Robert Lamoureux: Rotted support beam, tankless water heater

Courtesy photo Many brands of tankless water heaters are available in a variety of price points, depending on your needs. Some homeowners need a point-of-use heater, while others want a reliable hot water source for the entire home, such as this EcoSmart tankless heater. Many brands of tankless water heaters are available in a variety of price points, depending on your needs. Some homeowners need a point-of-use heater, while others want a reliable hot water source for the entire home, such as this EcoSmart tankless heater.

Question No. 1

Robert,

I live in Canyon Country, and the photos attached show the 4×4 post that holds up the support beam is rotted at the bottom. There is barely anything left, and it is sinking a bit.

I’m a do-it-yourselfer and will certainly take this project on, but I do need your guidance first, please, so that I don’t miss a necessary step, as this is supporting the roof.

Are you able to help from the photos and let me know exactly what to do so that I don’t risk safety and also get the job done correctly? I’ve gone online, but there is nothing super clear about what to do.

— Jorge J.

Answer No. 1

Jorge,

I can definitely let you know what to do, and will encourage you to be extremely cautious and follow each step.

I see you’re in dirt, there are Simpson clips, and I do also see the rotting you’ve mentioned. I can tell that you need to do this same repair on both sides of this support beam, so make sure you have a level and the following lumber plus a bottle jack, and you’ll be able to make this repair.

First things first, get yourself a few pieces of 2×10, about a foot or so long each, three 4×4 posts and a bottle jack. Since you’re in dirt, you’ll need to stack a couple of the 2x10s next to the rotted beam and set the bottle jack onto that for stability.

Cut one post to fit under the support beam and onto the bottle jack, a bit snugly. Jack up the support beam until it shows level and then remove the rotted post and replace it with a new one, nailing properly to secure.

Slowly release the jack and make the same repair on the other side, double checking the support beam for level before nailing either. When done, release your jack slowly, and you are free to continue on.

A good question to ask is why did the bottom of the beam rot? Be sure to close up your area properly to prevent rotting to these newly installed posts. Good luck.

— Robert

Question No. 2

Robert,

I read your column every weekend and thoroughly enjoy it. My husband and I have a small 1,200-square-foot, single-story home in Canyon Country that was built in 1986. Our laundry room is in the house, off the hallway, and we can’t stand it. We are interested in a tankless water heater. Do you have a reputable plumber that you can refer to us? Also, does a permit need to be pulled for something like this?

Thank you for your time.

— Sue P.

Answer No. 2

Sue,

I’ve given you my recommendation for a plumber via private email.

To answer the permit question, yes this is a vital step, especially with a tankless heater, due to the high burn rate and ducting. Even when you have a reputable plumber, be sure to do your homework and make certain that they request their carrier to send a copy to you of their insurance, and also make sure that permits are pulled.

Final payment should be made only after final inspection by the city. This is your assurance that the job was done correctly. Best of luck to you.

— Robert

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]

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