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Thread: other internet sites

  1. #1
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Recently came across a couple of "interesting" places:
    1) A plumbing forum strictly....might say viciously... for plumbers only. No DIY. Frankly, they grumble a lot, and don't seem to have a lot of fun!

    2) A place where anyone can ask a question about literally anthing...from cars to legal to plumbing.....and an "expert" will offer to provide an answer....for a FEE! I am almost embarrassed to say that last weekend I paid $9 to find out how to get the power window back up on my Ford Contour. Went down, and stayed down. I was desparate! It only rains one day a year in San Diego, and it looked like Saturday night was going to be that day! Maybe I would have figured it out by myself, but just getting in there was a challenge. He detailed how to get at the motor and remove it...the push the regulator up by hand and wedge a 1X2 under it to hold it up until I can get my mechanic to fix the darn thing. I figure the 9 bucks was well spent. By the way, the forum "suggested" price range was 9 to 30....you offer what you think it is worth, and presumably get a faster or better response with more money! It is an honor system. You offer to pay, but the payment is not committed until you feel the answer is worth it, and accept the answer. You can say no.


    I thought about it, and for 2 reasons, would not want to do the fee thing in the plumbing arena:
    a) This is too much fun!
    b) Who wants the liability that you give someone some advice, he screw it up and floods out a $10,000 harrdwood floor, or his water heater catches fire!

    Anyone else has seen such forums? What do you think?

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I've seen some for appliance repair and auto repair. May be OK, but I didn't try them.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If the plumbing forum is the one I think it is, one of its best contributors, at least in his own opionion which is typical of NYC people, and I have had some serious disagreements.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Taylor's Avatar
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    As a DIYer who recently took on more than he could chew, and managed to find a reputable plumber to help out, I have sympathy for the concern about DIY hacks.

    But there are plenty of hack plumbers too, including licensed plumbers. I am thinking of the plumber who worked on this house before I bought it, who is unfortunately dead now so I can't sue his ass for all the problems he left me.

    And just as there are hack plumbers, there are perfectionist DIYers who e.g. wouldn't dream of putting Type M copper in their perfect little houses.

    I think forums like this that allow a dialogue between plumbers and DIYers can serve a useful educational purpose. They can educate DIYers on how to do something right, when something is out of their league, and they can also educate HOers to recognize hack plumbers. I understand of course that there is a line between dispensing advice and giving free consulting. Design of DWV systems seems like a good place to draw that line, if it seems to be getting out of hand. Just be aware that people are probably going to do it anyway, with or without your input.

    I don't think dispensing advice on a forum like this sacrifices business. People who are going to DIY, are doing to do it anyway. Why not help them to do it right, to the extent that it's appropriate and they are willing to listen? If I were a licensed plumber, I wouldn't worry about losing business. This country has a lot of housing stock that is going to be depreciating for the next few decades, I see plenty of business for reputable plumbers. In my area, it's hard enough just getting an estimate from the reputable plumbers, and I stay away from the hacks to the extent that I can. Even when dealing with good plumbers (and electricians and masons and .....), they are sometimes surprised at things I have learned from forums like this. I am not trying to be smart, I just want the job done right, and I can learn a lot from sites like this.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I say argue your point with big box stores.
    The monster has been created.

    I firmly believe that the states that do not allow the homeowners to do their own work are in reality burying their heads in the sand.

    Mass. for instance does not allow homeowners to do their own plumbing, electrical, and structural frame work. Do you think that all the sales at big box in Mass. for plumbing, electrical, and framing Items is to licenced contractors? I'll clue you in there isn't a snowballs chance in hell that it all is.

    There is a bunch of illegal uninspected work going on!

    In these forums DIYers come for several types of advice...

    You have the ones that simply want to be informed consumers and want to discuss options and get opinions on fixtures etc. and how things should be done.

    Then you have ones that want to try their hand at minor repairs.

    The ones that want to try their hand at a big project.

    The ones that I worry about are the ones that are trying their hand at the last 2 simply because they lack the money to have it done. They are desperate and will cut corners and cheap out to get by. This is the customer that you never wanted.

    I have seen DIYers take the time to research how to do a job right and put forth a big effort to accomplish a huge job very nicely. These are the guys that usually come up with a nice initial drawing that is essentially okay with minor corrections. They ask what fitting is used where and why. They work to grasp the concepts of venting and how to best run pipes. They post pictures of thier work in process and ask how they are doing. They often do the work, have inspections, and pass on the first try. Those are not a loss. Those are a win. This person isn't going to quit the day job! They probably will be the first person to say to another DIYer, "Thats a big job! You probably want a plumber to do that!" "Do you have any Idea what you are getting into?""It took me 4 months every night and every weekend to do that job on the house I remodeled."

    Simply said... "A man has got to know his limitations." ~ Dirty Harry in Magnum Force.

    BTW I have a Lawyer surcharge in my price schedule! LOL

  6. #6
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Actually I have to say that I get a lot of $$$ From DIYers.
    I work Saturdays and quite often I get calls where they realized that they are over their head and the water is off until its done.

    It's kinda like fishin in a barrel!


    I'm not complaining,,, I manage to do pretty good! Service plumbing is still not bad.
    I see a lot of guys rhat did nothing but residential construction hurting though...
    Last edited by Cookie; 08-06-2008 at 08:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Actually I have to say that I get a lot of $$$ From DIYers.
    I often hear from homeowners, that they had no ideal how much was involved until they asked.

