Electrical Ethics Question

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  #41  
Old 01-24-03, 04:03 PM
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Under warrenty what do you care if they know the codes,, you just want it fixed. I really dont think 600 is so bad when you really put it in context. I have seen some quotes from sparkies on little jobs that were outragous. If it was sposed to pass an inspection it is definately the contractors issue.
 
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  #42  
Old 01-24-03, 04:17 PM
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Let me add something else concerning this issue. If Home Depot, or any other retailer-type company, offers their customers turn-key "installed" products they better have qualified installers along with a respresentative (from Home Depot or elsewhere) who can visit the jobsite to determine exactly what is required for a complete installation...including final inspection.

Personally I do not see how Home Depot is able to offer a firm price on many of these "so-called" turn-key jobs where they supply the product and installation without visiting the jobsite to see what is needed.

Kooter
 
  #43  
Old 01-25-03, 08:30 AM
jkebxjunke
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Exclamation climb the ladder

I would say climb the ladder at home depot... go to either the district manager or even corperate and complain. Nothing 'motovates' a manager like pressure from above.
 
  #44  
Old 01-28-03, 09:15 PM
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Electrical Ethics Question -

dead end - possibly

well, home depot and their contractor are in lockstep with each other.

the asst. mgr of the local HD store told me that the contractor would have charged me 110 either on the day of the installation if they had known enough about national codes (which i did find out it is a national code to have a disconnect box) or after the failure. essentially they were telling me what they 'would have' done, had they known... no way of me disproving that...

then after a slight pause while the asst. mgr. put me on hold to talk with the mgr., the story became that 110 is the 'standard price that HD charges thru its contractors' for such an 'extra'. so within one phone call, the story changed from 'what the contractor said' to 'this is our contracted price with our contractors'. nice little switcharoo under pressure i guess - hoping i wouldn't notice... but at this point the guy is telling me that there's nothing else he can do for me. the price is what the price is.

i went on and on about how the screw up should me made right and the guy offered me nothing for my troubles. i ended up cancelling the contractor's appointment so i can either do it myself or shop it out to someone not in bed with HD.

WHAT'S NEXT?

well once i figure out how to get past this inspection failure, i'm considering bringing it up with the regional or national HD manager. anybody know who that might be or how i can find out myself?

that's all for now...
 
  #45  
Old 01-28-03, 09:47 PM
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Ask the manager of your local HD to put you in touch with the regional manager.
 
  #46  
Old 01-29-03, 04:23 AM
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How did you pay for the water heater and installation? If you paid by credit card, call the credit card company and place a claim on the charge (for $110.00).

Kooter
 
  #47  
Old 01-29-03, 05:16 AM
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another 45 for the contractor to install a ball valve at the output from the heater (at my request)
In my town this would have failed inspection. (and did)

No valve allowed on the output (hot) side.
 
  #48  
Old 01-29-03, 05:53 AM
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I have a friend who works the Customer Service desk at HD. He said that the one thing you can do to put fear into a manager's heart is ask for the "corporate number in Atlanta."

He said they'll usually do what it takes to make sure they don't have to give you that number. Make sure you talk to the manager, not an assistant.

OTOH, it sounds to me like you'll wind up paying either way. I'd forget the hassles and be done with it. Why don't you just DIY? After all, it's just a glorified switch. And you have to get it inspected again anyway, so you'll know the result will be safe.
 
  #49  
Old 01-29-03, 08:25 AM
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THANKS TO ALL WHO REPLIED AFTER MY LAST POST!

some comments - i asked for the ball valve on the hot side so that if and when the heater needs to be shut off for service for any prolonged amount of time (and it usually happens in the middle of the night or a weekend), i won't have to turn off the water at the well tank. you see, i have a hot and cold mix going into the toilet (probably done so that the toilet tank won't sweat in the humid summer months). unfortunately, when the water heater went in december, i couldn't just turn off the intake valve at the heater to empty it because the water pressure was pushing water backward thru that mixer before the toilet intake and cold water was flowing back into the water heater thru the hot water outlet.

with the new ball valve i can effectively isolate the water heater for draining without sacrificing both hot AND cold water for the whole house.

on the other comments - you really think me asking for the corporate number in atlanta will put the fear of god in them? a few days have passed and if they were smart, they did enough pre-emptive damage control with whoever they needed to, don't you think?

we'll see...
 
