Monday, October 26, 2015

If you want it done right...

Long time readers may remember that I have had trouble with my water hydrant freezing every winter.  Addressing this issue was the last of my big winterizing projects this Fall.  This should have been a fairly straight-forward repair, however, I needed to hire help for the job and dealing with contractors is never straight-forward.  At least not in my universe. 

Hydrants fail for two reasons:
  1. they aren't buried deep enough
  2. they have insufficient drainage underground.
My hydrant suffered from both of these problems.  A couple of months ago when the contractors fixed my deck, the hydrant developed a third, very major problem.  When the guys were digging holes for the stair posts, they hit the water line going to the barn.  It didn't seem like a big deal at first as they were able to easily splice the line and I don't blame them for hitting it.  It was tricky digging back there as they had to also avoid the sewer and electric lines as well.  If they had to hit something, the water line was the best option.

However, some dirt/stones got into the line and fouled up the valve in the hydrant.  The guy fixed it, but in doing so, he twisted the top of the pipe and, in doing so, partially broke the line underground.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize there was a problem until several hours after they had left and I had paid them in full.  

They promised to come back and fix it.  Weeks went by and they finally said they would have to do it on a weekend as they were too busy.  This was fine with me and we set a date.  On Sept. 12, I got a message early in the morning that said:

"I'm here trying to pick up the excavator and apparently we had wrong dates because they said I am wrote down for next Saturday. I'm trying to figure something out now". 

That was the very last I heard from him.  In the following weeks, I tried to call - it always went to voicemail.  I sent emails that all went unanswered.  I came up with another job that I would have paid them to do so that fixing my water line would have cost them nothing and they would profit from being here.  Nothing. 

I finally called from FB's house and he picked up right away because he didn't recognize my number, which really pissed me off.  Still, I remained polite and accommodating of his schedule.  I only told him that we had to do this job while the weather was still dry or it would be a disaster.  I speak form hard earned experience here.  He promised to get it done.

Well, here we are at the end of October with the weather going downhill fast.  I haven't heard from him and he is, once again, refusing to take my calls or answer emails. 

I try to be understanding and flexible, I really do. No one understands better about unexpected problems than I do.  What I don't understand is why someone can't take 30 seconds to send me an email or leave me a message telling me what is going on.  Hell, even if he sent me a message telling me to F*** Off, I'd be happier than hearing nothing.  At least I'd know where things stand.

I don't mind waiting while they finish a big job.  I don't mind rescheduling when things go awry.  I DO mind being treated like a non-entity.  What is it with contractors?  I really don't get it. 

I totally rescind my recommendation for Perry's Amish Construction.  Not that they seem to care.


Annnyyywaaay.....I truly didn't mean to go off on that rant, but I guess I needed to.  I do feel marginally better for it.  So, about that hydrant....

One of the main reasons I have problems with it is because the guy who originally installed it, put it off until November instead of doing it in July as promised (contractors and their useless promises!)

Deep breath, don't get me started again. 

Whew.  Moving on.

I know from that hard learned past experience that we are out of time to get this job done.  Since I refuse to go through the winter having to carry buckets, I decided to just cave in and find someone else who could dig it up for me.

Since a lot of people seem to find frost-free hydrants rather mysterious and even more (contractors!!) don't know how to install them, I'll show you how in my next post.  My calm, rational, rant-free post. 


  1. Maybe you and FB and other locals can develop your own circle of reliable, local, handimen. People who are neighbors and can get the job done. I live in a rural area, and that is how I have survived for the past 18 years. No, probably not licensed and insured.

  2. Perry's Amish Construction has a Facebook page. Make a comment.

  3. Good for you - I would NOT have been that nice and I'm kind of evil in that in a small town, I make sure they remember I will not recommend them to anyone. Okay doesn't always help but makes me feel better.

  4. I hear you on the useless promises thing. I REALLY want my own excavator.

  5. Frost free hydrants are incredibly easy to install. Woodford Mfg. has some of the best in the industry. These guys have been making them for the for almost the last 100 years. Check them out.