January 24, 2019 | Marshall Morgan
“A good inspector is like a phone call to Dad”

I purchased my 2 family home about 2 years ago. When talking about the purchase, I was given the name of Tom Julien with Capital Inspections to inspect my home. I was the buyer that brought a notebook and scribbled down every word Tom said, not realizing the comprehensive report I would be receiving the following day. One of my notes was that I have an older hot water tank that I should keep an eye on.

Fast forward to last week Friday and I had a pool of water around said hot water tank. This was it, I need to replace the hot water tank and it couldn’t have come at a worse time! Albany was expecting "Snowmageddon" 2019 and it was a holiday weekend. I started to research local plumbing companies I could call. Most of them quoted about $1,000 for a new hot water tank. Luckily I still had hot water, but nevertheless was on the verge of panic.
Thinking to myself, maybe I should call my inspector and talk this out. I reached out to Tom and left him a message. I’ve also become friends with other inspectors, one of whom is Matt Smith with Ace Inspections. So I also phoned Matt, who calmly talked through my woes, the hissing sound the tank was making and also where the water was coming from. The leak was coming from an overflow pipe, and the hissing from the pressure relief valve. I found this awesome diagram (shown below) online so I didn’t sound like a bumbling fool to these knowledgeable inspectors. Matt asked if I take steaming hot showers, which I’m totally guilty of. Sometimes after an extended period of time, steaming hot water can warp the pressure release valve and make the over flow pipe leak. I crossed my fingers that this was the case and ended the phone call. Just as I had, Tom called me back and without telling him what Matt had said, he also calmly walked me through the same process and gave me the same diagnosis.

A new pressure valve is about $40; the install was super simple. Matt shared a plumber with me that installed and talked me through it, in case I have to do the same thing with my other tank someday. Because I still had hot water, I was able to wait until after the holiday to get my appointment.
The lessons I took from this experience:
- don’t always think the worse
- don’t be afraid to ask for help
- try not to call a plumber on the weekend

Most importantly though, be grateful for the wonderful professionals you meet, and SAVE their numbers!
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