Water Heaters Sold Only to Electricians

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cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
I will just file for my permit online may or may not be done before work starts on an emergency call.

I can see the headaches that some people may have where they have AHJ that likes to have too much control. How about an accident happening at about 5:00 on a Friday, homeowner will have no power if not repaired - repair only takes about an hour - permit office is closed until Tuesday because Monday is a holiday - Power company will not re-energize without permit. That would be horrible, but I bet some people have run into similar dilemmas.
Actually it depends on where you are, here the EC reconnects. The POCO comes out after the inspection and does the permentant connection and locks the meter. If it's something like a car hitting a house, here the PD has contact numbers and we will send out an inspector no matter the time of day or night.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
.. - and the inspector is likely to be from the parks department...
Does this parks employee have any clue about electrical work? Let alone have the equivelant of a journeyman license or maybe even be a certified electrical inspector. Apparently the city has no problem taking on the liability of not having someone qualified to do this job?

Actually it depends on where you are, here the EC reconnects. The POCO comes out after the inspection and does the permentant connection and locks the meter. If it's something like a car hitting a house, here the PD has contact numbers and we will send out an inspector no matter the time of day or night.
With budget problems almost everywhere I find it hard to believe that the inspector will come out anytime of day, unless they charge the customer extra than normal for it. It would not be uncommon for an inspector around here to have to drive 100 miles 1 way for such an inspection, it is not going to happen. They will come look at it as soon as practical. It will be in operation when they inspect it. They can order corrections be made and can order it disconnected if they feel it is dangerous enough to warrant doing so.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
With budget problems almost everywhere I find it hard to believe that the inspector will come out anytime of day, unless they charge the customer extra than normal for it. It would not be uncommon for an inspector around here to have to drive 100 miles 1 way for such an inspection, it is not going to happen. They will come look at it as soon as practical. It will be in operation when they inspect it. They can order corrections be made and can order it disconnected if they feel it is dangerous enough to warrant doing so.

Wouldn't lie to you. Actually the call list starts from the top down, so the salary bosses get called out first, they don't get paid overtime. Nothing in this town more than 15 minutes away and that wouldn't matter where you were or whether you made all the lights or not.:roll:
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Somewhat related to the original post about water heaters only sold to electricians...
Last year we bought a gas cooker. It came with no flexible hose to connect the cooker to the gas supply. A job I'm perfectly capable of doing myself and have done so for friends and relatives in the past.
An omission I thought. So I called the supplier.
"We don't supply that. You need to have it supplied and installed by a registered gas fitter."
CORGI in UK.
No choice but to get one in.
More than $200 to fit a 3 foot $10 bit of pipe.
Needless to say, I wasn't best pleased.
But I understand the need for such regulations to be in place.
I feel for you. It's been a long time since I heard anything good about living or working in UK.
 
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renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
kwired, I was not exaggerating. Your fears are justified; it appears that the city has a set of tapes that these guys watch before going on an inspection.

I am gentle with them, and walk them through the job, taking time to explain why I might have done something out of the ordinary - like, say, having driven two ground rods or using some GFCI breakers.

It's no accident that the latest IAEI magazine issue leads off with an article about 'preparing for an unexpected and early retirement.' Jurisdictions all over are gutting their building departments.

I've been a bit testy about this topic ever since I saw someone become an inspector after completing a 9-month community college program in 'inspection technology.' Don't get me wrong, he's a good guy - but he's never built anything more complex than a paper airplane. He's been doing inspections for nearly 20 years, so he probably has some idea what he's doing by now. Yes, he's also a 'combination' inspector.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
kwired, I was not exaggerating. Your fears are justified; it appears that the city has a set of tapes that these guys watch before going on an inspection.

I am gentle with them, and walk them through the job, taking time to explain why I might have done something out of the ordinary - like, say, having driven two ground rods or using some GFCI breakers.
Why should it be your job to train the unqualified inspector. Driving two ground rods or using GFCI breakers is far from being out of ordinary. I could have a lot of fun with this guy. Rule number 1 use proper terminology, he will be lost within 5 minutes or even less. Use the words conductor, ampacity, grounded, grounding, grounding electrode, branch circuit, feeder, service, conduit body, raceway, dwelling unit, luminaire, overcurrent device, panelboard, receptacle, separately derived system, service drop, service lateral, service disconnect, multiwire branch circuit, utilization equipment, non metallic sheathed cable, motor controller, the list can go on. Use the proper words in the proper context. Do not use slang or brand names of commonly known products such as wire, romex, smurf tube.

