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How to make a house explode.


Bain
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I found this during my morning gig in a three-year-old house. The galvanic reaction has already caused the water pipe to leak. The cast-iron gas line is thicker, but who knows how much damage has been done? I called the listing agent and she refused to allow me to shut down the main-level---in the crawlspace---furnace. I haven't heard any explosions yet, but the night's still young.

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Somebody needs to have a word with the moron working for the pipefitter who installed that pipe. apparently it was too much trouble to put a couple of elbows on that pipe to get it clear of the joists, so he just attacked them with a hammer to make room for his pipe. Someone needs to lay that hammer upside of his head.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Good find. Good photo.

I would never touch anything, regardless of what I think might be dangerous. By turning something off, on, or whatever, you become a part of whatever conditions or events occur later on.

Tell everyone in writing in the most urgent manner what you think and what should be done. "The gas pipe is XXXXXXX; it could leak gas and explode catastrophically. Repair it immediately."

It isn't your job to turn anything off, and in my opinion, it would be a mistake.

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I understand your reasoning, Kurt, and I agree. I told the realtor, though, that a plumber should effect repairs today in the interest of prudence, so shutting down the furnace didn't seem like a big deal. The flip side to your scenario is that if something whacky had happened after I'd scooted out the door, I'd also have exposure if someone took the position that I'm the alleged expert who walked away from a potentially hazardous condition without doing anything about it.

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But you "did" do something about it; you provided expert opinion that repairs should be done immediately. That is not ignoring a condition. Even if there was imminent lethal danger, your responsibility would be in clearing the house, not repairing the defect.

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I can see both sides of the argument. Kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't position. The gas company I work for has taken the position of making it safe NOW. They've talked with their lawyers, & have come up with this conclusion: since we've been trained to spot potential hazards, if we do nothing (including valving off appliances, or even the gas meter if needed-temperature doesn't matter), then we're liable. If you've done H.I.'s in the NW burbs and see a caution tag Kurt, that's where all this came from.

A couple examples: gas water heaters come with 2 doors. the combustion chamber door, and the outer door. If even one of them is missing now, we've been told we need to valve it off and issue a tag. This has been around for about 11 years. It seems a lady was doing laundry, and both doors weren't in place. The AWH kicked on, the flame caught the clothes on fire (because she left them on the floor in front of the AWH), and a little girl died as a result. The gas company was sued, and found to be liable, since we were out there shortly before that incident, & didn't warn the homeowner.

The other example are unprotected brass connectors. In past years we just issued a tag, although if they were extremely corroded, we would take a few extra safety steps. Just this past summer, we've been told to valve off the appliance & disconnect/cap the gas line, no matter the condition of the connector. Flex connectors, for gas company purposes, need to be stainless steel, or have an expoxy coating on it if it's brass. And if on examination, it seems to be twisted too much, then it should be "recommended" for replacement. This change in policy came as a direct result of soldered flex connectors. The next time you hear of a gas explosion caused by soldered flex's, turn to channel 2 news. A certain "reporter" has had their name made by reporting on connectors that have snapped at the soldering, and put that home in a gas explosive environment.

I speak only myself now, not for the company, not for anyone here. I have to sleep at night. I would rather take the hardline of safety, than have someone be hurt where I was at before. Like I said...damned if you do, damned if you don't. But at least I can sleep with a good conscience.

Just one man's opinion.

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Gordon works for the gas company; I don't. Turning off valves without the legal authority to do so opens up other cans of worms that I won't touch. I'll call the gas company, I'll recommend the owner shuts off the gas, I'll tell everyone available, but I'm not going to do the work.

I have a hard time believing that if I'm on written record of informing everyone & making a phone call, that I'd be liable for much of anything.

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Mike...been at the same company more than 20 yrs., and long before that, they were telling people of the problems with these connectors. The problem isn't in getting the word out. The problem is getting people to do something about them. We don't get them too often, but the big explosions that happen around here due to faulty flex's get alot of press. Why people don't do something about them, or at least to have them inspected, is beyond me. Usually after some is sensationalized, there is a brief period where it's really busy. The area I cover has had many people change them, but I will still get into a house & see connectors to every appliance, all brass, and heavily corroded. On the other hand, the company I work for is pretty slow. Not so much a wait and see attitude, but let's see what other gas companies around the country are doing, and some of the pitfalls involved. Then they "tweak".

Kurt...like I said-I can see both sides of the issue. And admittedly, I'm somewhat biased in my opinion, having worked for the same company more than 20 yrs. It's a bit of a murky issue, and I'm just trying to get it a bit cleared for "small business", rather than "big business". I meant no offense. I just know what happened as a result of certain practices, but again, this is a big company, and people see deep pockets.

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Hey Gordon, I know you meant no offense. I'm not a shrill asshole; I just appear to be one. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.

The brass connector thing is a nightmare; when I'm looking @ the old joints in the City, I'm amazed how many I see. It always gets a "REPLACE IT IMMEDIATELY!" statement in the report. That's what blew up the bungalow on the South Side 2 years ago, & I've found at least a dozen that are kinked and ready to fail @ any moment.

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Thanks Kurt...outside of Brians astute "observations", it's difficult to read voice inflections here online!! And being somewhat new to this, even though I've been coming to this site for almost a year now, I do alot more reading and storing of information from all of you. How does that saying go? "Better to remain silent, then to remove your foot and remove all doubt". Or something like that. But once in a while, I'll get on my soapbox...about something I have "some knowledge" of. My way of getting my foot in the door. And as of this, I'll shut my mouth concerning this. We all know the pitfalls anyway. The rest is just filibuster.

Hey-we have something more in common...Corey Friedman. He was the instructor for the class I took last year. Great Guy! I don't get to chat with him too often, though.

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