Aug 25, 2016

Posted by | Comments Off on As Water Prices Rise, Businesses Look For Ways To Save

As Water Prices Rise, Businesses Look For Ways To Save

As Water Prices Rise, Businesses Look For Ways To Save

For the past two decades, water price increases have outpaced the basic consumer price index, meaning that relative to most other things, it is getting progressively more expensive. While traditionally facilities have given little thought to their water bill, its steady creeping upward, as well as a greater focus on conservation and environmentally sound business practices, have made it a greater focus.

The first step most businesses take when getting serious about cutting their water usage is identifying where it gets used the most. For a business like a restaurant, over 80% of their water use is in the kitchen and bathrooms alone; for a grocery store, roughly 25% is used in kitchens and bathrooms. Understanding usage gives business owners an idea where to focus their conservation efforts.

Some plumbing manufacturers such as T&S Brass have integrated water auditing into their list of commercial services. This is a useful service for the business owner and an excellent additional source of revenue for the plumber. For the business owner, changes can cost as little as $15 and save thousands over time.

Aerators are one common method to reducing water usage. These are additions to sinks that restrict water flow to reduce waste, as most sinks do not require a full flow of water for common uses such as hand washing. An aerator can reduce sink water usage by as much as 66% with no impact on performance, saving tens of thousands of gallons per year in facilities with frequent hand washing.

Spray vales on dish sprayers are similar. Standard sprayers can use up to 4 gallons per minute, while new models can use 1/8 the water for identical performance. As dish sprayers can be used nearly constantly through the work day, changing a single nozzle can save up to $5000 a year in a busy kitchen.

Knoxville plumbers, and those from other cities, would do well to keep in mind water-consuming businesses as a potentially lucrative option for expanding their business.

Read More
Aug 19, 2016

Posted by | Comments Off on Fresno, California Bans Galvanized Pipes

Fresno, California Bans Galvanized Pipes

Fresno, California Bans Galvanized Pipes

Joining several other cities in California who have already done the same, the Fresno City Council decided on Thursday to ban galvanized metal pipes from newly constructed buildings in the city.

The primary motivation for the ban is the increasing number of homes in the Fresno area reporting water discolored by and, occasionally, containing dangerous amounts of lead. Galvanized pipes can leech lead if the water passing through them is sufficiently corrosive.

While most builders in the area – and in much of the country – are already switching to PVC and PEX piping for new constructions, the ban takes the zinc-coated pipes completely off the table as an option. While there is not a major problem in Fresno, the move is largely preventative.

Most of Fresno has gotten its water for decades from extensive groundwater supplies, but sections of the city have recently swapped to canal water. One water experts says that the discoloration reported by some residents is normal in most of the country, safe, and typical of surface water sources – Fresno, and some other California cities experiencing similar problems, has simply gotten used to especially pristine and non-corrosive groundwater.

Ironically, the mixture of water running through the pipes – some groundwater and some surface water processed at a treatment plant – could be exacerbating the problem. Protective mineral scales build up from the groundwater that are then corroded more easily by the treated surface water’s differing qualities.

Whether the problem in Fresno is severe enough to justify an outright ban, most experts agree that there are few reasons to continue to use galvanized steel pipe in most building construction.

Read More
Aug 17, 2016

Posted by | Comments Off on Michigan City Replacing Pipes, Fearing Another Flint-like Crisis

Michigan City Replacing Pipes, Fearing Another Flint-like Crisis

Michigan City Replacing Pipes, Fearing Another Flint-like Crisis

As the Flint water crisis continues, Lansing’s Board of Water and Light has taken preventative measures to ensure their city doesn’t end up anything like their neighbor.

All of the city’s lead water pipes are currently being replaced by reliably copper pipes despite no current problem existing with the city’s water supply. Locals are somewhat surprised, though not at all displeased, by the proactive measures to improve infrastructure – a rare sight anywhere in the country, though as infrastructure concerns grow in pitch over recent months, one can hope it becomes more common.

Perhaps more surprising: the effort started before Flint’s problems began. The project to replace the pipes with copper began ten years ago under mayor Virgil Bernero. The total estimated cost to replace the city’s 14,000 pipes comes to $42 million. Lansing currently draws all its water from the Saginaw Aquifer.

The city has had some problems with customers who suspect that because the project is being undertaken, the current drinking water must have a problem. Officials going out in the field to perform replacement work often have to assure locals that their water is fine. The project is scheduled to finish in 2017, with only 325 pipes left to replace.

Read More
Aug 15, 2016

Posted by | Comments Off on Plumbing Mishap Delays Elementary School Opening

Plumbing Mishap Delays Elementary School Opening

Plumbing Mishap Delays Elementary School Opening

In Shepherdsville, Kentucky, twenty-two schools went back into session on August 10th, but one stayed conspicuously closed. Maryville Elementary had to miss the scheduled start date due to a total lack of toilets.