What does the state have to say about this city with unqualified inspectors? They would take away the city program here and the state electrical division would take over as AHJ. The state electrical division is AHJ in entire state unless a city or county program is in place but it has to have same or more stringent rules than state has, including third party certified inspectors.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
Then again I've never asked if they sell to electricians, just said what I wanted & paid.
bingo. if i walk into any supply, and know what i want, and it's over $50
or whatever their counter minimum is, and i don't waste the man's time,
and have a credit card to pay with it, i've never been refused.

on today's market, having someone show up with money to buy something
is usually well received.

a commercial pool supply nearby said "we only sell to licensed contractors"
so i pulled out the state license card, and they didn't care what the subcontract
specialty was for, they said "thank you" and that was that.

gave me a pretty good discount, as well.... turned around and sold me
$30,000 worth of corellock pavers that they weren't carrying anymore,
for $4,000.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
....$30,000 worth of corellock pavers that they weren't carrying anymore,
for $4,000.
Apparently I don't take a high enough mark up if they can afford to liquidate something at that kind of price. If they are selling at cost that would be a 750% markup. I can understand taking some loss if it is discontinued item and they want to get rid of it. Maybe it is reposessed or was partly paid for and deal went sour with original purchaser.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
kwired, I understand your point: why should I 'educate' the inspector? Well, it's not from charity - it's all about getting my job signed off. If the poor little nebbish is confused, and I'm arrogant, he just might decide he needs a few days checking up on stuff. I'd rather he see me as an asset than as an asset without the 'et.'

Not every state is organized the same. Here the city/county IS the AHJ- there's no 'state division' to yank any 'certification.' Indeed, if you look closely, for the entire US it is the county that has the primary law enforcement authority- not the state. There is no 'electrical division.'

For that matter, here (Nevada) it is the city, and not the state, which licenses electricians. Go to Missouri, and the state has ZERO role - even EC's are licensed at the local level. There are some counties where there are NO permits, licensing, or other regulations in effect.

I've been around a few years, and I'm still learning. It's amazing just how many ways there are to accomplish even the simplest task. Couple that with the natural human tendency to be hostile to anything that one sees as 'different,' and it just makes sense to take the initiative, and enlighten the guy.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
kwired, I understand your point: why should I 'educate' the inspector? Well, it's not from charity - it's all about getting my job signed off. If the poor little nebbish is confused, and I'm arrogant, he just might decide he needs a few days checking up on stuff. I'd rather he see me as an asset than as an asset without the 'et.'

Not every state is organized the same. Here the city/county IS the AHJ- there's no 'state division' to yank any 'certification.' Indeed, if you look closely, for the entire US it is the county that has the primary law enforcement authority- not the state. There is no 'electrical division.'

For that matter, here (Nevada) it is the city, and not the state, which licenses electricians. Go to Missouri, and the state has ZERO role - even EC's are licensed at the local level. There are some counties where there are NO permits, licensing, or other regulations in effect.

I've been around a few years, and I'm still learning. It's amazing just how many ways there are to accomplish even the simplest task. Couple that with the natural human tendency to be hostile to anything that one sees as 'different,' and it just makes sense to take the initiative, and enlighten the guy.
As with other laws there are Federal, State and Local laws. A state or local government can choose to have a law that goes against what is stated in a federal or state law. There may be consequences to doing so, like of funding from the higher authority for certain things.

If this inspector is easy to work for then fine (for now). In the sense of public safety he needs to become better qualified. Who says he does not come to totally non compliant installations and the installer can convince him everything is alright? If there is no higher authority to plead to then your only choice is for several professionals to band together for what is right.

City could end up having lawsuits that cost more than if they had employed someone that knows what they are doing.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
City could end up having lawsuits that cost more than if they had employed someone that knows what they are doing.
Yes they could and they should. I'll bet that the upper managment went pretty much untouched.

Some of this, as we're finding out here, is the fault of the contractor's and local business owners that are sure that the inpsectors are just weilding their authority sword a little to much and so they complain and complain until someone, who usually has some political ambitions, steps in and says, let's just save the trouble and do away with these guys.

Try working with the them instead of fighting them all the time as renosteinke said. Go in once and awhile and tell the local building official or city manager or whoever, what a great job the guys in the field are doing instead of only going in when you have a complaint. You'd probably be surprised how many unemployed contractors there would be if the inspectors told anyone who would listen what a lousy contractor they were.
 
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kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Yes they could and they should. I'll bet that the upper managment went pretty much untouched.

Some of this, as we're finding out here, is the fault of the contractor's and local business owners that are sure that the inpsectors are just weilding their authority sword a little to much and so they complain and complain until someone, who usually has some political ambitions, steps in and says, let's just save the trouble and do away with these guys.

