Hostage to a Plumber

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Hostage to a Plumber

Postby Catherine+twins » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:09 pm

It's never a short story, of course.

At Thanksgiving, the door of my 25-year-plus old range broke. I say 25-y+ because I bought the house that long ago, and this is the stove/range that was in the kitchen when I bought it. Anyway, rather than pay for a service call and risk having the repair-man say "replace it" anyway, I ordered a new range with my Christmas money. Besides, I've been wanting to update my kitchen for 25 years. It's time for a new stove.

The range wandered around the country for several weeks, but was finally delivered last Friday.

Based on the trials and tribulations of my BFF, who had her 1947 home's kitchen remodeled last year, I suspected that the gas line into my 1949 home's kitchen would need updating, too. I called the plumber and made an appointment for this morning. Expectedly, he was an hour late. Unexpectedly the new "standard sized" stove wouldn't fit through the kitchen door after we easily moved the old one out. The face plate of the new stove curves out, and the back has a bump out for wiring, and the total is just half an inch too much. Plumber and I pulled the trim off the kitchen doorframe and squeezed it through. Two hours down. Expectedly the old gas valve was not up to current code, nor the 20+yo code, nor the 1970s code. It has to be replaced. He shut down the gas at the meter to work on it. So now, January 26 but fortunately a day in the 50s, we don't have furnace or water heater as well as the stove. Unexpectedly, he didn't have the part, the two local hardware stores didn't have it, the nearest town's Lowe's didn't have it, and he had to drive to Santa Fe. Three hours later, now it's late afternoon. He replaces the valve in the kitchen, hooks up the stove, and tries to turn the gas back on to check for leaks. The valve at the meter was jammed and, after a bit of "work" darned if it didn't need replacing, too. At this point I'm not even surprised that he didn't have the part, and two hours later I'm even less surprised when he got back with the WRONG part. He headed off to try another place. An hour later he called, it's too late and he can't get the part until morning.
:duh:
Okay, it's past 7:30 at night now, fully dark, and getting cold. We haven't eaten because we have been waiting for him to come back to the house and finish up. And we don't have gas. Unexpectedly for a January night on a mountain side in northern New Mexico, the forecast is for a warm (relatively speaking) low of 35 degrees. My pipes won't freeze. I'm glad our piddling little winter storm (4 inches of snow, a couple of 10 degree nights and 20 degree days) headed East (Sorry New York) and left us with a January thaw. I'm also glad I installed a pellet stove a few years ago.
:snowstorm:
We got Chinese take-out. And we'll be sleeping in the living room in front of the pellet stove. And the bill for the plumber is over $900 so far.
$> :BE $>
Catherine
Build Thread Penguino II: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=54919
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"Oh, let's just stay here and sing camp songs for a while." 1966, My mom in Isle Royale, MN, in a women's bath house with a momma bear and two cubs outside the door, and three tired kids trapped inside
"Dad! Dad! There's a bear outside!" 1967, Lolo Hot Springs, MT, in a tent-top trailer
"Oh, no, there it goes!!" Nov 10, 2012 as Penguino I blew over in high winds
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby Verna » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:38 pm

I have a couple of extra space heaters near Tuscon that I carry when camping, but they won't help you tonight. Hollar if you need them if things don't go as planned tomorrow, Catherine.
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby Catherine+twins » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:10 am

Thanks, Verna

I have one (ancient) space heater, fortunately. It usually lives under my desk for when my feet get cold. Dear son used it in his bedroom. Dear daughter and I pulled out the sofa bed and spent the night in the living room. The pellet stove ran all night and actually kept most of the house at about 60 degrees the whole time. My feet even overheated at one point, they were so warm near the stove. 8) It fed a bunch of sawdust at about 5:00 this morning (some of the pellets must have gotten damp and fell apart at some point), about when I get up anyway, and I was able to catch it before it went out. Anyway, I'm hoping it will only have to be the main heat for a few more hours.

Washing up this morning is going to be cold, though. I have the microwave, of course, so I guess I'll warm up some water for the kids to wash their faces (teen acne care must continue). I usually have an egg in the morning, but I really don't like them microwaved. I do have the toaster oven, though, so I guess it's cinnamon rolls from a can this morning. BFF suggested using the propane Coleman to cook breakfast on (when I was consoling her for having to go back to work last night, and she was consoling me for the unexpected "camping out" here), but I don't want to have to dig it out of storage. (At least it isn't out in the shed.)

I'm assuming :lol: that we will be back to normal before the end of the day. If not, we may beg dear step-dad to stay at his house tonight. We didn't last night because he is deep in the depths of a bout of influenza and feels truly awful. Plus, he doesn't want to expose the kids while he may still be contagious. Meanwhile I am worrying about this fisty 70+yo man with the flu alone in his house. Just one more thing.

