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  1. #31
    write diagnostic firmware for embedded industrial digital cameras (aka machine vision) gdog's Avatar
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    Wow, just tuned in; great thread!

    After reading these posts have to identify most with Taylor. My background: former auto technician; went back to school after about 10 yrs of doing that to get electrical engineering degree; have had career in the latter line of work for past 15 yrs or so.

    Why am I a DIYer?
    1. I'm mechanically inclined; I've been "fixing" things since I was ten.
    2. Mostly out of necessity; again identify with Taylor's experience with contractors in general; they want 2 to 3 months of my salary to do a half ass job!
    3. My experience combined with my education allows me to "understand" most systems (be it plumbing, construction, carpentry, automotive, etc.) with some/considerable up front work (i.e. study and research) on my part.

    BTW: Absolutely no disrespect to any pros here! If you make your living doing any trade, you figure out pretty quickly that if you're going to do this for the long haul, you had better do a good job. And to do that, you need to understand what it is you're doing! In the case of plumbing, that would not only be knowing all the applicable codes and regulations, but the "why" behind those codes and regulations; i.e. why those codes are necessary!

    Frankly IMO too many techs learn by doing ONLY, and are not properly schooled in the "why". Then when they try to take shortcuts, they may not understand which shortcuts are OK, and which could be dangerous. Of course this is doubly applicable for DIYers! Just the more reason why this forum is so valuable (Thanks Terry)!

    I also whole heartedly agree with Redwood and Dirty Harry! I don't mess with furnaces, because:
    1. I don't understand how they work (in detail) and I haven't taken the time to learn.
    2. I been lucky to find a reputable HVAC contracter who is competant, honest, and trustworthy.

    I could on and on but will spare you. In closing, I'd be interested in what you pros here think should/could be done to improve the competancy of some of those contractors out there who might be less than up to par? Maybe you guys think there's not a problem.

    My perspective? Like I said, I worked for over 10 yrs in automotive repair at indy shops and at the dealership level; that's why I never, ever take my vehicles to a dealer, unless I absolutely have to!

    rock on..

  2. #32
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Welp, on that note...it's bedtime fer Grumpy.
    Long day tomorrow, four hours to sleep.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  3. #33
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Well, this whole thread is kind of why I first mentioned....just asking if anyone else had an opinion.....the "other" forums. This sparring back and forth is not so much fun, which is why I didn't go there. SO, at this point I think I will just shut up!

  4. #34

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    You little ole' trouble-maker you...
    It's ALL YOUR FAULT!
    Last edited by Cookie; 08-04-2008 at 07:21 AM.

  5. #35
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    This sparring back and forth is not so much fun, which is why I didn't go there.
    Yeah, normally it isn't like that here.
    It's like a story I tell my 16 YO

    Every Summer we would head three blocks down to the beach for the day. Went home for dinner, and back for more swimming at night.

    We practiced snapping laurel leaves off the bush with our towels.
    The we would take turns holding a leaf while the other guy snapped it in two. We could get it to eight pieces eventually. We would take the half, and hold it for the other person to "snap" it with. Pretty soon, there was only an inch to hit.

    One day some kids came down with towels to "take over" the beach.
    They figured the eight of them would "dominate". They were that cool with towels.

    We sent them back home with red welts all over their bodies.
    We couldn't' believe anybody would try something so stupid.
    It was just another day at the park, only this time it wasn't leaves.

    If the plumbers from the "other" sites are confused about the way things are done here, and want to come in and stir up the locals with their towels, they may want to reconsider.

  6. #36
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Well, all this has been fun, but Grumpy, I just read a couple of emails from Steve, and I don't think it is as big a deal as all that.

    It's just a basic way of looking at how the info gets out, and to who.

    One thing I will say, and it always gets me in trouble with homeowners is:

    It's quicker for me to do it, than it is for you watch me do it. I work must faster by myself.

    And it takes forever if they help me.

    And it takes ages if I try to explain it.

    Most plumbers are not allowed to even touch a waste fitting until they have run copper for six months.

  7. #37
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Jimbo,
    I'm in full agreement that those other sites aren't much fun. I'm posting on several sites that do help the DIYer and find it very enjoyable.

    The thing is that this world has changed since the good old days, and it's never going back.

    Blame "This Old House" They started it all...
    Before then the trades were some kind of "Black Magic."

    People got into DIYer activity, Being their own GC and a host of other things.

    More DIYer shows, Big Box Stores, and so on.
    It's a Revolution!

    Some of the tradesmen are really trying to stay in the past where they had full control over every job, the methods used fixtures selected, and so on....

    We are in the information age like it or not and it's here to stay!
    Customers are informed they do want to be involved with decisions on methods, fixtures, and the like. They want to feel that they have a hand in making decisions for economy, quality, and performance.

