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

5 Tips for finding the right faucet/fixture

A common question I get asked by clients is what kind of fixture they should buy for their upcoming renovation. Walking into Home Depot or Rona you can become overwhelmed with aisles full of faucets, shower trim, and toilets. It’s hard to tell where the quality fixtures are hiding and which ones are just shiny pieces of stainless steel. Here are some quick guidelines to help you make the best purchase possible.

1) Stick with the big names: Moen and Delta are the general go to’s. They have been around forever and aren’t going anywhere soon. This means that if a repair is needed the technicians have likely seen this problem before, have experience fixing it and replacement parts will be readily available. Large department stores don’t often carry the parts for their in-store brands. You may save money up front but will pay extra once it breaks down.

2) Cheaply priced, cheaply made: If you pay next to nothing for a kitchen faucet (less than $100), it would be considered a cheap faucet. It is likely made with a lot of plastic which degrades quickly especially depending on the hardness of your water. Sometimes it will be hard to stomach the price tag on some faucets but trust me, you’ll end up replacing the cheap faucet  well before you replace a more expensive counterpart.

3) What about high end?: There are some very nice faucets and fixtures out there if you have the money. Two notes to remember for this category are the more expensive the fixture, usually the cost of install will rise as well. And as I’ve mentioned before, fewer clients go for the high end fixtures which means technicians have had less experience installing them which can lead to mistakes on the install.

4) Stick to the middle of the road: This will give you the most reward for your money. Not too expensive and not too cheap. These fixtures and faucets will check off all the boxes. Look nice, repair parts available, and technicians have experiencing repairing.

5) What type of toilet should I buy?: This is another common question. Now while there are some pretty cool fancy toilets out there, your money likely could be better well spent. I mean c’mon, we all know what we use it for! For around $150 you can find a lot of quality toilets.

If you find yourself standing in Home Depot scratching your head feel free to call Family Plumbing and Heating with any questions. We love talking about this stuff!

When is the best time to replace my boiler?

Recently Family Plumbing and Heating replaced a boiler for a home in South Regina. We were originally called on site for a no heat but after diagnosis, the conclusion was that replacement parts were going to be hard to source (if they were still even made) and the client’s money would be better spent on a new system. (The existing system was almost old enough to collect a pension!)

 

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Working tirelessly, we were able to bring this 1960’s system up to 2018 standards over the course of three days. Luckily we have been experiencing a fairly warm winter and Family Plumbing and Heating also provides portable heaters for our clients’ if they need to be without heat overnight. Now in the previous example when there is no other choice, replacements need to go in ASAP. But if possible, the best time to replace a boiler is in warm whether while it’s still operational.

jubilee boiler before after
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But why would I replace it when it still works? You’re going to have to hear me out on this one. Boiler replacements are not as straight forward as other heating systems. 9 times out of 10 furnace replacements are easily done in a day, while updating boilers systems can sometimes feel like you are starting from scratch. With all the work involved, the last thing you want as a technician is to feel rushed during an extensive install. And for the financial investment a homeowner is going to make would they want the technician to rush either? Doubtful.

This is why, if possible, homeowners should try and look ahead and plan for replacement before total failure and plan for a summer installation when turning the heat off is not a concern. Allow the technicians as much time as needed to ensure your installation receives the quality workmanship it deserves.

For any homeowners interested in the expected remaining life expectancy of their current heating system, Family Plumbing and Heating offers full system maintenances and free estimates on replacement systems.

Winter home protection tips.

Waking up this past Saturday I can’t say I was thrilled to see the snow that had fallen. Gladly most of it has gone away since then but we all know sooner than later Regina will see a downfall that decides to stay.

Flashing back to a clip I saw last week on the morning news. The segment was about how to winterize your home. They had an “expert” on to give his tips and advice. What proceeded between the “ummms” and the “uhhhs” was a 3 minute commercial for his company. TV interviews due often have such strict time windows that it’s almost impossible to really share any steak. You really only are given time for the sizzle. The following is Family Plumbing and Heating’s $0.98 opinion.

The morning news expert wasn’t all wrong. (C’mon, I gotta give him a little credit) He did have a couple things right.

Regularly replace furnace filters: This cannot be said enough because it is always forgotten. Generally speaking filters should be replace every 3 months. I’ve talked about it before that if you pull your filter out and hold it up to the light, if the light does not shine through, time to replace. A clogged filter reduces the air flow in the home and will cause too much heat to stay trapped within the furnace and you’ll soon overheat the equipment.

Have your furnace maintained: This cannot be said enough, because number 1 is so often forgotten. Too many homeowners are just trusting that because their furnace hasn’t had any problems the previous years there’s no need to worry. Don’t let yourself fall into a false sense of security. Having a TRAINED, QUALIFIED technician who has previous experience working on your furnace can help stop problems before they happen or at the very least identify any issues that may be coming your way.

(I don’t know if anyone noticed how I was holding down the caps lock button when I typed trained and qualified, but it’s very important. You can hire the “expert” to send out a random tech to service your furnace but I first hand have seen apprentices 3 weeks in to the trade misdiagnose and charge homeowners for repairs they didn’t need. Simply because they had no idea what they were up to.)

Now lets get to some of the tips he left out.

Fill the cracks: You could heat your home up as much as you want but if the structure isn’t sealed tight your just wasting money. If you live in a older neighbourhood in Regina it would beneficial if you had your home inspected for any possible leakages. Old windows, doors, siding, and poor insulation all contribute to allowing the heat to escape from your home. If there are visible cracks, grab some weather resistant caulking and seal them. New weather stripping can also help on old doors. And worst case Ontario, install the ever so ugly plastic wrap on the windows.

Hopefully you’ve already cleaned your gutters. Buildup in the eavestrough can lead to ice damming on your roof which will begin to seep inside your house. The not so costly investment of a roof rake is worth it during Winters with heavy snowfall. The less snow you keep on your home’s roof the better.

Cover the air conditioner: Wether you have a cover or you simply bought a tarp with some bungee cords, covering the ac will help it withstand some brutal Winter weather.

What about the sprinklers and hose bibs?: If you haven’t yet it’s probably too late now but make sure to blow compressed air though to clear out any water in your sprinkler system to avoid ice build up that will end up breaking the pipe. While your at it turn on the valves that lead to your outside taps for the same reason.

Bundle up: Oh no, my Grandma was right! Wearing warm clothes inside can help raise your body’s temperature and reduce the need to run the furnace.

Keep doors closed to unused rooms at all times to help hold in the heat.

My last little known fact of the day is if you have a ceiling fan, many of them can be reversed so the blades spin the other way. This will help force any warm air back down closer to the floor. Just remember to flip it back come Summer.

Even with all the advice in this post, there is probably a lot I’ve missed and maybe some other things I haven’t seen yet. The main point I am suggesting is that we all know Saskatchewan Winter’s are tough and due to the regularly extreme cold stints can be very hazardous to our homes and businesses. Protecting your investment from Winter damage is always worth the money. The more you can stay ahead of these problems will help keep the value of those investments. Now lets hope for a mild Winter and an early Spring!