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Scarlett

Plumber electrocuted on job

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Just now, parent said:

I used to direct plumbers, but not one myself.  Have had plenty of safety awareness training on my job.

Trained by father is not a credential. Is he licensed/certified for your state?  

Shutting off power to an appliance before working on it is always necessary.  Your buddy needs to take a safety course.  It is Common Sense 101.  Especially, should be more careful at other people's homes which could have questionable wiring.

Holy crap, did I say being trained by ones father was a credential?  He is licensed and he has been for 40 years and no he doesn’t need a safety course.  I don’t know why you feel the need to go in this direction and disparage a person you don’t even know when I was asking about experience with homeowners liability limits.  
 

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1 minute ago, Scarlett said:

Holy crap, did I say being trained by ones father was a credential?  He is licensed and he has been for 40 years and no he doesn’t need a safety course.  I don’t know why you feel the need to go in this direction and disparage a person you don’t even know when I was asking about experience with homeowners liability limits.  
 

Well, it is all you said in regards to his training.  So, I picture him as one of those people who does odd jobs and may not be licensed... 

But at any rate, I am glad he was not electrocuted and hope he gets this sorted.

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3 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Scarlett, very gently, I actually googled and the couple three pages I clicked all said to unplug it first.  And whenever DH has worked on our appliances, he always unplugs it first, and plugs it in last.

But it doesn't really matter because the information you have might not be exactly what happened, you are getting your information from your friend, and he might be confused, or be misunderstanding or may simply not be explaining it correctly to you.  If the problem is with the manufacturer directly (ie the dryer itself is faulty) then your friend likely has to go after the manufacturer.  If the problem is with how the dryer was installed originally, then your friend likely has to go after the homeowner.  I think the only reason he would sue the homeowners insurance is if he believes they are incorrect in telling him the liability limit is $1k.  And insurance companies are pretty slimy sometimes, so it could very well be that they are handing him a line of crap if they are telling him the limit is $1k.  It could be that they are trying to claim the situation is not what it actually is, insurance companies do that all the time to avoid paying things out.  

 

 

when your husband ‘works’ on appliances?  Are you specifically talking about connecting a dryer vent? Because my husband works on everything and he of course would definitely unplug to work on an appliance.  I do not consider connecting a dryer vent to be working on it.  

He isn’t confused.  His son was there and confirms exactly what happened.  But you are right that an attorney will be able to sort out if the actual limit is only $1000 or not.  
 

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

He is licensed and has liability insurance.  No possible way this was his fault.  For one thing he is a plumber not an electrician.....he was under a house connecting a dryer vent.  When his son handed him the vent from above he was instantly electrocuted. Son above was not electrocuted because he was standing on a wooden floor.  He started screaming but son had no  idea what was wrong.  The only reason my friend is not dead is because the dryer vent he grabbed hold of was big enough in diameter his thrashing around dislodged it from his grip.  

 

3 minutes ago, parent said:

Well, it is all you said in regards to his training.  So, I picture him as one of those people who does odd jobs and may not be licensed... 

But at any rate, I am glad he was not electrocuted and hope he gets this sorted.

It is not all I said in regards to his training.  

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21 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Well, so far it hasn’t been factored in since the dryer was faulty. It is why BCBS is going after the homeowner.....because the dryer was faulty.  

Oh, I just realized this. I thought it was the house wiring that was faulty, not the dryer itself. Ignore my comments about the home inspector. The manufacturer of the dryer may bear some responsibility though. Unfortunately for him, that's where all of the "unplug the appliance" instructions in owner's manuals come into play - they are thought to be common sense, I think, so these are CYA statements for the manufacturers. There are all kinds of caveats to insurance policies, so who knows? Going to an attorney is certainly the right move.

I am confused by some wording people are using here. There is a difference between "unplug the dryer" and "cut the power." The one is localized to the appliance, the other involves turning power off at the breaker.

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Just curious, why was he connecting a dryer vent under the floor?  Was he replacing an old one, or moving things around, or installing a new one?

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2 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

 

It is not all I said in regards to his training.  

Ah, I missed that.  I skim too much.

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1 hour ago, parent said:

Electrocuted means killed by shock.  He had an electric shock and electrical burns.

Sounds horrible and he is very lucky to not have been electrocuted.

 

Electrocute  means to injure or kill by electric shock. The man was electrocuted.