    This isn't effecting just us! That Web MD link that I posted to Grumpy Plumber earlier is often used by people that have a problem before they visit the doctor. They know about what they have and what they could have. They know the medications that they are likely to be prescribed how effective they are, the risks, and side effects. They are asking the doctors important questions and requesting alternative methods of treatment. The information age is hitting across the board and no stone is unturned.

    Many of them even want to flex their Diyer skills and do portions of jobs. They feel that there is a portion of a job where they do not have the skills, time, or, equipment, to do a portion but they want to do the rest. I have to admit many of them turn out impressive projects. Some also start things then realize they are not up to the task and need a rescue.

    Like it or not this is the market we are faced with! If you do not adapt to the changing market, your share of it will decline to a level where extinction is assured. Darwin had a little theory and I'm thinking it's true.

    I recently had a job young family nice house & cars. He definitely was not a DIYer but I recognized him as an information age customer that had an eye for quality and performance. He had several of the Kohler 1 piece toilets with the Kohler's own pressure assist that were not working. I told him that they were orphans and backed it up with a web link. I recommended Toto toilets and backed that up with the MaP report link and Terry's low flow toilet consumer report link. He had a water heater that was one of the ones with a dip tube problem and that was clogging all the fixtures. I recommended replacement with a Bradford White as it was old and in poor condition. I gave him the Jim Layton link that provides information on the defective dip tubes and he searched Bradford White himself and saw in the forums the number of plumbers that go with Bradford White. SOLD! It was a long day well into the evening as it was on a Saturday and they were there only on weekends. But let me assure you it was a job that made my week! He has called me back several other times for other jobs and will not have anyone else from our company... I'm requested and only me!

    I also have people that I have gone too and they want me to only do a portion of the work. I go in and willingly quote what portion they want done. I look at the whole job and sometimes recommend that they have me do another portion of it as well, citing that it may prove difficult for them. Often I just mention that and provide a separate quote for that and apply no pressure other than here's the quote if you need it. I tell them about this and other forums where they can get help and guidance for free and assure them that if they do get in trouble and need me I'm willing to come out and take over or, even offer on site consultation for a fee. Yes, They do call and yes, I do make money working for them. Some of them are very good to work for in fact! I enjoy it!

    The Good Ole Days are gone and Darwin Was Right!
    Do you want to adapt or, is extinction your choice?
    Heading for extiction leads to bitterness!
    Last edited by Redwood; 08-04-2008 at 08:42 AM.

  8. #38
    DIY Member tlarson's Avatar
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    I read several times each week because this is a great source of info. Rarely have I posted comments.

    Full disclosure: I'm a DIY'r that has done 3 complete houses in Oregon and Washington and countless small remodels for family, friends, etc. The first house was all copper, and now I only use Wirsbo. Inspectors in every jurisdiction have been extremely helpful, once they realized that I was capable and did not try to cut corners. I know my limits: no furnaces, boilers, etc and stick to what I know. I'm also a licensed (PE) mechanical engineer in the state of Oregon

    I think the conflicts over the last couple of days are a bit amusing. To be blunt: I come here for free advice and suggestions; would never hold someone accountable except myself for my work, regardless of their advice; and I like to keep up to date on new techniques, materials, etc. The petty squabling seems to be among the pros, not folks like myself.

    I think that a "pros only" site is a great idea (keeps novices like myself from muddling things up), but find these type of sites a great service and source of help. Can't thank you enough!

  9. #39
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen View Post
    Gary,
    You hit the problem with that other site right on the head. That pompous @$$ that was given control of that site by the owner thinks he is some kind of PC god and treats a lot of good people badly for no reason other than his own ego.
    I like to think that I helped build that site early on (well prior to that guy every coming along), but when the owner ultimately let that jerk (and others like him) take over, I simply chose to bail out like you. (He never messed with me, but he forced out a number of friends of mine.) Mike
    I had an out'n out argument with him on the phone after it started in PMs and emails where he falsely accused me of lying to him. The proof I hadn't lied was (and still is) in all my posts there but he refused to listen and then I turned down a moderator position in another forum and he got his feelings hurt and banned me.

    I actually mentioned you personally and others that had built the forums and had been banned or quit. But it had no positive effect. He was only interested in traffic, not if the information given members was accurate. Now I see much less traffic, at least in the one forum I believe I grew for him; Filters and Conditioners.