    If anything, this type of forum gives plumbers and contractors more respect from homeowners.

  8. #8
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    I come here to read MACPLUMB 777's signature line!

    Muwahahahahaaaaaaaa!!!!!!


    Not too often you get to chat with a guy with a PHD of waterolgy and drainolgy I'm goin to his college next week. Tuition is a old drain cable and some rotted 3" galvanized ductwork off a 40 gallon gas water heater.

    Wait, (clears throat) Hot Water Heater

    Last edited by Cookie; 08-03-2008 at 01:07 PM.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    Actually I have to say that I get a lot of $$$ From DIYers.
    I work Saturdays and quite often I get calls where they realized that they are over their head and the water is off until its done.

    It's kinda like fishin in a barrel!

    I'm not complaining,,, I manage to do pretty good! Service plumbing is still not bad.
    I see a lot of guys rhat did nothing but residential construction hurting though...


    "Somebody" did a small, insignificant plumbing repair on their 600 series Delta faucet yesterday. Lady swore it's not a big deal.

    Oooooooookay,

    I told her in the same way it appears online, "Ma'am? Listen to me. You can make it sound as simple as you want it, but when you get done talking to 4 other plumbers all saying the same thing I'm about to tell you, I'm the only guy who will tell you that I can replace the faucet from the front without access to the back. No remodel plate either."


    That was after telling her that the faucet is JUNK because they didn't use two wrenches to take the bonnet nut off. She explained the problem to a tee, I explained the fix to a tee. Couldn't get to her today so they patiently wait for me till tomorrow to go in and make premium pay to sit in a shower for a couple hours and master the DIY disaster.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  10. #10
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I have a "Hot" Water Heater too!

    If it was cold it would be a broken water heater!

    A PHD of waterolgy and drainolgy and $5 will get you a cup of watered down funny flavored coffee at most Starbucks Coffee Shops.
    Last edited by Redwood; 08-02-2008 at 09:09 PM.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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    I'm an avid DIYer from wayback with more than 50+ years of all kinds of DIY experience. Like most DIYers, my blunders have been one of my best teachers over the years. LOL. But listening to and watching pros do their thing is how DIYing really happens right, even if there is disagreement among the pros sometimes. As we all know, occasionally there is more than one way to do something "right". DIYers need to know.
    I currently have a total of more than 14,000 posts over the years participating in a number of DIY websites as a member, moderator and even as a so-called super moderator at one time on the site mentioned by Cookie. (I have resigned everything now except as a "member" due to lack of time.)
    I'm a real estate broker, and I have had several clients who had no clue that I was a DIYer but had seen my posts of various DIY sites and have asked me to help them solve their home maintenance problems first-hand. I had a local man just this week call me about installing a shallow well after seeing my name here on Terry's website. So this DIY thing is good for my business, too.
    IMHO, any trade professional or experienced DIYer helping other DIYers do things right is good for anyone's business in the long run.
    Terry, you have one of the best DIY websites that I've ever seen, bar none.
    Keep it up! Thank you.
    Mike

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    We do not try to disuade DIY'ers in order to not lose work. Giving someone in ME advice about repairing a faucet is not going to affect the quantity of jobs available in AZ. BUT, I have seen too many DIY dwv systems which were completely screwed up and had to be totally removed and redone, EVEN though they had a very explicit drawing to follow. If they can do that with a drawing, what are the chances they will even start to follow a written description properly. THAT is why I do not even bother to try and design a complete dwv system for a house and sometimes even trying to tell how to revise it is useless. The same way with some faucet repairs. The one mentioned above is a very simple one, BEFORE, the homeowner/handyman tries to diy it. Afterwards it can be repaired without replacing it but it just costs a lot more than if I had been called for the initial repair.

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Dittos Mike. I too think Terry's forums are the best.

    I also was a moderator on the site Cookie mentioned. I didn't like the Super moderators' heavy handed micro managing. Way too PC and anti-everything with personal ego driven control.

    I believe Terry's forums are so popular because of his and the moderators' more or less hands off way of doing things and the quality of the 'pros' here and the advice they give.

    Thank you Terry.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  14. #14
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    I will toss in my 2 cents worth, which I have said before:

    Many of the homeowners who come to these forums ARE GOING TO DO IT, regardless. We can try to help them do it right, or just let them charge ahead and do it wrong.

    There is nothing wrong with offering the advice that a certain job is complex, and might need a professional on site. But we can do that in a non-confrontational manner. Any and all advice on safety and sanitation should certainly be welcomed by the homeowner. If they chose to ignore the advice, then Darwin will prevail.

    For those that flat out don't want to talk DIY at all, there is always that other forum. ( Actually a family of forums. I was browsing around them this morning, and there were skirmishes broken out all over!)

  15. #15

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    In our schools we have the Dare program. It teaches why not to use drugs and to say, no. Then, in sixth grade we teach sex education, so they understand what sex is about to expel some myths on pregnancy and disease. It is far better to teach them than to let them go out and experiment and be a DIY'er.

    http://www.columbiapd.com/cpd_023.htm

    Just my 2 cents worth.
    Last edited by Cookie; 08-03-2008 at 01:55 PM.

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