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3 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

 

when your husband ‘works’ on appliances?  Are you specifically talking about connecting a dryer vent? Because my husband works on everything and he of course would definitely unplug to work on an appliance.  I do not consider connecting a dryer vent to be working on it.  

He isn’t confused.  His son was there and confirms exactly what happened.  But you are right that an attorney will be able to sort out if the actual limit is only $1000 or not.  
 

We are pretty DIY here.

When we moved into and out of our previous rental, we brought our own washer and dryer and bought a stove (because we moved from gas to electric, but there was no electric stove.)  So yes, DH installed and hooked up ALL those in that rental, so yes, connecting dryer vents, even replacing the flex pipe that ripped a couple years later.  

But again, it doesn't really matter.  The truth is that you have second hand information.  You weren't there, and you weren't present for any of his phone conversations with lawyers or insurance people, so your perception of the situation is based on someone else's perception, which may not be entirely reflective of the actual reality of it.

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Just now, SKL said:

Just curious, why was he connecting a dryer vent under the floor?  Was he replacing an old one, or moving things around, or installing a new one?

I am not sure.  I think it had just come loose. 

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7 minutes ago, parent said:

Well, it is all you said in regards to his training.  So, I picture him as one of those people who does odd jobs and may not be licensed... 

But at any rate, I am glad he was not electrocuted and hope he gets this sorted.

She didn't say anything about his training that I can see. What are you talking about?

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3 minutes ago, TechWife said:

 

Electrocute  means to injure or kill by electric shock. The man was electrocuted.

https://www.google.com/search?q=electrocution+definition+osha&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjo3rz6uMfnAhXCop4KHe4SDRMQ1QIwHHoECA4QDA&biw=360&bih=668&dpr=3

It's electrical shock causing a fatality.  Yes, people have misused over and over as just meaning shocked.

Edited by parent

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1 minute ago, Scarlett said:

I am not sure.  I think it had just come loose. 

His son handed it to him, so it must have been more than just moving something back into the previous location.

Anyway, I do hope he gets it resolved so that his family doesn't have too much of a loss.

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1 minute ago, parent said:

Yes, exposure to a lethal amount. Death is actually not required for someone to be considered electrocuted.

From the document you linked - underlining mine:

A. Definition Electrocution results when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy. An electrical hazard can be defined as a serious workplace hazard that exposes workers to the following: Burns Electrocution Shock ArcFlash/Arc Blast Fire Explosions

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6 minutes ago, TechWife said:

She didn't say anything about his training that I can see. What are you talking about?

She said "are you a plumber?  He was trained by his father as a teen"  which may be nice but may not be legit training.  Methods and codes have changed significantly.  I missed that she said previously that he was licensed and practicing for 40 yrs.

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28 minutes ago, SKL said:

I turn off the lights before I will screw in a lightbulb.  Call me crazy.

I do too! I assumed everyone did?!

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40 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Are you a plumber?  He has been a plumber for his entire life.  Trained by his father as a teen.  Unplugging a dryer to attach a dryer vent should never be necessary.  

Why not? Here's the problem with what you're saying: It *is* necessary to unplug a dryer when attaching a vent exactly because of what happened to your friend. His experience belies what you're saying about should never have to.

I made a stupid mistake hooking up my own dryer once about 10 years ago and I was very fortunate I wasn't injured, but I always cut power now if I'm doing anything that involves hooking anything up to the dryer or moving it at all.

Edited by EmseB
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5 minutes ago, parent said:

She said "are you a plumber?  He was trained by his father as a teen"  which may be nice but may not be legit training.  Methods and codes have changed significantly.  I missed that she said previously that he was licensed and practicing for 40 yrs.

See, I missed that and picked up on the professional licensing.

Anyone who carries a license for a field they currently work in is going to keep up to date on current codes. Otherwise, they will have complaints filed against them, which could result in loss of license and loss of work.  The older tradesmen that I have had work on our home have been the most conscientious. They are also providing on the job training to the next generation of tradesmen, they have reason to be invested in keeping up to date with current codes. Thinking that someone's years of experience means they are less competent than someone younger is ageism.

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9 minutes ago, Just Kate said:

I do too! I assumed everyone did?!

Funny side story...

