Plumber flooded my utility room this morning... was it a dumb mistake?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Jim Holloway, May 5, 2016.

  1. Jim Holloway

    Jim Holloway Supporting Member

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    Had a plumber come in to replace our hot water heater this morning. I'm trying to work in the main floor office, all of a sudden I hear him yelling 'shut the water off!'. I go downstairs and find him trying to stay a flow of water from the top of the old unit (which he was disconnecting). I shut off the main and started moving boxes from the adjacent storage area and then helping with mop up.

    He claims he had shut off the cold water input line but that something in the house had opened a hot water valve (and it probably had - my wife had was running washing machine doing a cold load) and that was causing the water to come out.

    So my question is ... if the cold supply line to the old heater was really off would water still come out of the top of the heater under pressure because the washing machine opened the valve?

    It made quite the mess, ruined the box we store our Christmas tree in. When he yelled I had to drop off an important conference call and spend almost 45 minutes helping with clean up. Fair amount of wet carpet (dirty water) around the edges. No serious damage (since I moved things) just a big hassle.

    Am I out of line expecting some sort of discount?
     
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  2. mlongano

    mlongano Supporting Member

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    Seems like the water should have been shut off at the main from the get go.
     
  3. QuickDraw

    QuickDraw Member

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    I'm not an expert but seems like total bs. there is no hot water pressure in a house only cold water pressure, the cold water inlet on a water heater creates the pressure for the hot water.

    +1 on shutting off the main.
     
  4. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    No doubt...and it's on the plumber to do that first.
     
  5. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

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    Seems a bit strange the plumber didn't simply ask to turn off the main water valve.

    Of course, it all depends on the type of plumber you got. Is it one of those friendly neighborhood dabbers or a reputable company that sent one of its workers?

    No disrespect intended but if it's the former, I wouldn't expect a discount. Plus, I've discovered good plumbers are worth the expense... from personal experience.
     
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  6. QuickDraw

    QuickDraw Member

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    also when removing an old water heater, one would think you'd drain it down before cutting it free but whatever.
     
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  7. Bozak

    Bozak Member

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    There will be a pro chiming in any minute now, but I'll put my vote on the plumber f-ed up royally and he/she should be apologizing and offering compensation.
     
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  8. buddyboy69

    buddyboy69 Member

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    Shut mains off first, drain lines to heater. Is this guy licensed? Im not but I changed my water heater with no issues. There also should be cut off valves. Plumbing should not include flooding.
     
  9. Jim Holloway

    Jim Holloway Supporting Member

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    He just wrapped up and made it clear that the water was actually coming down out of the hot water line that goes up into the house (rather than up out of the hot water heater - which I incorrectly described originally). That when the washer opened up the valves it pushed cold water back down through the hot water line that he had disconnected.

    They'd originally told us they would arrive at 11:00 so my wife started a load. The actually showed up at 9:30 and we didn't think about the washer being a problem. Asked him for a discount and he said it was on us for having the washer going. Looked at my funny when I suggested that he should have told us not to turn anything on.

    Agree shutting off main would have prevented but I'm sure he was trying to limit inconvenience to us ... which implies us turning on the water should be OK.
     
  10. Blues Power

    Blues Power Member

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    look at it this way. When you hire any one or even if you do it yourself. Manure happens. Murphys Law.
    would I make a federal case out of it.....NO

    But you are entitled to some restitution for your damages and hassles.

    Id call the main office and see what they can do for you.

    I fyou can get $300 off I think youllbe in good shape

    now go wet vac the carpet and let a fan run for a few.
     
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  11. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

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    Some questions remain unanswered.

    Was this some dude who calls himself a plumber or a big reliable company?
    Was he licensed?

    Seems strange that the main water line wasn't stopped. If I were a plumber, I'd just warn that it's necessary to prevent issues/accidents and that the laundry load would have to be restarted after I'm done. Not a big deal to communicate this to the client, really. A bit strange reading about how things went down.
     
  12. Jim Holloway

    Jim Holloway Supporting Member

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    I didn't ask to see a license. They were in the yellow pages under plumber so I assume. :)

    A local company, first time I've used them. Owner who answered the phone seemed knowledgeable.

    Don't plan to make a big deal about it but would like a little consideration. Toweled up and fan/dehumidifier running at full blast.
     
  13. Totally Bored

    Totally Bored Member

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    But ... the Internet Plumbers say you should get a discount :bonk
     
  14. Washburnmemphis

    Washburnmemphis Member

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    Yes a good way to get repeat business is to soak a new customer's floor, give him a bill and then leave.:jo
     
  15. hvactech

    hvactech Supporting Member

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    What happened is the water in the hot water lines out of the hot water heater were in a vacuum.

    It's kind of like you holding your finger over a straw when it's in a cup of water. When you lift your finger off (open the valve on the washer) it releases the vacuum. That water then ended up on the floor.

    Usually they have a ball valve right at the water heater for the cold water/return and at the hot water/supply which isolates the water heater from the rest of the system.

    So basically he should of seen that and warned you not to use any water in the house until he was done.
     
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  16. Stev0Griffin

    Stev0Griffin Trendsetter

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    1) Shut off main water line
    2) Shut off gas valve
    3) Flush the heater
    4) Uninstall

    I'd call his supervisor. Get the affected area inspected, at the cost of the company.

    I can't imagine there to be too much damage, besides the boxes and carpet. Plumbing company should pay to have the the damaged area taken care of.
     
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  17. Shamus

    Shamus Member

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    Be thankful you didn't have hardwood floors in the area. Clearly the guy sucks.. Be done with him and call it a day, as there was no real damage other than being a PITA, it seems... Worse case, give him an unfavorable review online.
     
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  18. hvactech

    hvactech Supporting Member

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    You forgot to shut off the water that's in the house.

    You need to two shut of two sources of water.
    1) the domestic water/return
    2) the water in the house/supply

    So to put it simply, the water going in and the water going out of the hot water heater
     
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  19. cob666

    cob666 Member

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    We've had several water heaters replaced and every time, the plumber has shut off the main and had us open the hot water faucets so all the water would flow back into the heater while it was being emptied. The plumber SHOULD have made sure that all the water was properly drained from the system before disconnecting the water heater, this is on him.

    Not sure how your home insurance works but if you file a claim they might go after the plumber for compensation. If not you'll either have to foot the bill yourself or try to get the plumber to pay for it.
     
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  20. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    "It's OK - if we didn't forget things, we wouldn't be plumbers."

    Moe to Larry in A Plumbing We Will Go
     
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