  #50  
Old 01-29-03, 11:28 AM
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Wow, austin, I just took a look at the responses here in the electrical forum to the same question that you posted over in the plumbing forum. I would say that it looks like the electrical folks don't agree with the plumbing folks regarding this issue.

The folks in the plumbing forum pretty much said that it was NOT the contractor's fault and that you to eat the $110.

Interesting split between the two trades, eh?
 
  #51  
Old 01-29-03, 12:40 PM
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I am still curious what the contract between you and HD said. I have used HD subcontractors 3 times in the last year, and every time I received an extremely detailed contract (minimum 3 pages long) that should discuss subcontractors requirements for installation in detail.

The HD where I live has been very impressive. On a carpet install in a room they stretched the carpet a bit too much in one corner so the color shifted a bit in the light. It was $20/yard^3 plush carpet. They sent out an HD employee and they decided to make the supplier eat the carpet (they told the carpet supplier it was a defect in the carpet), and called out the sub to reinstall new carpet.

I was impressed at how they offered this solution with only a quick phone call on my part.

I have continued to use HD because of the power they seem to have over their subcontractors and suppliers.

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  #52  
Old 01-29-03, 02:10 PM
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i have no written contract on the job from HD. i phoned in my emergency with them (got their no. from their website). when the old one started leaking, it was 10 at night and i needed the water heater fixed by the next day. according to their website, they would and did have their contractor there by the next morning. i was in a pinch and i paid a premium in the end for calling them in a panic. like i said in my other posts (if not here, check the plumbing forum) i had to turn off the water to the whole house (not just the hot) because of the way the plumbing is in my house. with 2 little kids at home, i couldn't keep the water off for long (cooking, bathing, toilet usage for youngsters is much more immediate gratification than for us oldsters).

i didn't have time to find the cheapest/closest/best contractor and this is what i ended up with...

i learned my lesson here.
 
  #53  
Old 01-29-03, 02:29 PM
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There is some detail at HD website, it states...

Any additional work necessary to bring unit up to code will be quoted, in writing, at the job site, prior to the start of the job.

It appears the part of their contract was not fulfilled, and I would highlight this to them and movve up the chain with this if necessary.

You do seem screwed that they are stating that it costs $110 even at time of install. Maybe you could call another HD pretending you need a water heater install, tell them you need a disconnect and would like them to quote it before an installer is sent out.

Curious....

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  #54  
Old 01-29-03, 03:37 PM
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i might try that (checking with another HD on the price of the disconnect install)

thanks for the suggestion
 
  #55  
Old 01-29-03, 04:44 PM
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Curiousity on my part but has the inspector ever answered your question about the exact code you are suppose to be in violation of?
Has anyone contacted you on anything since you were told of the violation?
Was the inspector that failed you an electrical inspector or a building inspector? I have found in the past one trying to do the others job and getting codes wrong.
The contractor that did the work is legally responsible to make sure the work is code complient it is his responsibilty to deal with the inspector the permit may be for your house but should be in his name.
 
  #56  
Old 01-29-03, 06:21 PM
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Curiousity on my part but has the inspector ever answered your question about the exact code you are suppose to be in violation of?

It is common sense and part of NEC code that all electrical appliances must have some form of disconnect "nearby". Usually it is the plug into a receptacle, like your blender and TV. For hard wired devices, AC, some water heaters, you need a form of disconnect "nearby". If the service panel is "within sight" and within 50' then this can be the disconnect, otherwise, a disconnect must be added. They are very common for Air Conditioning compressors outside, and the same parts can be used for water heater install. This is for safety so that while someone is servicing the appliance they can visually insure the appliance is not plugged in. If the breaker is "out of sight" then someone could turn the breaker back on without the person knowing it and death could occur. Especially if the "someone" is standing in a puddle from a leaking water heater that is being replaced. Scary!

