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Old 05-03-2012, 09:30 AM   #1
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Calling a Plumber...


I would be curious to hear some responses to my situation from any plumbing professionals.

I am fairly handy and I take the time to do my homework before I do any job which I am not familiar with. I have learned a lot starting from running to get tools for my dad many years ago. I don't have a lot of projects I won't attempt myself.

Just giving a little background, I have an old house built in 1928. The basement is just full of changes to the plumbing, things I can't identify, etc...

I was wondering if it would be acceptable to the plumbing professionals if I called a plumber who has worked on these old houses and just paid him for his time to walk me through what I have down there.

I am not certain what needs to be upgraded and what needs to be taken out completely.

I could post photos on here all day long and I may never get a response as it would be hard to see all the angles, lines and get a full understanding of what I have.

I do not want to call a plumber and have them give me an estimate for work I may or may not end up doing myself. I want to be above board and just pay a professional for his time to help me identify and give his "what I would do..." type information.

So, would this be acceptable?

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Old 05-03-2012, 09:38 AM   #2
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As long as I was getting paid the same rate and I had to do no real work why not, Make some calls and find out, some will some will not, nothing to loose by calling.
Any old house like that most likly will have steel supply pipes and cast iron drain line.
All of which at some time will leak and start to plug up on the inside.
They may look fine on the outside but steel supply alway rust from the inside out. As they rust the area where the threads are will become the weakest.
The insides become smaller and smaller and will reduce the flow of water.

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Old 05-03-2012, 09:43 AM   #3
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Calling a Plumber...


sounds like a good idea to me.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:27 AM   #4
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Calling a Plumber...


I considered doing something similar when I was looking for a house inspector. I worked with a GC on a couple of projects with my property, very knowledgeable guy, architectural background. I asked him if he would be available to do a house inspection for me,with me paying for his time, instead of the regular home inspector that you would call. Unfortunately, the downside of him being so good at his work, means he had no time available when I would have needed him. He was open to the idea though.(Who better to inspect a house than the guy who builds them for a living?)

Last edited by Canucker; 05-03-2012 at 10:28 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
As long as I was getting paid the same rate and I had to do no real work why not, Make some calls and find out, some will some will not, nothing to loose by calling.
Any old house like that most likly will have steel supply pipes and cast iron drain line.
All of which at some time will leak and start to plug up on the inside.
They may look fine on the outside but steel supply alway rust from the inside out. As they rust the area where the threads are will become the weakest.
The insides become smaller and smaller and will reduce the flow of water.
Yes, I have steel supply lines and that is one of the things I know about. I have seen the inside of some of them already, and it will certainly be on my list of stuff to do.

Having said that, I just would like to know about the reasons for doing things the way they were done.

I won't suddenly one day start ripping out plumbing and replacing it, although 20 years ago, that would be how I would operate.

If we weren't living in the house, I would get started now on that project, but we are and sort of need to keep things operating for right now.

Thank you folks for the input!
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:55 AM   #6
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I fully realize that some plumbers would walk through and give me a list a mile long of everything that needs to be done if they were the ones bidding on the job.

I mean a plumber makes his living making things correct, and I understand that, but the real world of how much I can spend right now collides with doing every thing right away.

I just thought if I got a plumber and paid for a walk around, I could get a list of priorities without them trying to maximize the job for themselves. Don't get me wrong, I have been in business for many years, and I understand how things are done. I have no issue with a plumber getting all the work he can on any job, as that is how he feeds his family.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:55 AM   #7
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I'm no licenced home inspector but have been called in a few times after and before one was done.
Amazing the things right in front of them they miss sometimes, mostly of couse were the ones the realitor sent over to inspect it.

Insulation installed up side down, standing water under the house, a shower drain that had never been hooked up and had been dumping water under the house for years, dry hose just blowing under the house (to save on heat ha ha)
Pump house roof falling in.
Main beam in the house was split in two.
Block foundation so bad you could put your hand through the holes in it.
Heating vents not hooked up, fungus on the subflooring and floor joist, ect ect.
One had vinyl siding installed 5 years before the sale, which to me can be a red flag, the new siding was already starting to sag in the middle of the house.
The old 4 X 6 sill beam was so rotted and insect ridden you could remove it with just your hand.
There was nothing mention in the report about it. I could see it just driving in the driveway.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
I'm no licenced home inspector but have been called in a few times after and before one was done.
Amazing the things right in front of them they miss sometimes, mostly of couse were the ones the realitor sent over to inspect it.

Insulation installed up side down, standing water under the house, a shower drain that had never been hooked up and had been dumping water under the house for years, dry hose just blowing under the house (to save on heat ha ha)
Pump house roof falling in.
Main beam in the house was split in two.
Block foundation so bad you could put your hand through the holes in it.
Heating vents not hooked up, fungus on the subflooring and floor joist, ect ect.
One had vinyl siding installed 5 years before the sale, which to me can be a red flag, the new siding was already starting to sag in the middle of the house.
The old 4 X 6 sill beam was so rotted and insect ridden you could remove it with just your hand.
There was nothing mention in the report about it. I could see it just driving in the driveway.
+1 on that. Knowing what I know now, I have enough confidence in my abilities to do my own inspection. At the time, I didn't know what I didn't know, if you know what I mean?
To the OP: most trades guys would do what you're asking, IF you're paying them for the time. They can easily tell you how to prioritize what would need to be done.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:01 PM   #9
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Where do you live? It it's warm and dry you could fly me down there.
I'll even make a material list.
Seriously though, Pay a plumber for his knowledge and time and both parties should be happy. Just stay away from home inspectors, they are not plumbers
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:17 PM   #10
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Chicago, so not exactly a tropical climate.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:16 PM   #11
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I dont see a problem with it either,youre paying for a plumbing inspection is all.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:18 PM   #12
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thats a great idea.....go right ahead.... i would do it...ben..
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:34 PM   #13
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Calling a Plumber...


You are paying for the knowledge with trades in many cases. I would have no issues with checking out a customers plumbing. A list of priorities would be provided for your benefit. A house built in 1928 will be needing some work.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:41 AM   #14
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Calling a Plumber...


I recently did the same thing. I called about 3-4 long established local companies, and ended up picking one with a plumber who was about 65-70 years old. I paid him about $100 cash, worth every penny, for a detailed walk-thru. He had some cool stories about older homes (he grew up working in this area). My house was built in 1914. He even pointed out some oddball things that I never would've noticed. And, I found out, 30 years ago was the guy who added a first floor bathroom in my folks house (built 1886 or so). It's still working fine today... He said the toughest part was tying into the vent stack in a 3rd floor bedroom's eve crawl space.

Long story short, yep, they'll do it, and I thought it was totally worth it. Once I get the bathroom gutted and the hall floor pulled up, his company gets the job for a total re-plumb and rough-in. Very, very nice people.

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