notate on invoice that you mentioned to customer that T&P drain potentially hazardous?

    Pretty common situation here. What I think I should do is not work on a water heater that has the T&P drain going uphill--be it thermocouple, thermostat, elemtent, anything, unless customer allows me to redo T&P line. Which will strike some people as opportunistic, but of course my only motivation is liability protection. But then my dilemma is: do I simply notate on the invoice that I have made known the potential hazard, but customer has elected not to remedy situation at present and have them sign under that statement, OR do I tell them I'll need to notify the city, not to "turn them in," of course, but for my own legal protection? Or do I only notify city if customer refuses to sign statement?

    Tim

  • #2
    Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

    We explain the situation to the customer and if he does not want to fix it we note it on the invoice and have him sign it.
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    • #3
      Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

      Just note it on the ticket. You are covered. I have done it before.

      Funny story:
      I pull up to big house with a lexus in the driveway....call is dripping hot water heater. Its the relief valve, PRV checks out, no thermal expansion tank. I tell the lady that she needs a new relief valve as well as a thermal expansion tank.
      She says, "My husband said just to fix the relief valve and thats it." I tell her the expansion tank is required by CODE AND is the whole cause of the dripping relief valve. And that without the expansion tank I will not guarantee the repair at all.
      This rich b-i-t-ch (uh, I mean lady) tells me that she doesn't want the tank, just fix the relief valve!
      I do, and write up a very legal sounding explanation of the diagnosis, and that warranty is VOID because customer refused to install a code-required part that is CAUSING the original problem.
      I made her SIGN it...that way its legal and I am 100% protected, while she is has no warranty at all and has legally acquired all liability .
      :twofinger:
      Last edited by Service Guy; 03-02-2008, 11:00 AM.
      Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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      • #4
        Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

        I agree with what others have said thus far. I would notify home owner of existing conditions and write it up on the invoice . I would explain the problem thoroughly and give them there options. Any house or building 20 plus years old are going to have code violations. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense for the home owner to fix everything. For example I install/change out Ariston 4 gallon water heaters under sinks for offices pretty regularly. If the ability to run a T&P is reasonably possible then I urge the owner/property manager to have us do it. However often times they were not installed in the first place or simply do not want them installed. If the owner chooses not to I waive all liability for any damage that could occur.
        THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL

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        • #5
          Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

          I don't see a T&P discharge backgraded as a big deal unless it travels through an unheated space and subject to freezing. My pen would wear out of ink if I went around writing up every little thing I saw this minor. Most T&P here dump on the ground in front of the heater. Rarely do they travel more than a few feet horizontal.

          Call the city?...they'd laugh at me

          If I do come across something that I feel is dangerous I will shut the unit off and let the customer sign the ticket stating so.

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          • #6
            Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

            I would just right it on the ticket and have them sign/initial it.

            I'm not so sure I would turn down the work, cause you might be passing up alot of work.

            I agree with Bill, but here the inspector would ask me what a T&P is!
            Proud To Be Union!!

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            • #7
              Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

              Thanks for input. I was under impression it was potentially pretty hazardous situation, but if not, then the fact that it's a code violation is not the part that bothers me. Running horizontal, dumping on floor--that doesn't bother me.

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              • #8
                Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

                Remember that code violations that are a clear and present danger to the property owner are not something that will hold up in a court of law no matter how many signatures you have.

                A jury will sense you did it for monetary reasons to complete the work completely avoiding the seriousness of the situation and giving the perspective that it is "okay" to continue.


                In Ohio, T&P absolutely cannot run uphill, ever.


                In Kentucky, with the T&P running downhill, you can 90 over once, then again going vertical with a 1/8" hole drilled in that last turn of direction. Once that line goes horizontal, it must have fall heading to it's destination, no more ups and downs.

                I hope soon they abolish this standard because that hole drilled in the 90 can clog, hold water into the spring assembly of the T&P and prohibit its function.

                Water heater without a floor drain is what causes this situation, I have to do one this week that I have to indirect the T&P discharge into a laundry tub with a Air Gapped distance from the flood level rim. Why this $300,000 home doesn't have a floor drain is retarded, especially on a hard sloping hill at the end of this subdivision. Idiots!
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                • #9
                  Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

                  Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
                  Remember that code violations that are a clear and present danger to the property owner are not something that will hold up in a court of law no matter how many signatures you have.

                  A jury will sense you did it for monetary reasons to complete the work completely avoiding the seriousness of the situation and giving the perspective that it is "okay" to continue.


                  In Ohio, T&P absolutely cannot run uphill, ever.


                  In Kentucky, with the T&P running downhill, you can 90 over once, then again going vertical with a 1/8" hole drilled in that last turn of direction. Once that line goes horizontal, it must have fall heading to it's destination, no more ups and downs.

                  I hope soon they abolish this standard because that hole drilled in the 90 can clog, hold water into the spring assembly of the T&P and prohibit its function.

