To Flush or Not to Flush… The Benefits of Waterless Urinals

Waterless urinals are a green technology that helps business owners save money. Not only do they benefit from reduced water usage, but also lower maintenance costs, improved hygiene, and easier installation. Like anything that sees consistent use, waterless urinals require cleaning and maintenance. The upkeep of traditional flush urinals can be expensive, and maintenance in certain instances can take hours. Waterless urinals require less maintenance since there are no flushing mechanisms, cisterns, or water supply pipes. There is no chance of a flood should a pipe freeze or break and very little chance of a pipe blockage.

So how do waterless urinals work?

Waterless urinals divert urine through a one-way valve into a “trap.” This trap contains a chemical that is less dense than urine. When the urine flows through this trap, the liquid displaces the urine, forcing it lower into the trap. This liquid not only forces the urine down and away from the urinal, it seals odor by preventing odor and urine from seeping back up into the urinal. As this trap fills up, it diverts urine to a drain connected to a sewer. Over time, the liquid, usually some type of oil or gel, needs to be replaced. When a cartridge wears out or is damaged, a replacement cartridge can be easily installed.

Waterless urinals are a good and cost-effective solution for most, but not all, sites. The choice of the waterless urinal is key because while all types of waterless urinals will obviously save the same amount of water, they have different implementation and running costs.

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Plumbers: Going Mobile

Service technicians flourish when given the opportunity to go mobile, and any tool that increases mobility is a treasure in this business. Digital service management systems remotely connect field technicians to their home office and usually include job assignments, invoicing and GPS services, but perhaps the most helpful aspect of this type of software is file sharing. Customer relationships are crucial, especially for bigger operations, where technician crossover or change occurs often. Finding a way to share customer information among technicians can be vital to customer service.

Another valuable feature is the GPS. In today’s world, most operators have Google Maps on their phone, but what these systems do with GPS is much more than that. The software links with the office so schedulers can see where technicians are located in the field and destinations can be sent directly to them.

Service management systems simplify operations, whether it’s dispatching job assignments to technicians already in the field or trading work orders and invoices between the customer, office, and technician. Finding a company that will work with you and is readily available for questions is key.

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Tiny Home: Big Plumbing

Tiny Homes on wheels may be small, but they have big plumbing needs. Your typical tiny home ranges from 100sq ft to 500sq feet of living space. Just because they are tiny doesn't mean they can't be luxurious or house standard sized fixtures and plumbing. As with any size home, plumbers want to make sure the home is safe, sustainable, durable and functional. When it comes to choosing a plumbing system to meet all of your client’s needs, you must first do your research, and then get to work!

Many tiny homes have wheels so the plumbing connections must be able to withstand vibration and movement during transport. Sustainability is another extremely important aspect of tiny home plumbing, especially when choosing a plumbing system. Most expansion fittings need adhesives and glues which with constant movement can result in leaks and extra wear. Every inch counts in a tiny home so it's important to be able to install quick turns without having to change direction and without having to stop and cut a fitting.

Plumbing a tiny house comes with challenges, but with a little creativity, it is possible!

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How Water Supply Factors Promote The Bacteria Legionella

What Is Legionella And The Water Supply Factors That Promote The Bacteria

People want and expect safe clean water when they drink from the tap but keeping water supply systems safe is becoming more of a challenge because of infrastructure changes. The primary cause of waterborne disease in the United States are opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens (OPPPs). Legionella pneumophila is one type and can develop in water supply systems and cause Legionnaires’ disease.

Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria found in freshwater sources such as rivers and lakes. In natural environments, Legionella is only found in small, harmless amounts. However, under the right conditions, Legionella can multiply to dangerous levels and cause Legionnaires’ disease. The disease is contracted by inhaling small droplets of the contaminated water through mist or vapor.

People who have an underlying illness or weakened immune systems such as the elderly, individuals with chronic lung diseases, and others with a compromised immune system are most susceptible to Legionella infections but healthy people are also at risk of contracting the disease too.

