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Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
... Thanx gang,...unfortunately I have a whole trunkful...Just true to life experiences,experienced by none other than me,your friendly neighborhood Attic Rat.I'd be happy to share them with you all... Come to think of it,'ll do wonders for my Therapist too!! [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
Reminds me of the time I was working in a renovated house. I was drilling down through a sill plate into the crawl space below. I just barely broke through with the 7/8" auger when water comes gushing up through the hole. [Linked Image] Only thing it could have been was a heat pipe so I run down to the basement and turn off the boiler water feed. I went back to the shop to get my torch and plumbing tools as well as some 3/4 copper tubing and a couple of couplings. I crawled into the flooded crawl space and saw that the stupid plumber ran the pipe almost on the underside of the subfloor. Long story short I replaced the section of pipe, refilled the system and since no one was around we are the only ones who will ever know what happened. [Linked Image]

Oh, it's always good to know something about the other trades, you never know when it will come in handy!


Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
Attic Rat, I have a trunkful, too. Most of us do. That's what we're underpaid for.

What counts is how you recover from mistakes. You fixed it. That's all that matters.

Good work!

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 328
I mentioned this thread to my dad and he got a chuckle out of it. He's retired from a Nat'l Lab where he was the go-between that took what the physicists where dreaming up and translated it for the technicians so they could build the prototype or he would engineer the 'field' version. In other words, he's a southern engineer with a flair for cooking up cool toys.

Now for fun he's the Fri/Sat/Sun employee at our local hardware store & it's like putting a kid in a candy store. His take on all plumbing jobs (for non-plumbers) is that it's never a 1 trip to the store kind of task.

I think it would be handy to know a bit about each trade so you don't get yourself into a real fix!

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
I feel your pain.

It reminds me of a job I had a few years ago. We were adding some outlets for a counter space in a Butlers pantry. The HO was planning to tile the backsplash so I told my helper to get me the cordless sawsall. I then proceeded to cut a neat 6" by 8ft section of drywall out so we could do our work and place it back for the tile man. I was almost done when water started spraying me in the face. I ran the the basement to find the main shut off, but no luck. I went back up stairs and noticed the water shooting out was hot. I knew where the hot water heater was so I ran down and turned the valve off. At that time I hear a loud scream coming from the master bath. As I came back up the stairs, I see the man of the house with a towel on soaking wet and covered in soap suds at the top of the stairs. As you can guess, he was in the shower when I turned off the hot water. It's a good thing he's a nice guy. The wife gave us lots of towels to dry up the floors and her new cabinets. As it turned out, the cheap builder (million+ house) used CPVC for the water line and I had nicked it. The plumber installed in on the edge of the stud, so it was touching the drywall. The good part is it only cost me about 50 cents to prepair, but if the pipe was copper, I would've known I hit it and probably wouldn't have cut deep enough to cause a leak.

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 10-23-2004).]

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 91
I was working in a very expensive home installing a new lighting automation system. I replaced one of the existing switches that was mounted in the mirror backsplash of the sink. The backsplash, BTW, had all of the edges beveled. After CAREFULLY tightening the switch down I turned around to my laptop to see if the new switch was communicating with the system. I heard a very strange noise that I had never heard before. You can only imagine the horror on my face when I discovered the noise was the mirror cracking from the switch down to the countertop.

All I could do was offer to pay for the backsplash but my employer declined my offer.

I swear, I only tightened the switch enough to hold it, I SWEAR !!!!

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 17
Oh the plumbing stories! It's gotten to the point that I carry enough plumbing supplies and fittings that the plumbers check with me before runninig out to the supply house for that one piece that they are short, and often I have what they need.

One of my worst experiences was about three or four years ago when I had my son cutting open the floor to gain access to drill the joists below. We were told in advance that there was a bit of radiant hot water heat in the floor and met with the homeowner to show us the areas to avoid.

I set a circular saw to just under 7/8" to cut through the 3/4" plywood sub floor and sent my son off to do his work. Shortly he was back asking me if there was supposed to be water squirting out of the cut that he just made.