So anyway, we survived the night. Her Majesty, the elder cat, did NOT APPROVE of the changes in venue last night and is being a bit clingy this morning, but otherwise all is well.
:D
Catherine
Build Thread Penguino II: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=54919
Build Thread Penguino I: viewtopic.php?t=44431
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"Oh, let's just stay here and sing camp songs for a while." 1966, My mom in Isle Royale, MN, in a women's bath house with a momma bear and two cubs outside the door, and three tired kids trapped inside
"Dad! Dad! There's a bear outside!" 1967, Lolo Hot Springs, MT, in a tent-top trailer
"Oh, no, there it goes!!" Nov 10, 2012 as Penguino I blew over in high winds
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby Woodbutcher » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:22 am

We have a 100YO house. I remodeled the kitchen about 4 years ago. At that time I had to do what you are now doing. I had a gas shut off put in the basement for the stove. That way the stove could be shut off without affecting the rest of the gas appliances. Plus for safety alone it's worth the extra shut off. If there is a stove fire that last thing you want to do is have to pull a burning stove off the wall to shut the gas off.

Plus I think you have the wrong plumber. I good one will source the parts before he disconnects everything. At a minimum he should have capped the stove pipe off so you still had hot water and heat while he did his plumber dance on your dime. I would negotiate the cost once he finishes.

Good luck and I hope you love the new stove.
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby Catherine+twins » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:24 am

Yeah, I chose the plumber who could come install the oven on Monday. (Or not.) His office swears I won't be charged for driving time or mileage. :R I should charge them for the night without a furnace, though.

As for another valve, yeah, it would be nice. This is a ranch/prairie style, single story on a crawl space, though. If the main line came in through the utility room, that would be the logical place for a second valve, but the utility room is right next to the front door, and the gas comes in at the back of the house, with the kitchen in the middle of the run.

Here's the new, still non-functional appliance. It can have either a grate or a CI griddle/grill pan in the middle. Since I eat a fried egg most mornings, and my Lodge griddle LIVED on the old stove top, the griddle got installed right away. The Lodge griddle will undoubtedly go in the camp kitchen box now. :D
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My dear step-dad has a 36" Viking 6 burner range in his dream kitchen, but he really wants to see how this 5-burner 30" wide works out. We are already planning his down-sized accessible home for when he is no longer able to tackle the stairs in his 5-level split level home (bedrooms at the top, of course), and the kitchen gets planned first!

Catherine
Build Thread Penguino II: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=54919
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"Oh, let's just stay here and sing camp songs for a while." 1966, My mom in Isle Royale, MN, in a women's bath house with a momma bear and two cubs outside the door, and three tired kids trapped inside
"Dad! Dad! There's a bear outside!" 1967, Lolo Hot Springs, MT, in a tent-top trailer
"Oh, no, there it goes!!" Nov 10, 2012 as Penguino I blew over in high winds
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby Woodbutcher » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:40 pm

Good luck Catherine, I hope the stove works as good as it looks. Enjoy the new griddle! :applause:
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby 48Rob » Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:29 pm

Plus I think you have the wrong plumber. I good one will source the parts before he disconnects everything. At a minimum he should have capped the stove pipe off so you still had hot water and heat while he did his plumber dance on your dime. I would negotiate the cost once he finishes.


Catherine,

Nice stove!

I have to agree with Steve...
You should not have to pay for poor planning by the contractor.
Three hours to find a part he should have had on his truck, or at his shop is out of line.
It was nice that he helped you with the carpentry work though! :thumbsup:
The $900 bill should be closer to $400-$500 based on 4-5 hours at a $100 an hour.
Maybe the going rate is really high in your area?
Here it is around $100

Rob
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby Catherine+twins » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:58 am

All work in this area is billed based on the "Gouge the rich people from Los Alamos" theory, even though some of us from LA really can't afford to live here and are barely geting by. I will, of course, be posting a review on the local facebook page, advising others NOT to use his company.

Anyway, my house is my own again. Here are my first pancakes!

Image

We had take-and-bake pizza for dinner last night, something the kids have been missing ever since the old oven door broke at Thanksgiving. :D

Catherine
Build Thread Penguino II: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=54919
Build Thread Penguino I: viewtopic.php?t=44431
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"Oh, let's just stay here and sing camp songs for a while." 1966, My mom in Isle Royale, MN, in a women's bath house with a momma bear and two cubs outside the door, and three tired kids trapped inside
"Dad! Dad! There's a bear outside!" 1967, Lolo Hot Springs, MT, in a tent-top trailer
"Oh, no, there it goes!!" Nov 10, 2012 as Penguino I blew over in high winds
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby Catherine+twins » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:27 am

Oh, and just a post script.

