Family Plumbing: A Jiu Jitsu Story

 Last month Tyler and I competed in the Queen City Open, an annual Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament held in Regina every fall. Humble brag: both Tyler and I were able to walk away with multiple pieces of hardware. Jiu jitsu actually plays an important role in the formation of Family Plumbing and Heating. We get asked a lot if Tyler and I are brothers but we actually met through jiu jitsu.

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   Pretty shocking eh? I understand how one could come to the conclusion we must be brothers but I originally met Tyler on the mats of Complete MMA in 2016. The first time I remember talking to Tyler was at a Saturday open mat session. I believe Tyler at the time was training for an amateur fight while I was training just to try and avoid getting tapped out too many times in a row. We paired off and I remember making some (likely hilarious) joke to try and break the ice rolling with the guy for the first time. Tyler neither laughed or even cracked a smile and I could tell it was about to get serious. The next five minutes went by in a blur as I proceeded to get tossed around for the remainder of the roll. At the time Tyler had just been promoted to blue belt while I was a lowly white belt with about 4 months experience under my belt just trying to get by. I didn’t talk to Tyler again for almost another 2 years. I usually only saw him when we crossed each other on the mat. My beginner class would be wrapping up as his advanced class was beginning. My next convo with Tyler wouldn’t take place until 2017!

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    Fast forward to my first day with Ambassador Mechanical. I was told to meet at the new Superstore building that was going up on Albert Street. Once I arrived I was told to find “Tyler” and we would be working on some items that needed to be corrected. I found “Tyler” and right off the bat felt like I knew this guy from somewhere. (I guess everyone looks different in coveralls and a hard hat.) It took me about 30 minutes to place him but I finally figured it out.

Me: Hey man, I think I know you.

“Tyler”: Yeah man, I think we’ve met before.

My belief was he only said this to make me feel better.

Me: “I think we’ve rolled against each other at Complete.

“Tyler”: Yes! That’s it.

  After that moment I found it pretty sweet at Ambassador, having a work buddy to prattle on about what’s the best open guard and how to defend against leg locks. Soon we ended up going our separate ways work-wise but were able to keep in touch through Complete MMA, eventually forming Family Plumbing and Heating. While operating Family Plumbing with Tyler has been awesome because it’s so easy to run a company where both owner’s share the same values for workmanship and customer care, it also helps that we can motivate each other in training. Speaking for myself, there are definitely some early morning classes I would have hit snooze on the alarm for if wasn’t for the fact Tyler would be waiting with some chirps once the work day began. Both Tyler and I owe a big thank you to Complete MMA and it’s founder and head instructor AJ Scales. Without Complete, Tyler and I may not have ever gotten to know each other as we did, Family Plumbing might only be a dream in the back of our minds, and we would not have a venue to learn and train in the great sport of jiu jitsu.

– Brenden

Do you want to talk about furnace inspections?

When I go to the mechanic, sometimes they motion for me to come take a look under my hood and describe how everything under there is doing. I nod when it appears to be warranted, I ask questions that seem to be relevant. But do I understand what they’re telling me?….of course (but probably not). I do know that I’m SUPPOSED to know, and have these vehicle inspections done regularly. It is very similar to a furnace inspection. I can tell when homeowners have zero interest in what their manifold gas pressure is, even when I break it down to the simplest of terms. But they do know they’re SUPPOSED to have an inspection done. Why have a furnace inspection completed annually? Well, let’s talk about that.

Regina can be very cold…..very, very cold. And in those freezing winter nights the only piece of equipment keeping you and your home from total disaster is the furnace. Heating breakdowns lead to massive discomfort, cause waterlines to crack and explode, as well as a number of other issues. So it should go without saying that your furnace should receive special attention to ensure it’s going to run safely and efficiently throughout the winter. Furnace inspections allow trained technicians a chance to go over the heating system head to toe. The goal is to find, address, and stop problems BEFORE they happen.

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Client – “Do you clean out the ductwork?”

