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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll admit it, I'm a retired teacher. I was an athletic trainer/health educator by profession, but I am also a "Do It Yourselfer"... or also known to those professional contractors and tradesman, a "Ruin it yourselfer". Over the years, through much teaching from good tradesmans, I have learned plumbing, electrical, framing, carpentry, and drywall. I've learned finish work, as well as rough work. Enough to know when to go ahead and do something and when to call for help. With our recent purchase of our camp, we figured we could go it with minimal help.

Right after we closed on the camp last June 3, I was walking through Lowe's and there was electric hot water heaters on sale - floor model 40 gal tank for $200.00. We knew we would need it, so I got it, took it to camp, put it in the basement, and when the time came, we would be ready to hook it up, including wiring.
All was going along fine. Interior framing, electrical, plumbing, sewer, water, lighting, flooring, etc. all going in. After some difficulties with the water quantity and quality, we decided not to start up the water system in late December, and wait for this spring.

Well, the Friday night before trout opener, we had finished all the internal plumbing, fired up the pumps, brought the water in, checked for leaks, filled the hot water tank. I had wired it the day before, but knew enough not to turn on the breaker until it was filled with water. Once everything checked out, we threw the breaker, then had to go into town for a few things, and run by a friends camp to finalize plans for the next day.

After 2 hours, we returned, expecting to take the first hot shower in the camp after 11 months of construction. Water is cold. Check the breaker, nothing tripped. Go into the basement, run my hands down the side of the tank. Tank is cold. Thinking the thermostat may need adjusting, and hoping the tank wasn't faulty, I opened the upper control panel.

Any guesses?.... The thermostat control was missing, and the 220 line was just hanging there, bear wire ends and live. I threw off the breaker and proceeded to check the lower control. That thermostat control was missing as well.

Lessons learned) 1- Turn off the breaker any way! 2) Don't buy floor display models. 3) Remember #1.

Needless to say, the Lowe's manager had a hard time getting me to keep my voice down at 11:00 a.m. on that Monday morning. He didn't quite get the idea that the problem could have been deadly. He understands that now.
 

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Wow, that is pretty nuts. Who would think to check if the thermostat controls are present on a brand new water heater?! Lucky indeed.

I like to do alot of my own work also, most of it taught to me by my dad who was a maintenance worker at the Steel, the rest I search on Google. Sometimes my ruin it yourself work turns out better than the professional work I've had done in my opinion, probably because we take the time to make it just right because we're the ones who have to look at it every day. There are times I decide "thats out of my comfort zone," and have a professional come in to do the work, only to watch and think, "I totally could have done that, and I would have that part a little differently." It is nice though to make a phone call and watch the projects get done quickly, until its time to write the check anyway.
 

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Lessons learned the hard way are the things that stay with you forever as long as you don't burn the place down lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A buddy of mine reminded me that a plumbers mistakes make a mess, an electricians mistakes can be fatal!
 

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Yeah, but would have an electrician caught that before wiring up?? Water heaters are easy to install. Who checks for the thermostats before installing?

imo, electrician could have easily been fried as anyone else in this scenario.
 

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WOW! That could have gone bad real quick.
 

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My usual supplier handled State water heaters for years. They eventually deteriorated in quality, to the point that the supplier switched to AO Smith water heaters.

I had grumbled about the State junk for the last year or so they stocked them, was told it was "my imagination". Got water heaters from Lowes, no problems.

The very first AO Smith I installed, developed a leak upon installation - No thread sealer on the anode rod from the factory. When the counter man asked me how I liked the AO Smith, he got another ear full.

Back in the mid 70s we were installing Weil Mclain AC units in new townhouses, from Raub Supply. Two of the first four outside units delivered, were never completed internally. Half the necessary components were missing when I un-crated them.
 

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7mm STW said:
Not to worry the guys that made those water heaters are now making triggers for Remington Ha! Ha!
And I'll bet he's voting for Hillary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My guess 1 of 2 things happened- either someone bought the water heater, gutted it for parts, then returned it and it got put out as a display model, or... someone's buddy's hot water tank needed new thermostat controls and they took them off the display model because "we never sell these, we send them back".

The new manager at Lowes's made good on the problem- got a bigger, new tank with electronic controls and a 9.5 yr warranty, and he (and everyone else at the service desk and check out area) got an earful. One time when having that Phys Ed teaching voice and volume paid off.
 

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Over the years I've built, plumbed, and wired a few buildings and I cringe at some of the mistakes I've made. Fortunately no one has been hurt and no construction has had to be rebuilt. I've been fortunate enough to have a few pros that I can fall back on for advice. I did have a situation with a disconnected wire on a thermostat on a water heater. Fortunately, before I put the juice to the unit I took the cover off to make sure the thermostats were set properly and discovered the problem. Bare wire + metal outer shell = not a great outcome.
It's come to the point now, with the junk that's being produced, I don't leave a store, especially the big box stores, without checking the item first. I bought a toilet a few years back and when I got home discovered the tank lid was cracked. It's a 50 mile round trip drive to Lowes from where I live so even though they replaced the unit without a problem the drive and time was on me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm beginning to call it "Low-Mart". Nuff said. I've always bought all my lumber from Arnot Building Supply i
Mansfield. Last year we remodeled our entire kitchen through them. Why do I even go somewhere else is beyond me.
 
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