DH went to kill a fly in the bathroom a couple of months ago.  He ended up breaking the lightbulb over the vanity.  Like shattered it down to the screw in piece.  We got the glass cleaned up, and I knew if we didn't change the bulb it would be a while.  We turned off the lights and he had to use needle nose pliers to get to the screw to unscrew it.  The moment he touched them, every single light in the bedroom and hall went out, including the hall bathroom and the other electrical things in the bedroom.  We spent hours trying to figure it out, none of of the circuit breakers had been tripped.  We hunted all over the bathroom and bedroom for a GFCI outlet.  Couldn't find it.  Called maintenance at like 11pm, they couldn't help.  FInally at like midnight, I spotted the GFCI outlet in the back corner of the hall bath.  Apparently that's the only GFCI for the back half of the house.  

After that, I am tempted to turn off the circuit breaker before changing a bulb lol.  

Edited by happysmileylady
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46 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Ok my word people.  I am going to have to be done with this thread.  Connecting a dryer vent is not ‘working on a dryer’. It is not electrical work.  It is not working around water and electricity.  It was a faulty appliance which could have shocked him just touching it had it not been on a wooden floor.  There were no wires under the house... no animals chewed on anything.  
 

and no safety procedures do not require unplugging a dryer to attach a vent. Have y’all never reconnected your dryer vent if it popped off? 

Scarlett, sorry I'm reading this thread backwards, but I can't understand this. If you're connecting anything to an appliance that is plugged in, you're working around electricity. You're working on the appliance itself. Those vents are usually metal or have metal components. If he's attaching a metal component to a plugged in appliance he's literally working on an appliance that is connected to electricity. I get wanting to defend someone when they are down, but how you can possibly say a skilled tradesman wasn't working on an appliance or wasn't working around electricity while installing a vent on a plugged in dryer is baffling.

Edited by EmseB
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The part that I'm most confused about is the $1,000 cap on homeowners insurance.  I certainly don't know much about homeowners insurance, but I've never heard of a limit being that low except maybe on a personal item.  I've heard of $1,000 being the deductible before homeowners' kicks in though...  

(Glad your friend survived!!)

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Was he first working on the washer?  And maybe he bumped the dryer vent and had to put it back on?  That’s the only reason I can come up with that a plumber would be doing something with the dryer.  If that’s correct, then they’ll probably say he hadn’t dried his hands properly or there was water on the appliance from the washer.   They’ll do their best to get out of paying a cent.  and honestly, he may not be due anything.  It may very well have been negligence.  A lawyer is a good step as she can sort it all out.  

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6 minutes ago, TechWife said:

See, I missed that and picked up on the professional licensing.

Anyone who carries a license for a field they currently work in is going to keep up to date on current codes. Otherwise, they will have complaints filed against them, which could result in loss of license and loss of work.  The older tradesmen that I have had work on our home have been the most conscientious. They are also providing on the job training to the next generation of tradesmen, they have reason to be invested in keeping up to date with current codes. Thinking that someone's years of experience means they are less competent than someone younger is ageism.

I had skimmed through the first posts.  What jumped out first was the word electrocution, which I think is still a misuse, but do not need to hash that out anymore.  Then jumped out the fact that he didn't unplug or turn off power to the area of work. 

I do NOT think years of experience makes someone less competent, quite the reverse.  I had no idea the guy's age (as I missed post about being licensed with 40 yrs experience).  All I caught was the guy was trained by father as a teen (and could be 22.. you know?).

I actually do not know about continuing education requirements for plumbers.  I am sure it varies significantly by state.  Hopefully, everywhere, they have to keep up on code changes and amendments.

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1 minute ago, J-rap said:

The part that I'm most confused about is the $1,000 cap on homeowners insurance.  I certainly don't know much about homeowners insurance, but I've never heard of a limit being that low except maybe on a personal item.  I've heard of $1,000 being the deductible before homeowners' kicks in though...  

(Glad your friend survived!!)

Thank you!  Which was suppose to be the point of this thread but somehow devolved in it being the plumbers fault. 

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My dh is an electrician so I asked his 2 cents. He says he frequently disconnects dryer vents when he is troubleshooting them because he has to pull them away from the wall. He would never consider turning off the power - he of course needs the power on to troubleshoot. He has never seen this cited in code, and believes that the plumber is not at fault. 

Basically, he said anybody that is arguing that the dryer should be unplugged is arguing that it should be turned off before anybody touches it. The entire dryer was "hot" in this scenario - the vent should not electocute someone anymore than opening the dryer door electrocutes someone. Fwiw....