Us- “No, but we can offer you some names of some very good duct cleaning companies.”

Client- “Does it matter the age of my furnace?”

Us- “The sooner the better. For any furnace over 5 years old its a good idea to start having inspections done yearly. The older your unit gets, the more important these inspections become.”

Client- “What time of year should I call to book?”

Us- “Furnace inspections can be done year round. Whenever you’re ready, we’re ready. Our recommendation is let the unit run a couple times once it starts to get chilly in the fall then call us out. This gives us the chance to hopefully catch any issues before the big chill sets in.”

Client- “Do you carry parts on hand to change any parts if need be?”

Us- “No, not really. Due to such a large range of types and brands of furnaces it’s very hard to keep all the proper parts in our vehicles. We also provide an estimate for any parts that will need to be replaced before we proceed with repairs for your convenience.”

Client- “Is this covered under my manufacturer’s warranty?”

Us – “lol”

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Like I said earlier, we go over the furnace head to toe. We start with inspecting the duct work to make sure there are no major issues with air restriction or air loss and work our way down to the blower motor. Some of the other key inspection points are as follows.

Checking and adjusting gas pressure: This is something that should have been set at the time of installation (but was it really?). Over time maybe this setting has changed. Using too much or too little fuel can cause various issues with the furnace and lead to premature failure. 

Heat exchanger inspection: In terms of safety, this is the big one. Heat exchangers are what the flue gas travels though before it leaves your home through the venting. Over time, they can crack, rust, etc, and allow that flue gas into the duct work. The effects of this are carbon monoxide poisoning. A cracked heat exchanger is the last thing you want to be living with in your home.

Measuring and cleaning flame sensors: Whenever you see your furnace light, go out, light again only to go out again. Likely you have a dirty flame sensor. Trust me when I say it’s much easier to to pay for a furnace inspection which includes cleaning the flame sensor, than to see how much it costs when it needs to be done in the middle of the night on New Year’s eve. 

I could go on about all the different areas of the inspection, but I don’t need to. What’s great about calling out Family Plumbing and Heating for a furnace inspection is that at the end of the inspection we sit down with you and go over everything we documented and can answer all your questions you feel are relevant. (I love it when stories go full circle) 

Feel free to call us anytime to talk further about having your heating system maintained this winter! 306-519-3722.

PS- Everything you just read applies to boilers as well! 

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Bad luck and the litter box

  As a homeowner it’s the little things you don’t know exist that can give you the biggest headaches. Sometimes these issues are seemingly invisible, but for techs they stand out like a oversized stop sign. We recently encountered this type of invisible headache and assisted a homeowner with changes to improve the comfort in their home.

  We were called out to a no heat (yes, it’s that time of year again). The homeowner explained that starting last year they’ve been needing to replace their furnace filter monthly (as opposed to every 90 days), and now their furnace had completely stopped working for them! On site diagnosis proved that the high limit switch was tripping, shutting down the furnace. This switch measures the temperature of air leaving the furnace and will shut down the unit if it senses the temperature rising too high for safety concerns. Over time if the high limit is tripping often, each time it will open at a lower and lower temp until even normal operating temperatures shut the furnace down. When a furnace is not working due to over heating there is almost always a more major problem as to why the furnace cannot distribute the heat fast enough.

  As a tech, this is when we team up with the homeowner. We put our HVAC knowledge together with the knowledge they possess about their home’s operation. At this point we found out about the constant filter changes. Plugged filters reduce the return airflow, easily causing a build up of hot supply air. So we look for what is causing the filters to get so damn dirty…..And then we found it.

Several small holes had been drilled into the return elbow, likely a DIY repair to increase the amount of return air needed. Sitting directly beside those holes was the cat’s litter box. Everything made sense now, the blower fan bringing in return air was also bringing in particles from the litter box that was eventually clogging the filter. The homeowner had no idea, for them this was an out of the way spot where their cat could splat in private. With the new information we provided they were able to find a new spot for the litter box that wouldn’t affect their home comfort as well as solve their need for excessive filter changes. Following up with he homeowner everything was back working again, besides the cat being pretty miffed about the change.