The old range was out at the curb, waiting for the county's "quarterly pickup" of "yard waste, furniture, and appliances" that started on Monday. Last night a neighbor stopped by. He is doing a remodel of his kitchen, his old stove bit the dust, and he needs a temporary one until the new one arrives. Even after I warned him the door is broken and the stove-top burners are spotty, he made off with it.

So one woman's trash is another man's temporary.

Catherine
Build Thread Penguino II: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=54919
Build Thread Penguino I: viewtopic.php?t=44431
Image
"Oh, let's just stay here and sing camp songs for a while." 1966, My mom in Isle Royale, MN, in a women's bath house with a momma bear and two cubs outside the door, and three tired kids trapped inside
"Dad! Dad! There's a bear outside!" 1967, Lolo Hot Springs, MT, in a tent-top trailer
"Oh, no, there it goes!!" Nov 10, 2012 as Penguino I blew over in high winds
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby ctstaas » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:57 am

Hi Catherine, Call the contractor immediately and tell him he is fired if his thinks his service is appropriate or professional in any way. His worker not being prepared for an easy appliance installation is grounds for dismissal. I worked for a contractor who was licensed, bonded and insured and when an appliance sold by a local store didn't fit or needed re-wire or plumbing we were referred. I would always bring several valve for different dia. pipe and different lengths of new flex hose. Flex hose should only be bent once and needs to be replaced with the new installation. The new valve should cost around $45 and the hose $45 for a total of $90 for parts. The labor should comprise 2/3 of the job so if the parts are $90 the total with labor should be $270 ($90 X 3). This job should take a professional plumber 1 hour max 2 if all breaks loose. If the contractor thinks anything more is somehow reasonable...He's Fired!!
Small contractors are vurnerable? to negative internet exposure and can rarely mount a creditable legal motion ( my lawyer is tougher). CA's state licensing board would not be happy with a licensed contractor acting like that here so consumer complaints actually have some teeth with the board. When I have mechanics start saying crazy,unexpected repair talk I ask the boss if he can say ARB ( Automotive Repair Board) and all the crazy talk ends.
Know your rights, stand your ground, and good luck.
Enjoy, Chris
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby S. Heisley » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:05 pm

:o When you add the cost of the plumber to the cost of the stove, that was a pretty expensive stove! Glad you like it and that it all works. Just remember, you'll probably never have to replace that stove again, in your lifetime. :yes:
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby OverTheTopCargoTrailer » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:57 pm

I really disagree 1,000% and I do this work myself all the time and hate plumbers more then the next guy. I have seen them charge $2,500 for a 45 minute job.

Your plumbers mistake was he was young & dumb without experience. He should have given you a $900 estimate before he touched your plumbing. Replacing all the parts that could possible go wrong. If your willing to pay - then he should have ordered the parts, before he jumped in. That was his mistake !!

This kind of crap and hassle happens all the time when working on plumbing from 100 years ago. Anything older than 20 years always takes 3-5 times the hassle, because nobody has these parts in stock.

Cheers

OTTCT

PS I see people all the time that get an endless 200,000 btu water heater and need a new 3/4 or 1" gas line REQUIRED BY CODE, and the permit is $250 and the line is $2,250 - blame the government for requiring your gas line supply almost 100% at same time to all your appliances, something that never ever happens in real life.
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Re: Hostage to a Plumber

Postby ibbowhunting » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:46 pm

OverTheTopCargoTrailer wrote:I really disagree 1,000% and I do this work myself all the time and hate plumbers more then the next guy. I have seen them charge $2,500 for a 45 minute job.

Your plumbers mistake was he was young & dumb without experience. He should have given you a $900 estimate before he touched your plumbing. Replacing all the parts that could possible go wrong. If your willing to pay - then he should have ordered the parts, before he jumped in. That was his mistake !!

This kind of crap and hassle happens all the time when working on plumbing from 100 years ago. Anything older than 20 years always takes 3-5 times the hassle, because nobody has these parts in stock.

Cheers

OTTCT

PS I see people all the time that get an endless 200,000 btu water heater and need a new 3/4 or 1" gas line REQUIRED BY CODE, and the permit is $250 and the line is $2,250 - blame the government for requiring your gas line supply almost 100% at same time to all your appliances, something that never ever happens in real life.





your right all of us plumbers are no good SOB's heat, hot and cold Running water and sanitary sewer is over rated


;) Master plumber
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