Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 35

Thread: got called out at 9pm because customers house smelled of propane after clean/check

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    120
    Post Likes

    got called out at 9pm because customers house smelled of propane after clean/check

    Watching the debates my boss calls me and says she's on the way to this middle of nowhere house because they said they were getting headaches and could smell rotten eggs in the basement. I did a clean and check earlier in the day. She needed me to drive out and look. Honestly this pissed me off majorly because I knew i tightened down everything on the gas line and when I ran the unit after the service I was standing near it for awhile and caught no scent of propane gas. I also put the combustion analyzer on it and passed with flying colors.

    So I show up and when I walk into the house I definitely smell that nasty propane gas smell. I get down to the unit, and sure enough my union is tight, just how I left it. I ended up soap bubbling the joints on the input side of the gas valve and sure enough, the big nut on the union was leaking out the backside. I remember earlier in the day I had to go He-Man on the union and busted my fingers bad between the 2 pipe wrenches, whoever had it on before used a million ft-lb of torque. Is this proper pipe fiting technique? I've always hand threaded it down, and then put both wrenches on it and give it a bit of forearm grunt but nothing that's gonna make you fear for your fingertips when you go to remove it. It was a bit rusty so maybe it just had never been removed before and got seized in place.

    Another thing I noticed was on the manifold/output side of the gas valve, the manifold was able to twist in the gas valve somewhat easily. Almost like the factory didn't tighten it down enough into the gas valve. Obviously I didn't soap bubble this joint because I wanted the house to clear of propane before firing the furnace again to check that joint. Does this mean I have to remove the gas valve off the furnace with the manifold and try to crank it down another full revolution? I'm not sure how that got like that because like I said, its a factory fitted part and the gas valve had never been replaced (4 year old carrier).

    I swapped out the union and doped the **** out of every joint on the way to the gas valve. Obviously gas leaks are a very big issue and I understand why I was dragged out of my house at 9pm but I also feel cheated because I did nothing wrong and still got ****ed over. Am I going to have to soap bubble every union I ever open just to avoid callbacks? This seems ridiculous.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Kansas Flatlands
    Posts
    626
    Post Likes
    Sounds like you just got some "experience"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Dayton Oh
    Posts
    2,966
    Post Likes
    I was taught if you touch a fitting you better leak check it.

    Just something to think about next time, had you soaped all the joints post union when doing your cleaning, how long would that have added to the service? 10 minutes? How much did it add to your night to go back out there? 2 hours?

    And in terms of getting screwed, only the owner is getting screwed cause she has to eat the overtime and now has a customer that has second thoughts about using the company again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
    Posts
    12,221
    Post Likes
    Consider yourself lucky. I got called out to a house where one of my techs had done a seasonal check. The top of the furnace had burnt paint on it and there were burnt wires inside the furnace. Apparently he had checked gas pressure and had forgot to put the pressure port plug back in as it was laying under the valve.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Kansas Flatlands
    Posts
    626
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by BNME8EZ View Post
    Consider yourself lucky. I got called out to a house where one of my techs had done a seasonal check. The top of the furnace had burnt paint on it and there were burnt wires inside the furnace. Apparently he had checked gas pressure and had forgot to put the pressure port plug back in as it was laying under the valve.
    Seen the same thing. Found the pressure plug with the tech's allen wrench stuck in it. I could smell gas from the driveway. Young Frosty Get in the habit of checking for gas leaks, especially LP.

  6. Likes R600a, ga-hvac-tech, mofotech liked this post.
  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
    Posts
    30,422
    Post Likes
    Just be thankful you didn't kill anybody!

    Now learn from the mistakes.

    No need to go He Man on a union! Hand tight maybe 1/2 - 3/4 turn, any more and find out WHY.
    No excuse for not leak checking!
    Leaving a loose pipe on the manifold is completely Inexcusable!
    "doped the **** out of every joint on the way to the gas valve" Why, is this how you were taught to fit pipes? Pipe dope all over the place is unprofessional and signs of a rookie!
    "Almost like the factory didn't tighten it down enough into the gas valve." is an excuse, YOU were the last one to touch it YOU are responsible!

  8. Likes mofotech liked this post.
  9. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    7,522
    Post Likes
    Seeing that we are talking about gas leaks......Here’s one at my parents house that I was renovating years ago ( after they passed ) before selling the residence. House was close to 100 years old. They had a old gas stove in the kitchen with a standing pilot by the burners. Always had a very faint smell in the residence when I visited. Thought it was from the standing pilot. Replaced existing oil boiler with gas boiler and tied gas line into existing gas line in house. Removed old stove and plugged gas stove line. Leak test joints at boiler and plug where stove was, all looked good. Came back the next day, to continue with renovations, still faint smell of gas, soaped all joints again at boiler, OK, noticed old galvanized gas pipe in basement going up into a chase for 2nd floor. Smelled a faint gas smell. Cut out that section.