A plumbing sub-contractor was hired to set up the toilets for the school on Sunday August 3h, three days before the first day of school. They didn’t show. On Monday, they assured the school the toilets would be done in time for an early Tuesday pressure test; that pressure test failed. By Tuesday evening at 6pm, a second pressure test also failed. At this time, the school board officially delayed the start date of school until the following Monday, August 15th.

Without functioning toilets, the school was unable to get a Certificate of Occupancy from the Bullitt County Health & Building Codes Department. The problem was finally resolved late Tuesday night and the certificate issued, but the delayed start date had already been announced, making a reversion to Wednesday untenable.

The plumbing contractor hired for the job has taken responsibility for the problems, and discussions about the refund paid back to the school for the mishap are ongoing.

While the school had its own frustrations, parents are also unhappy. With such a late announcement, many had problems securing last-second childcare for their elementary-school-age children. Superintendent Keith Davis sympathized but is confident he made the right decision, saying “it’s not something that we wanted parents to have to go through and we regret it very much and if there were to have been any other solution we would have taken it… but better safe than sorry, we have to make the best decision we can when we can have it made.”

Read More
Jul 28, 2016

Posted by | Comments Off on Australian Atheletes Leave Olympic Village Due to Plumbing Problems

Australian Atheletes Leave Olympic Village Due to Plumbing Problems

Australian Atheletes Leave Olympic Village Due to Plumbing Problems

In yet another blow to the long-troubled Rio Olympic Games beginning next week, the Australian contingent has left the Olympic Village due to what they consider unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

“We did a stress test on Saturday, turned on the taps and flushed the toilets, and water came flooding down the walls,” said Kitty Chiller, Australian mission chief. Leaks through ceilings, puddles on the floor, and exposed wires and cables amidst all the water contributed to the contingent’s decision to find another place to stay.

On Monday, the contingent moved to a local hotel to wait until more permanent accomodations are constructed. An Australian team is working around the clock to build their own personal village to house the athletes during the games, without Brailizan resources.

Rio de Janeiro’s mayor only exacerbated the problem when asked about how he plans to tackle the issue. “We want for them to feel at home here,” said Eduardo Paes. “I almost feel like putting a kangaroo to jump up and down in front of their building.” As one might expect, the Australians were none to happy with the comment.

“We do not need kangaroos,” said one spokesperson, “we need plumbers” to fix the problems.

Australia isn’t the only country deciding to take matters into its own hands to fix the dilapidated aprtments provided by Brazil. The Italian Olympic Committee brought in their own hired electricians, masons, and plumbers to repair – and in some cases, finish constructing – their assigned dormitories.

The president of the organizing committee for the Rio games only mentioned that the village “needs some adjustments” that will be addressed before the Olympic Games begin.

Read More
Jul 26, 2016

Posted by | Comments Off on AT&T Destroys Family’s Plumbing In Cable Installation

AT&T Destroys Family’s Plumbing In Cable Installation

AT&T Destroys Family’s Plumbing In Cable Installation

An AT&T U-Verse installation in Alabama resulted in one family being left without plumbing for days, and a hefty repair bill afterward.

Josh Parks first noticed a problem when no drain in his home would flush at all, be it toilet or sink anywhere in his home. In his scramble tof ind a solution to the problem, he contacted a local plumber who was forced to dig a hole in Parks’ driveway to examine his sewer line.

What he found was shocking: a bright orange cable running directly through a shattered pipe.

Contacting AT&T did no good whatsoever. Their investigator determined that the drilling company performing the work on behalf of AT&T, and not AT&T itself, was at fault, and declined to do anything.

The drilling company, Delta Directional, has also declined to foot the bill for the repairs, both on the pipe itself and the cost of digging, refilling, and repairing the hole in Parks’ driveway from discovering the problem. Their statement claims that it was a “$400 problem” if Parks had contacted them right away, and they refuse to pay more than that for repairs they claim were exorbitantly priced and largely unnecessary. Parks’ final bill stands at over $9,000.

Read More
Jun 30, 2016

Posted by | Comments Off on Skilled Laborer Shortage Continues, Worsens

Skilled Laborer Shortage Continues, Worsens

Skilled Laborer Shortage Continues, Worsens

The National Association of Home Builders has released the results of its June 2016 survey of single-family builders. They show that the shortage of qualified, skilled subcontractors and laborers is even worse than it was this time last year.

The survey included questions the availability of laborers and subcontractors, as the organization has periodically asked its members consistently since 1996. The survey covers nine key trades related to home building and construction, including plumbing. This year’s results show 56% of respondents claiming difficulties in finding qualified help, up from 52% last year and a low of 21% in 2012.

The most basic trades like carpentry are suffering the worst of the nine trades surveyed. Nearly three quarters of builders reported at least some difficulty finding laborers able to perform basic carpentry services. Bricklayers and masons followed closely behind.

On a typical home, about three-quarters of the total construction is performed by subcontractors. The lack of them has led construction companies to either rely more on employed labor or else pay significantly more for the subcontractors that are available, increasing costs of building and consequently the price of the homes. Most projects are also suffering delays as the process of finding help becomes more and more difficult.

Read More