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Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

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  • Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

    2 saturdays ago I did a job for a fellow who needed a couple faucets installed, disposal and a few other minor things.

    Got into a discussion about big box stores and somehow the convo moved to a newer whirlpool water heater. It was installed nearly 2 years ago, and I asked him to read off the serial number to see if there was "B" in the sequence. Just to let him know if there was, he's in better shape.

    Told him about the lawsuits and how it's coming across the west to east in regards to poor product reliability.

    Anyway, I went on to tell him that there's no way the install is legal given the fact I can look right and see a garage door.

    In the state of Kentucky any water heater that is gas, FVIR or not must be elevated 18" off the floor, period.

    Told him of the situation, told him that those guys will constantly look the other way to make a buck. In fact, the contractor told him of this regulation and put it in anyway!

    But when he readily provided an actual copy of the reciept for this install, I got real angry.

    Charged for a stand...there is no stand

    Charged for state way there was an inspection, and if there was, it would fail.

    So here's an all too common situation where the homeowner is oblivious to what they're signing and a representative from LOWE'S is charging for State Inspections along with Code Improvements and not fulfilling the obligations to provide safe plumbing practices for their customers.

    This is not the first time I've ran into this. The last time netted me $383 for installing an Air Gap properly. Plumber was out of state that tested out for his masters in Kentucky, feels he can remove Air Gaps to make the Mrs. happy with that push button soap dispensor she's always wanted.

    Anyway, back to the water heater.

    I've been given the go ahead to take this situation to the next level, and my reward most likely will be me the master plumber coming in and correcting all this nonsense. This time though, I really want to hit hard, real hard and get the media involved with this one. I run wth a clean nose so I can subject myself to the same scrutiny of workmanship and doing things right. SO...

    I'm going to send a band of emails with 8 recipients, all of which know each other recieved the same exact email including a PDF of the actual signed reciept, the actual dated photograph that the work wasn't done and the "suggested" costs it will take to get the matter corrected and safely installed in this customer's home.

    The state of Kentucky is going to be on the hunt once I start this. The state is cutting back on programs, cutting back staff, cutting back inspectors.....and oh how they'd like to know that a big box store with millions is charging for state permits and not giving the state the money.

    I'm not going to name the other 7 but I'm sure that everyone will figure out that it's going to the highest spots on the chain to get the best response.

    What I told I can accomplish for the customer is getting his money fully refunded for everything involving that heater *$600* and the heater installed to code at no additional cost to him. I'll get paid for the work but not by him.

    I insisted that he does not contact the store regarding this as it's pointless and your numerous calls and complaints are useless as you won't get anywhere. They'll listen to you for awhile and expect you to fade away.

    Getting your ignorance blasted across numerous bodies of government, local business associations including the upper corporate divisions of the company who has done wrong is where they know you're serious.

    Everything will be done by certified mail, everything corresponds to each other knowing the progress or response.

    I'm doing this for this guy for one primary reason; teaching a lesson to plumbers and those who affiliate with large companies that you cannot hit and run on customers and not expect the next guy to notice, take heat on the reputation of plumbers and expect to say "oh sorry, sometimes there's plumbers who are desperate for a buck." Not me. I'm going forward with this. It's like a hobby that pays me, makes people angry but makes the consumer happy and tells the whole freaking neighborhood how effective I am.

    I consider myself the little guy in a lot of respects and if I can get my name common in the management of this big box store that I'm doing everything in my power to make swiss cheese out of their hired contractors when it comes to doing things by code, I'm all for it.

    It's not my problem you hire plumbers that run by the skin of their teeth. You at least have to do it by code, that's all I ask from tradesmen to tradesmen.
    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

  • #2
    Re: Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

    in los angeles we can go online and see what permits were pulled, who applied and who signed off on it.

    a good system to let your fingers do the walking

    good luck. maybe geraldo will run with this

    phoebe it is


    • #3
      Re: Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

      Good luck Dunbar. One big contact might be the DOI of Ky. I'm guessing. In N.C. they rule over the Plumbing commission. We had a HUGE crackdown on a certain Mechanical contractor in a similar scenario. Hundreds of unpermitted installations that I think went through HD if memory serves. I don't want to misrepresent facts but I think they made them pull permits on all installations and have them inspected & corrected if necessary. Don't know how they found them all.

      Contact those local "Channel 10 Consumer Watch" type shows producers. They love stuff like this.



      • #4
        Re: Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

        I'll keep a running update on this one.
        Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos


        • #5
          Re: Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

          Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
          in los angeles we can go online and see what permits were pulled, who applied and who signed off on it.
          Now that's awesome, I wish ALL states had that


          • #6
            Re: Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

            agreed when you take on a job you own it, as well as when you are a master plumber you must know the code and never compromise yourself or your installation just to get a job, do it right do it once!!!!!!!!!!!!


            • #7
              Re: Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

              Dunbar is my hero. I HATE bigbox hack contractors who install waterheaters against code without a permit, happens all the time here with contractors from BLOWE's.

              I hope you nail them!
              Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information


              • #8
                Re: Being a "GUARD DOG" in the Plumbing Profession

                The thread "The future of Plumbing" If not for guys like Dunbar, right here is your future.

                Thanks Dunbar. It takes going that extra mile to make a difference in the trade.