 

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2 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

Was he first working on the washer?  And maybe he bumped the dryer vent and had to put it back on?  That’s the only reason I can come up with that a plumber would be doing something with the dryer.  If that’s correct, then they’ll probably say he hadn’t dried his hands properly or there was water on the appliance from the washer.   They’ll do their best to get out of paying a cent.  and honestly, he may not be due anything.  It may very well have been negligence.  A lawyer is a good step as she can sort it all out.  

Plumbers install gas piping so could do a dryer install and also connect vent.

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I don't remember plumbers shutting off power to do their work around here. There was definitely no power shut off with our recent dishwasher install. 

No way would I think shutting off power was necessary to install a dryer vent--I don't shut off power every time I'm planning to touch my dryer and the dryer vent has nothing to do with electricity other than being in contact with the dryer.

Edited by maize
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5 minutes ago, TracyP said:

My dh is an electrician so I asked his 2 cents. He says he frequently disconnects dryer vents when he is troubleshooting them because he has to pull them away from the wall. He would never consider turning off the power - he of course needs the power on to troubleshoot. He has never seen this cited in code, and believes that the plumber is not at fault. 

Basically, he said anybody that is arguing that the dryer should be unplugged is arguing that it should be turned off before anybody touches it. The entire dryer was "hot" in this scenario - the vent should not electocute someone anymore than opening the dryer door electrocutes someone. Fwiw....

 

This exactly. 

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

Well, so far it hasn’t been factored in since the dryer was faulty. It is why BCBS is going after the homeowner.....because the dryer was faulty.  

BCBS is most likely going after the homeowner solely because it happened on their property. If you fall at a friend's house and break your ankle, and you get asked at the ER where you were when you fell and that goes into the chart, your insurance company is likely going to go after the homeowner's insurance. 

The homeowner's insurance, in this case, could go after the appliance manufacturer if the dryer is faulty. We had a homeowner's claim where our homeowner's insurance went after the appliance people and got our deductible back. 

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1 hour ago, itsheresomewhere said:

I have and I do.  

We don’t unplug it, but we absolutely shut it off at the panel and any surrounding circuits that may affect it.  And if the plug is within reach one absolutely should, it’s such a simple step.

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27 minutes ago, maize said:

I don't remember plumbers shutting off power to do their work around here. There was definitely no power shut off with our recent dishwasher install. 

No way would I think shutting off power was necessary to install a dryer vent--I don't shut off power every time I'm planning to touch my dryer and the dryer vent has nothing to do with electricity other than being in contact with the dryer.

Jeez Louise!  Just reading that made my mouth drop open!   I’d have burnt the house down.  😱

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Does anyone else wonder if the $1,000 limit is on replacing an appliance vs. liability for injury?

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:


 

and no safety procedures do not require unplugging a dryer to attach a vent. Have y’all never reconnected your dryer vent if it popped off? 

Yep, many times. And I unplugged the dryer every single time and I've never been even been trained!  Seems like common sense to me, takes 10 seconds and save a whole lot of trouble.

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Maybe the fact that he was under the floor threw me.  I mean I never had to go under the floor to tinker with my dryer vent.  But his whole body being down there might have exposed him to a lot more than just the dryer vent.  That's where I'm coming from.

I don't really have a clear picture of what happened.  But I still say there will or should be an investigation into who screwed up.  It's not a knock on the plumber, even if he should have turned off the power.  We all make mistakes.  Hopefully it was the manufacturer who hopefully has tons of insurance to deal with this.

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19 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

Jeez Louise!  Just reading that made my mouth drop open!   I’d have burnt the house down.  😱

Why?

Pull out old dishwasher, unplug it,  detach hoses, remove.

Get new dishwasher into position, attach hoses, plug in, push under cabinet.

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Being in the walls or under flooring in an old house is different than just touching it for operation though.  I don't doubt plumbers don't do it in many houses.  It's highly unlikely to be an issue in a newer home and it doesn't surprise me a plumber could do this for 40 years and have no issue.  We had our 1915 house rewired a number of years back and the stuff in the walls literally could have killed you prior.  Many houses are not completely rewired.  We shut down power for everything still.  Even after a house is rewired doesn't mean there isn't mystery wiring lurking or ungrounded outlets still in use.  

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1 minute ago, maize said:

Why?

Pull out old dishwasher, unplug it,  detach hoses, remove.

Get new dishwasher into position, attach hoses, plug in, push under cabinet.

Not all are plug in.  Some are still hardwired. 

