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my comments on giving advice

Tom_53 Member Posts: 43
Thought i would share this story with you. Customer calls our office and wanted to know " how to bleed the pipes."
Well his wife calls back and ask if i could come over & do it for them. When i got there i could not believe how seriously burned he was from 180* water hitting him on the back & neck. Needless to say he did not follow the advice he recieved for this simple job. When i see the advice that is leaving this website to a homeowner trying to fix his own burner it makes me kringe.Maybe iam wrong but when your dealing with steam,presure,carbon minoxide,hot water,oil leaks,gas leaks,ect. we should just recommend a contractor.I felt so bad for this customer, he was in a lot of pain, could not put a shirt on & will defiently be out of work for a while. He lifted the relief valve on top of the boiler & it was aimed right at him, he spun around to avoid getting hit in the face but it got him pretty bad on his back & neck.I DID NOT TELL HIM TO DO THAT. From now on i will limit the advice i give to someone unless I KNOW that person is capable.
jmo, From Jack.


  • Dan Peel
    Dan Peel Member Posts: 431
    I'll disagree

    As you said, he didn't do what you instructed but good for him to think to ask in the first place. Here on the Wall or anywhere else I think the free flow of information helps all. It's unfortunate when people get hurt doing things they don't understand. Perhaps next time you can suggest they let the unit cool before attempting any purging operations - a little like unplugging the toaster before sticking a fork into it. Dan

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  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    I disagree with the disagreement

    We have a certain element here in these United States that will sue you into the next century for just such a thing.

    There is no "free flow" of experience. There are things out there that can and will KILL you if you make one mistake.

    A person has got to know their limits. That is both on the pro side and the DIYer side.

    Be careful of what you post here or any where else.

    That home owner could sue and would probably win something.

    What if his/her kid was standing there "helping" Dad?

    Folks!!! There are some things that just shouldn't be tried at home!!!!

    Mark H

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  • keith
    keith Member Posts: 224
    how many times have

    you shown a homeowner how to do something only to repeat the excersise the next year. Nothing wrong with the homeowner knowing what is being done to their system. But somethings should be left to the pro's. I have found myself trying to coach someone thru a scenerio only to realize later that I left out a detail that I took for granted they already knew. While much of what we do has been simplified with tools and more forgiving materials the theory of what makes these systems tick has gotten more complicated. We have chosen this industry to feed our families and devoted a considerable amount of time and effort to master it.These skills and the thought process that goes along with it should be respected for what they are.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083

    goes to serve as a lesson to pipe those reliefs to the floor, and to be alert for non-code conforming issues. Poor guy. Hope he feels better.

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  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    The times they are a changing

    I imagine location plays a big part. Here in the ruarl part of the country I find plenty of capabale DIYers. Big cities= big lawyer pools!

    With all the scald and soft tissue suits these days, and the attention being drawn to that issue, probably won't be long before steam radiators are banned. Lack of personal responsibilty is the key here, I feel.

    hot rod

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  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    Advice comment

    Good discussion so far. We have found that telephone ( internet) discriptions of problems are usually incurrate. Terminology used by us and the customer for the same item varies and both of us are capable of mistakes. We gave phone advice to shut the downstream valve of a leaking union and the customer did that and the leak stopped. Neither party realized that if the valve really had been downstream closing it would have done no good. I think the best kind of advice is lots of questions, kind of like Dan does to the left on HW and steam. That way the complexity gets accross. Referring to manufacturer installation instructions or specific code references is another good choice. I find many people ask me boiler questions not knowing if they have steam or hot water, we do need to be thoughtful in our responses.
  • lead head
    lead head Member Posts: 3

    I installed a new faucet a few years back at a new customer's home and when I was finished he asked me to look at a heating problem he was having.He brought me to a radiator (one pipe steam) and said he tried to bleed the air out but wasn't geting anywhere. I told him it was a steam system and that it was a normal situation for a steam system in August. He brought me to the basement to examine the boiler.I proceeded to point out features on the normal, fairly new steam boiler when he stopped me to inform me that it was a hot water boiler and not a steam boiler..he "knows the difference ya know". I must be a pretty bad plumber if I don't. His brother-in-law assured him it was air bound because he had the same problem. I spent a few more minutes trying to reason with him to no avail.
    He must of had his brother-in-law come by and bleed the radiators because he never called back. I still think of the money I could of made off of that guy if I was a little bit of a cheat.
  • Bob Morrison_3
    Bob Morrison_3 Member Posts: 54
    Protect yourself, but answer...(Bob M)

    I would make sure the HO to understand the risk of whatever they're trying to do, before providing any procedures or techniques. Most people have enough common sense to avoid personal injury. The ones that don't will find some way to screw up, regardless of what they're told. Many will become customers, if they're informed. It is a tough call, though.

  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406

    DIYers is old!The new PC termanology would be...."Home Enthusiast" :)

    tid-bit for the evening,

  • Rick Kelly
    Rick Kelly Member Posts: 40
    Just remember...

    A lot of us are nice guys willing to lend a hand or a bit of free advice even when there is little or nothing to gain. Don't forget"


  • Tony_4
    Tony_4 Member Posts: 14
    and this one Rick....

    Be wary about giving advise.wise men dont need it and fools wont heed it.
  • Mark J Strawcutter
    Mark J Strawcutter Member Posts: 625
    and very wise men

    seek advice.

  • Steve Ebels
    Steve Ebels Member Posts: 904
    If the relief valve

    Were properly piped to with in 6" of the floor like code requires there wouldn't have been a problem. The guy could claim faulty installation and probably win in court.
  • JohnNY1
    JohnNY1 Member Posts: 62

    I agree with Jack. I never do that. I learned a long time ago that there is just too much that we take for granted to give an off-the-cuff explanation of how to service plumbing and heating equipment.
    It's like watching those DIY TV shows where they renovate a bathroom on one Saturday afternoon. The problems don't arise by what you're explaining, rather by what you're NOT explaining and the obstacles you're NOT thinking of.
  • Tony_4
    Tony_4 Member Posts: 14
    I never

    heard that one Mark! You sure you didnt just make that up.. lol
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