Category Archives: Specialty Plumbing Jobs

Scottsdale Balcony Water Heater

Scottsdale Condo Terrace Water Heater Closet Repair

Scottsdale Condo Terrace Water Heater Closet Repair is a fun story. Common design in mountain living is the condo terrace water heater closet. Fantastic use of space and with the “warmer” climate of Arizona, the outdoor tank style water heater is fully capable of being in an outside storage closet. On this particular HOA property there was an issue with the subfloor.

For a plumber in Scottsdale replacing a water heater there is a consideration. A licensed plumber or the homeowner need to request a water heater replacement permit from the city of Scottsdale. For this particular job the homeowner had already purchased the Water Heater replacement permit from the city of Scottsdale so we were able to just bring the new heater and make the swap. Pre-permitting is the way to go anytime we have Scottsdale Condo Terrace Water Heater Closet Repair.

Working in this particular multi-unit property there were three levels. Each unit head its own individual balcony or terrace. On the Terrace is a closet that houses the water heater. For some unknown reason the flooring in the outdoor patio closet in this unit was made of a product called gypcrete. Gypcrete loosely defined is a mixture of concrete and gypsum. Learn more about gypcrete mixtures here. To make matters worse there was no water heater pan installed. That means when the water heater failed the gypcrete became saturated and the water heater literally sank into the gypcrete.

Remove Sunken Water Heater

Showing Water Heater Closet Floor Replaced Concrete
Here is what the floor of the water heater closet looked like when we were finished.

Our first step in tackling this Water Heater replacement in a gypcrete floor outdoor closet was to remove the existing leaking water heater. This is a typical residential setup in multi-level multi-family Construction here in Arizona. We have a recirculation pump and an expansion tank along with a tnp valve setup made of CPVC. Removing all the attachments to the water heater we were able to lift the heater out of the saturated gypcrete flooring onto the Terrace surface. It is really crazy to see that the water heater has sank almost 2 in to the gypcrete.
The next step is to remove all this saturated gypcrete and make way for the new fast set will be putting in. There was also no access hole for the drain pan drain pipe to even be run out of the closet. I don’t understand how they could design this without a drain pan drain accommodation through the stucco. Anyhow, we will slope the concrete slightly to the new drain pan drain hole that we made in the stucco through to the inside of the closet. Then pipe that pan drain out to the Terrace surface. this way the next time there is an issue with the water heater the tenant in this condo will clearly see that there is water leaking. This eliminates the need for the tenant to have X-ray vision and see into the closet through the door should the water heater start suddenly leaking.

New Water Heater In

Water Heater Showing Drain Pan Drain Through StuccoWith our fast set concrete sloped and cured. Drain pan installed and drain piped to the best possible location. Easy fit Plumbing is ready to set a water heater in a Scottsdale condo Terrace closet. Since this Terrace is on the second floor we had to get a hand to get it all the way up and out to the patio. Once there we gently set it into the pan and added a couple of plastic blocks underneath just to keep it from setting directly on pan itself. This makes it a little easier when you have to drain the tank as well. The drain Port will not interfere with the vertical surface of the drain pan.

Reconnect, Recharge and Reset the Plumbing

Now it’s time to make all of our connections to the water heater. The hot feed, the cold supply, the recirculation pump. Get all of those connections nice and tight. We’ve replaced the seals as well. Also the expansion tank, don’t forget we put the new expansion tank checking the pressure to 40 psi. Many times when replacing a water heater people will neglect to replace the expansion tank. Compare cost, it is easier to replace an expansion tank when replacing the water heater. Replacing expansion tanks separately only results in another service call.

The recirculation pump has been without power for quite some time. We’ll need to reset the recirculation pump to the correct time. Set the recirculation pump back one hour. With all of our connections tight it’s time to recharge the water system. When we do recharge any water system it’s good to go and take the aerators out of the sinks. The initial blast of water will come through with any sediment. The settlement will go straight to the drain and not get caught in the aerators.

Verifying The Gas Connection

All right so the condo unit water system system is all charged up. Since this is a gas water heater we have inspected the mating surface of this flexible connection. After checking the flexible connection we’re going to connect right into this thermostat box. Now our gas water heater is reconnected. For some reason even after all these years I still read the directions before I light the pilot light. I guess every time is like the first time lol.
The pilot is on and we now have a fire at the burner.

CPVC is the material used for our Temperature and Pressure “T&P” valve on this water heater closet. This T&P valve is in a different location but that’s okay it’s still above the outlet through the drywall we just need to reconnect it with a CPVC coupling. Generally we would see copper used in this instance of a “multi-family” condo units but CPVC can be more cost-effective that’s for sure. PEX piping is now a lower cost alternative for the T&P valve drain than CPVC. In addition PEX piping is easier to install and lasts longer.

