I have this almost insatiable thirst for knowledge, even to the extent that sometimes I just might be willing to pay for it.
The picture below shows the plumbing maze at a water heater and storage tank at an inspection a few years ago.
Usually when I find such interesting plumbing mazes, it has something to do with solar heating panels on the roof. Not in this case. Nor was there any evidence of solar heating panels ever having been installed.
When I asked my Clients if they had any specific questions that needed addressing before I started the inspection, they said, “Yes. Can you tell us what’s going on with the water heater?” That, of course, piqued my curiosity, so we headed out to the water heater.
After looking at it for about five minutes and trying to trace pipes and valves, I told my Clients that the only way I would be able to determine anything would be to shut off valves and then run around to see what worked and what didn’t, which would probably take more time than they or I had budgeted for. I also told them, jokingly, that the plumber probably got paid by the hour and had a lot of extra copper on hand.
However, I also wanted to know what was going on here, so I offered to pay the $85 service fee to have my plumber come out and tell us what the heck was going on.
The final verdict of the plumber was not too far off from my own guess: “I don’t think a plumber did this. I think we had a homeowner who didn’t know what he was doing.” Sometimes, it really is that simple.
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