    Looks like it was like that for many decades behind the sealed wall, as the hole penetration was covered on the 2nd floor, with wood panels. They used a piece of what looks like a smooth brass thin sleeve filled with cement and rope as the dope. The sleeve was cocked at a angle, indicating no threads. The sleeve looks like it was hammered into place and has no threads as the sleeve is quite thin and could not support threads. The end of the sleeve looks like some of the wood paneling is attached. Thinking my brother installed the wood panels in the early 70’s . That sleeve predates that by decades as we never had a central heating unit on 2nd floor while growing up. House got baseboard sometime in the 50’s.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Bazooka Joey; 09-30-2020 at 01:20 PM.

  10. Likes Turtleman, ksefan liked this post.
  11. #8
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    181
    Post Likes
    I left the 1/8" manifold plug out after testing pressure.
    You know it right away as this was Propane, I was squatting right in front of the burners.
    Sunburn and shave in one second.

    I bubble everything every time. Even things that I did not touch but could have loosened by turning things down stream. Some fittings can be just a wiggle away from a small leak.

  12. Likes ksefan liked this post.
  13. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland Area
    Posts
    11,043
    Post Likes
    Why would you have touched the gas train on a clean and check? You couldn't check pressure from the gas valve taps?
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

    I know enough to know, I don't know enough
    Why is it that those who complain the most contribute the least?
    MONEY CAN'T BUY HAPPINESS. POVERTY CAN'T BUY ANYTHING

  14. Likes baby b liked this post.
  15. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    in a house, Appomattox, Va.
    Posts
    4,840
    Post Likes
    just was talking today about those plugs to newer guy. I always leave the plug on the allen wrench, and that separate from wrench block they store in. wouldn't leave w/o putting tools back, and the plug is on wrench. new guy had set it somewhere and I coudln't find it.
    Col 3:23


    questions asked, answers received, ignorance abated

  16. Likes YOUNG FROSTY liked this post.
  17. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    120
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    @2sac
    gas manifold had to be removed to pull out the burners to clean them up. I dont like rusty burners

  18. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland Area
    Posts
    11,043
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by YOUNG FROSTY View Post
    @2sac
    gas manifold had to be removed to pull out the burners to clean them up. I dont like rusty burners
    Ok, so ribbon burners. Don't see too many around anymore.
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

    I know enough to know, I don't know enough
    Why is it that those who complain the most contribute the least?
    MONEY CAN'T BUY HAPPINESS. POVERTY CAN'T BUY ANYTHING

  19. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    120
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by 2sac View Post
    Ok, so ribbon burners. Don't see too many around anymore.
    nope, inshot burners

  20. #14
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Haskell Oklahoma
    Posts
    288
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by jbhenergy View Post
    I was taught if you touch a fitting you better leak check it.

    Just something to think about next time, had you soaped all the joints post union when doing your cleaning, how long would that have added to the service? 10 minutes? How much did it add to your night to go back out there? 2 hours?

    And in terms of getting screwed, only the owner is getting screwed cause she has to eat the overtime and now has a customer that has second thoughts about using the company again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Why would the customer have to eat the overtime being as the tech was at fault for the leak?

  21. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,889
    Post Likes
    I’ve responded to untold number of leaks in my career. One comes to mind at a large apartment complex. Handyman replaced gas valve on wall furnace. Customer calls in a leak. Found handyman used a side tap on the valve and didn’t install the plug on the other tap. Only thing keeping from going to full on fire was the plastic thread/dust plug. I advised the management to inspect ever apartment after that.

  22. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,889
    Post Likes
    Am I going to have to soap bubble every union I ever open just to avoid callbacks? This seems ridiculous.

    WOW how do you respond to that attitude. Please get use to soaping the furnace or whatever your working on. Even the water heater sitting next to it.
    I wish you the best

  23. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Dayton Oh
    Posts
    2,966
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by Hurst11 View Post
    Why would the customer have to eat the overtime being as the tech was at fault for the leak?
    Owner of the company. She has to pay him to drive back out there and correct it in the end she is the one getting screwed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  24. #18
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Haskell Oklahoma
    Posts
    288
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by jbhenergy View Post
    Owner of the company. She has to pay him to drive back out there and correct it in the end she is the one getting screwed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Ah I gotcha 👍🏻 Yea owner gets the raw end of it

  25. #19
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    181
    Post Likes
    If I had left that leak there, I would have done the repair at any time of day and not clocked in on the company time. But still document that the repair was made.
    Just eat the time myself.......old guy....old school...

  26. Likes Turtleman, Nuclrchiller liked this post.
  27. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    va
    Posts
    768
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by RLJN View Post
    If I had left that leak there, I would have done the repair at any time of day and not clocked in on the company time. But still document that the repair was made.
    Just eat the time myself.......old guy....old school...
    Been there, done that.
    Old guy told me once “sure I make mistakes, just fix them before anyone else finds them”. Long dead York B/W factory engineer, one of the most abrasive, non pc persons I’ve ever worked with. Always tried to do that by checking all possibilities. Never assume, but nobody is perfect.

  28. Likes Turtleman, Nuclrchiller liked this post.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •