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Why do people pull this crap?? (ME)

Make no bones about it. This is about the rediculous hydronic wannabe that almost killed this family.

If he would have read the friggin instructions, I wouldn't be making this post here.

This family doesn't know how lucky they were to be referrred to our company for a "minor" problem, as the HO perceived it...

The original complaint was that their DHW was either too hot, or not hot enough. When my service man got there, he said he knew there were other problems as soon as he hit the top of the stairs. Said the odors of aldehydes hit him like a lead sinch. HO said they thought their headaches had to do with something else...

Funny thing, they can't remember the name of the guy who did them the favor and installed this system for them. I'm not 100% sure, but I suspect it was the HO himself and a plumber friend...

I know I'd sure as heck remember the name of the contractor that exposed my family to this unsafe condition...

BTW, my service man added the aluminum tape to the tee at the base of the stack until I could get back to gut n cut the illegal vent fitting.

Read'em and weep...



  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909

    How long have I posted links to CO stories?

    How long have I "banged the pulpit" and "preached to the choir" about this stuff?

    How long has Jim Davis been talking about this??

    You are 100% right. This has N O T H I N G to do with a manufacturer. This falls 100% on the installer. NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT.

    Why do they do this "crap"??? That's easy. Cuz' this is the way they have ALWAYS DONE IT!!! The person responsible for that nightmare will NEVER be called on it. That person will NEVER know how close they came to killing someone AND they are installing systems EXACTLY like that EVERY DAY. You just happened to catch this one. Good on ya'!

    You saved some lives today.

    Mark H

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    I hope

    you charge them what we all know that repair job is worth!

    They could have paid for the original installation with their lives.

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  • marc
    marc Member Posts: 203

    I think that SOME wholesale outfits are to blame for this. They (some) continue to sell to anyone they can. Also the internet sales sites are just as guilty. The equipment should be sold to only qualified, licensed contractors!!! I dont blame the H/O they were told by someone that it would be easy??? We see stuff like that alot and it always makes me angry!

  • Mars_3
    Mars_3 Member Posts: 65
    O M G

    Well Mark of all the weird and tragic stuff I saw while working with you that takes the cake. Just one more tradgedy narroley avoided. I bet that if the family had died due to the mis instalation of there equipment it would have barely made the 6:00 news. Thank god they called, and it continualy amazess me what we find out there.
  • Bob Harper_2
    Bob Harper_2 Member Posts: 54
    let me guess

    no co monitor/ alarm?
    no inspection or permit?
    no commissioning performance testing?
    no sign of the culprit?

    How do you stop this stuff? What if there was a stringent law putting the heat on the homeowner to get a licensed contractor to pull the permit, have it inspected, send in performance test readings to municipality with photos of completed job in the file and a sticker signed and sealed by the municiple inspector and installer of record with his contact info. Without such a sticker, a homeowner could face fines if uncovered during an inspection or incident. Any service tech would be required by law to report the absence of a certification sticker, red tag it, and not work on it until brought up to stds.? Inspection would be required at sale or transfer of property with repeated performance testing.

    Ok, we can all dream....
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    Whoa! That hurts my brain cell Looking at it...

    that is Way scary ...

    some pinner leak and minor technicality it isn't...

    a T ..."is there some draft problem with this particular boiler?"

    "No Boss" splash splash splash....

    "shes o.k"...
  • Unbelievable...

    They pull crap like that to save money, what else? Looks like somebody came up an elbow short right when they needed it most. Aw heck, a tee is almost an elbow too...
  • A Concerned Citizen
    A Concerned Citizen Member Posts: 5

    How would you suppose a wholesaler correct this problem? Maybe give a written and mechanical aptitude test at the counter? I am all for regulations including licensing, inspections on all systems. This would help, but I have seen better installs from some fly by nights than from some of the huge companies.

    This is a simple case of a bad installer who didn't give a crap. Can't blame us for an apathetic society. Anybody can buy a truck and put lettering on the side, how can we as suppliers make sure we sell to the right person? Hey, I know-let's blame the manufacturer...

