Do plumbers sabotage pipes?
I do not wish to offend honest plumbers out there but Im having a hard time with finding a decent plumber I can trust. Ive gone thru a bunch of plumbers over the years and I thought I finally found one I trust but now Im questioning.
First plumber was the expensive outfit in the area...did good work but so expensive...when I called them out to fix my hot water heater they said I needed a new one. They told me the price and I tried negotiating with them...asking them if that was the best price they can do ($860)...they looked at me like I was nuts and said they would have to ask the office. Then they stood there looking at me and when I asked them what they needed from me - they were like do you really want us to call the office? And I was like yeah..so they did and came back with the office allowing them to give us the senior citizen discount (Im not a senior) to the tune of $60 off. My husband just wanted this done so I said okay and they installed my new hot water heater. They were working in my basement a long time and within about 1 week later this hard plastic pipe coming in from my well suddenly split and I had to make an emergency call to them. This is coincidence #1. I believe this was a newer pipe. my mind gets visions of these guys pissed off that I tried to negotiate and so they maybe somehow slash the pipe just a bit and then eventually would the pressure do the rest of the work? Anyway I called this outfit one more time simply to change the hose to my toilet because my husband was being lazy and water was dripping out of it and I was unable to tighten it myself...when they had the nerve to charge me $130 for that I knew I had to change.
Next plumber was a creepy guy - who just walked right into your house on the first appointment and then he'd yell out "hello"...I could see walking in when your in the middle of a job but when you first come over to consult? He did a few jobs for us over time and then our boiler broke. But my husband did some reading up on it before the plumber came over and had an idea what the problem was. We watched the plumber working down there...he was trying stupid things to see if the problem was electrical...first he went out to use his small electrical tester...then he went back to use his better electrical tester...I mean why not use the better one to begin with? He looked like he was making crap up to try...he was totally avoiding the area that my husband thought was the problem...then he said the fix would be expensive cause they dont make these parts etc...and that it might make sense to get a new boiler instead of throwing good money after bad...we thought about that a minute then my husband pointed to the area he was avoiding and asked if that could be the problem? The plumber got a look on his face like wow he never thought of checking that but MAYBE...so he starts to fiddle with that and comes to the conclusion that that is the problem and makes a few phone calls to see if he can get the part and it cost us just over $100. LOL! So I know he was trying to scam us because theres no way he couldnt have thought of even looking at that part. But because Ive already gone thru one plumbing operation and I didnt know anyone better to call I continued to use creepy guy on our bathroom remodel which my shower has air in the pipes and makes loud clicking noises eveytime you shut it off for like 2 days. And then he flaked out when he was supposed to install our toilet and thats when I stopped using him. He was supposed to show up and said his van broke didnt know when it would be fixed...acted like there was a chance he would be over that day, never showed and never called to resched....In my head I imagine he was prob in jail or court over walking into peoples houses without waiting for them to answer the door.
Next plumber is my roto rooter guy. I feel like they've charged me fair prices when it comes to my septic work and drain clogs. I was feeling good about them...they deal with crap all day and didnt charge as much as I imagined they would charge...so when my pipe under my toilet got a little leak I called them. Really nice guy showed up and since the pipe was in a difficult place, he thought he might have to remove the toilet to get to it, he gave me suggestions for doing temporary fix myself...hydrolic cement,I tipped him $20 for giving me free advice and thank you and I told him Id think about what we were going to do. My husband being lazy, I called him back to do the work as well as change the pipes under my sink because there was some sporadic leak there that I had no idea when/why it leaked and I was sick of it. So he worked in the basement on my pipe connected to the toilet (didnt have to remove toilet) and then he changed a pipe under the sink. Under $200 seemed fair. One week after he was working in my basement there is another leak in a copper drain pipe. There is a pretty clear small rectangular hole right next to a connection. I cant help but imagine him down there looking for a week spot to stab something sharp into. And Im upset about this cause I thought I finally found a plumber I could trust. Am I overreacting? I was looking at some of my other pipes (drain pipes from the bathroom) and there seems to be a sticky substance under them. Not wet stick but like something was put on thick under them and dried mostly but remains a little tacky. I dont remember seeing this before but maybe I never noticed? These are copper pipes that are soddered at the joints so its not like you would use the glue for pvc. Is there a substance that an unethical plumber could paint on copper pipes to make them errode faster? Am I being paranoid? Im thinking I should really set up hidden cameras - it would be worth the cost just so that i dont have to have this paranoid feeling everytime I have someone work in the basement? My house is old (1960)...but it just seems crazy that new things pop up a week after someones worked in my basement. Sorry I just typed a novel. Thanks for any comments/ advice you can give me!