Did I Get Screwed By an Incompetent Roofer? Need Advice

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mg wrote:

I found it interesting reading the posts from people saying "he's a roofer, not a swamp cooler installer." I think this illustrates the differences in the way things are done in different parts of the country. I'll bet those posters live in the east where you have your heating and cooling in your basement.
Out in the west, it is very common (until recently) to have the AC and heater or swamp cooler on the roof. It is also not only common, but CODE to have the roofer lift the legs of the units and put the shingles under them and then put some tar around the legs. This is the normal and legal practice!
To the OP: Is a 50 percent deposit even legal in your state? Where I live a contractor can't take more than 10 percent for a deposit. Was he even a licensed contractor?
Second, did it pass city inspection? He did pull a permit, right? Don't pay anything until the inspection and ask the inspector about the cooler. You definitely got a bad job, it's just a matter of if it was not done to code and he will have to fix it.
Whatever happens, given the obvious lack of attention to detail by this guy, I would get a reputable roofer to come out and do an inspection to see if he thinks there is anything that is going to cause big problems. This shouldn't cost more than 100 bucks and is well worth it after dealing with bozos like you did (I had a similar situation and had to do the same thing).
-- John
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Wow! Thanks for all the great information John. With all the ideas you suggest, I have a feeling I'm going to win this one. I'll let you know. I did wonder if some of those other posters were from a different part of the country and really didn't understand the situation.
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I admit it. I have never had a house with any equiment like that on the roof. Swamp coolers would not be common in MN except to cool livestock barns during our short but intense summers. I know what they are like though.
We had a window unit when I was a kid. We lived down south. From what I know they are essentially cool water misted or dripped over or in front of a fan. They cool the space but would add a lot of moisture to what already may be very humid air, depending on your climate. They are cheap to run though, esp compared to A/C! But as soon as we had the money, I remember, we got an A/C.
I also admit I am surprised you have a swamp cooler and didn't think they were common anymore in residential situations. In what general part of the world are you in? Are swamp coolers common there? Do other houses in your neighborhood have swamp coolers on the roof?
Never have I seen a swamp cooler in a Minnesota home. In houses up north, mechanicals like air conditioners will have the compressor outside, from what I know. Other type of mechanicals are either in a basement or in a room or closet designed for that purpose. Lots of people have window units for the dog days. I suppose it all means that I could have been wrong. It wouldn't be the first time.
It doesn't change the situation however. You still need to have the roof fixed properly under any scenario esp considering it is brand new. In your case, I think that means hiring someone to come and fix it. Everthing you have described is fixable so don't get too bent out of shape. If yu ever have that house roofed again you will know not to hire them guys and to ask about it with whomever you hire.
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Right. It's been a learning experience, and those are seldom free.
R
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Swamp coolers (also called desert coolers) are probably popular wherever water is cheap and the humidity is low. Cities like Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and Phoenix are examples. Every once is a while, in Utah, for instance we have some freak weather where the humidity does go too high. I would say that happens perhaps once every 5 years or so and lasts maybe a couple of weeks. The rest of the time, they work really well. The biggest problem with evaporative coolers is that you have to climb up on the roof and service them twice per year; once in the spring and then again in the fall. There's a chart at the following website that provides swamp cooler performance versus temperature and humidity. http://www.wonderquest.com/swamp-cooler-humidity.htm
Swamp coolers aren't usually much of a problem for roofers. The legs come right off with a few screws and it's easy to put the shingles under them and then put the legs back on. One big problem that roofers are going to have in future is with Satellite dishes, though. In the case of DirecTV's new Ka/Ku dish, for example, it's probably impossible for anyone but an expert with an expensive meter to install it. That means that roofers are either going to have to become experts or they're going to have to remove the antenna and be careful not to damage it and then call a technician to re-install it after the job is done. DirecTV only charges $49 to do that so it's not really a money problem, it's just a matter of the roofers learning what needs to be done and coordinating things with the technician so that the customer's TV isn't off for too long.
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I'm curious why this is. What I gather from their site is that these dishes have to be adjusted for altitude, azimuth, and tilt, as opposed to just altitude and azimuth. So, that's one more parameter to fiddle with, but I don't see why the same techniques wouldn't work that worked with the dishes that don't care about tilt: point it approximately with a protractor, and then make small tweaks in each adjustment until you get the strongest signal. Is there something that makes this method not work for these?
(For dishes that are used for their two-way service, and so transmit to the satellite in addition to receiving, it is an FCC requirement that you have a professional installation).
--
--Tim Smith

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reply_in snipped-for-privacy@mouse-potato.com says...