    Thank God nobody got hurt

  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718
    I look at..

    I look at this as homicide or manslaughter. What they have done is criminal.

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  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    Certificate of Insurance

    That's all it would take to reduce the sales to illegal "contractors". The GCs I work for have a copy of mine, so I don't think it should ba a big deal for wholesalers to request a copy for their files before the sell to anyone. Does it mean the contractor know what he is doing? No, but it would be something.

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    The Radiant Whisperer

    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_1
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_1 Member Posts: 364
    nice indirect too!

    We're seeing more-n-more installs that mimic scenarios like yours where mod-cons were purchased over the net with half-fast piping diagrams. So far, we've had one who appreciated the corrective work, but the other two said it cost them too much. Cheap is as cheap does and dead no longer cares. T'was the first any of the units had seen an analyzer too.

    Harbinger of things to come methinks.

    Great catch-n-save ME.
  • Perry_3
    Perry_3 Member Posts: 498
    Sad but true state of affairs:

    1) Some people are just cheap and believe that the cheapest product or service will in fact be OK for them. Advertising for many products tells them that - and their freinds reinforce that (look at how much money we saved over...).

    2) Some people belive another party that what that party is selling or doing is OK. Ignorance is bliss.... (or are the ignorant dead?).

    3) Many people believe that what they are doing is OK. I know better than what the factory or rep says. Sad but true - but in many cases the best contractors may indeed know more about the capabilities and how a product works than the factory or rep - and can safely use a product in certain applications outside of its nominally design specs.

    4) Their is no viable concept of what a "Professional" heating contractor is. About 6 months ago or so I started a thread on that issue... and the overwhelming answer form the people on this forum who posted was that a heating professional was just someone who was in the business of installing and/or servicing heating equipment with the intention to make a profit. The concept of competency was completely tossed out as not being relevent. That is why I no longer even mention the concept of finding a "Professional" on this forum. They need to find competence - not just anyone who is installing equipment.

    5) The heating contractor industry is not willing to self police itself or insist on any standards (i.e band together and go to the state and create a heating professional board that issues licenses and invokes punishment for substandard work). You may now agree on how effective the legal system is at controlling bad lawyers; or the professional engineers on controlling bad PE's; but at least they make an effort to try and you cannot become either a lawyer or a PE without understanding what the standards are - and at least they toss out the worst examples.

    Now I know that you wish it was different than this - so do I.

    I am really clueless for a solution.

    All I know is what I had to go through to find someone not in a major metropolitan area to do a reasonably proper install on a mod/con. Most people are not willing or capable of doing what I did.

  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
    Look at it this way...

    ... this kind of an install makes any real Pro look good. It could make a great prop to explain to homeowners how to differentiate fly-by-night operators, car trunk specialists, and other folk who have no business installing these units from your operation.

    ... the bent christmas tree consisting of wiring spaghetti, zone valves, and other detrius hanging off the ceiling just screams "neat install", no? The SST pipe doing the whirly-whirl en-route to the Munchkin is yet another indication of the tolerances the installer was willing to accept.

    ... The weeping connections on the indirect weep for a reason... "Why this house, why this installer..." is what is going through that indirects head...

    ... using a vent terminal as a 90° is creative and criminal at the same time. It makes you wonder why neither the HO nor the "installer" were bothered by the flue gases and condensate escaping from it. I suppose it's a good thing that the Munchkin sits in a rotomolded plastic base that won't be affected much by the condensate...

    ... I was going to comment that I spied one level part of the install (i.e. the gas pipe), then noticed that it was completely unsupported. Hope no one ever hits it under the present circumstances, as it probably wasn't installed properly either.

    ... most importantly, congratulations for saving another family. How high were the CO levels and what other repairs did you have to make to get the venting/combustion back to normal?
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • marc
    marc Member Posts: 203

    > How would you suppose a wholesaler correct this

    > problem? Maybe give a written and mechanical

    > aptitude test at the counter? I am all for

    > regulations including licensing, inspections on

    > all systems. This would help, but I have seen

    > better installs from some fly by nights than from

    > some of the huge companies.


