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Old 12-11-2016, 04:51 PM   #1
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Default Another Drive-by Final Inspection

I recently got called by an old customer who was having problems with running out of hot water every morning and radiant heating problems in his new house (I didn't plumb or heat the house because I was overloaded with work at the time he built it.).

So I head there to look at the running out of hot water problem. It's a big Eco-King indirect tank, fired by a properly sized Viessmann Vitodens 100 boiler. The tank prioritization is working properly. This thing should NEVER run out of hot water unless he had like 20 teenage daughters (he doesn't). But I quickly located the problem.
Another Drive-by Final Inspection-20161203_141003_sm.jpg

See what Mr. Genius Plumber did there? Instead of buying the proper temp controller for the tank, he just cable-tied a regular aquastat to the PEX hot outlet pipe (which should be copper for at least 18" from the tank). Frickin idiot! He didn't even bother to put it in an aquastat well - just strapped the bulb to the side of the pipe! You can imagine how badly this setup would work. The aquastat has no idea whatsoever what the tank temperature is doing - it only gets vague and incorrect clues, sometimes. Moron!

The proper controller has to be an electronic type with sensor on a long wire that goes in a super deep well starting at the top center of the tank.

But as soon as I started looking at that problem I started noticing more and more code deficiencies. Not subtle little things either - big blatant obvious code deficiencies! I got a three quarters of a page list at least. I asked if the job had been inspected - "Yup. Final inspection done and accepted."

My first question after that was, "Did you notice inspector being buddy-buddy with the plumber, or did you see any money changing hands?" The answer was, "No", so my second question was, "Who was the inspector? This asshat needs a slap, or two, or three." Turns out it's one of the inspectors who comes to my nice neat jobs and nitpicks over crap that doesn't even matter or over the usual "shiny new stupid code rule" kind of thing.

Then I asked, "Did he even walk into the house, or did he inspect it from the street?"

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It's not the first time I've seen these f*ckups pass horribly not-to-code crap, while still coming around to nitpick my properly done jobs. This badly piped boiler was inspected and passed, even though it could never have worked properly as originally installed.

Then this total abortion rough-in, done by a local fly-by-night company was inspected and passed before they got thrown off the job for making a massive mess of it. That one made me pretty angry. The entire mess had to be ripped out and replumbed.

My theory is that these inspectors were crap plumbers, so crap work looks "correct" to them, and my jobs look wrong to them because they've never seen it done so it doesn't look like a pile of crap. Maybe I'm wrong...

I'm pretty damn sick of the worthless parasites at city hall extorting money from everyone so they can build their giant grandiose f*ck-you-to-taxpayers buildings, but not giving any value for the money stolen. City halls are just giant stupid make-work projects for idiots.

------------------------

But I digress - back to the bad heating job in question.

The nitwit who built this heating system installed a Taco SR503-EXP-4 zone control board, which is good for three zones, max. The heating system is 9 zones. The Taco has probably a 20VA transformer in it, at best. So as soon as the weather got cold the heating stopped working, and the boiler room smelled like burning electronics as the tiny transformer and parts of the PC board got HOT trying to power all those zone valves. It couldn't do it, so the valves wouldn't open and the house got cold.
Another Drive-by Final Inspection-20161203_140856_sm.jpg

I installed a pull box with a fuse and a 100VA transformer. Snipped the wires off the Taco transformer and wired to power the thermostats and zone valves directly from the 100VA, as well as new wire to power the Taco board. Works great now. Didn't take pictures - I was working late and was sick and tired of it by end of workday.

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Here's Mr. Genius's laughable idea of how to build headers and do wiring:
Another Drive-by Final Inspection-20161207_140549_sm.jpg

Another Drive-by Final Inspection-20161207_140530_sm.jpg

Yes, this is his final installation. That's how he left it, with wires dangling all over the place. Done.

See the zone valve on the right, installed against the stud so it can never be serviced? Moron!

------------------------

Here's where Mr. Genius wires all his digital thermostats in 2-wire and then attempts to rig a power thief in the Taco zone control box by putting 500 ohms between the common wire and the end switch wire (two 1K resistors in parallel). Moron! Of course it could never work, but at least it didn't hurt anything. The only way to make it work is to put one resistor in each thermostat, so for now they're running off batteries.
Another Drive-by Final Inspection-20161203_141106_sm.jpg
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:07 PM   #2
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Come on, we all know who did the job... the infamous Jnohs! !'

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Old 12-11-2016, 11:53 PM   #3
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Quite the post.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:51 PM   #4
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It's inspectors like this that give us all a bad name, just like the sh**ty plumbers give the rest of us a bad name.

I would call him out on it for sure, pictures and address in a meeting with him and his boss. Maybe even the mayor of the AHJ.Even if he knows nothing about controls, even a kid would know better about the wiring, being exposed.

Now this said calling someone for the "looks" of a job is a bad path to start down. Most codes don't give you a black and white to choose from.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAN View Post
... Even if he knows nothing about controls, even a kid would know better about the wiring, being exposed.
I didn't take any pics of the code deficiencies, except the "copper 18" from tank" thing. Codes are so different in different areas that many people here wouldn't understand what I was complaining about anyway.

I wouldn't expect inspector to catch the tiny transformer thing, though if he was sharp at hot water heating, which he claims to be, he probably should have questioned it. But the tank controller he probably should have spotted. That was pretty obviously badly thought out and not going to work. Still, it's not a code thing either.

I also wouldn't expect him to even see the header wiring. I was just shocked at how crappy it had been left. Once homeowners get moving junk in and out of their under-stairs storage I would expect some of that wiring to get snagged and pulled apart. Then next winter comes another no heat call. It's all low voltage, so nobody's likely to get shocked.

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I would call him out on it for sure, pictures and address in a meeting with him and his boss. Maybe even the mayor of the AHJ.
Ya... That's not going to happen. I can barely keep up with my own work already. Not about to get into that can of worms. Screw em. Not interested in helping them in any way. Might mention it if I see him on a job, just to piss him off. I got better things to do than go to meetings with that bunch.
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:54 AM   #6
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My father used to do zone and heating work when I was a kid but finally got away from all of it.... the only time we would get calls was on x-mas day,,,,, I dont miss it

that wiring does look real sloppy



Just for fun I would send the pictures to the inspector who inspected the job and ask him about this install....

he dont like you anyway so why not stir them up
you have every right to ask how that passed
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:22 AM   #7
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Ohh that's a good idea.

Take the photo's and send them through a fake E-mail account to him,
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