+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlantic Canada
    Posts
    17

    Question Ethics in plumbing - was I negligently misdirected?

    Good evening,

    I thought I would throw this question out into this discussion forum as well. What do you think of this.

    At the time the plumber (an old-timer I liked for his salt of the earth eccentricities and apparent knowledge and appreciation for old plumbing)was in my house with his apprentice to remove the plumbing fixtures in anticpation of a floor and bath/shower tile installation, I mentioned to him that the faucet had just started leaking.

    He said they would take care of it when they came back to re-install the fixtures.

    They came back three weeks later and spent HOURS trying to replace the tub faucets. Went out looking for different sized whatevers, etc. At one point I went upstairs to ask if it would just be better if I went out and got something new? No, no, they would get it done. They were there most of the day. My contractor reminded them about replacing the cartridge on the tub faucet. They said "she told us not to bother". Not true.

    And - it was just the apprentice and an even greener plumber that were sent, not the big guy.

    I noticed later of course that the tap was still leaking: more than 15 litres in about 6-7 hours. So 50-60 litres a day of warm water. No longer a drip, it was a steady thin stream. Called up the plumber. They'd be back, the cartridge had been encased in wood, the best time to take it out would have been before the new tile had been put on....

    No kidding, but I trusted his expertise when he said they would take care of it when they came back to reinstall the fixtures after the reno was done).

    So they would work on the cartridge. They might have to break off some tile, etc. But they would work on it. They were in for another hour, this time with the big guy. He calls me at work: you are going to have to forget about these old fixtures and go with some new stuff. We can't get the cartridge out of the wood..... Well, the old fixtures weren't looking so hot any more anyway, with all the wrench-marks they had inflicted. I mean they had been there since the twenties probably, and two young guys managed to do what 90 years of other plumbers or renovations hadn't done.

    But here is my question: Why not tell me that from the get-go, not after how many billable hours and how much money? Isn't that a little unethical? Am I paying for advanced training and problem-solving for these apprentices? I probably could have purchased the lovely $650 reproduction hardware with the new water mixing/temp control technology, rather than the $250 for ordinary ones now on top of the hourly rate I am going to have pay for all of the fruitless work. And my week-old new white tile is going to have to come down around the taps. It just doesn't seem right. I feel mis-used by this plumber.

    On the subject of the training. My contractor remarked that it took them half a day to replace a toilet. It wasn't a brand new toilet, but it wasn't one from the twenties either. They also had trouble with the old drain on the old sink - ok, the non-standard rubber gasket is not readily found. I understand that. I'm ok with that. The old pedestal sink has lovely lines, and since I wasn't aware of any potential problems I thought why not keep living with the original two-taps/two faucets. I am not a plumber. I know how to turn off the shutoff valves, how to turn it off to the house, how to change my washer hoses, and that is it. I pay a plumber for THEIR knowledge and expertise.

    And all the time the young guys were apparently grumbling "why doesn't she just buy new stuff". I did offer to do so, remember dudes?

    But the tub/shower was an incompetent debacle in my opinion.

    If anybody read this far, I'd love to have your opinion. BTW, this plumber came recommended, doesn't advertise but keeps busy by word of mouth, is fondly remembered at the plumbing supply places. I want to like this guy and forge a relationship. I just bought this 90-yr old house a few months ago. My first house, and I am a single female carrying it.

    I'm not sure at all about this old home ownership thing. But it is such a nice old house.

    I don't suppose his bill will come with exactly how many hours were spent on what task.

    Thanks muchly
    TT

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South*East
    Posts
    1,208

    Default Re: Ethics in plumbing - was I negligently misdirected?

    When ever a tub or shower is being replaced we recommend replacing the faucet at that time. As far as pulling and resetting a toilet even if the flange needs repair or replacement it should take no more then two hrs. for one man. In the future I would get a price from the vendor before allowing the work to be done.

    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlantic Canada
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Ethics in plumbing - was I negligently misdirected?

    Thank you again John. It never even occured to me to get a quote on plumbing. I thought there were too many variables, and a deinstall/reinstall (the tub wasn't replaced, just the walls were tiled). What I probably should have done is just let my contractors handle the plumbing and plumber. They worked with their own electrician.

    TT

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Ethics in plumbing - was I negligently misdirected?

    Unfortunately when you met the plumber and enlisted his services he didn't show up to do the work. Instead he let his flunkies loose and obviously they weren't able to work on their own and need his supervision. Perhaps if this plumber is indeed a good guy then discuss the issues with him to come to some agreeable compromise as to price for work that has been done so far. If need be have the contractor that did other work have his plumber quote you on finishing things up.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlantic Canada
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Ethics in plumbing - was I negligently misdirected?

    Thanks for this reply as well fellow Canadian.

    I guess that is what I was feeling - I was hiring HIM, and his expertise, even if that came in the form of direct supervision and input. I knew he had apprentices, but the first (and only) other time I had plumbing work done, he was here the whole time. So you have hit the nail on the head - I wanted him and his expertise.

    Hopefully I can have a successful conversation with him. Such things aren't my strong suit.

    TT

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Ethics in plumbing - was I negligently misdirected?

    tef1964 --- by the way -- welcome to the forum.

    In your original post you had eloquenty spelled out the issues and your feelings . Perhaps print it off and let him read it --- maybe he may be influenced by this.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlantic Canada
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Ethics in plumbing - was I negligently misdirected?

    Thanks Canuk.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •