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"I" versus "We"


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John,

I don't think fear keeps me from telling clients to replace an old water heater, good sense does. Where I come from, most water heaters last somewhere between 5 and 10 years. If I see one that's 7 years old or older, I'll tell my client: "The gas fired water heater is already 8 years old, you should be prepared to have to replace it at any time." The fact is: Some water heaters get to be 12 years old or older. It seems like a disservice to advise someone to euthanize something that might still be useful for years. (...and you'd better hope your kids agree with me).

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Where I come from, most water heaters last somewhere between 5 and 10 years.

I know we're starting to drift here, but only 5 - 10 years on average? What's in the water up there? [:-crazy] They typically run 15 - 20 here, sometimes longer. Last week I saw an unusual 82 gallon unit that was 34 years old and looked brand new (Crane brand).

"The gas fired water heater is already 8 years old, you should be prepared to have to replace it at any time."

Tisk-tisk Jimmy. A run-on sentence; Bonnie's gonna rap you on the knuckles.

It seems like a disservice to advise someone to euthanize something that might still be useful for years.

I think the situation is key there. If it looks crappy and it's in the attic with no drip pan, waiting is not smart. If it looks good and it's sitting in a drip pan on a slab, waiting isn't that risky.

Brian G.

Please Euthanize My Body Once My Mind Is Gone [:-boggled[:-drool]

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For the record: According to Rheem's web site (I think), the average statistical life of water heater is 8-12 years. Most electric tanks I see are 15-20 years old and still going with no obvious signs of failure.

If an electric tank is 13 years old, I'll tell 'em its old, past its statistical life, but its still working. Those are the facts. I don't think I can go wrong with stating facts.

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I find myself stuck on Scott Pat's incitement of theft from the neighbors...

"The water heater is working, but it is old and replacement is not far down the road." [;)]

I go with variations of...

"The water heater, at 15 years old, is at the end of its life expectancy. Although it is possible that it could continue to function, I have to recommend immediate replacement as a preventative measure."

Which leads me to offer "although" as an alternative to "however" in the original example.

IE: "The water heater is old although it is still working". However, there's still something odd about that.

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Originally posted by JerryM

Simple is usually best:

"The water heater is beyond its design life and may fail at any time. We recommend replacement at this time to prevent potential damage in the event of seepage or rupture."

I agree, simple is usually best.

Are there 2 or more inspectors writing the report?

My clients seem bright enough to know what happens when a water heater fails.

"The water heater is beyond its average life. I recommend replacement now.

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Bill

FWIW here’s my take on your extra simple remark: If you don’t mention the negative ramifications of what may occur your clients may not pay as close attention to your recommendations as you would like. Should the water heater fail and either flood, damage or result in personal injury I guarantee you will be hearing from them and/or their attorney. Also, the “weâ€

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Originally posted by kurt

How does one prevent "potential damage"? Isn't damage, um, damage, not potential damage(?).

Good pickup, brother Kurt.

It's funny. I just ran across this thread. It addresses two simple topics ("I vs. we;" and how to write up a water heater. Ironically -- but not surprisingly -- we HIs have made this insanely complicated.

"I vs. we." Real simple. If there's one guy working the job, it's "I." More than one guy, it's "we." If the HI company is layered; that is, a corporate franchisey kind of thing, go with "we."

Re water heaters: We might try something like, "The water heater is about twelve years old. It's working today. Some water heaters live to a ripe old age; some die young. There's no way for me to predict when the water heater will fail. Note: Usually, the first sign of water heater failure is no hot water at the hot water faucets."

Jeez, all this InspectorSpeak. All this "they" when it oughta be "he." All this passive voice. All this logical breakdown -- inserting a global average to describe an individual thing. The oxymoron of telling a customer to watch out of "potential damage." It's like a Stephen Wright bit.

As I've said before, if an inspecting organism writes like a politician or a bureaucrat, people will dislike and doubt him like a politician or bureaucrat. Maybe it's just me, but I like for the customers to love me and believe me. Cuts down on complaints...

Everybody ought to know the difference between one person and more than one person, and every HI ought to know that nobody knows when a water heater will bust. Sheesh.

WJ

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Originally posted by JerryM

If you don’t mention the negative ramifications of what may occur your clients may not pay as close attention to your recommendations as you would like.

For my meager 2 cents, I also like a bit of a point on the end. My similar "old WH" statement ends with the phrase "before it fails".

Also, the “weâ€

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Originally posted by JerryM

....it's a well know medical fact that those living in southern states suffer from CA envy.

Hah! I'm sure you're already familiar with the phrase most commonly associate with CA in the Great American South.

California: the land of (oranges, bananas, etc.) and (peanuts, cashews, etc.).

Brian G.

And Our Governors Can Pronounce the Names of Our States Correctly [^][;)]

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