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3 minutes ago, cjzimmer1 said:

Yep, many times. And I unplugged the dryer every single time and I've never been even been trained!  Seems like common sense to me, takes 10 seconds and save a whole lot of trouble.

Do you also unplug your dryer before opening it to put clothes in or take them out?

Cause you touch the dryer to do that just as much as you touch it to attach a vent. If touching a dryer that is plugged in is going to electrocute you it's no less likely to happen if you touch the door than the vent.

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1 minute ago, itsheresomewhere said:

Not all are plug in.  Some are still hardwired. 

Makes sense.

But are people assuming the dryer was hardwired? Is that even a thing?

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2 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

Not all are plug in.  Some are still hardwired. 

Yup. Those should ALWAYS be on a dedicated circuit.  Shudder.  So many houses aren’t up to code or best practices, it’s scary for sure and people do get injured 😞

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11 minutes ago, maize said:

Why?

Pull out old dishwasher, unplug it,  detach hoses, remove.

Get new dishwasher into position, attach hoses, plug in, push under cabinet.

We have a light switch that turns off the power to the dishwasher - presumably because we can't reach the plug until we pull the appliance out.

It took us a while after moving in to realize that was what the switch was for.  One day the dishwasher worked, the next day it didn't.  It wasn't funny at the time.  😛

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7 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yup. Those should ALWAYS be on a dedicated circuit.  Shudder.  So many houses aren’t up to code or best practices, it’s scary for sure and people do get injured 😞

Exactly.  People would be surprised too on how many have poorly labeled electrical panels...

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9 minutes ago, maize said:

Makes sense.

But are people assuming the dryer was hardwired? Is that even a thing?

No.  The dryer was not hardwired.  But he was moving it to install the vent so he should have unplugged to be safe. 

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I would like to point out that for all we know, Scarlett's friend DID unplug the dryer and he just didn't mention it to her.  There could be some faulty wiring somewhere or other information that her friend has not shared or hasn't communicated properly that could very well mean the issue was at the house and not with her friend.  

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4 hours ago, parent said:

Electrocuted means killed by shock.  He had an electric shock and electrical burns.

Sounds horrible and he is very lucky to not have been electrocuted.

 

I used to think that electrocution meant "death", by definition, until I looked it up. Turns out that the term is commonly used to mean "death or severe injury" caused by electric current passing through the body.  

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2 hours ago, maize said:

I don't remember plumbers shutting off power to do their work around here. There was definitely no power shut off with our recent dishwasher install. 

No way would I think shutting off power was necessary to install a dryer vent--I don't shut off power every time I'm planning to touch my dryer and the dryer vent has nothing to do with electricity other than being in contact with the dryer.

I'm in a different state than you - and they turned off the power at the breaker for my new dishwasher install last summer.

and of course - for the garbage disposal we just had to have replaced.

 

eta: 1ds (engineer) was replacing all my switches and outlets last summer.  he bought an ampmeter?  so he could detect live circuits as he was working.  of course, everything was switched off at the box.  while big things on the breaker box were labeled - bedroom outlets were more unreliable.

 

Edited by gardenmom5
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3 hours ago, SKL said:

 

Which brings up another question - why was a plumber working on a dryer in the first place?  Is this something plumbers are trained to do?  If not, then he takes a risk when he does it.

We moved into a house last year and it needed a dryer vent installed. I asked the electrician who was here doing some work and he told me a plumber does that. I called a plumber, skeptical that he did that kind of thing and yeah he told me it’s a plumbing thing. I was surprised, but there you go...it’s something a plumber does. 
 

He unplugged the  dryer but I thought  that’s because he moved it so he could reach to connect the vent to the back. Maybe it was a safety issue. 
 

Edited by Annie G
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2 hours ago, maize said:

Why?

Pull out old dishwasher, unplug it,  detach hoses, remove.

Get new dishwasher into position, attach hoses, plug in, push under cabinet.

The last time I installed a dishwasher there was no plug for it. I had to disconnect the wiring to the old dishwasher and reconnect the wiring to the new one. There were no plugs or hidden dishwasher outlets under my counters. I turned off the power and the water to do it. 

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2 hours ago, SKL said:

We have a light switch that turns off the power to the dishwasher - presumably because we can't reach the plug until we pull the appliance out.

It took us a while after moving in to realize that was what the switch was for.  One day the dishwasher worked, the next day it didn't.  It wasn't funny at the time.  😛

Huh.  We have a light switch that doesn’t do anything in the kitchen.  Now I’m wondering...  

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