I should know the answer but dont

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by perrycat, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. perrycat

    perrycat New Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Was working on an electric water heater yesterday, a 3 yr old Bradford/White 50gal., It had a mixing valve to temper the hot water.....why? I don't know...they have a regular gas forced air furnace....

    Anyway, the problem was no hot water, and the relief valve dripping like crazy. So, I checked the power, had power, checked the high limit switch, it had tripped....I reset the high limit switch, could immediately hear the heater working......turned it back off.....checked the continuity and ohms on the elements top and bottom, both good.....checked the house pressure and it was 105psi......I guessed that was the reason for the relief valve leaking......

    But what I couldn't figure out is okay, you reset the high limit switch...how do you figure WHY the high limit switch tripped? I waited for it to heat up and checked to make sure it toggled over to the bottom element, and it did...and the temperature was set at "B" of "hot, A, B, C," so I assumed it was about 140 probably, and left it at that.

    Well, any help for future reference would be appreciated, thanks
     
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    If the T&P was leaking at 104 PSI then it was bad because it shouldnt open up until the PSI reaches 150. You need to replace it.

    The upper stat tripped most likely due to an element that shorted even though it ohm tested O.K., the bottom element does most of the work.

    A PRV and expansion tank should have been suggested with a 105 PSI reading

    They will be calling you back soon.

    Unless you were doing all this as a favor you don't seem to have enough knowledge to be working on and billing people for this work.
     
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  4. perrycat

    perrycat New Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    I "billed" for a service call only.....as for not knowing enough to be doing this....I've been doing it for 12 years and I know just a little.

    I DID suggest a thermal expansion tank, and she didn't have enough money for all that, and I said I would even throw in putting a new releif valve on when I did it to kill two possibilities as to the leaking with one stone.

    I figured at 105psi the water heats up, causes even higher pressure, when everybody's asleep and not using any water and the pressure goes up to 150psi and trips the t/p valve. I'm not an idiot......I just don't like to charge people for something I'm not positive they need, so I told her I'd come back if it does it again and put in a thermal expansion tank....OR.....a PRV at a continous rate.

    What had me buggered was wondering if the temp was going up so high somehow it was tripping the high limit switch.....you couldn't really tell HOW hot it was without taking out the mixing valve.
     
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heater

    1. When "everyone is sleeping" they are not using hot water so the pressure is not being thermally increased.
    2. Look at the color of the screws on the thermal ECO. If any are loose it will overheat the unit, but the screws also usually discolor when that is the cause. Otherwise, it could have just been a glitch and won't happen again. If it has a functional cause, then it will happen again fairly quickly.
     
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    We all like to be kind to little old ladies. But if her static pressure is 105, she needs a PRV. That is not suggesting something that "might not be necessary". As for the TP, if it actually leaks at 105, it should be replaced, although I will say that in my experience, if the pressure gets into the 115~120 range, a valve can "weep" and I chalk that up to pressure. Now, what we don't know is....if the TP leak occured when pressure crept up during heat-up. That would imply a closed system, and you seem to indicate no PRV installed at this time.

    SO, unfortunately for the dear lady, she appears to have a leaky TP, needs a PRV, and will then also require an XT.
     
  7. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Occupation:
    Plumber, self employed
    Location:
    Licensed Grump
    Is it 12, or 15?
    You are basically bidding lower than licensed, experienced plumbers with less overhead from licensing/permit/insurance fee's, coming to a DIY site thats made for homeowners, asking the very same guys that may have lost work to you how to do that work?
    I miss anything?


    If he can't afford the tank, how was he able to afford the service fee?
    The price shouldn't be that much more...specifically where thats the reason he called for a plumber.

    Was that 12, or 15?
    Experience has taught myself and the other legit plumbers here. For that matter, this is very basic.
    Is there a customer who maybe thought he had a safety hazard, but now that a "plumber" has been there, there's nothing to worry about?


    Your boss is able to cut his competition by illegally paying an apprentice, yet charge for a licensed plumber at lower rates.
    Been there, done that, got out.
    I worked for a company that had very few licensed guys, my job was to run around and repair screw-ups.
    Even though it cost him more to send me back to redo work, it was still lucrative.
    The things I saw working there were scary, gas leaks, co hazards, back pitches, unglued fittings, the list goes on and on.
    My take, you could be a shop from the next town over, asking me how to do work that I lost because your price was lower.
    Perry, my thoughts, get AWAY from that shop...get your schooling / licensing done.
    I'd even bet your boss tends to passively discourage you from getting your license..I know the type.
    If something goes wrong and you get caught, he isn't the only one in trouble.
    You'll be included in the legal/financial ramifications.
     
  8. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Occupation:
    Plumber, self employed
    Location:
    Licensed Grump
    As well as a bill for a service call.
     