The Plumbing Manufacturing International (PMI) list several key elements that can promote the growth of Legionella bacteria in water supply systems:

  • Excessive water age. The longer water sits in a system or piping within a system the greater the likelihood.
  • Biofilm. A substance that forms on the inside wall of water supply piping that protects Legionella from heat and disinfectant.
  • Lukewarm water. It is enabled by lukewarm water temperature in the range of 77-108 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • No flow or rare flow of water in pipes, aka “dead legs.”
  • Insufficient disinfectant. Effective water strategies are necessary to control Legionella in a water system.
  • Inadequate corrosion control. Corrosion can occur in system pipes from many factors including disinfectants used, water temperature, and pH levels.
  • Cross connections. Cross connections between potable and non-potable water can introduce Legionella into the water supply system.
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Michigan Plumbers, It’s Not Too Late!

You can STILL do your 5-Hour Code Update course ONLINE in VIDEO!
If you've missed the April 20, 2018 deadline, you can still complete your training online and receive a certificate of completion. You are not required to submit your certificates of completion to the State but you will need to have proof of completion on hand in case of an audit.

If you are audited, you'll fare better having completed your code update course a few days late than if you'd never completed the training at all. 

What happens if I don't complete the 5-Hour Code Update and I'm audited?

The state of Michigan will suspend and/or revoke your license if you are audited and you have not completed your code update.


Plumbing Code Update Requirements

Michigan plumbers must complete a 5-hour code update course by April 20, 2018If you've missed the deadline you can still complete your training. The course must correspond with the 2015 Michigan Plumbing Code Rules set forth by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on April 20, 2017.

What is included in the Michigan plumbing code update course?

The Michigan plumbing code will cover code changes pertaining to both commercial and residential plumbers.

Where do I find a Michigan Plumbing Code Update Course?

Plumbers Training Institute offers an online, Michigan approved 5-hour Code Update course. This course is available 24/7 at your convenience for 6 months after the date of purchase.

Who submits my 5-hour code update certificate of completion to the state?

The state of Michigan does not require certificates be submitted unless you are audited. Plumbers Training Institute provides printable certificates immediately after course completion.

I have plumbing licensing questions, who should I call?

Call LARA at 517-241-9316

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Earth Day & Helping Your Clients Save Water

On Sunday, April 22 we will be celebrating Earth Day. Plumbing is seeing a major conservation spotlight as 40 out of 50 states expect water shortages within the next 10 years.  With this knowledge and the nationwide shift towards conservation, it is important to keep track of trends and cost-effective ways of saving on plumbing.

Repairs
The average household leak wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water every year. Short of installing new water-efficient fixtures, one of the easiest, most effective ways to cut a household footprint is by repairing leaky faucets and toilets. This is a great suggestion for clients that are not interested in spending big to save.

If your client is unsure if they have a leak you can ask them to check their meter, avoid using water for two hours, and check the meter again. If the meter changes, they probably have a leak.

Water Efficient Products
High-efficiency products, such as those that receive the EPA label, WaterSense, are another great way to conserve water. Replacing old wasteful plumbing with new WaterSense products can cut down on homeowner costs over the long run and save on our water resources.

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Online Exam Prep for Michigan Journeyman Plumbing

How do I become a Journeyman Plumber in Michigan?

In the state of Michigan, you are required to have 6,000 hours of experience gained over no less than 3 years as a registered apprentice in the practical installation of plumbing. Along with the experience, you will need to complete the application for Journeyman Plumber and pass the state exam.

What can I expect from the Michigan journeyman plumber exam?

The exam will cover your knowledge of plumbing theory, plumbing practice, and knowledge of state code. Questions cover drainage systems, vent systems, fixtures, and water distribution, as well as, backflow prevention, special waste systems, testing, and inspections. Also covered is the ability to gather information from an isometric drawing representing practical plumbing.

