New people; new approaches.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by geniescience, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. A discussion forum changes over time as new people make their mark.

    Sometimes things change slowly and keep on changing
    Sometimes things change fast; the changes may or may not last.

    Recently this site has received a lot of new people joining who all came from another forum. They are now causing change; this could be good.

    I notice that these new joiners haven't adapted to the differences here.
    In this site, so far, Terry has the following going:

    - 1.) DIY of any level can ask a question. Leave them alone if it bothers you; don't be grumpy. Many other participants can encourage someone to hire a pro, if appropriate.

    - 2.) Participants speak mostly to the top post, the thread originator, who owns the question. Deal with the thread's main question. Don't ask other people individually to post more or explain more. It leads to squabbles or nitpicking.

    - 3.) Knowledgeable people can contribute wihout first showing their credentials. So leave them alone too.

    - 4.) Code inspectors have never taken the front seat. Question: I wonder if code inspectors can wear another hat while they are here. Maybe they can act like home inspectors instead, imparting information instead of being policemen, examinors, judges, jury (and executioner). I wonder if code inspectors can have NO role in any discussion, if they act as though they are on the job.

    - 5.) Exceptionally, if you appear to be a phoney, you will be challenged by many others, old and new. E.g. if you sign in again here after crashing and burning the first time.

    I wrote this for the benefit of new DIY people whose questions are being treated in cavalier fashion.

    I also wrote this so that we could have a single URL to link to if problems develop or if someone "needs to be told" why things are different here compared to what he or she saw somewhere else.

  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    Good comments.

    I have been thinking about this subject recently, especially in light of the recent incident, but beyond that also.

    There are varied "philosphies" one can have regarding the subject of DIY projects and professional advice.

    1) Only a professional tradesman should do the job. I won't help you do something you shouldn't do.

    That's a legitimate opinion, but if it is your opinion, perhaps you are wasting your time and other's time even being on the forum.

    2) Real World: People are GOING TO DO these things. Financial considerations as well as forces of nature ( aren't men DRIVEN to fix things?) dictate this.

    Therefore, we will offer constructive advice and technical info to give you the knowledge and skill to do this without risk to life or property.

    Now, there are times when the scope of the job in question is of such magnitude that the correct advice may be " you really should get a licensed professional for that". An example of that surely would be a job requiring work on live bus bars, or pulling the meter. Also, we occasionally see a question posted in which the homeowner by his statements and question is SO CLUELESS that we should also advise that this job is over your head and you will likely end up making a mess or hurting someone. It is possible to do this in a gentle way, possibly with explanations as to WHY this is the case.

    It is always appropriate to remind people that permits and inspections are required, even if they do it themselves.
  3. Perfect example of how the tables turn on those who sport the credentials.

    Did work for a electrician who tried to get me to install a toilet in his bathroom with no chance of a vent, tied into a cleanout opening. ????

    I led him to believe I would follow up with a estimate and never did.

    He calls me 2 weeks later frustrated that I never sent an estimate *probably was having someone else do it cheaper anyway* and I told him verbatim,

    "Ever ran 16 gauge braided wire from the meter to a 200 amp panel?"

    Reply, "No"

    "That's what you are asking me to do, as a licensed plumber, to install a new plumbing system in your home and not vent the water closet. Thanks for calling."

    I didn't say bye, just hung up as I felt what he was asking was something he'd personally wouldn't do himself in his profession when it comes to adhering to codes, the codes that guide our hands in this profession.

    I feel pretty confident when the OP asks questions on any forum and makes a conscious effort to follow the rules of proper procedure.

    The "hacks" that are trying to fix things on the cheap and "it works"....typing a blue streak doesn't usually change their minds, they just go to another site for confirmation it works. Still it makes for awareness for the eyes that never post replies on the internet.
  4. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    My prediction is that most of those "new electricians" will disappear, once the Joe Tedesco fiasco fades into ancient history. Which is about 2 weeks in internet time. :)
  5. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Newnan, GA
    Don't bet you're money on me leaving!:D
  6. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Licensed Grump
    Without rubbing anyone the wrong way (pullleeasse not again)

    I'd like to note one important factor (yes...I have a lot to say for a newbie)

    I'm assuming you all know there is a reason certain trades require licensing.

    I'll also assume many of you are self employed under such licenses.

    As such, we ALL know how a homeowner can misinterpret a go to the job prepared to replace a drain tailpiece/strainer...and the leak turns out to be a faucet feed or a loose packing nut...(electricians/HVAC/Builders, fill in the blanks please).