Try working with the them instead of fighting them all the time as renosteinke said.
First I have been lucky to have inspectors that are knowledgeable and reasonable for the most part. I do not think it is right for the AHJ to require me to be qualified to whatever standards they set (licensing, and requirements that need to be met before licensing can happen) only to turn around and have them send some incompetent person out to verify that I am doing my job correctly. I will try to work with a new guy, but it burns me up when it was said this person was a parks department employee that has become an electrical inspector. If he had previously been an electrical license holder and is willing to get any certification up to date that is a different story. If he is just a parks employee that is good with tools and can make anything work then he is nothing more than a handiman that everyone is always complianing about on this site, and I will have no mercy for him, he needs proper training before even considering taking this position.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
First I have been lucky to have inspectors that are knowledgeable and reasonable for the most part. I do not think it is right for the AHJ to require me to be qualified to whatever standards they set (licensing, and requirements that need to be met before licensing can happen) only to turn around and have them send some incompetent person out to verify that I am doing my job correctly. I will try to work with a new guy, but it burns me up when it was said this person was a parks department employee that has become an electrical inspector. If he had previously been an electrical license holder and is willing to get any certification up to date that is a different story. If he is just a parks employee that is good with tools and can make anything work then he is nothing more than a handiman that everyone is always complianing about on this site, and I will have no mercy for him, he needs proper training before even considering taking this position.
I don't disagree with you, but the problem goes way deeper than a city just sending out unqualified people. There's a reason for it.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I don't disagree with you, but the problem goes way deeper than a city just sending out unqualified people. There's a reason for it.
Someone needs to inform those that are responsible for making this decision of what possible bad outcomes could arise. From a liability point of view they would be better off IMO to discontinue their inspection program altogether then to have unqualified inspectors performing the inspections. I would guess their insurance company may feel the same way.

If I had to deal with this I would not just put up with it, I would make it hard for the inspector if he shows he is incompetent, not by demoralizing him but by using terms that are correct but likely over his head and things like that. I would not put up with him wanting or allowing others to do things that are against NEC or whatever local laws are supposably in force. And I would have to remind the city of my opinion every now and then about the whole situation. I live near a city that does some of this kind of crap, we are just lucky that they are not involved with electrical inspections - the State has jurisdiction there.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
I'll tell you what we can do, we can train you. Now just to clarify you come into our office on any given day and if it's an over the counter item you should be out of here in less than 15 minutes.

If you work in that nearby county, you shouldn't be getting any calls, you should have been providing the information that was needed when you went in and applied for the permit. Giving me only partial information when you come in may get you your permit faster, but it's sure gonna hang you up at the back end when you're looking for final and I'm making you submit as-built plans and proper energy forms (if you're in CA). Always try to "front load" the project.

As for the CA energy forms and regulations, they have been around in some form or another since the 70's, I cannont believe how many times I have to either send plans back or hold up final, because the EC has no idea what I'm talking about.

People tend to look at the people that enforce the codes or regulations and blame them for creating them. Many people tend to overlook the fact that things such as, night sky or building style, comes from the community that asks that something be done, so that people aren't builing some big purple building next to them, but those same people also tend to be the ones that start screaming when thye can't build it, saying "I meant them not me, I didn't know those rules applied to everyone."

For years and years I have pushed for public education, but I find that the public doesn't necessarily want to be educated.

Ok, rant over. Sorry I've been sick for like two weeks and I'm just not feeling well still.:roll:
Been awhile since this post, but here is my reply.

The information they call for was not something listed on the application, so how could I give it then?

Today is a perfect example too. I called in an inspection yesterday, was told to call back at 8:30 today to find out who does it and arrange to meet. I called at 8:30, they were in a meeting, told to call back in 15 minutes. I've called every 15 minutes & it's now 10:15. The last person I spoke with was the only 1 who would take a message. The others said couldn't do, because they didn't know who would have the assignment. Duh, they can write a note & announce after the meeting that whoever has this, please call me to arrange meeting.

A private business could not do business this way & stay in business long. Government agencies can easily do so. They have all the power and advantage.

As far as in & out in 15 minutes, the shortest wait I ever had in that office was about an hour and a half, for a simple permit. I guess they had ideal conditions that day.

I had nearly forgotten this, but another jurisdiction nearby turned down a sawpole we installed a few years ago. I admit, the contraption was ugly. We had used it before where we were told it would be an UG feed. Got there & it was overhead. Scrounged all we had on trucks & made it a "convertible", for multi use. Used it on many jobs afterward & set up for over or under as needed. Inspector failed it. Boss called him, he hemmed & hawed, put his boss on the line. His boss hemmed & hawed, finally said, "no code violations, nothing dangerous, we just don't like it. We don't like the way it looks". We did a lot of work in that area & couldn't afford to tick off the dept there, so we didn't go to the state. But that was an abuse of authority. I could understand if he found something unsafe, whether code or not. That same inspector would whine if someone was a minute late meeting him, though he was late himself more than we were.

Fortunately, these are not everyday occurrences, but there are officials out there who overstep authority and some office staff who have little motivation to provide assistance.

So you still want to "train me"? Start with some of your compatriots.
 
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