What we found was the some ingenious plumber designed his own system using 3/4" copper set into notches in the tops of the joists (in an area forgotten about by the homeowner). If that wasn't enough, the plumber inserted shims where ever needed to insure that all of the tubing was in direct contact with the underside of the sub floor.

The boiler in this "mini mansion" was the size of a small truck with a 1" makeup water supply could that pump a lot of water back into the system in a short period of time.
Once the water was finally shut off, we had to wait for the three stories of those huge cast iron radiators to drain to beneath the first floor.

Of course I had the necessary fittings, torch etc to repair the copper. Then to add icing to the cake it was November in the north east and I didn't have a radiator key with me. Helpful Homer at the local Home Depot was not very helpful that day, he just didn't get the concept of needing a key for a radiator it's not like you need to lock them up or anything.

We lost about an hour draining the system, a couple of minutes repairing the problem, about an hour refilling the system, about an hour and a half chasing down a key and finally about an hour bleeding the system and getting heat back into the house.

It was just another monday.

This is a pretty good thread, I may have to post again with the cat story from about thirty years ago with my dad.


Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 524
... Got a new one for you all,..although,it was my helper this time,and not me.We were roughing in for a kitchen renovation,and there was plywood sheathing nailed to the tops of the ceiling joists that had to be cut out from underneath to make way for recessed cans in the ceiling.I assigned the task to my 2 yr. man,feeling confident in his ability to use a "Sawz-All",and extricate the sheathing from our lighting areas....Within a few minutes of sawing,I hear,.."Sh*t,...shut off the gas"...I almost had a coronary,..(once again) when I saw what he'd done.He managed to "Ginsu" thru a 3/4" flexible gas line [you know,that yellow stuff,plastic outside,and corrugated metal flex on the inside,..] that was run thru the ceiling,on top of the plywood,and instantly the room filled with gas.I ran and disconnected the string of temp lights we had,and made a mad dash to the basement,and met the carpenter there,who said he'd shut the gas off....O.K.,I ran back upstairs only to see the H.O.,freaking out,and gas still pouring out of the cut piping.I ran back downstairs and yelled to the Mexican carpenter,"I thought you said you shut off the gas"...he replied in broken English,.."I deed",..I then said "Where is the shut-off?",..and he brought me into the boiler room,and pointed to the boiler gas shut-off...I then ran frantically thru the basement and located the MAIN shut-off,as there was no gas-cock for the flex line,(although in my opinion,there should've been one).We were running around like a pair of Keystone Cops..[you could just hear the rag-time piano playing in the background]I returned to the 1st floor to face the music,and call my "buddy" the plumber.He came by within a half hour and told the H.O. that he could easily splice the line by installing a union...She wanted no part of that,and insisted on a replacement line.The total run was about 50',or so,and he called his supply house to order it.Then came the bad only comes in 100' lengths/coils,and it was gonna cost around $350.00 just for the flex the special fittings that go with it.I told him to go get it,and he returned with the stuff and together we pulled a new line across the ceiling...At the end,it cost me $629.00 and I paid him then and there.My "buddy" charged me $200.00,and the stuff cost $429.00 with tax...I was fuming,...I didn't speak to my helper that day, I had to cool down,but the next day,I told him he'd be paying half.I'll eat half,but I'll be damned if I gotta pay the whole thing...I told him if he didn't want to pay for his mistakes,..he'd better be more careful..I think he learned his lesson.I probably could've fixed it myself,but I hate gas,and God Forbid something went wrong(er)[is there such a word??]...I let a Pro do it,and I feel better,as well as the H.O...
You just can't make this stuff up,...

[This message has been edited by Attic Rat (edited 10-30-2004).]

.."if it ain't fixed,don't break a Licensed Electrician"
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,497
Nothing as bad as the demolition worker who cut a live gas line with an angle grinder... made demolition much faster!

AR: concerning your last story: Now I know why I like all gas lines here still being rock solid threaded or welded steel pipe!

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
Now I know why I like all gas lines here still being rock solid threaded or welded steel pipe!

Amen! The first time I saw that flex stuff I couldn't believe it was allowed to be used. [Linked Image]


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