Take away any setting and the antenna has to be made larger to accommodate. You can't have a wider pattern (lower gain), keeping the same size.

Only makes sense. You really don't want people tromping on other satellites.
--
Keith

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message wrote:

I'm on my third DirecTV dish now and I was able to install the first two myself. With the first two, my technique was to use the audible signal strength meter on the TV by putting the telephone next to the TV and then calling myself on my cell phone. Another technique I have used is to have an assistant watch the meter on the TV while talking to him on the cell phone.
As DirecTV adds more satellites, though, the margin for error in pointing the dish becomes smaller. Speaking hypothetically, the very first dish might have allowed for a margin of error of 3 or 4 degrees in the azimuth setting, but the new "Ka/Ku" antennas probably only allow an error of a small fraction of one degree. This antenna, incidentally, receives signals from 5 different satellites over a 20-degree span.
Another problem (obviously) with the new antenna is that it has to be mounted so that it's very solid and very stable and it typically requires 2 separate braces to hold it in place. This means that not only is the pointing of the antenna critical, but the mechanical installation is also. In addition, the LNBs are probably relatively delicate and the dish itself obviously isn't going to work if it's bent even slightly.
In short, roofers are going to have a significant problem with these antennas and I'm betting that most of them don't even know it yet.
Incidentally, the previous generation of DirecTV antennas also required a tilt adjustment, but that wasn't really a problem. The problem is with degree of accuracy required and not the number of adjustments that have to be made.
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[snip]

I installed my dishes myself, until I got HD service (I did NOT need a 5-LNB dish). Then the installer (which I didn't need at all, at least if they'd send me the receiver) replaced my working 3-dish setup with a 3-LNB dish (that did NOT improve anything).

Mine was closer, so I didn't need the phones. I just turned up the TV volume and left the door open.
BTW, I suppose you had a headset for your cell phone.

Actually 5 different satellite locations. There are 4 satellites at the main (101) location, and there will me multiple satellites at the new (Ka) locations.
Of the 101-degree satellites, 3 are older ones with 16 transponders each (since there's a limit of 32 transponder channels, some must not be in use), and the new spotbeam satellite with more transponders (I'm not sure of the exact number, although I think that information is available somewhere). 6 transponder channels (4,12,18,20,26,28) are used for spotbeams.

When I had my roof replaced, the roofer failed to replace the dish properly. It's better if you can avoid putting it on the roof.

The "previous generation" being 3-LNB dishes. Tilt is for multi-satellite dishes (and did not apply to the original 1-sat ones).
BTW, the dish isn't the antenna. It's just a reflector. The antenna is very small, and located within the LNB housing.

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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wrote:

Damn! You know I do have a headset that I use for my cordless phone that would probably work, but I was too dumb to think of it. Actually, I just spend an hour or two yesterday trying to adjust my Ka/Ku antenna with no luck. I'm not sure if it's broke after the roofers got through kicking it around or maybe there's a small blip on the signal strength bar on the TV that I'm not hearing with the audio. I have a technician coming out Friday morning. It only costs $49 and I've decided that it's worth it.

I didn't know that. I suppose it makes sense, though.

Yah, I know. My neighbor has a big wall of trees, though, just south of my house. When I originally signed up for DirecTV, I build a triangle, with the proper angle on it, out of some scrap pieces of wood and stuck a level on it with some tie wraps. Then I aimed along the top of the triangle to insure that I had clearance. I'm guessing I have about 20 feet on clearance, but there's no place else to put it.

That's true. The tilt adjustment on the new Ka/Ku dish, by the way, is the only adjustment that doesn't use a fine-threaded screw for the final adjustment. Adjusting the azimuth and elevation on this new one is a little bit like adjusting the idling speed on an old carburator.

I'm not sure if I agree although you might be right. With the well-known Yagi-Uda, VHF antennas, for instance, there is a reflector on the back and then a bunch of directors on the front that focus the waves onto the receiving or driven element. However, the entire assembly is still called an "antenna". I wonder what the antenna inside looks like and if it just consists of one element or some sort of an array? I suppose it's mounted on a small circuit board.

