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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4 important steps when installing air conditioners

So here we are. You’ve decided this year is the year you’re going to splurge and finally get out of the heat. You’re finally getting an air conditioner! Next, you did your homework. You asked around, read reviews, researched all the different plumbing companies in Regina, and finally decided on who you were going to have (likely you chose Family Plumbing and Heating) to do the work. We showed up, did some work inside, did some work outside, and left you with cool air. But what were we actually doing?

We were working hard (hardly working?) at making sure you had the best air conditioner install possible. A properly installed AC significantly decreases the issues you may have in the future. Certain steps need to be followed when installing air conditioners. Even skipping one step will reduce the efficiency of the unit. Outlined below are what one could consider the key steps (that often get missed) when installing an air conditioner.

1 Sizing

A properly sized AC is key to it’s operation. One industry standard to follow is for every 600 square ft requires 1 ton of cooling. So a 900 square foot home would need a one and a half ton unit. Installing a unit too big for the area will provide too much cooling in a short amount of time causing the unit to short cycle, while an undersized unit will struggle to reach temperature adding undue stress.

2 Brazing with nitrogen

When brazing the lineset, nitrogen should be flowing through the pipe at all times. This will help prevent rapid oxidation inside the pipe. Without flowing nitrogen the inside pipe wall can begin to flake off. These flakes will soon clog the filter driers and can eventually make their way into the compressor which is a big problem you do not want.

3 Pressure testing

A compressor replacement is the last repair you want to be told you need. Next on the list would be a refrigerant leak. While freon is often nicknamed “gas” it’s kind of misleading. Freon does not run out so if you’re ever told you’re low of refrigerant it means you have a leak. We avoid this problem by filling the system up to a high PSI with nitrogen and watching to see if pressures drop.

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4 Pulling a vacuum

Your install is almost complete! But first we need to de-gas and de-hydrate. Degassing removes the non-condensibles that can cause increased run times and derate the efficiency. De-hydrating removes the moisture within the line set. Moisture can cause premature failure of the oil inside the compressor. It will clog the metering device and eventually contaminate the lineset, ultimately leading for the need of a new system. (ouch). The goal of the vacuum should be to pull down (and hold) below 500 microns.

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Above are 4 of the major steps, but as with everything else in life the devil is in the details. I’ve skipped over likely another 10 steps that while maybe not crucial to the operation of the equipment, are still important and must be followed.

If you are interested in an air conditioner installation this summer or would like to know more information always feel free to reach out and talk to us.

306-519-3722

Thanks,

Brenden

And that’s a wrap on the 2019 Spring Home Show! It was quite the weekend and was incredibly fun. Tyler and I had been working hard the past months getting our booth together. Neither of us had ever been in a trade show before so the experience was something new to both of us and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We are already cooking up some ideas of what we would add to our booth for next year’s show. (Can you start planning too early? Is a laser light show allowed?)

We met a lot of great people and are thrilled with the exposure Family Plumbing and Heating received from being apart of the event. Thursday started off a little slow and had me second guessing our decision to enter the show but as I walked into the building at 1:10 Friday (Yes I know the doors opened at 1) and saw the lineup out the door of people waiting to get in, I knew we were in for a pretty busy weekend.

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If you asked us what we would do differently next year we would probably start by getting a bigger booth. This is both our first year in business and first time at the show so we decided to stay small so we wouldn’t over extend ourselves but we found while we were designing our booth that we were becoming too limited in what we wanted to display. We’d also like to develop more interactive displays for next year. Most of the plumbing/HVAC contractors that attended the show (us included) had quite a bit of product on hand, but if we can’t show off how it works is it really worth it? Third, I’d bring a dog. If this weekend taught me anything it’s that everyone has to stop and pet a puppy. The bed bug booth beside us had brought their bug sniffing dogs and were the stars of our row. Until I brought out the big guns….the kids!

Smith, Georgia, and Ginny showed up and were gracious enough to step in and act as my marketing team handing out pamphlets. Smith especially took to his new role in the company and showed us his inner used car salesmen. He was handing out pamphlets left, right and centre. At one point he turned to me with excitement

Smith: I’ve handed out 80 million flyers!

Me: Wow bud, good job.

Smith: If I hand out one more it will get all the way to the Mayor! Then the mayor will have to use you guys for his office.

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But there is no rest for Family Plumbing and Heating and no time to nurse our home show hangover. It’s back to work ASAP out in the field. Once we get back into our rhythm we will be able to draw for the awesome prizes we were giving away this weekend and contacting the winners. We would like to thank everyone who helped us with getting to the event and lended a hand this weekend. A special thanks goes out to our families, the suppliers who helped us out with our displays and prizes, and a big thank you to Colby and Amanda for helping out inside the booth. Hope to see everyone again next year.

– Brenden

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2019….so far.

   Tyler and I have started 2019 off the same way we left 2018; hitting up call after call and having a blast while we do it. January has included quite a few starts to some renovation projects and the beginnings to what looks like a busy spring with clients asking us to quote them on their new builds. Working with clients on a new build can be very rewarding because A) there is nothing better than roughing in a house in the Summer, and B) you get the opportunity to help build what is potentially the client’s dream home and know you’re working on a project that will last a long time. 10 years from now when I’m teaching Smith to drive I’ll sit in the passenger seat and annoyingly point out every house in the neighbourhood I’ve built like every other trades-dad does.

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As usual furnaces and boilers are shutting down when you would least like them to. Furnace repairs in Regina love to take place on weekends and holidays for some strange reason, but fortunately it has not been an overly cold winter until recently, this has helped a lot of older equipment limp through one more cold season. For a lot of homeowners, remember to replace your furnace filter (obviously you have already read our last post though), get a furnace maintenance completed and you may be able to make it to spring in one piece.

We also have entered the Regina Spring Home Show and have been getting prepared for a busy weekend, meeting everyone excited about their home renovations and also seeing all the other exhibitors that are set up. I attended last year and couldn’t believe the amount of booths that were a part of the show. Whatever renovation you might be planning, this is definitely the event you want to attend. The sheer deck building prowess in the room is palpable.

As always please follow along with us on Facebook @ Family Plumbing and Heating and Instagram @family_plumbing and feel free to call us anytime 306-519-3722

-Brenden