Screwed by 'plumber' ?? Used 1/2' pipe for hose bib line

soundstage28(ca)March 4, 2012

I feel stupid even posting this. Why I never learn with these guys....

Had a neighbor who hired a landscaper (NOT a licensed plumber) to put in an irrigation valve. While chatting with him I mentioned I could use another hose bib on the other side of the house.

As it's a slab foundation he ran copper pipe from front of house, off main entrance line to house, around to side of house. About 50' - I paid the guy $550.00, which I thought high but knew copper is very expensive these days.

Here comes the dumb part. I couldn't figure out why it was so loud and pressure so-so when I used this hose bib. Duh. Finally occurred to me, weeks later, he used 1/2" pipe!! - In my mind it was an obvious rip off to save money on copper pipe. At the end he put a 1/2" to 3/4" conversion so my 3/4" hose could be screwed on, which shows me even more he knew he was scamming me.

My questions:

1) This was done completely wrong, right?

2) Is this a code violation in California?

I know the guy is going to dance when I confront him, so hoping you folks can give me some help. Thanks in advance. Truly appreciated!

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OK just my 2cents but...

In Florida it would be a violation but on your part for hiring an unlicensed plumber and his for doing the work.

The work itself is not "incorrect" but rather poorly done. 50' is a BIT far for 1/2 and should have been 3/4"...if I was doing it I would have run 1" unless there was ZERO chance of running more pipe for more hose bibs in the future. Shut off your house meter and take off the hose bib. Check out the hose bib to see there is nothing in it and open it fully and make sure the rubber gasket looks good. (IMO I always replace hose bibs....but thats just me) Turn back on the meter and run the water through the open pipe for 1 min. to be 100% sure there is nothing in the pipe.

Although it is rare it can happen that when soldering a fitting the guy used too much solder and made the pipe fill with solder. This would restrict the flow greatly. Could happen at any join he made.

BTW I know after the fact it sucks but never hire anyone who isn't licensed for what they are doing. I am a sprinkler contractor, I have done this type of work many times, I would NEVER do it for a customer. It would put my license in jeopardy.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:41PM
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While I am unsure of california codes and agree 1/2" line was too small the worst thing about your problem is if he tied into the house line without instaling proper backflow prevention. That puts everyone at risk from possible contamination of the water. An anti-siphon hose-bib is a must at this point.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 7:24AM
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Ditto to the other statements. Could he have been a licensed Landscaper? This not necessarily a plumber's job. A landscaper could do it well enough. What was the reasoning to run a copper pipe? If he is a licensed landscaping contractor you could be in luck, but in my opinion he would have used PVC schedule 40 with anchors. That would have been okay in CA with a BFP device. Your other hose bib lines coming out of your house through the walls are usually 1/2" copper and are hard copper that resists bending(I believe it is type K copper). What kind of water pressure does your street have. If it is high then it will make your 1/2" inch pipe sing and shutting off quickly will make it jump. You may need a pressure reducer to reduce that pressure to what your house pressure is say 55 psi. Then you would be okay. Aloha

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 7:17PM
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Not sure about codes where you are but in Florida a landscaper cannot ever work on domestic water. Being a licensed sprinkler man I can't work on that line and my license is a sub of the plumbing license. In Florida the lack of a back flow is OK as long as, as Mike has said, a hose back flow is installed.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 8:08PM
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I am always amazed at the increasing regulations that are put in place by agencies to ensure that you have to pay more for simple things. Can a homeowner cut in a pvc compression Tee in the copper main line to the house for an irrigation system or for an outside higher pressure water source or does this take a permit and a plumber now? I guess what your telling me now is that it does, at least in FL. As I remember and never lived there myself but Florida has always been at the forefront of more strict or stringent water regulations. Actually that is a good thing. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Oregon is also strict about who can deal with main water lines. A licensed plumber or a specially licensed irrigation contractor are the only ones allowed to work on the house line or install backflows for irrigation.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:04PM
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It is the same in Fla as Oregon. A licensed irrigation contractor can install a backflow on an irrigation line but can not tap a domestic water line for irrigation use (only plumber). Homeowners can not do either of these things. In Florida homeowners can do almost any jobs on their home with the proper paperwork EXCEPT the above and well drilling. Can't think of anything else they can't do but these.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 5:08PM
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