    He rarely got involved until some like JDP38, Justalurker, Andy Christensen, DUNBAR PLUMBER (our RUGGED here) complained to moderators GregH, twelvepole, DUNBARPLUMBER etc. about me making sales because of my posts. One of them is a competitor, one a customer of mine that dislikes me (he deleted text out of posts in my forum), Andy (a Kinetico salesman that doesn't like what I say about their products) and RUGGED (because I don't agree with his anti DIYer stance and that copper is the best pipe). Yet some of the moderators were doing the same thing with their web site etc. in their 'signature'. I never used a signature there, I typed an old time DOS days newsgroup tag line at the bottom of my posts with only my name and company name. It was meant to differentiate me from the DIYer down the street.... In my 12+ years on the internet and something like a total of 17,000 posts, I have never emailed or PMed anyone soliciting them in any way. I mention all that because I see Steve Nienaber (DUNBAR PLUMBER - RUGGED here, moderator there and in other forums) asked if we are talking about ***.com. Yes Steve, we are.
    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.

  10. #40
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking word of mouth rules over all....

    [quote=GrumpyPlumber;149351]gdog...great post.
    One thing though...we have too many book smart guys that know the code inside and out, but couldn't figure out the mechanics of a toilet flapper.
    Works both ways.

    Bottom line, an apprenticeship and test are at least a sure way to know there's a proven record of experience.

    Over that, always ask neighbors or friends...word of mouth rules over all else.



    Grumpy ....That about sums it up......

    many out there are only able to quote the codes but
    cant take a flapper out of a toilet without screwing something up.

    eventually everyone in your regioin knows who is the real
    tradesman by word of mouth and who is a

    " code quoteing --pencil necked ---barney fife"
    that you dont want to let in your door.
    for fear of all that they will find wrong with
    the plumbing in your home.....


    Trying to make a good living going
    "by the book" and acting this way with the customer
    is the best way to turn them off and be led directly to the door
    They will get back to ya......

    I see it all the time here in town when someone has just gotten
    a price of $800 from someone claiming that they MUST HAVE a
    PRV valve and a thermal expansion tank... because its code...


    they never let that fellow back in the door when they find it for half
    that price.


    .

  11. #41
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Well, flipping houses is flipping houses.
    When flippers get into the act, there can be some mighty big corners cut. Even with licensed contractors, if the person holding the purse is tight with it, it's going to show.

    I worked with a flipper once, didn't like it. I let that customer go.

    Most of the time, if you are flipping house, you are just becoming a general contractor without a buyer.
    You contract for or do the work, then throw it on the market and hope for the best.

    Where I live, home improvement is a way of life.
    Out West where cowboys and antelope roam.
    So nice here.
    We've got that West Coast coolness working for us.

    Grumpy sent me this about the Massachusetts State Board of Plumbers Announces Recent Enforcement Actions
    Blah, Blah, Blah.
    You know Grumpy, here in Washington State you need a license too, and a contractors license.
    So a handyman can have his truck and tools taken, yeah life is exact here for workers.
    They still let a homeowner work on their home though.
    I'm glad my family came out West. Where you still have some freedom.

    Last edited by Terry; 08-04-2008 at 07:30 PM.

  12. #42
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I know exactly where you are at Grumpy... Just across the border we're in a whole different world where home owners can pull a permit and do their own work.

    I'm convinced that in Mass. they are seeing the tip of the iceberg!
    For everyone they catch how many do you think got away with it?

  13. #43

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    Grumpy, this site is for DIY'ers that is what this site is for, you don't have to help them if you don't want to but, that is what this site is for.

    It might not be legal in Mass, because maybe, no one challenged the law. If it is illegal in Mass, then HD and Lowes need to close the electrical and plumbing depts, or have them open for licensed contractors only.

  14. #44
    DIY Senior Member Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyPlumber View Post

    This isn't my choice, it isn't a law that I wrote...please stop assuming I'm a bad person for this.
    FWIW I have never felt this, and I only chimed in to illustrate how important it is for consumers to be informed. I have the greatest respect for your professional integrity, and also the respect you show people on this board even though you have some disagreement with the board.

    I have enough experience now to know that I can no longer afford to just have a contractor come in and do something without discussing it with them first of all. I'm pretty sure that some contractors don't want to work with me as a result. For example, one person let slip that he thought I was a nut for saying that insulating a basement with FG and vapor barriers is a bad idea, which I found out from researching the building science. Fine, I don't want that guy turning my basement into a mold factory.

    I recognize that allowing HOs to do anything in their house is a double-edged sword. I've put in subpanels, replaced beams, replaced water pipes, all of it inspected, because I couldn't get a contractor, or thought it would be more cost-effective to do it myself, or in some cases frankly thought I could do it better myself (because I can take the time to be careful).

    But I have the greatest respect for conscientious professionals, and use them whenever I can.
    Last edited by Taylor; 08-05-2008 at 05:58 AM.

  15. #45

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    Here you go, this applies to all walks of life. Trust me on this one.

    "It isn't what you know that is going to hurt you, it is what you DON'T know."
    Last edited by Cookie; 08-06-2008 at 10:18 PM.

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