    Here's a scenario...
    Homeowner pops into this forum...asking how to stop the condensate from dripping from his boiler.
    "Joe carpenter" (who did 3 of his 5 years apprenticeship plumbing and decided to switch trades) explains that the boiler is supposed to have a condensate drip...just put a bucket under it and get a condensate pump in the morning.
    Homeowner decides that $75-100 an hour (more for night/weekend) is too much to pay someone to come out and look - opts to do it himself per "Joe carpenter" advice.
    After the boiler explodes and burns down the house because what homeowner thought was a condensate was, in fact, the relief valve blowing off from malfunctioning burner and a defective high limit/spill switch/flame rollout...His homeowners insurance won't even dole a dime for his five year olds funeral.
    Lets face it...this is a dramatic is....right?
    Personal story, really happened..hubby decides to change water heater...decides on the neat looking powervented replace his draft vent, likes the way it vents the CO out of the basement...seems safer...into the chimney.
    He got lucky...draft rollout worked on his boiler and he froze his keyster off that morning.
    God forbid it hadn't...he had kids...little ones.
    Oddly enough, he didn't seem to mind my grumpy disposition...and short lecture. (nor his wife's prodding as I spoke to him)
    DIY...sure...I'll even offer tips on good name faucets, but where is the line?
    Who "moderates" whats appropriate?
    Is this "moderator" licensed to know the difference?
    I'm new here, yes... never been here until Terry stopped by another forum and got my curiousity..I'm even new to that forum.
    The web traffic here is impressive...very much so
    As a licensed pro, I also pay good money for liability...God forbid I make an err in least I'm covered by half a mil.
    Who's liable here?
    I'm NOT an big authority on the law, aside from my code,
    but common sense is knockin' at the door here.
    IF I have misinterrpreted anything, do tell,...I'm new.
  7. here say and gossip

    Grumpy......I agree with most of what you have said...

    being the internet , this site is sort of llike the

    wild wild west.....

    moderatros keep things civil and probably will
    clean up my foul language once in a while too....

    as far as the plumbing informatioin that goes on here....

    no one is really responsible or liable for anything that they advise.....

    just like the dummies at Lowes that give advice all the time and make suggestions to home-owners on what to buy to finish a job....

    the are totally clueless and ar e not responsible or liable
    is someone burns down their own home becasue they were too cheap to call a plumber....

    their is lots of useful information here on this site....

    PERHAPS terry sould post a note stateing "let the buyer beware"
    and take all advise on this site as a grain of salt.....
    just to cover his own liability if some fool would try
    some legal recouse some day....(maybe he already has)

    one thing we had a lively debate on a while
    back was INSURANCE and how much is enough
    for a plumbing company....

    you are woefully un-insured...if you only have 500k
    and you dont have an umbrella policy.

    I will to find that thread for you so you can

    read the "nobel-mens" and "worshipful ones"

    debate on the subject.......

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2007
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Just one question, ok, 2.
    Now, the homeowner comes here, and asks the proposed question, and gets the right answers. Goes to his basement and fixes the problem, correctly, due to the answers given here.

    Now, the second quesion is, what if he comes here an no one will give an answer, other got to seek the advice of a pro. Now, he doesn't. Doesn't matter much the reasons why not, he just doesn't.

    He goes down to his basment and fixes it, thinking...he is doing right.
    The explosion rocks the neighborhood.

    I think, it would had been better he is given the information he is seeking, here. People can always, add on, that it would be wise to seek a pro after they give him the requested information.

    People are not idiots. People are allowed to ask questions, and much better and safer if they do.

    This is said, in my humble opinion.

    Now, I got to run, I got the water heater to fix. ;)
  9. Cookie-----people ARE IDIOTS-----

    I dont mean to be rude, but from my own
    exeprience people on average are idiots....

    I talk to them every day, I work for them every day....
    you would not believe how many times a week
    I have grown men call me for an estimate on a water heater....
    ..and dont know wether they have a gas or electric water heater.!!!!!...

    they have lived in the house for 15 years and I have to walk them though a process asking if the heater has a smoke stack on it or does it have a wire going into the top of it... and its a stretch for them even when I keep it simple.