    > This is a simple

    > case of a bad installer who didn't give a crap.

    > Can't blame us for an apathetic society. Anybody

    > can buy a truck and put lettering on the side,

    > how can we as suppliers make sure we sell to the

    > right person? Hey, I know-let's blame the

    > manufacturer...


    > Thank God nobody got

    > hurt


    > Rick

  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790

    That installation looks terrible.

    In my opinion, the shops that just tack "& Heating" on the end of their name without proper training do the biggest disservice sinply because of the number of people affected by the potentially sub-par contractor. I have seen numerous examples of systems installed by "Professionals" that were very very wrong. Some were dangerously wrong. Not every dangerous or improperly installed boiler was installed by a homeowner. How do we make heating equipment off-limits to these "Professionals"?

    Obviously I do not include those who read or participate in the discussions on this site. Simply by being here, I think it shows an interest in installing the best heating systems possible.
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    installs are us

    I think the reason for the occasional scary install is that we are Americans and that's the risk we are willing to take. Part of what makes this country great. A classic risk vs reward. Ever go to the auto parts store and see who buys and I guess installs brake and steering parts? How about gas or potable water pipe and fittings? How about electrical wiring and devices, heck I can order a high voltage distribution transformer shipped to my house. Why are FVIR water heaters now standard, because storing gasoline inside the house next to the gas water heater is perfectly legal. Concealed weapons, perfectly OK in most states. Have a baby and a python or pit bulls as a pet, up to you. Want to have several babies at 16 with no job, perfectly legal. I don't know how to fix this, all I do know is most Americans do not want to give up the freedom to make scary mistakes. All we can do is to continue to educate and lobby. MADD got the penalty for drunk driving upped nation wide so change is possible.
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_1
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_1 Member Posts: 364

    It would be virtually impossible to regulate boiler sales/installs by regulating contractors only. That's kinda/sorta what we already have and the inspectors lack sufficient training to know which installs are/are not correctly performed.

    Actually, you could change the word 'boiler' to anything based upon internet availability of products.
  • Mad Dog!!!!!!!!
    Mad Dog!!!!!!!! Member Posts: 157
    It is a TOUGH row

    Against a riptide with CO. The ONLY peolpe who REALLY take it seriously are the ones that almost die. We try to educate people about CO and its dangers on EVERY service call...and MOST people glaze over...point to thier Box store detectors and give us the "snake-oil-salesman-look-of doubt." We had one woamn a few years ago that had a spilling appliance - that we discovered - and poo-poo'd even having a basic box store detector: "Look, you can leave now...my husband is on The Fire Dept and he has all the same machines you have...wer'e not interested." Even had a call the other day. An excellent home inspector I know
    picked up spillage for the prospective HO. We went in and sure enough....the INCREDIBLE part was that the gas utility was there the day before and noted spillage but didn't lock out the gas meter or atleast tag the appliance. I got readings of 25 ppm spilling in to space and current HO said utility got that too. I told him the tech was negligent and he said: "we'll we need showers!!!! blah blah." He didn't like it when I said: " better dirty and smelly and alive than a clean corpse." The prospective HO laughed and
    agreed. Fight on CO Warrior - great catch. Mad Dog
  • Perry_3
    Perry_3 Member Posts: 498
    I disagree; but admit the chance is faint

    It would be real easy to regulate;

    Step 1: A new boiler, furnace, etc (and I'd not object to any fired appliance - regardless of fuel source) could only be purchased from a registered dealer. (say a federal rule or law - the total number of sales does not change - nor even the number or even types of dealers).

    Step 2: Only a state licensed individual could purchase from a registered dealer.

    Step 3: State licenses are only issued to trained people, or based on experience and recomendations (you can get a PE without an engineering degree - and the few who have done it are really sharp people). Licenses holders could be santioned by a license board up to and including permanent revocation of license for unsafe installations or very poor customer relations issues - like taking the money and not doing the work in a timely manner.

    License holders would be required to attend a periodic safety and training seminar (every other year would probably be adequate) to maintain their license.

