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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Default I finally got the call!!!!

    I got a call from a client who had their gas turned off today by the local utility. Client smelled gas for a few days and called out the local utility and of course, they said the "Home Inspector" should have caught this. The leak was above the furnace and near the exterior meter. I did the inspection on April 11, 2007, client moved in in August. I DO NOT use a gas detection device other than my nose. Any comments????

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    What was it you "should have caught" ? Bad pipe, loose union, faulty install?
    Clearly there hasn't been a leak for 8 months.

    What did they say that they wanted from you?


  3. #3
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Did they smell gas in August?

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Is Chicago like some other places ... where the gas company actually comes out and does a 'service change safety inspection' before changing the gas service from one customer to another? Many cities / gas companies do require this.

    If so ... it is not what *you* missed, it is what *the gas company* missed back then.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Geez, most of the gas utility company's that I have seen would have attempted to make the repair if it was just a loose fitting.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    I heard that Mrs. O'Leary's cow was only trying to put the lantern out because it smelled that gas leak ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Apr 2007
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    Chicago
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    The lady says she smelled gas when she moved in back in August. Her water heater stopped working towards the end of October. The local utility came out and did some work at the outside meter and then came in to the house once the gas was turned back on. At that point she still smelled gas, one utility tech did not and one did (two man crew). They got a meter and tested and sealed one joint near the furnace. I asked her "Why weren't the leaks detected when the utility was out there in October?" She still smelled gas at which to this point utility came out and shut off the gas today.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Bacon View Post
    The local utility came out and did some work at the outside meter and then came in to the house once the gas was turned back on. At that point she still smelled gas, one utility tech did not and one did (two man crew). They got a meter and tested and sealed one joint near the furnace.
    Sounds to me like you have an excellent protective wall between you and 'the home inspector missed' ... you have the gas company and their two employees.

    To get to you, they have to go through the gas company, and I really doubt the gas company will admit to 'leaving the house with a gas leak', which means 'the gas leak happened *after* they left the house', which was *after* you left the house, and, 'the gas company *made repairs* to pipes/joints' in that location *after* you were there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Jerry and guys,

    Thanks for the replies, but this opens up another question? "Should I test for gas leaks?" When I started out, I did use a Tiff 8800 and went to a CE class which the long term inspector instructor said that he didn't use one and that it opens inspectors up to liability because there is no way that we can check all the unions and gas lines in a house. What do you think?


  10. #10
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
    Kevin Barre Guest

    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Bacon View Post
    Jerry and guys,

    Thanks for the replies, but this opens up another question? "Should I test for gas leaks?" When I started out, I did use a Tiff 8800 and went to a CE class which the long term inspector instructor said that he didn't use one and that it opens inspectors up to liability because there is no way that we can check all the unions and gas lines in a house. What do you think?
    No offense intended, Sean, but is it just me, or is it really wrong to NOT do things out of fear of a lawsuit? I'm not saying a class educator didn't say "don't test any gas connections." I can very easily imagine it happening. Unfortunately, not all educators are truly experts, nor are they all interested in improving the profession.
    The standards are clear: Some things are concealed; you can't test all things and aren't expected to. However, it seems to me that it makes sense to test exposed fittings for leaks. I have to suspect that you are a lot more likely to get sued for the things you DON'T do then you are for those you do.


  11. #11
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Bacon View Post
    Jerry and guys,

    Thanks for the replies, but this opens up another question? "Should I test for gas leaks?" When I started out, I did use a Tiff 8800 and went to a CE class which the long term inspector instructor said that he didn't use one and that it opens inspectors up to liability because there is no way that we can check all the unions and gas lines in a house. What do you think?
    I do not test for gas leaks. If I smell gas I simple say I found a gas leak and list the area or location if I cans narrow it down. I have a Tiff as well and it is sitting on my bookshelf. They tend to produce too many false positives for me. Heck a case of bad breath can set one off.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    It doesn't sound like you missed anything..... regardless of what the gas company says. The repair sounds like it will be totally inexpensive. Everyone just gets upset about the 'what if' scenarios, especially when it comes to things like gas leaks.

    I know it's tough to not step back and re-think how you inspect. In reality, a lot of call backs are very random things and you can't possibly forsee the next one. Just chalk it up to experience and add it to your list of things to be aware of.


  13. #13
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    I'm not sure about your gas company (CommEd), but around here, NIPSCO does not pressurize the system before turning the gas on (unlike the gas company where I use to live in Bowling Green, Kentucky). NIPSCO just tells you to get a plumber.

    Just like most things we inspect, if you are going to check for gas leaks at one or a few locations, you'll need to do it at all accessible locations or you can be held liable. That or write up limitations of the areas tested or not tested.

    I say leave it out of your report unless you smell gas.


  14. #14
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    Mar 2007
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    Talking thread hijack since Jerry mentioned the Great Chicago Fire

    Three questions to see how good you guys are:


    1) what is now on the site of Mrs. O'Leary's barn?

    2) how is this anniversary remembered?

    3) what famous house was closest to the fire but did not burn down?

    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  15. #15
    David Banks's Avatar
    David Banks Guest

    Default Re: thread hijack since Jerry mentioned the Great Chicago Fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Three questions to see how good you guys are:


    1) what is now on the site of Mrs. O'Leary's barn?

    2) how is this anniversary remembered?

    3) what famous house was closest to the fire but did not burn down?

    Bob
    1) Fire Academy
    2) Parade
    3) Mrs. O'Leary's House


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Near Philly, Pa.
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    1,632

    Cool Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Answers:
    1) correct! The Chicago Fire Dept.'s training center
    2) Fire Prevention Week. Week of Oct. 9th. The fire started the night of the 9th then burned through the 10th. Nobody remembers the over 1,000 people who died the day before in Peshtigo, Wisc. from wildfires
    3)Yup, the fire started in her barn and the wind carried it east, thus saving her house. Neighbors threatened to burn her house down but cooler heads prevailed.
    ************************************************** *******

    Others in the house disturbed fittings after you were there. Tell the jerk at the utility to mind his own business and watch his mouth. Remind him inspections are based upon conditions at the time of inspection---not for eternity.

    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: I finally got the call!!!!

    Thanks for the responses...I offered to visit the clients' home to look at the situation and possibly assist her with contacting a plumber. She hasn't called me yet. Kevin, philosophically, I agree with you. I don't like inspecting and disclaiming out of fear, but just this situation here gives me a sense of vulnerability. Unknowledgable buyer + erroneous information = hassled inspector. This is my third call in roughly 1200 inspections, but I do care about what I do and that every client is satisfied, so it is a concern for me.


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