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Old 12-26-2010, 10:33 PM   #1
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Hot water Heat repairs and our warranty


Hey Everyone, we just closed on a 1921 four-square home last week.

We stopped by the house today and I fired up the heater - it had been off because there is a cracked water pipe that we're waiting to have repaired. The seller thought it should be off because as she understood it, the water supply feeds water to the heating system.

I determined that it's only for occasional replenishment, so turned it on to warm up the house, without turning on the water.

About 15 minutes later, most of the downstairs radiators began to leak from cracks at their bases on the fin, and after about 30 minutes - when pressure in the system built - we experienced a large amount of water from an apparently broken pipe above the dining room. We determined it is the water pipe to the radiator in the back bedroom upstairs. The bathroom radiator downstairs also sprayed water from an obvious crack. The upstairs ones did not get hot because I turned the heat off off as soon as water moved upstairs, when it began to pour from above in the dining room. As soon as I shut down the heat, all leaks stopped.

We had seen a ceiling crack and some signs of water damage on the living room ceiling, but we chalked it up in a past old leak someplace. Anyway, this clearly was an issue at some time in the recent past for the seller. And it certainly explains why the selling Realtor never, ever turned the heat on and up in that house at any time. We're disappointed these problems didn't come to light during the inspection, and would now recommend that any inspector examining a pressured heated water system give it a full 40 minutes or so to come to pressure so leaks can be found. Anyway, we of course didn't know about any of this before buying, and it wasn't on long enough during the inspection to determine the problem.

After recovering from the heart attacks we both had when our dear new home sudden began showing severe signs of the ebola virus, we thought over our options.

We do have a warranty from American Home Shield which the seller paid for. It covers plumbing, heating, undetected pre-existing conditions, rust and poor maintenance, so we're confident that we're covered. But I have read a lot of online horror stories about warranties and AHS.

Anyway, we need to have it fixed ASAP, whether it is through AHS warranty or out of our pockets. What kind of money does it typically take to patch (or replace?) a hot water system heating pipe in a ceiling? If warranties are often a nightmare to use and result in shoddy work, we may just try to pay this ourselves.

What about radiators. They are cast iron. Can they be sealed with a weld, or must they be replaced? What does it typically cost to fix them?

I'm sure there must be some legal recourse against the seller, but my guess is that such actions would cost more than the repairs of the heating system.

We bought several large space heaters and run them throughout the house now to keep it warm. We suspect the seller idiotically turned off the heat either last winter or late this fall, when she had moved out, and cracked some things because of how cold it got. We're in Ohio. We aren't living in the home now, we own another home one town over.

Anyone have any thoughts on the cost of these types of repairs? Or whether warranties work on this front?

Thanks

Adrian

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Old 12-27-2010, 07:51 AM   #2
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Even if this were a "how much" site, there are way too many variables to get an accurate assessment of something like this on the internet. Call or visit at least 1, but preferrably 2 or 3 local heating and cooling contractor(s) in your area, tell them the energy source and type of system that you have, and give them a brief summary of your findings. I am sure that they will agree that the only way to provide you with an actual estimate is to actually see it. While you are at it, ask them if they have any affiliation with AHS. Or, and perhaps someone familiar with AHS will chime in, another path may be to first contact AHS, or visit their website, to see if they have a list of participating contractors. I would not delay though, as you have a lot of lines to potentially freeze, likely to require more repairs.


Last edited by DexterII; 12-27-2010 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:28 AM   #3
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Did yoou have a home inspection, not that it means anything, but you may have recourse.
If the seller hid the fact of the leaks, there may be recourse.

I'n not sure this will cost a bit of money to repair, and if you are like most home buyers, very little money is left right now.
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:34 AM   #4
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Did yoou have a home inspection, not that it means anything, but you may have recourse.
If the seller hid the fact of the leaks, there may be recourse.

I'n not sure this will cost a bit of money to repair, and if you are like most home buyers, very little money is left right now.
Indeed - our goal is to get this stuff fixed as quickly as possible and at the lowest expense to us. At the moment, we're going to pursue the warranty, which if nothing else will get us an evaluation of the problem (and an estimate) on paper. Then we're going to look at what recourse may require. If the warranty will do the work, we'll probably go that way. If not, then we look at what it would cost to sue or what have you, and see if that will work.

