Opportunity and danger are two sides of the same coin. Home improvement projects offer the opportunity to enjoy your home and to increase its value. Such projects; however, present the danger of personal injury, property damage, and unexpected expense if the work contains construction defects. Here are some steps you should take to maximize the opportunity and minimize the danger of home improvement projects. This article addresses common construction defects in exterior projects involving gas pipes and electrical wires. Related articles cover other construction defects.
1. Do your homework. People research many major purchases; but they spend thousands of dollars on home improvements with little or no research about avoiding construction defects or about hiring a qualified and reliable contractor. Information that can help homeowners is available from many sources. Books explain basic construction and building code concepts in plain language. Manufacturer's installation instructions for many products are available on the internet. This does not mean that you need to become a construction expert before you embark on a home improvement project. You can and should; however, become educated so that you can recognize common construction defects. Being able to recognize construction defects puts the contractor on notice that you are an informed consumer.
2. Use only licensed and experienced contractors. Verify the status of the contractor's license and whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor. Complaints against a contractor are not always a deal killer, but they are a red flag that requires more investigation. Obtain references from the contractor and contact them. Use at least one reference from a project completed over one year ago to help you determine the contractor's response to warranty issues.
3. Obtain a building permit, if required. A building permit is usually required if new electrical circuits, water pipes, or gas pipes are installed or if there are significant additions or changes to any of these systems. A permit is usually required when adding to or making structural changes to a building. A permit is an inexpensive way to get inspections of the work by a qualified third party. It may also reduce your potential liability if a problem occurs. The contractor should obtain the permit. If the contractor is reluctant to obtain a permit, this is a red flag. The contractor may not be licensed to do the work, or he may have other problems that you may want to know about.
4. Look for common construction defects. Here are some examples of common construction defects in exterior home improvement projects.
Failure to bury gas pipes and electrical wires at required depth. Digging around buried gas pipes and electrical wires can damage them and cause gas leaks and electrical shocks. Bury most gas pipes at least twelve inches below the finished dirt level. Bury electrical wires at least twelve inches if the wires are ground fault circuit protected. Bury wires enclosed in metal conduit at least six inches. Bury most other electrical wires at least eighteen inches.
Failure to place electrical receptacles on a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) circuit when required. This is an electrical shock hazard. Place all exterior receptacles and all receptacles in garages on a GFCI protected circuit.
Failure to properly install and protect electrical wires. This is an electrical shock hazard if the wires become loose or damaged. Place most exposed and accessible electrical wires in approved conduit. Place electrical connections and wire splices in a covered electrical junction box. Electrical wires that are installed outdoors or that are buried must be approved for these uses.
Failure to protect gas pipes from corrosion. Corroded gas pipes can leak. Protect gas pipes against corrosion when they are in contact with the ground and when they are in contact with masonry and concrete. The gray paint on gas pipes around gas meters and pipe wrap tape are common corrosion protection methods.
Failure to properly install gas appliance flexible connectors. This is a gas leak hazard. Flexible connectors are the yellow (one common color) flexible tubes that you see between the rigid gas pipe and a gas water heater. These connectors are intended to connect one rigid gas pipe to one gas appliance. You should be able to move the connector at least two inches at the center of the connector. A connector that cannot be moved and is too tight strains gas connections at the pipe and at the appliance. The connector should not have a bend with a radius smaller than 1 ½ inches. A tight radius bend can weaken the connector and reduce gas flow.
Seize the opportunity to beautify and improve your home; but be aware of the dangers that such projects present and empower yourself to avoid these dangers.
Most pool contractors are not licensed to install gas pipe! Or electrical for that matter.And the contractors that are installing gas pipe, really have no idea on the problems they are creating for a customer after they have collected your hard earned money and moved on to their next pool. An R.M.G.A. or Rocky Mountain Gas Certification does not make your pool contractor a licensed gas contractor.You as the homeowner,need to make sure that your new 20K -100K swimming pool and heater are installed correctly.
Almost 99% of the time, if you are building a swimming pool and have added a pool heater,(even a small one) you are going to need to change your gas meter!.Think about it this way, the average size home of about 1500sf to 3000sf is built and gets a new meter installed by the gas company.The meter that they will install will be a meter that will accommodate only the appliances inside your house. Which by the way usually totals roughly 250 to 500 cubic feet per hour. Now you have decided you want to add a swimming pool to your home, with a pool heater that consumes as much gas as all the appliances your whole house does alone.This is where the problems begin! If, when you built your swimming pool, your gas meter was not changed out to a larger meter, your pool heater is probably burning incorrectly! Don't be alarmed! This is fixable in most cases!
Your new pool heater installed incorrectly will create problems for you! It's just a matter of time! Some problems you can see right away, and some you can't.
Low fuel pressure can cause your pool heater hours or even days of run time to get your temperature up even a few degrees! Extremely high gas fuel bills, repeat pilot light outages, carbon build up, very costly equipment damage, or ultimately bodily harm or death can also result if your pool heater is installed incorrectly.This is why you would want a licensed plumber or hvac contractor to install your gas piping. Call your local gas pipe specialist to have them check your system, usually for free. You can also call your local gas company and usually get a free evaluation to let you know if your pool heating system is installed up to par.
Be sure you know who you hire! Get many references and ask to see some of the work they've done! Check with your states Department of Professional Licensing! Do your homework! Oh and one other thing, Do not give them your final payment until you are completely satisfied with your finished construction project! There are many great builders out there but there are also just as many that will take your doğalgaz borusu final payment and you will never see again! Sad but true, this economy thing is hitting everybody! A lien release may also be a good idea for when each of the subs are paid.