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Thread: I should know the answer but dont

  1. #1

    Default I should know the answer but dont

    Was working on an electric water heater yesterday, a 3 yr old Bradford/White 50gal., It had a mixing valve to temper the hot water.....why? I don't know...they have a regular gas forced air furnace....

    Anyway, the problem was no hot water, and the relief valve dripping like crazy. So, I checked the power, had power, checked the high limit switch, it had tripped....I reset the high limit switch, could immediately hear the heater working......turned it back off.....checked the continuity and ohms on the elements top and bottom, both good.....checked the house pressure and it was 105psi......I guessed that was the reason for the relief valve leaking......

    But what I couldn't figure out is okay, you reset the high limit switch...how do you figure WHY the high limit switch tripped? I waited for it to heat up and checked to make sure it toggled over to the bottom element, and it did...and the temperature was set at "B" of "hot, A, B, C," so I assumed it was about 140 probably, and left it at that.

    Well, any help for future reference would be appreciated, thanks

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If the T&P was leaking at 104 PSI then it was bad because it shouldnt open up until the PSI reaches 150. You need to replace it.

    The upper stat tripped most likely due to an element that shorted even though it ohm tested O.K., the bottom element does most of the work.

    A PRV and expansion tank should have been suggested with a 105 PSI reading

    They will be calling you back soon.

    Unless you were doing all this as a favor you don't seem to have enough knowledge to be working on and billing people for this work.

  3. #3

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    I "billed" for a service call only.....as for not knowing enough to be doing this....I've been doing it for 12 years and I know just a little.

    I DID suggest a thermal expansion tank, and she didn't have enough money for all that, and I said I would even throw in putting a new releif valve on when I did it to kill two possibilities as to the leaking with one stone.

    I figured at 105psi the water heats up, causes even higher pressure, when everybody's asleep and not using any water and the pressure goes up to 150psi and trips the t/p valve. I'm not an idiot......I just don't like to charge people for something I'm not positive they need, so I told her I'd come back if it does it again and put in a thermal expansion tank....OR.....a PRV at a continous rate.

    What had me buggered was wondering if the temp was going up so high somehow it was tripping the high limit switch.....you couldn't really tell HOW hot it was without taking out the mixing valve.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heater

    1. When "everyone is sleeping" they are not using hot water so the pressure is not being thermally increased.
    2. Look at the color of the screws on the thermal ECO. If any are loose it will overheat the unit, but the screws also usually discolor when that is the cause. Otherwise, it could have just been a glitch and won't happen again. If it has a functional cause, then it will happen again fairly quickly.

  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    We all like to be kind to little old ladies. But if her static pressure is 105, she needs a PRV. That is not suggesting something that "might not be necessary". As for the TP, if it actually leaks at 105, it should be replaced, although I will say that in my experience, if the pressure gets into the 115~120 range, a valve can "weep" and I chalk that up to pressure. Now, what we don't know is....if the TP leak occured when pressure crept up during heat-up. That would imply a closed system, and you seem to indicate no PRV installed at this time.

    SO, unfortunately for the dear lady, she appears to have a leaky TP, needs a PRV, and will then also require an XT.

  6. #6
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perrycat
    I "billed" for a service call only.....as for not knowing enough to be doing this....I've been doing it for 12 years and I know just a little.
    Quote Originally Posted by perrycat
    ...... , I've been doing plumbing for 15 years, alot of those years were as a helper ( until the boss was in a bind many times though...
    ................Any thoughts?
    Perrycat
    Is it 12, or 15?
    You are basically bidding lower than licensed, experienced plumbers with less overhead from licensing/permit/insurance fee's, coming to a DIY site thats made for homeowners, asking the very same guys that may have lost work to you how to do that work?
    I miss anything?


    If he can't afford the tank, how was he able to afford the service fee?
    The price shouldn't be that much more...specifically where thats the reason he called for a plumber.

    Quote Originally Posted by perrycat
    I figured at 105psi the water heats up, causes even higher pressure, when everybody's asleep and not using any water and the pressure goes up to 150psi and trips the t/p valve. I'm not an idiot......I just don't like to charge people for something I'm not positive they need,
    Was that 12, or 15?
    Experience has taught myself and the other legit plumbers here. For that matter, this is very basic.
    Is there a customer who maybe thought he had a safety hazard, but now that a "plumber" has been there, there's nothing to worry about?