I can't tell you how much I've learned in the past 24 hours. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:18 PM   #5
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Home warranties are FUD. This reapair is something that you need to go back and talk to an attorney to have the sellers correct, even if it was a bank owned property. Only way to fix, is to sink so much money into replacing the whole system, that it will end up being a money pit.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:14 PM   #6
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we have had to finish domestic water for the past few weeks, but will get into the heating system tomorrow. I found the leak that is in the ceiling. A burst at the elbow where the pipe curves up to go to the radiator.

Is this characteristic of freezing?

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Old 01-06-2011, 07:17 AM   #7
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No, that is characteristic of a old system. Stuff happens.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Is this characteristic of freezing?
Yes,... Absolutely...

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No, that is characteristic of a old system. Stuff happens.
Did you Read the Op's statements,..??

I didn't think so...
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:11 AM   #9
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That's a classic frozen 90*ell. The black pipe is quite strong, and will resist failure from freezing effectively. The 90 receives ice pressure from both directions, and can be made of material which is rather brittle.

You should have immediately contacted a lawyer and the seller to inform them of this condition. As you further repair these defects, and as time progresses, the seller can counter that they were not informed in a timely matter and were not given an opportunity to repair the situation themselves.

If I was you, I would have contacted the seller, and informed them of the failure of the mechanical system at large. My stance would have been that the system froze during their ownership, and their actions concealed this from buyers and inspectors. As such I would have expected the sellers to return the system to it's presumed operating condition at no cost to me. And this would have included incurred costs such as hotels

You need to lawyer up today
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Yes,... Absolutely...



Did you Read the Op's statements,..??

I didn't think so...
I read it. Again, signs of a poorly maintained system (ie not draining the system when closed up for Winter, and old piping that its days were numbered. Cast & galvanized will only last so long before age catches up with it.
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:35 PM   #11
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Cast & galvanized will only last so long before age catches up with it.
Ayuh,.... Especially when Frozen, with water in it.....
Quote:
That's a classic frozen 90*ell. The black pipe is quite strong, and will resist failure from freezing effectively. The 90 receives ice pressure from both directions, and can be made of material which is rather brittle.
Salvator,... You most Definitely wanta Lawyer up,....
The Seller should be liable because of turning the heat Off....

Last edited by Bondo; 01-06-2011 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:58 PM   #12
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yeah, I'm seeing our lawyer next week. I hope we can get them to pay!
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Salvatorparadise View Post
yeah, I'm seeing our lawyer next week. I hope we can get them to pay!
It may take longer than you think. Since you have started repairs, the judge could end up siding with the Defendant, since you signed the contract with knowledge of what you were purchasing. The Realtor needs to also be included in the suit, since they did not disclose full disclosure. It will be hard to go after the Inspector, since they were a third party hired to give a opinion of the purchase. Lawyer will know about getting a statement from the Home Inspector if it goes to court. Just make sure that the lawyer knows about real estate law, and expect this to take longer, than the repairs will take.

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Old 01-06-2011, 08:24 PM   #14
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i know it. i'm actually seeing our real estate lawyer about an easement issue, and we're going to talk this over, too. i fully expect that we will end up paying the whole thing w/no luck on lawsuit or warranty, and for the sake of getting it done in a timely fashion. But i do want to explore every avenue including litigation. We've gone through a couple plumbers that have come out, we're going to get one more opinion from someone who specializes in hot water heating systems, as the today's plumber started talking about forced air, and I don't want that!
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:25 PM   #15
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Bondo, appears that you have selective editing skills. Go back and re-read what I had posted about the system, which was not maintained properly before shutting down before Winter, or should I repost it again. When shutting a Hydronic or Steam system, water is drained from the system, so IT DOES NOT freeze. You do the same with any system that uses Hydro/H2o in it.

The fault lies with all parties involved in this. The Seller for not prepping the house to shut down for unoccupied, the Realtor for not fully disclosing to the buyers, and the buyers for not being more prepared, and the inspector for not doing their job properly. If the Inspection report states "Have plumber/HVAC tech inspect boiler & steam system for proper working order, before starting up. Unable to inspect, due to non-working order/etc.:

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