Finishing The Scottsdale Condo Terrace Water Heater Closet Repair

Running through our verbal checklist. Can it be said that a good Tradesman will talk to himself and run through his checklist? Throwing some finishing touches on this water heater install. Next we’re going to put a little bit of caulk around where our pipe comes out of the stucco for the drain pan. One final visual leak check. Now lets show the homeowner that our work is complete here. Finally to close out the job we take a picture and send it off to the property manager.
Do you live in a condo? Is your water heater located in a closet on your patio? Contact Easy Fit Plumbing today to have your subfloor inspected.
Scottsdale Balcony Water Heater

ADA Tenant Bathroom Vanity Relocation Photo

Multi-Family ADA Bathroom Sink Relocation

In this Multi-Family ADA Sink Swap example of work Easy Fit Plumbing specializes in, we’ll step you though the need and completion of moving a lavatory in a handicapped accessible apartment located in Casa Grande, Arizona. Bathroom sinks are also known as Lavatories. In this article you will see lavatory and sink used interchangeably.

Management at the multi-family property contacted us to enquire about a handicapped tenant with a special request. Along the life of the ADA unit restroom the bathroom vanity top was moved to the adjoining perpendicular wall. While this change accessible plumbing may have been necessary in the past, the current special needs occupant required the vanity and handicapped under sink plumbing to be moved.

Discussions with the tenant directly determined that she would like a little more counter space in the bathroom in addition to the ADA bathroom sink relocation. After meeting with the tenant we were able to determine the correct dimensions for the new vanity top and place the custom order.

Easy Fit Plumbing was able to reuse the existing approved ADA lavatory and ADA faucet. By carefully removing the lavatory from the old vanity top and placing it in our new extended handicapped vanity. This step saved the property owners money and satisfied the tenant who happened to love her faucet.

Since we extended the length of the vanity top we needed what is called a corbel to support the extra lavatory counter length. The challenge was to leave enough space for a wheel chair to swing away from the bathroom sink. The corbel, or counter top support/bracket, we installed did just that with a custom notch meeting the depth of the drain pipe. This notch allowed the tenant to pivot the wheelchair and miss the drain pipe and vanity top with her knees.

Speaking of lavatory drains, we had to move this one. The bathroom drain pipe and p-trap relocation was able to be achieved without changing the in-wall plumbing. However the external drain piping was changed with a shorter trap arm and new p-trap angle.

Hot and cold supply lines were replaced. After all the supply and drain piping was connected back to the faucet and lavatory, we covered the piping in the approved PVC drain insulation/cover material to protect the tenants legs and knees from cuts and burns that can occur when piping is bare.

Showing ADA unit vanity top before showing no room for wheelchair.
Showing ADA unit vanity top before showing with no room for the tenants legs while in her wheelchair.

To retain the handicapped tenants towel hanging space Easy Fit Plumbing worked with the customer to create a custom length towel bar. Initially the towel bar was at standing height but since this tenant was wheel chair bound we needed to change that. Before we attached the towel bar the tenant tested the height while in her wheel chair. The new custom towel bar was mounted on the wall at the end of the bathroom vanity.

Once the bathroom sink and vanity top were caulked in place there was one last task to complete. Fix the pop-up stopper in the bathroom sink. Most people aren’t too concerned with the pop-up stopper being set correctly. In this case the stopper needed to seal for a period of time while the tenant used the standing water in the sink to wash. Pop-up stoppers do have adjustments under the sink to help control the flow of water down the drain. Using the adjustments Easy Fit Plumbing got a good seal to hold water for well over 5 minutes. And 5 minutes of standing water in the bathroom sink was just what the wheelchair bound tenant needed

Property management at the Casa Grande multi-family building appreciated that we were able to communicate the needs of the handicapped tenant directly, clarify the tenants plumbing needs and execute the special order for the custom cut vanity top. At this geriatric and handicapped use property Easy Fit Plumbing was a supplement to the on-site property maintenance team. Because of the whole job focus of Easy Fit Plumbing and the specialty plumbing services we provide a life has been made easier. Making lives easier is what we are about.

Easy Fit Plumbing loves being an Arizona traveling plumber. Exploring new towns and talking to people about where to get lunch is our favorite. This trip to Casa Grande we were recommended a place called Bedillons. Bedillons had one of the best french dips I have ever had. They didn’t even mind that I ate the french dip like a plumber, with a fork and knife. The dinning room was fancy for our dirty boots so we ate on the patio. So on a final note, if you’re passing through Casa Grande, Arizona make a point to stop at Bedillons.