Living in Calgary, whether you are in Rocky Ridge, Lake Bonavista, or Aspen, occasionally we all feel the pressure to fix something on our own. How many times have you tried to fix a toilet, check on your hot water tank, repair a faucet or install a plumbing fixture? Fixing residential or commercial broken plumbing issues can be very rewarding. If you are a DIY type of person, keep reading!
Honestly, one of the reasons I became a plumber was the pure satisfaction of having a problem, making a plan, and then taking action to resolve it. When I tested my work and saw the result of something that was broken and that I had turned into being fully operational, it provided my soul with total gratification.
You may not realize it, but I have already given you the keys on how to solve your own plumbing problems (reread above paragraph), BUT there are a couple variables that tend to make your confidence shake.
3 Reasons People Hesitate to Do Their Own Plumbing
The top 3 reasons people hesitate are because (1) they are afraid of flooding their property and making something worse, and (2) they do not have the right plumbing or heating (gasfitting) tools and/or (3) they are missing the correct parts to do the plumbing repairs themselves.
How can you overcome these big issues?
If you are feeling confident and want to tackle fixing your shower, water softener, toilet, garburator, pipes, or any of the many plumbing elements that are in your home or business, then read on.
Educating yourself online prior to starting can be very helpful, especially through video instructions that take you step by step through the process. Youtube is full of people who will have tips and how-to videos on how to do a large variety of tasks such as change your kitchen faucet, replace your garburator, install a water softener, repair a plugged toilet, tighten a showerhead or simply turn off your shut off valve. Watch a few videos and find one that seems to match your problem in your home. Be careful though, not all video tutorials will be correct or match your exact plumbing / heating situation. Although not every scenario is exactly the same and variables may come up, this has been the easiest way to make sure you are on the right track to success. With a good how-to video, caution and confidence (plus the right tools and parts), most people can remedy various plumbing problems that arise in their home or office.
Covid 19 impacts
Since COVID-19, things have changed and adaptation has become so important for people and businesses. As part of our initiative to reduce person-to-person contact, at Aquality Plumbing & Heating we adapted something that we have done for years with our Realtor clients, and we are now utilizing Facetime and Zoom with all our customers in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, and Chestermere. We use these platforms to help Do-it-Yourselfers stay on the right track with plumbing or heating repairs, or to receive a quote on work they are looking to have done by our team. Imagine a private interactive session with a Calgary plumber looking at your home or business, and advising how you can get it done on your own. And it’s FREE! I feel this has become the best way to get the information you need to get your repair or renovation moving.
Sometimes it is too much without a Professional’s help
If you try to solve an issue on your own, but run into one of the top 3 issues listed above (worried about making the situation worse, lacking tools or missing parts) then you may need help. There could just be too many steps that overwhelm you and the value in having a professional deal with the issue, is probably the right move. It could also be that gasfitting is involved and the safety and insurance risks of working on gas as a homeowner or business owner are way too high. That is why you cannot pull a gas permit within Calgary on your own – it has to be done by a licensed gasfitting contractor.
We are here to help with plumbing and heating repairs, installations and problems. Many times, we have assisted Calgarians with resolving their own plumbing issues. That is our ultimate goal, if that is what your goal is. You see at Aquality, our vision is to be the trusted plumbing and heating expert by building honest relationships. We feel this is a great way to start your relationship with us.
With COVID-19 leading the way as our highest priority, we are all working hard to respect social distancing. This has us spending more time at home and increasing our potential risk of being exposed to radon more than normal. The more time we spend in an environment with radon, the greater our risk of developing cancer from this gas that lives in many of our homes.
What is radon?
The Government of Canada defines radon as a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. It is invisible, odourless and tasteless. When radon is released from the ground into the outdoor air, it is diluted and is not a concern. However, in enclosed spaces, like homes, it can accumulate to high levels and become a risk to the health of you and your family.
How can we help you?
Aquality Plumbing & Heating recognizes the importance of having Certified Radon Professional come into your home, and Steve Sims, is our resident expert on this topic. He has put countless hours into training on this topic over the past year to ensure we deliver the best service and information to educate and assist people like you. Calgary, and surrounding areas, has some of the highest risk areas in all of Canada, and just like with your plumbing, we want to keep you safe while creating a relationship with you.
Why do I need a Certified Radon Professional with the C-NRPP (Canadian – National Radon Proficiency Program)?
Did you know only a Certified Radon Professional is insured to work in your home on Radon? As well, they have also spent 48 hours in classroom time, plus independent hours preparing for tests that must be completed in order to receive their certification. These professionals work to increase homeowner awareness of radon, so you can benefit from their knowledge and skill set while maintaining the highest standards of work and ethics in their practice.
How does radon mitigation work?
What if a radon test determines that your home has high levels of radon? What can you do to decrease the risk to the people and pets in your house? The best solution is one that is customized to your house and a trained professional will likely use several techniques that ensure quality testing and appropriate mitigation.