That's true. Leviticus 15:19-30 comes to mind for instance.
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[snip]

It's been awhile since I looked at one, but I seem to remember it's just a few printed circuit traces (4, 2 dipoles one for each polarization).

Yes.
BTW, I don't personally agree with that quotation, never having been in a position to BECOME atheist.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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If it was my roof, I wouldn't allow any unnecessary holes. Any tenant of mine will face a bit of wrath if they contract a screw-it-to-the- roof cable/dish installation, and so will the company that forgot to ask the homeowner for permission to screw-it-to-the-roof. Attach that sucker to the chimney or rake/fascia. Tom
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I've traveled and worked around the country, and I'm familiar with swamp coolers and roof mount antennae of various sorts. It's not a technical question, it's a liability question. Even if the work is fairly simple, an owner would be shooting themselves in the foot to have untrained people messing with the equipment. A contractor receives no benefit, and exposes themselves to substantially increased liability by touching other systems.
Whether they were the owner's or the contractor's, the assumptions caused the trouble. The OP assumed one thing and the contractor assumed another. There's plenty of blame to go around.

A code violation is not "illegal". It's a code violation. I'm also passably proficient in the major codes, considering that I work with them daily, and know of no requirement that specifies in detail how flashing is to be installed with regards to rooftop structures. Please cite the code you are referring to.

The majority of the country does not require permits for reroofing work. The following is fairly typical:
When Do I Need a Building Permit? Common Procedures that Require a Building Permit: Above & Below Ground Swimming Pools Oil & Gas Heating Units and Tanks Contractor Licensing Plumbing Decks & Patios Public Assembly Demolition of Structures Radio & Television Disk Antennas Fences Rental Permit Fireplaces & Chimneys Retaining Walls Hot Tubs Signs Large Tool Sheds Temporary Structure Lawn Sprinkler Systems Tennis Courts New Additions & Interior Alterations Tree Removal New Homes & Buildings Use Permit

Again, you're assuming a permit and inspections. If the roofer or OP had pulled a permit, and the work was indeed against the still-to-be- cited code, then the work would have been flagged, and the OP wouldn't be writing about the cooler's legs. It's probably safe to assume that no permit was pulled.

What exactly will that accomplish? The only time that an independent report would be of use is if the OP decided to sue and an unknowledgeable person, like a judge, needed an expert's report to hang their hat on. For the amount of money we're talking about, it's extremely unlikely that a lawsuit will come out of this.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

All I can tell you is that in my area (where AC units are generally on the roof), this is the standard way of doing it. I have never seen it done as he described.

Again, all I know is from personal experience, I am not a tradesman. In my city, this is the way it has always been done and it will not pass inspection if done like what the OP said.

he used. He said he had to have the old roofs torn off and a new one installed. Again, I can just tell you in my location, a permit is required for that.

yesterday and the inspector can't get there until the end of the week.

original statement,though. I meant AFTER all was said and done with this current roofer. My point was not about lawsuits, I was just saying that after this guy finishes, I would have a reputable roofer look at it to see if there are any problems that should be addressed. Assuming it is not a huge amount, I would not bother with legal action. I would just take it as a learning experience and pay a more skilled roofer to fix it. I did the exact same thing last summer.
-- John
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In the case of swamp coolers, the legs remove with a few screws. So, it's easy to lay shingles underneath them and then replace the legs. In addition, swamp cooler parts are extremely cheap and it's hard to imagine any liability issues.
In the case of satellite antennas, especially the latest Ka/Ku antenna from DirecTV, installation is highly technical and requires an expensive meter. So, roofers are going to have to learn to coordinate their work with a dish antenna technician in the future.

Actually we both assumed the same thing. The contractor admitted it was a huge mistake on the part of one of the workmen and apologized profusely and he has now fixed everything.

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As it turned out the guy apologized profusely and he did correct everything. In fact, he was even good enough to patiently endure my little temper tantrum.
Here's an interesting little side-note to the story. As a result of my complaints he brought an industrial magnet with him to clean up the nails. Then believe it or not, I got a nail clear through my shoe (no blood) before he even got the magnet out of the truck.
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the lord works in mysterious ways :-)
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