    I would guess that 75% of all people have not got a clue how to turn off their water in their homes, turn off the power or turn off the gas,..
    most dont even know where it is located in the home in case of an emergency..

    and they have lived there for 20 years!!!..

    honestly Terry probably has something
    in his fine print that all advice should be
    looked over very well and

    "let the buyer beware"

    If he does not have it , Terry should have some DISCLAIMOR

    printed in a banner right next to his pretty face....
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2007
  10. kordts

    kordts In the Trades

    exurban Chicago
    How about the homeowner comes here, gets the right advice, but performs the repair wrong? Explosion rocks the neighborhood. Everything but the computer is destroyed. Lawyer comes knockin' and terry has to shut the website down. What's better, he blew up on his own, or blew up because he was in over his head, but thought that plumbing is easy, I'll learn what I need over the net, or he got ganged up on and hired a plumber and there was no explosion?
  11. a disclaimor would be wise

    Kords, you are 100% right ......

    if someone can sue a dry cleaners
    for 60 million dollars forloseing a pair of
    pants, well its jsut a matter of time before
    someone thinks of trying this stunt too....
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

    I think you are making Terry nervous, lol.
    People are not idiots only unknowledgeable. Do you like that one? lol.
    I dare one of you to put that as your signature line, :D

    Going now to fix my neighbor's water heater...
  13. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Licensed Grump
    I met a woman at home depot interupted her as she was being instructed by the "plumbing guy" how to install her own boiler.

    I wound up renovating the plumbing in her house...ripped out all the galvanized pipe and 70 year old cast iron, installed two baths, two kitchens with island sinks (bow vents) and repiped all the pitted copper water I worked she fought me every inch of the way...up to, and including attempting to go down to town hall and pull gas permits in my name (the inspector called me and we had a laugh).
    At one point I told her she'd need one of the bathroom floors reframed...the original plumber had almost completely notched one all the way through...under the tub...I plumbed it for a soffit...just in case she couldn'r "persuade" the bldg inspector to let it slide.
    She argued with my choice...the inspector failed her and she paid me again to repipe it after the sistering was done.
    She based the whole investment of doing a "flip" on what little info she could gather from "reliable" sources like T.V. shows, the depot, lowes...and a handyman from Brazil she had working for her.

    I finished that job and ran like he**...never did the boiler.
    She told me I should be able to get one for under $1K, as she had shopped around she "KNEW what I was paying for it" my price should reflect that...turns out she'd priced water heaters...I think.
    The whole time I worked there she continually groaned about what rip-offs the trades are...that she was going to do the work herself with cheap help.
    Last I'd heard the town was about to put a stop work order on the house, rendering occupancy illegal ...she was arguing with town officials /inspectors over the fact that it was her house...she'd do what she wanted.
    That was one of my worst, but I see them all the time, usually after the bad decisions.

    Cookie...careful with the venting on that...good luck...sleep tight
  14. cookie ...if you only knew

    If you could only listen in to some of my phone
    conversations every day.....

    "un-knowledgabe" is the ----""politically correct"""

    way a Democrat would say it.....

    I am a republican...
    and can and will pretty much
    call it as I see it......

    I am just glad I dont have to cater to everyone

    I got to tell someone today who wanted to debate with
    me on how I should fix their un-fixable broken down plumbing to go find another plumber..

    I was very polite

    but it felt sooooo very gooooood.

    and it was a major load off my mind
    for the up-comming week
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2007
  15. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oh, I wasn't serious, :D I am not quite done working on the gas lines.
  16. Cookie

    Cookie .

    I am always politically correct. :)
  17. bojala

    bojala New Member

    As a novice guy to plumbing, a home owner, and not an idiot...

    I posted a problem the other day, and got some advice from one person here. I also consulted a plumber who quoted me the job, but I discussed with him the advice I was given here.

    I feel 50% confident I could do this myself, based on what I have been told from here and an 'expert.'

    I think it all has to do with scale - I know enough now in principle to be able to sweat in new copper (although I don't know if I'll try it myself first time out), but I would NEVER think to install a new tub or water heater based on my knowledge.

    So before you bash those who try to DIY to save a little bit of scratch, we're not all manly men who don't know our limits.

    Just trying to defend the honor of the brave but ignorant.....
  18. Cookie---check out my new signature....

    Hey, I took your advice....

    go check out my new signature....
  19. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Yes. The only fear I have of being wrong is that someone who actually knows might not catch and correct it.
  20. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Licensed Grump

    Sweating copper is a trick that takes time to learn...seems easy enough, until you turn the water on.
    Then you're sweating wet pipe if there's a leak.

    If it doesn't work call a plumber...a reasonabley experienced plumber will immediately know the work was attempted by someone who didn't know what they were doing....the price goes up.

    Flip risk pans out, but then you wonder if you won't get a slow leak later down the road.

    I'll do my own brakes...change tires, oil, check fluids... but when I hear a noise that I don't understand...I think "Is that a ball-joint?"

    I hear the noise again and then wonder if the tires gonna come off if I don't get it fixed.

    I don't have a hydraulic press, but I'm sure they cost huge money...and I know that it'll cost me to have the ball joint done.

    The tire won't likely come off, but there's no price for peace of mind.

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