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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wait, let me rewind for a minute. I forgot that a good plumber seduces their client with technical know-it-all-ness before dropping the new install bomb like that. So let’s start at the beginning.
R-22 is the short form name for chlorodifluoromethane (I don’t know why they shortened it.). A gas used regularly as a refrigerant. Introduced in the 50’s, this became the gold standard until its phase out in 2010. Basically, R-22 was found to be a major detriment to our ozone layer and numerous countries around the world began developing legislature against it as early as the 1980’s.
Every year since 2010 manufactures have been limited in how much R-22 they’ve been allowed to produce. This in turn has been raising the costs of the remaining gas in the market. Projected time lines (don’t quote me on this) suggest that by 2020, 95% of R-22 freon production that use to exist will be gone. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean bye bye R-22 as there are ways to recycle “dirty” gas and re-use it. But with such short summers and the material and labour it takes to “clean” R-22, I highly doubt you will see many companies in Regina putting forth such effort.
But Brenden, what does this mean to me as a homeowner? It means you need a new air conditioner. (Now it all makes sense!) Investing large sums of money into an R-22 system can become very self defeating as R-22 becomes increasingly more expensive and less available as years go by. While we all want to imagine our heating and cooling systems can make another season, when it comes time, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and invest in new equipment. $500 to fix up a leaking R-22 air conditioner could potentially be a 25% down payment on a new R410-A system with full warranty.
If you’re curious where your air conditioner fits into all this freon mumbo jumbo I recommend calling us out for an air conditioner maintenance (Normally $120+tax but if you tell us you read about it on here we’ll offer it for $99+tax, WHAT A DEAL!). It allows us the chance to go over your system head to toe. From there we can sit down with you and let you know how your air conditioner is currently operating and what the likely timeline is until you need a replacement
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.
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.
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.