    Existing contractors could be issued a transition license initially on only application that was valid for say 5 years to allow them to demonstrate compliance with full licensing requirments.

    It would totally change the picture in a few years. But - it will only really happen if the heating industry itself admits it has a problem and that safety is important.

    That would cover all new sales. Only a few used sales would slip through and be installed by others.

    This would work. However, right now there is nothing pushing to enable such legislation.

    While I generally ditest much regulation. Ensureing safety is a ligitimate function of governement - and this is an issue that screams out to me as appropriate.

  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_1
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH)_1 Member Posts: 364
    That would be nice, but

    think about who you'd be dealing with. The big box DIY outlets for starters, the builders assn, and a host of others who would fight you tooth & nail. Politicians would crumble under the onslaught of voters wrath.

    And there would be a slew of folks re-selling, not to mention across the border internet sales.

    The horses left the barn decades ago.

  • "and MOST people glaze over..."

    You get that too? It's nice to know I'm not alone. ;)
  • Joannie_12
    Joannie_12 Member Posts: 42
    I like that

    Well put! "Half-fast" ....I may have to steal that one from you in the future.
  • WaterHeaterGuy
    WaterHeaterGuy Member Posts: 80
    I agree

    If gunshop owners can be held liable or if bartenders can be held liable... if an airline company can be held liable for serving drinks on their planes... any wholesaler who knowingly sells a boiler to an end user should be liable too.

    The problem is that he probably had his "buddy", a licensed contrator, purchase it for him. Some friend he is... but what's a wholesaler to do in this scenerio?
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
    The only solution I can see........

    I don't have a problem with someone buying a heating appliance somewhere and installing it themselves. It's a free country.

    I do however have a problem with that same someone, be it a homeowner, weekend trades person or "professional" installing that boiler in an improper or unsafe method.

    Here's why.

    When Joe Blow buys a Carrier/Munchkin/Knight/Viessmann/Goodmann or whatever, and screws up the installation resulting in poor performance, the following things happen. The product gets a bad name because it's NEVER his fault. Our natural resources (energy) are needlessly wasted. The manufacturer has to deal with a warranty claim for a "defective" part or boiler which drives up the products cost to all the rest of us. Some poor beggar like me gets the unparalleled joy of informing the Joe that his installation and or boiler is junk and needs to be repiped or replaced. Not fun at all, again, because it's NEVER their fault. In addition, when Joe burns down his house or gases someone I take a hit because it drives up the cost of insurance for me and everyone else reading this.

    The only solution I can see is competent inspection of every heating appliance sold.

    This of course dictates first and foremost that we have competent inspectors who are not loathe to trek into a crawlspace or attic, flashlight in one hand and manufacturers manual in the other, in order to see if it's indeed done right. That in and of itself is a mighty tall order.

    The second thing that would be required is that an installation permit be sold at the point of purchase. This means HD, the local hardware store, Lowes or the neighborhood plumber has to get into the permit business and forward the application on to the powers that be.

    Logistical nightmare? I think in this day and age of internet communications, it could be done. The inspecting agencies would be awash in funds to run a program like this if they could make it happen due to all the installations actually being inspected. Around these parts, I'd guess that less than 20% of appliances installed are ever permitted or looked at by an inspector.

  • Uni R_3
    Uni R_3 Member Posts: 299
    As an end customer...

    I'd like to see something like that and also a further endorsement that the contractor has received manufacturer-endorsed training on the types of boiler that they're offering and when that training was done. Fat chance that'll ever happen...
  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468

    The Radiant Whisperer

    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291

    Drew was at a job site cleaning up and detailing last week when the local yokel showed up, All the duct and gas piping for this furnace install was in the crawlspace, which has a nice cement floor BTW. The venting went up through the attic and the fireplace was on the other side of the house. According to Drew, the guy came in, said Hi and looked at the furnace for about 8 seconds, slapped a green sticker on it and said , "Looks good". Total time at the jobsite from drive up to getting back in the car, about 1 1/2 minutes. Yah, that was thorough.
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