1. I assume this water heater was "hard wired" and not a plug into a receptacle.

2. If so, then this subcontractor is a bozo for not installing a disconnect, and should apologize for wasting you and the inspectors time and come fix it ASAP, just on principle and to insure safety.

I read the contract on their website and it states the contractor is :

1. Expert licensed, as required, and insured proffesionals who will get the job done right the first time.
2. Any additional work necessary to bring unit up to code will be quoted, in writing, at the job site, prior to the start of the job.

The contractor failed on these two items and HD should be embarassed. I would read verbatim the terms on their website to the HD you ordered the water heater from.

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  #57  
Old 01-29-03, 07:21 PM
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Thanks for the response whyohwhyoh but my curiorsity was on the answering the question not on the answer to the question.
Many hot water heaters are hardwired with the only disconnect being the breaker in the panel. I was just trying to find out which code the inspector was using and if there was something going on here that was not being said. An inspector to leave this in the hands of the homeowner and not in the permit holder is strange to say the least. Also inspectors from area to area have various things they inforce where in the next jurisdiction it would be overlooked. I deal with inspectors from 52 states and 10 provinces everyday although it gets confusing I have found they rarely do things like leave things like this in the homeowners hands
 
  #58  
Old 02-06-03, 03:06 PM
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PROBLEM RESOLVED!!

My brother in law came over and assessed the situation (he's got a BS in electrical engineering, worked with an electrician for a summer and is an all-around helpful and handy guy). he said that not only did i need a switch but that the romex wire coming down from the joist in mid air is a violation - with nothing to protect it, it could easily get cut if something knocked into it and create a fire hazard. here's what we did.

1) moved the wire from the joist it was stapled on to the one next to it where it was almost directly inline with the electrical panel on the WH.

2) set up a 30 amp double pole switch (which my bro-in-law happened to have on his garage shelf luckily because home depot didn't have any on their shelves) up on the new joist above the WH. ran the wire to the switch.

3) set up a 41" metal conduit pipe at the joist and ran the wire from the switch down into the pipe and directly into the top of the WH so now the wire from the switch is no longer hanging out in mid air- it's protected inside the rigid metal coduit pipe.

4) connected all the wires to their corresponding points and BINGO! it all worked... i even used my label maker to indicate ON, OFF and "WATER HEATER" on the switch so there's no question that its there and what its for...

And today, good news. We passed the re-inspection.

here's the kicker - today's inspector (not the same one as the first time) said we DIDN'T NEED THE SWITCH!!!. i told him that's what the first guy failed me for! when i told him who the first inspector was, he said, "well he's the boss so i'm not going to say anything about him failing you but you don't need the switch". i told him about the wire coming down in mid-air like it used to and he said "you should have failed for mid air wire... but the switch??? i wouldn't have failed you for that"....

so all that for what one guy interprets as 'code' versus another guy's interpretation...

either way, i would have failed & possibly twice-- i'm fairly certain that the Home Depot contractor would have come out here, charged me 110 and only put in the switch and not the conduit pipe. at which point, the inspector who came today would have failed me a 2nd time. then the HD contractor would have charged me another 110 to install a conduit pipe!!! smell a racket anyone?

it's certainly been a learning experience.

total cost of materials: $13.72
not having to give home depot and their contractor's more business: PRICELESS

thanks to everyone who gave advice (either pro me or pro HD) it's great to know there are so many knowledgeable contributors to this community. this is a very valuable forum

AustinPM1
 
  #59  
Old 02-07-03, 04:58 PM
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not all us "professional contractors" are bad........i love it, when a citizen does good, at the expense of the bigdog corporate ceo's.......
 
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