For example, the inline fans used for radon testing can pull up to 50% of radon-rich air from the basement making this an ideal living space area for testing. Backdrafting of appliances, including fireplaces can become an issue if not tested. It can be a lengthy trial and error process to get the radon levels down to an acceptable level, and as trained professionals, we know how to test the foundation in the basement to ensure we are going to get good suction across it and how to correctly seal it.
A lot of time and money can be wasted working on unnecessary areas. Training and knowledge are key to getting any job done properly and we want to ensure it’s the right solution for each home.
The extensive process is part of the journey
Radon systems control radon, they don’t eliminate it. A properly installed system is crucial. Follow up with post-mitigation is key – we will be testing your home 24 hrs after mitigation. From then, we will follow up with testing within 12 months, and again within 2 years. We want you to be healthy and with radon levels safe for you to live in your home.
Contact us today to set up an initial phone call with Steve, and see if setting up your FREE Radon Education Session is your next best move.
You may be
thinking, “You actually trust trade’s people?”
The answer is “Yes,
I really do! But there is more to my answer – let me explain.”
When I was young, I
developed a fear of people taking advantage of me. It guided my decisions even
as a child because I really didn’t want to be “ripped off” or lied to. It’s
possible that many times I missed out on opportunities due to my lack of trust,
but I learned to follow my gut and I felt pretty good about my decisions.
As I grew up, I was
intrigued with the fact that many people have a higher than normal level of
distrust for trades people. I was hooked! I learned everything I could
about trust and the trades.
Today, I can
proudly tell you that I have the secret to trusting trades. I also offer
clients a trust-worthy option as the owner of Aquality Plumbing & Heating,
based upon ensuring our clients never feel taken advantage of.
So how do you know
if you can trust a trade?
To be honest, this
works for anything or anyone, and I believe it is the best way to avoid dealing
with people that cannot be trusted. For many years, I relied on gut instinct
alone, and although that worked reasonably well, I soon discovered the
following solid methodology.
The challenge when trusting trades
The reason trades
are one of the toughest to trust for me, is because we need them but don’t want
them. Harsh but true. To make it even tougher, it’s the last thing we
want to spend money on, or planned to spend money on. Granted, we do at
times plan a renovation or new build, yet we still feel like we pay too much
for heat, hot water, and even lighting. The difference in some of these
is perspective. Lighting gets exciting when we get to pick the light itself,
yet the wires to make it work clearly cost too much because they get buried in
a wall. We use hot water every day and consider it a life source. We heat
our homes for about 9 months a year most of the time in Calgary. If one of
these goes down, man are we bitter! What’s important to realize is why we are
so upset this happened. At this stage it isn’t even about the trade, it’s
about me, and the lack of desire to spend money on something that doesn’t give
us the exciting emotional connection material things typically do.
3 keys to Trusting a Trade
Even with that, we
need help! Enter The Trade…and this is where the trifecta of tips may
help you out. In my experience, you need to look for 3 key components.
Expert Advice/Ability to Educate
Integrity by Consistency
Reputation is a
quick investigation to see how likely it is that you will develop a positive
relationship. If a trade has a positive reputation, it is more likely that you
will too. This does not have to be a 100% transactional relationship.
Personally, I have become friends to many of our clients. Even if that is not
the case, people learn that I will give my best thoughts toward their concern
so they get a solution for their problem. You are assessing if the trade has
your best interest at heart.
2. Ability to
educate and learn from one another
At Aquality, we always
think about other people’s issues as if it were our own, and then use our
expertise to educate clients on solutions. That is a huge part of the
relationship, the expert knowledge and how it is shared. That reminds me of a
funny story, a person actually did this to me at an estimate many years ago.
I went to do an
estimate for a possible client whose hot water ruptured and they wanted to go
tankless. I didn’t know at the time but I was the third Plumber in that
day. She was super friendly although she wanted answers right when I came
in. I responded by saying I could get a better feel for what she needs if
I could see her current set up. She agreed with no issues and we went to
the basement to check it out. Although my common sense told me right away, I
can’t quote you this from your front hallway, I did not know I was the only one
to not give her tons of options before going downstairs. Two of the other
plumbers did go down, but one never even had to take his shoes off, as he was
confident in his quote without ever seeing her mechanical room! (Extra Tip- If shoes don’t
come off at a quote or it isn’t offered, think twice before hiring)
Once we were
looking at the set up, she told me the tankless model she wanted installed.
I’d never heard of it, and told her I would need to do some research
after we were done and get back to her as I had never heard of this brand or
model before. I can assure you one thing, there are a lot of products and
information in our trade, there will never be a day I know everything
To my surprise, she
asked me what I would recommend because she wants me to do the work. I
was confused, but to her, I passed her test upstairs and showed I was
interested in her home and what she needed, and I was the only one to admit I
had no idea the unit she wanted to use even existed. Little did I know, the
card she held, was she had made up the brand and unit of the tankless water
heater! Yet the other two plumbers spoke
highly of her choice and one even said he has put in tons of them!! (No wonder
people don’t trust some trades!) I suggested two options that would
give her range on efficiency, size, and price. Still a client to this day….and life
lessons of which I will never let go.
integrity by consistency
It’s easy to do the
right thing once, but to do it every time, now that’s integrity by consistency.