The exam is 125 questions and you must pass with a 70% or higher. You will have 180 minutes to complete the exam.

Is the Michigan journeyman plumber exam open book?

Yes, you are allowed to bring The Michigan Plumbing Code Book into your exam.

 Where can I take the Michigan journeyman plumber exam?

  • Dearborn
  • Gaylord
  • Grand Rapids
  • Lansing (Holt)
  • Marquette
  • Southfield
  • Where can I find exam prep for the Michigan Journeyman plumber exam?

Certified Training Institute offers online exam prep for the Journeyman Exam and the Business Law portion of the Plumbing Contractors Exam. The courses are completed online at your convenience and on any device that is connected to the internet. These courses include practice exams with questions pulled directly from past PSI exams.

 

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Only 3 days left to take your 5hr. Plumbing Code Update to avoid late fees!

Michigan Plumbing Code Update Requirements
Michigan plumbers must complete a 5-hour code update course by April 20, 2018. The course must correspond with the 2015 Michigan Plumbing Code Rules set forth by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on April 20, 2017.
NOTE: For the first time, Michigan is allowing plumbers to complete their code update course online.

What is included in the Michigan plumbing code update course?

The Michigan plumbing code will cover code changes pertaining to both commercial and residential plumbers.

Where do I find a Michigan Plumbing Code Update Course?

Plumbers Training Institute offers an online, Michigan approved 5-hour Code Update course. This course is available 24/7 at your convenience for 6 months after the date of purchase.

Who submits my 5-hour code update certificate of completion to the state?

The state of Michigan does not require certificates be submitted unless you are audited. Plumbers Training Institute provides printable certificates immediately after course completion.

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Go with the Flow: Washington House Rep’s Pass Bill That Will Reduce Flow Rates Below National Standards

Washington State legislators want to do whatever they can to save water. Their idea is to reduce plumbing flow rates in faucets, showerheads, toilets, and urinals. Manufacturers are expressing their concern due to what lower flow rates can do to endanger the public. Keeping water in pipes longer and increasing water age can dissipate disinfection agents and foster the growth of biofilms that amplify the growth of opportunistic waterborne pathogens in plumbing systems.

The EPA is funding two studies measuring the potential impact of low flow rates and waterborne disease outbreaks and other water quality problems. Recently the EPA indicated that both projects hypothesize that low flow rates have contributed to outbreaks of waterborne diseases and other water quality problems in building plumbing systems.

All of these reasons are why Plumbing Manufacturers International – the association representing these plumbing product manufacturers – urges the Senate to consider going to WaterSense (National Flow Rate Law) levels rather than going below them, at least until the impact of reducing flow rates even further can be studied.

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Social Media Marketing for Plumbers

How do you reach potential customers? Homeowners and businesses are not apt to look at a phone book or printed directory anymore. Instead, most people turn to Google or social media when searching for a service provider. A Google listing is effective in getting your name out there but a social media presence can help you stand out from the competition. Here are a few helpful hints for getting your social media up and running.

  1. Post for your customers. A rooky mistake that many professionals make is posting content that is not easily understood by the laymen. So, make sure you leave any technical plumbing terms out of your posts. You want it to feel easily accessible and comfortable to every potential client.
  2. Post quality content. Give customers a reason to follow your page. Post information that is useful to them. For example, posting helpful tips for keeping plumbing in working order is a good way to build trust with a client and be their first call when something goes wrong.
  3. Post often. The only thing worse than having no social media presence is having a page without recent posts. Many customers assume a company is out of business if they do not have recent posts on their social media pages.
  4. Respond to customers. Starting a conversation is a great way to build a relationship with potential customers. Even if someone is combative in their response to your post try to diffuse the situation and thank them for their feedback. 
  5. Share your success stories. If you've tackled a particularly difficult plumbing issue ask the customers permission to document it on your social media. If you've recently completed a Code Update or passed an exam to advance your license share it on your social media. These success stories help you relate to clients and stand out from your competition.
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