HOME FIX: What to do about contractor mistakes that need repairing

By C. Dwight Barnett | McClatchy-Tribune Published:

Q: I had a recent inspection of my home and the

buyer wants me to make the repairs.

The first is a vent pipe for a gas furnace. The inspector insists the pipe is too close to a window and that it has to be moved.

If this is true, I would like to know why a professional contractor would do such a thing.

There is also a Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing gas pipe to the same furnace that, according to the inspector, "is bent beyond standards and needs to be replaced." I will make the repairs, but what can I do to get the contractor to reimburse me for the costs?

A: Why a contractor makes mistakes like these is beyond my understanding, but I often think the work is being done by an inexperienced employee who is either unaware of the dangers he has exposed your family to or they are simply doing things the fastest and easiest way.

However, the contractor is ultimately responsible for the actions of his or her employees.

Call and write the contractor and, if you do not get satisfaction, hire an attorney and put the contractor's license in jeopardy.

The PVC vent pipe is from a high efficiency gas furnace and, according to the International Residential Code, the vent must terminate no closer than four feet to the window.

There is the possibility of flue gases entering the living area of the home through air leaks at the window.

It is true that bending the corrugated steel pipe can put a strain on the outside portion of the bend and the pipe could crack or the fittings could fail.

Major manufacturers of CSST have requirements for the minimum amount of bending allowed for their products.

The charts I have seen recommend the pipe should not be bent more than 90 degrees. Excess bending could damage the tubing and multiple tight bends can restrict the flow of gas leading to increased gas pressure to the fittings.

An improperly installed CSST can lead to gas leaks at the fitting to the appliance.

Make sure you know where the gas shut-off valve is located for each appliance that uses CSST pipe.

C. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, IN 47702 or at d.Barnett@insightbb.com.

MCT Information Services

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