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Home Repair Lessons Learned from a Southern Walk 2003 Van Metre Thoreau

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by glencastle, May 20, 2019.

  1. glencastle

    glencastle The Paterfamilias

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    We recently had water in our finished basement that, long story short, was caused by a slow leak from the line that feeds our refrigerator water dispenser and ice maker. Nothing on the tile floor in the kitchen...all flowing downstairs through the drywall and onto the carpet.

    Three weeks later we had yet another leak, this one more severe, where a PVC pipe (that had never been glued!) came apart and luckily soaked the same room and part of the rest of our basement. We were blessed that someone was home at the time, heard the noise of rushing water, and knew where the water shut-off valve was for our house.

    When the plumber came to fix the leak, he quickly recommended that we replace some things in our home that are now 16+ years old: 1) the pressure relief valve on the main line into the home (lifespan 8-10 years), which could be contributing to the 2 events above; 2) our sump pump (same lifespan), and 3) our 75 gallon water heater (life expectancy 10-12 years), which would soak the same area when it decides to go.

    The first event might have been avoided if we had replaced that line going to the fridge. The 2nd was likely caused by Van Metre's shoddy construction. So do yourself a favor...know where your master water shut-off valve is located...go buy a replacement for that 8+ year old line between the wall and your fridge / washing machine. It will be money well spent.
     
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  2. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    House wraps like Tyvek were not required for new builds until early 2000's. We found out our TH was not wrapped when we replaced our old patio doors.
     
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  3. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Instead your house was built with better quality 5/8 sheathing. You could have gotten the fiberboard that is like 1/8" and not wrapped either like we did :)
     
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  4. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    glencastle.... did you end up replacing the water heater? I was just looking into this as well, ours is just over 14 years old. I know the regulations changed recently but I have not looked into the implications. I know tankless might be an option but seems much more expensive.
     
  5. glencastle

    glencastle The Paterfamilias

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    No, at least not yet. Still dealing with moving furniture, drywall repairs, painting, etc. We did replace the pressure valve. I have a co-worker that went with the tankless system and he loves it. Put a nice dent in his gas bill but the payoff takes 8+ years.
     
  6. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Look at the bigger picture. The benefits are immediate since you're no longer keeping a tank of water heated 24/7 - lessens energy use and no waiting. It's no different than replacing cheap leaky windows with new. Warmer winters and cooler summers = less energy consumption with the added benefit of soundproofing from exterior noise. If it was feasible for me, I would not hesitate.
     
  7. Bandit1

    Bandit1 Member

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    Zeratul - Replaced mine with a tankless water heater and haven't looked back. After watching my neighbor's leak and flood the basement, I decided to do the preventative thing and replaced mine. This thing is great and takes up 1/4 the area in the utility room than the previous conventional tank.
     
  8. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Bandit... and I think you mentioned before it was around $3500? Was that about right? Was any major modifications needed? And who did you go with if you were happy?
     
  9. Bandit1

    Bandit1 Member

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    I will have to look up the receipt to get you the total. Modifications: Contact your natural gas supplier and request larger capacity gas meter and input line from street ((if required) installation contractor will determine if required and coordinate submission via a form); remove the conventional water heater venting and cap off; reroute/modify interior gas line run from basement manifold to tankless unit, install pressure intake and exhaust piping (from tankless unit-through wall-to exterior); possible additional 2x4 framing for unit install, copper piping spliced in line between unit and current water lines. Program the unit to meet your home needs and sit back and enjoy unlimited hot water for at least 25 years. I have the Navien NPE 240A. Modern Mechanical did the installation (parts & labor). They were hungry back then and pricing was somewhat competitive but I don't know that's the case anymore. I've heard some bad feedback on their HVAC installs lately. It really depends on the unit manufacturer you choose which will pretty much dictate who is certified for installation. When I researched contractors for installation, there weren't that many available in NVA for Navien.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  10. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    What about a water softener? Did you have to add one? And the one issue I hear is that tankless does not work well if 2 or more showers are used etc.
     
  11. Bandit1

    Bandit1 Member

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    Water softener was not required. Preventative maintenance includes flushing the unit once a year and that's easy peasy. Have used two showers and the washer simultaneously with no effects on temps at the locations. Even when using the master bath tub spigot and shower at the same time has no effect on temps. Of course you may continue to experience a reduction in water pressure, but that's Loudoun and not the unit. Due diligence in researching the unit for your home is important. Capacity and efficiency ratings are crucial. One of those things....you get what you pay for. When I installed mine, Modern Mechanical thought the unit may be overkill, but I will say its performance is everything the research indicated.

    On the water softener question, I've done the annual flushing of the unit IAW the manual four times since installation and have not observed any real hard water deposits coming from the manifold, heat exchanger, or lines. Resultant vinegar flush is slightly cloudy but not discolored. And the unit continues to maintain its efficiency.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
  12. Bandit1

    Bandit1 Member

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    Navien NPE 240A
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  13. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    Did you purchase that Navien yourself or did the contractor purchase it as an authorized dealer? Seems to be around $1,400
     
  14. Bandit1

    Bandit1 Member

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    Contractor purchase as an authorized dealer. During initial estimate discussions, it was understood that I could purchase the unit for a better price through other sources, and he adjusted the unit cost slightly and installation parts & labor rate to compensate.
     

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