The real trust comes from watching a trade consistently deliver good service
and products. I always look for proof of a company willing to deliver
consistent service year after year, customer after customer.
I’m super fortunate
to have a team that knows their trade and can educate clients beyond their
expectations. What I’ve helped them learn, is to listen to what our
clients want before they go into their encyclopedia of information in their
This is why long
standing clients who love our service over and over, remain strong supporters
of Aquality Plumbing & Heating. I’ve built a team that consists of
people who value trustworthy relationships, communication, accountability and
integrity so much that its core to how they work and live their lives.
When you challenge your team daily to be their best at everything they do, preach to get uncomfortable for amazing growth, you better bring it yourself. I was challenged before I left for vacation to do something that took me out of my comfort zone. So after a few days in Mexico I was struggling what that would be. But, when one of my son’s raised my hand for me to go up in a contest before a nightly entertainment act of professional lip sync artists, everything changed.
I had no idea, what the contest was, just that I was now up on stage nervous in front of a few hundred people with 1 other man, and a woman. The host explained we would perform live in front of the crowd and have no idea of the song until it was our turn. Best performance voted by the crowd won.
I realized after watching a rough performance of Elvis, that I was in my challenge or comfort zone and I didn’t even get to choose it. Next, went the lady who did a really fantastic job at Taylor Swift. I figured she had this in the bank, and then my competitive edge starting to rise through the nerves as I got called up. The host leaned in and said, “Do something weird if you want to win this…” I had no idea what to do with that advice, so I stood there as the music started and had no idea what song it was. Then as I started to recognize the tune, my other son yelled out “Frozen Daddy, it’s from Frozen!” Then I heard some guy yell out, “This guy has to be Elsa!” (insert his laughing here)
In that moment, I decided, yes let’s have fun with this and Be Elsa! You see, we have choices in life and sometimes just letting go of what people will think, letting go of fear, letting go of the safe route, allows us to go beyond to new heights.
In the end, I crushed it according to the few hundred massive cheers I got and unanimously won my $5 T-Shirt. More importantly I taught myself and my kids how to have fun with all situations, even if they feel awkward and tough.
I spent the remainder of my week having people come up and congratulate me on my performance, as it was full of fun, spirit and passion to do my best. I’m not expecting Disney to knock down my door, but I am so thankful my son lifted my arm that night. I highly recommend the next time your feelings of embarrassment come out or fear of trying anything, Let It Go….
PS – Even more out of my comfort zone to put this online and share it, hope you enjoy! CLICK HERE TO WATCH!
Did you know that Aquality Plumbing & Heating Vans are equipped with Granola Bars to help people we come across throughout our days on the roads? If an Aquality Tech sees someone in need, they offer a Granola Bar from their van. It is that simple, as we have all been through hard times in our lives, and offering loving kindness with a healthy snack is a small step in being a part of our community here in Calgary.
Growing up I recall seeing people at stop lights and watching as almost nobody would roll their window down, to the point where they look down or away so they wouldn’t make eye contact with the person outside. It hit me hard in the winter growing up in Winnipeg.
There were people who would roll their windows down, those few would offer money in most cases. I recall listening to my Dad frustrated by the fact, these people would most likely use the money for drugs or abuse in someway, and giving money was not going to help most of the people looking into the cars.
In the past couple years, I know many people who have lost their jobs due to poor economy and the struggles in the oil industry. Some of them who were six figure salaries, could easily have lost their homes, family, and been on the street. They were not necessarily the stereotype I was taught. In fact, even the people from my childhood may not have been the stereotype many of us place. It simply isn’t fair or just to ever assume anything about another person.
And if there is truth to what my father had said, then we are not helping some of these people by giving money, as we are feeding a habit I would not condone. And in that statement was the answer for me, “Feeding” was the key. We all need food, no matter what, in good times and bad, we all need nourishment.
So after some pondering, and the next time I was at Southland and Macleod, I rolled down my window for the first time in my life. I said Hello, and offered up a smile, one that I hope projected hope. And then I received the warmest smile back from a fellow human being. I then looked in my truck and found a Granola Bar I had, and gave it to the man. He lit up with excitement, and was more grateful than most people I meet daily.
Selfishly, I felt amazing, as perhaps there is no true act of selflessness. I also felt that this feeling should be felt by others and I started by explaining to my kids what had happened. This led to weeks of my kids loading up a special bag that lives in my truck, and being on the lookout for people in need. And if traffic allows, we give out Granola Bars to those who are needing a little something, and even more important we do it with a big smile to offer hope.
Once you do something that feels good and right I believe you have to spread the word. So I did that with my kids, and then I started the program with all the Aquality Vans about 5 months ago. Now I am telling you. So whether you join our family and use our services, or already have for years, consider giving to those people on our streets, even if it is just a granola bar with a smile.