  9. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Occupation:
    plumber
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    What service did you do? Tested a few things? Did you give an estimate for the work she needs done? Did you call her up and say "look I did some research into your problem and this is what you need done"?
    You know people give me garbage often about working for the company I work for. They say we rip people off and charge to much, but you know I don't charge for not know the answer to the question. If I don't know the answer I make a call to some one who does. I also never do a job until I give an estimate and explain the job I need to do. I also don't charge for estimates, and never give a price over the phone.
     
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    One statement you made shows lack of understanding...add a PRV or an expansion tank. If you add an PRV, you MUST install an expansion tank. Lack of a prv does not mean a XT is not necessary either, as some municipalities put check valves in or as part of the water meter. Unless the 105# was the result of thermal expansion, and not a static reading, she does need a PRV and and XT, otherwise, she needs an XT.
     
  11. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York
    What the heck do you do when they don't have the money? Screw em? Yeah....... just screw em, they don't matter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    money

    If they have a toothache, they find money for the dentist. Why should a plumber work for free, unless it is a situation requiring charitable intervention.
     
  13. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Occupation:
    plumber
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    You tell them what they need give them a cost. If they can't or wont do it leave.
     
  14. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    when they dont have the money

    when they dont have the money, you politely
    get the hell out of there....

    leave them a "bill" that they cant pay
    and simply find a polite way to leave....

    It galls me when I walk into someones house only
    to hear that tey called me to come out for free to
    make repairs their system...

    get that a lot from mobile homes...




    as far as the problem with the Brad White 50 gallon
    electric heater....the high limit was going out because
    the bottom element had burnt out a long time ago and the
    usnit wa s running only on the top element, which is about to burn out too...

    Basically the high limit is probably fried too aalong with the lower element

    I dont care how it tested on your tester...
    the bottom element has probably grounded out and wont test right anyway...


    the only thing you coul have done for them --if they had the money
    was to change out the bottom and top elements and thermostats
    to do the job right



    when all esle fails ,
    change it all --- ---throw it all away-

    clean out all the lime and sediment

    its the only way to be really sure....

    a real paying customer usually is
    willing to have the unit "refurbrished "
    this way.




    of course they dont have the money so you
    could tell them what they needed...

    and then hit the door asap
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  15. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    I don't know why but the last time I went shopping for food and was hungry the guy at the check out told me I had to pay for my groceries.

    I tried explaining to him how hungry I was but he was insensitive and didn't care how hungry I was, all he said was I had to pay for the food.

    I am baffled at why he didn't let me have it for free.
     
  16. molo

    molo Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Cold New York

    Not true. I know many people who've had their teeth rot completely out because of inability to pay.
     
  17. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Occupation:
    Plumber, self employed
    Location:
    Licensed Grump

    His post was to exemplify why a plumber shouldn't work for free.
    Are you making a point to the contrary?
    When you can't afford healthcare, there is state/gov't aid or medicare.


    When you can't afford a home or the overhead it incorporates, you rent.
    The landlord is then legally responsible to give you safe, sanitary living conditions.

    The argument could be made that it's not fair that plumbers, electricians or builders should charge to keep your home safe and sanitary, but your home is an asset, it has value.
    We walk into situations with filthy, unsafe, unsanitary conditions on an almost daily basis.
    Toilets, sewage, rotted drainage..we work with lead, burn ourselves soldering, work with solvents/cements that we have no idea what health repercussions will bring later in life, up in 120 degree attics, 20 degree crawlspaces.
    When a homeowners heat is out at 3:am, I drag myself there and get it back on.
    When the hot water heater dies, I'm there till 10pm getting your shower ready for the morning.
    Water main, I CANNOT leave until you have clean, safe potable water for your home.
    Molo, here's the clincher, I know a plumber who's dying from hep-C from exposure on the job - interferon didn't work.
    Is there an argument that charging for these services is immoral?
    I will say there is a BIG argument for charging for these services if you don't know what you're doing, or have no license to do so.
    In regard to not being able to afford a plumber, thats understandable...this site is here for that, thanks to Terry.
    You yourself know I don't mind helping with advice on mundane projects, but not gas or anything potentially dangerous.
     
  18. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Location:
    Home
    Grumpy, you brought up a good point regarding immunizations. I betcha, it is a wise idea for plumbers to be vaccinated for Hepatitis and Meningitis. I was when I worked as a unit secretary.
     
  19. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    you should have spoke spanish..at the grocery store.....


    If you would have had food stamps or spoke spanish you might have been able to get away with it....

    speak spanish and you get free medical treatment at any hospital...

    I wish I could give up my citizenship and then get

    free health care, education, pay no taxes ect.....

    My problem is I only know how to speak english.,

    and I know how
    to do plumbing.. so I dont get no breaks..
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  20. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Occupation:
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Location:
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    Every time I go to any store, any that have self-checkouts....

    OR

    Any time I have to go to an ATM that asks me to press for English


    As loud as I can for the entire store or bank, I yell EFFIN :mad:ENGLISH!!! :mad:

    Gets attention every time.

    I must now remove my obligatory post.
     
  21. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Location:
    Home
    I refuse to use the self scanners unless I have to. It keeps them from hiring enough of help and makes the customers work for them!
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2007
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