    Your boss is able to cut his competition by illegally paying an apprentice, yet charge for a licensed plumber at lower rates.
    Been there, done that, got out.
    I worked for a company that had very few licensed guys, my job was to run around and repair screw-ups.
    Even though it cost him more to send me back to redo work, it was still lucrative.
    The things I saw working there were scary, gas leaks, co hazards, back pitches, unglued fittings, the list goes on and on.
    My take, you could be a shop from the next town over, asking me how to do work that I lost because your price was lower.
    Perry, my thoughts, get AWAY from that shop...get your schooling / licensing done.
    I'd even bet your boss tends to passively discourage you from getting your license..I know the type.
    If something goes wrong and you get caught, he isn't the only one in trouble.
    You'll be included in the legal/financial ramifications.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  7. #7
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo
    SO, unfortunately for the dear lady, she appears to have a leaky TP, needs a PRV, and will then also require an XT.
    As well as a bill for a service call.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  8. #8
    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Default

    I "billed" for a service call only.....as for not knowing enough to be doing this....I've been doing it for 12 years and I know just a little.
    What service did you do? Tested a few things? Did you give an estimate for the work she needs done? Did you call her up and say "look I did some research into your problem and this is what you need done"?
    You know people give me garbage often about working for the company I work for. They say we rip people off and charge to much, but you know I don't charge for not know the answer to the question. If I don't know the answer I make a call to some one who does. I also never do a job until I give an estimate and explain the job I need to do. I also don't charge for estimates, and never give a price over the phone.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    One statement you made shows lack of understanding...add a PRV or an expansion tank. If you add an PRV, you MUST install an expansion tank. Lack of a prv does not mean a XT is not necessary either, as some municipalities put check valves in or as part of the water meter. Unless the 105# was the result of thermal expansion, and not a static reading, she does need a PRV and and XT, otherwise, she needs an XT.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    What the heck do you do when they don't have the money? Screw em? Yeah....... just screw em, they don't matter.
    Last edited by molo; 09-21-2007 at 10:17 PM.
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default money

    If they have a toothache, they find money for the dentist. Why should a plumber work for free, unless it is a situation requiring charitable intervention.

  12. #12
    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Default

    What the heck do you do when they don't have the money? Screw em? Yeah....... just screw em, they don't matter
    You tell them what they need give them a cost. If they can't or wont do it leave.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

  13. #13
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking when they dont have the money

    when they dont have the money, you politely
    get the hell out of there....

    leave them a "bill" that they cant pay
    and simply find a polite way to leave....

    It galls me when I walk into someones house only
    to hear that tey called me to come out for free to
    make repairs their system...

    get that a lot from mobile homes...




    as far as the problem with the Brad White 50 gallon
    electric heater....the high limit was going out because
    the bottom element had burnt out a long time ago and the
    usnit wa s running only on the top element, which is about to burn out too...

    Basically the high limit is probably fried too aalong with the lower element

    I dont care how it tested on your tester...
    the bottom element has probably grounded out and wont test right anyway...


    the only thing you coul have done for them --if they had the money
    was to change out the bottom and top elements and thermostats
    to do the job right



    when all esle fails ,
    change it all --- ---throw it all away-

    clean out all the lime and sediment

    its the only way to be really sure....

    a real paying customer usually is
    willing to have the unit "refurbrished "
    this way.




    of course they dont have the money so you
    could tell them what they needed...

    and then hit the door asap

  14. #14
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I don't know why but the last time I went shopping for food and was hungry the guy at the check out told me I had to pay for my groceries.

    I tried explaining to him how hungry I was but he was insensitive and didn't care how hungry I was, all he said was I had to pay for the food.

    I am baffled at why he didn't let me have it for free.

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj
    If they have a toothache, they find money for the dentist. Why should a plumber work for free, unless it is a situation requiring charitable intervention.

    Not true. I know many people who've had their teeth rot completely out because of inability to pay.
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

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