    Moving into the Fall and Winter it’s always a good decision to have your furnace maintenance/inspected no matter its age (even the new ones can have problems). A maintenance will provide you a baseline for how your heating system is likely to operate during the incoming cold months and help prevent breakdowns BEFROE they happen. We can get your HVAC system working to peak efficiency and provide a heads up for any issues that may be coming your way. 

   Feel free to call us @ 306-519-3722 to further discuss having a maintenance completed.

Thanks,

  Brenden

Started at the bottom now we’re here.

 This time last year Tyler and I started Family Plumbing and Heating, one year later we’re on the beach sipping mixed drinks and lighting cigars with hundred dollars bills….Just kidding, we just spent our weekend roughing in a house out in Weyburn. But seriously, it’s been a great year one. 

1 year anniversry.png       The past 12 months have flown by for Family Plumbing and Heating. Tyler and I took a big leap of faith starting up the company even though a lot of people around us told us it was too slow of an economy for a new plumbing contractor to make it. In extremely rare moments of weakness I will admit I had my doubts we wouldn’t need to pick up part time jobs to supplement our incomes. (Do people still sell Avon?) With assistance from friends in and out of the construction sector though we hit our stride as soon as we left the gate. We were also able to secure working relationships with some awesome property management companies within the city.

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We needed bring in some extra help for this year’s home show

  A major turning point was when we entered the 2019 Regina Spring Homeshow. It was our first major event as a company and it couldn’t have gone better. We were able to meet so many great people and introduce ourselves and our belief in building personal relationships while providing premium service. We can’t wait to come back for the 2020 Homeshow with an even bigger booth and even bigger prizes! Before the home show Family Plumbing was a full time gig for us, after the home show it became no days off. 

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We were able to raise over $700.00 for the YWCA

  Rounding out our first year we organized a barbecue fundraiser for the Regina YWCA where we were able to raise over seven hundred dollars for the Isabel Johnson Shelter. Tyler and I both work to put a lot of effort into making sure our company does whatever we can to help give back to the community that does so much for us. Along with our fundraisers we have also become a sponsor of the North Regina Little League and work with the Oxford House of Regina to help maintain and improve their homes.

  But none of this could be accomplished without the help of our friends and families supporting us and especially to all the great clients who have allowed us into their homes and gave us an opportunity. We look forward for things to come in Year Two!

Thanks

   Brenden

Summer BBQ!

Every once in a while, when the temperature outside is just right and somewhere out in space a couple of planets are lining up for the first time in a kajillion years… I really dig a burnt hot dog. Don’t ask me why I do, I don’t know. Any self respecting grill master looks at me in disgust when I make my request but dang if it doesn’t hit the spot!

But enough about my secret BBQ guilty pleasures, today’s post is about Family Plumbing and Heating’s upcoming fundraising BBQ. This Saturday, (July 13, 2019 in case you’re a little late to the party when you’re reading this) we are setting up a table outside the Canadian Tire in East Regina for a hot dog and hamburger sale. 

Tyler and I are always looking for ways for us to interact and give back to the community that has allowed our company to grow over the past year. Earlier this year we signed a multi year agreement with the North Regina Little League to become an official sponsor as well as help out around the dugout. Our next big outing is this coming weekend. Funds raised from the sale will go to help the Isabel Johnson Shelter. 

YWCA’s Isabel Johnson Shelter is a safe place for women and children in need. In 2017, they provided shelter for 72 women and 64 children. Sadly, they had to turn away 759 women and 291 children due to lack of space. In 2018, they were able to serve 367 women and 108 children. But again, an even larger number were turned away. 

We thought this would be the perfect organization for our fundraiser. We couldn’t think of anything better than making sure that kids and moms in our community have a safe place to live. We really want to be able to make a positive impact on the community that has given so much to us. And as always family is behind everything we do – we want our own families to be able to participate and give back too. We sure hope to see you there!