Maybe they are trying to learn a few tricks but when you're working on
stilts or staging it can become a real distraction and dangerous especially
if it's a one or 2 room job and you're using setting type compound...I have
no time to chat if you know what I mean...Hanging around for a bit is one
thing but all day is quite different....When they bring in a chair and flop
down I know it's gonna be a LONG day and more than likely the LAST time I do
work for them...LOL...
I'm glad to show someone who is interested what's going on and explain
how their equipment works and what can go wrong. It helps them better
maintain it and to know when to call in a service tech. I had one little
old gal crawl under her house with me because she wanted to know how her
Grin, cool! Oh, I got some good news Sunday from an installer. He was
there at Lowes and I was looking at the gas water heaters. He was waiting
for some to be loaded on his truck for installs and bored. He was happy to
talk with a potential client.
I explained we were on the last legs of a 22 year old 50G gas water heater
that probably could be repaired and based on here (apparently he ghost reads
the place at times) it was probably an element out but it was pretty much
better to replace than repair at this age.
As we chatted I found out an assumption was wrong. I had been told by
others (who are not hot water specialists) that we had to have a slab poured
to raise it. He said no, our current brick and cement block is code spec
for here provided it is a proper stable base and I think he said 4 inches
required (I may be wrong). It can be higher as you need but not lower. He
said he just generally matched to existing gas pipe which is pretty standard
normally on height. I jotted down his name so we can request him be the one
who does our job (apparently they have 3 who do this). He said he'd be
happy to show us how to properly maintain it.
We are right now probably getting 25G. I am looking at a 50G replacement
unit. Due to back issues I have, an almost Onsen (Japanese HOT bath soak if
I mis-spelled it) for up to 3 hours is a good fix for me. I don't have the
space for a true hot tub although we have considered an extension for a
smaller 2 seater unit off the back of the house.
Yeah, Thats what I was warning the other person about. Showing interest and
wandering by every now and again to offer a cup of coffee or whatever seems
sensible (Ice water if summer and a hot job etc) is ok.
It's also ok to ask nicely if some special part that you'd like to learn
about, if you can watch it. Like, had an electrician here when we first got
back from Japan and that horrendous renter damage was still being worked on.
I'd always wondered how they got the wires down a wall but never had a
chance to see it so I asked him if when he got to one of those spots, if I
could watch as i was curious. He was happy to let me watch and I didnt
delay him with alot of questions.
It was kinda funny actually as he was quietly watching us from the sunroom
where he was working, as we rescreened the wooden portion of the porch with
wood shims. He came over to watch one panel as he was fascinated that we do
one in about 6 mins once the pieces are all cut. Keeping in mind he's an
electrician so not that well versed in screen repair, he was needing to
replace his own.
We showed him how we'd precut the top to bottom sections (all the same) then
each side to side piece had to be measured because ours arent standard (1
inch or so variations, doesnt show to the eye but it's there). It's a
simple nail in top with screen then one side, then stretch and nail bottom
then final stretch and nail on remaining side. He said he was about to
spend alot of money to have a contractor buddy do his but now that he knew
how fast it could be done, he had time to do it himself (he thought it took
about an hour per screen, not about 10 mins including cutting time). Showed
him the tips to make it easier (like it can be fancy trim wood but make it
about 1 inch across and not much less nor much more or it's harder to work
with the tightening phase).
It's all in how it's approached I think. I've never hovered over a worker
yet. I have always offered that if they hit a spot where they'd like me to
help hand tools over, I'd be happy to help and sometimes they hit a spot
where that is useful. Like I've been up in the attic holding a flashlight a
few times for a worker.
LOL, thats why I generally don't tell them my background. Tends to make
them think that. Besides, I don't know everything by a long shot. I had my
specialty areas of work (mostly wood working, wall papering and detail
painting though I've done bits of everything else except electrical and my
plummer skills pretty much devolve to replacing a toilet or sink).
LOL! Yeah, it can get hot up there! I remember whern we had our roof
redone in summer. It was 103F in the shade. I filled a plastic empty cat
litter bucket with ice and bottled water with a rope on it. They'd lift it
when they wanted one then drop it back in the shade of the house. I told'em
to just toss the empties in the yard which we'd remove and replace in the
bucket as needed.
We were replacing the wallpaper in the kitchen to get the place ready for
renting so when they'd come down for a cool off break (required in that
heat) they'd watch and ask a few questions. One of the guys started getting
wobbly from the heat and the foreman sent him down for a whole hour and then
a recheck before allowed back up. Perfect timing as I'm 5ft1inch TALL and
had just hit the ceiling part of the measurements for the longer wall and
having to climb up and down a step ladder was irritating. He was able to
reach (grin). So, he held my little flourescent green yarn bit with the
bolt tied to the bottom as I measured those 6 panels off (ceiling not
totally square nor are walls dead on plumb, little 1/8th to 1/4 inch
adustments here and there). It's like the livingroom where one wall kinda
wanders being 5/8 inch lower at one far end from the other but dips a bit in
the center. Totally has to be adjusted for with the repeat pattern when
wall papering. The kitchen wallpaper has to be replaced again (renter
damage) but we are waiting as we are replacing the cabinets so there's no
I'm gonna go with too much work, can't imagine any other explanation.
I wasn't even there for the A/C install, SWMBO had more time off work
than I did so she took the day off and I got home just as he was
finishing taping up the ductwork.
Now maybe *she* was hovering... I dunno. She gets pissed off at me
when she's "helping" me do stuff because I give short answers because
I'd rather get the job done, then explain anything she doesn't
understand later over a beer instead of while I'm balancing on joists
in the attic or similar...
I remember, as a small (physically and age-wise) kid being drafted to
help add insulation to the short-headroom parts of the attic, that I
thought it was strange that my father and older brother waited until
well after dark to start the project. I didn't figure out why until
years later. I wonder if, in the parts of the country that follow the
HVAC in attic custom, any of them ask to do the work after dark?
I do remember the one time I was working for
another company. We had an attic fan installed at
the one house, where we were installing air
handler in the attic. The fan wasn't wired in, so
I'd brought a lamp cord and a couple wire nuts
with me. I wired the fan to the side socket of a
trouble lamp cord we had up there. Turned the heat
setting knobs till the fan started. Within a
minute or two, the temperature up there must have
dropped ten degrees. Really great.
Of course, we should have been working after
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