                  Water heater without a floor drain is what causes this situation, I have to do one this week that I have to indirect the T&P discharge into a laundry tub with a Air Gapped distance from the flood level rim. Why this $300,000 home doesn't have a floor drain is retarded, especially on a hard sloping hill at the end of this subdivision. Idiots!

                  You bring up some good points. And next time I run into this sort of situation where customer's refuse to have a water heater brought up to code....I will take my trip fee and walk away, noting their complete refusal on the invoice. You are right, Dunbar, once we licensed guys touch a water heater, its like own WE OWN IT!
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                  • #10
                    Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

                    Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                    You bring up some good points. And next time I run into this sort of situation where customer's refuse to have a water heater brought up to code....I will take my trip fee and walk away, noting their complete refusal on the invoice. You are right, Dunbar, once we licensed guys touch a water heater, its like own WE OWN IT!
                    You ar going to lose allot of money over the years with this policy.
                    THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL

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                    • #11
                      Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

                      Originally posted by Crappy days View Post
                      You ar going to lose allot of money over the years with this policy.
                      I doubt it, most people always take my recommendations and have an expansion tank installed during T+P changeouts, etc. That lady (above) was the last one who refused and that was about two years ago.

                      ...you could lose your license NOT using that policy.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

                        Originally posted by Crappy days View Post
                        You ar going to lose allot of money over the years with this policy.

                        And that's quite okay from the standard of liability and professionalism. If we cannot police ourselves to install plumbing correctly embedding safeguards into our work practices, we're doomed and hinders the process of why plumbing even has codes. You cannot sign off code violations in new construction, there's absolutely no reason why it is permissable on the flip side in older lived-in homes.

                        All you have to do is look outside and see what they drive, look at their posessions hanging on the wall or furniture not buying into the BS they don't have money to make the repairs.


                        Besides, any plumber worth their weight should have enough work load to pick choose and avoid these types of jobs where monetary restrictions violate the rule of proper work practice.


                        I practice the walk away method really well. Nothing I put my hands on will come back to haunt me or provide the next plumber fodder for pointing fingers or laying blame.

                        Only thing I can get chewed about is being slow, that's it.
                        Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBING; 03-03-2008, 10:24 AM.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

                          Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                          I doubt it, most people always take my recommendations and have an expansion tank installed during T+P changeouts, etc. That lady (above) was the last one who refused and that was about two years ago.

                          ...you could lose your license NOT using that policy.
                          I don't think you would actually lose much if any business by requiring a tank to do the work or to notate it on an invoice. I think that if you say that you'll call the city unless you fix it, would make you lose business. Even if they say yes, it will be interpreted as being very nasty by a homeowner and they'll tell all their friends how "shady" you are - even if it is obviously the right way to do the job.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

                            Originally posted by cpw View Post
                            I don't think you would actually lose much if any business by requiring a tank to do the work or to notate it on an invoice. I think that if you say that you'll call the city unless you fix it, would make you lose business. Even if they say yes, it will be interpreted as being very nasty by a homeowner and they'll tell all their friends how "shady" you are - even if it is obviously the right way to do the job.
                            I never said I would call the city, I just walk away from people who refuse to have the proper work done. We've all had people ask us to do "a temporary repair, just to get by for now." Nope, fix it right, up to code, or nada. I'm not a duck-tape plumber!
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                            • #15
                              Re: Refuse to work on it? Call city? (T&P uphill)

                              Our code only requires that we run the T&P outlet to 12" off the floor so a bucket can be placed under it in the event it starts to leak.
                              Anything on or above a finished floor requires a safety pan with a drain.

                              Any existing plumbing, like a heater on a 2nd floor with no safety is "existing" plumbing, I'll mention it, but if they can't afford it it's ther choice as long as they are INFORMED...my job is done.
                              The wet spots on his ceiling are his responsibility later on, because he knowingly avoided the repair/alteration.
                              However, if I see a heater with a plug in the T&P, I have NO choice but to INFORM them of the extreme danger of the set up & SHUT IT DOWN!
                              I have shut a boiler off that had been plugged at the relief...I heard the boiler kick on right as I noticed the plug & immediately killed the power.
                              Homeowner had no idea how dangerous that was...he just thought he was giving a leaky valve an innocent band-aid.
                              I had the boiler off for as long as it took to quote him a price, then disconnect his indirect water heater that had a coil leaking into the convection loop inside that was backfeeding & overpressurizing the boiler.

                              There's a line between being accountable & being charitable.
                              I have had occasion to shut off a heater that had a T&P that was ceased partially open...told the homeowner that letting it drip into a sump and pretending there was no problem wasn't a good idea.
                              Homeowner decided I was too expensive once I quoted a price. ( as if I was gonna add it onto the work I'd already done for free)

                              I killed the gas valve in front of the homeowner, told them I was legally obligated to shut it off before I left..got my check & went home, Fairly sure he was going to turn it back on...that was his INFORMED decision.

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