Flo Technologies to Reimburse Homeowners for Water Damage

Flo Technologies recently announced a program, HomeProtect, that will reimburse homeowners for their insurance deductibles if they suffer water damage while using Flo products.

The CEO and co-founder of Flo Technologies, Gabriel Halimi,  says, "Water damage is the leading cause of preventable homeowners insurance claims every year, costing over $9 billion annually. We've analyzed the results from our diverse customer base and proved our initial hypothesis: The Flo System's proactive technology helps dramatically reduce the likelihood of water damage. With this data, we can now stand behind our customers in an unprecedented way."

HomeProtect will cost $5 per month and cover any damage that the Flo system should have prevented. Homeowners who purchase the plan will be eligible for the following benefits:

  • A water damage prevention guarantee: Flo will pay up to $2,500 for out-of-pocket homeowner’s insurance deductible;
  • Proactive Monitoring by Flo’s experienced support team, as well as Live Chat Support;
  • Access to Flo’s Water Concierge to answer questions about your home’s water system and help resolve water and plumbing issues (whether or not the issues involve the Flo System);
  • An extended 3-year product warranty;
  • Access to enhanced analysis and information about water usage, including usage per water fixture (currently in beta);
  • A Flo Certified Letter for Insurance that may help reduce monthly homeowners insurance costs (depending on your insurance provider); and
  • Access to the Flo Standard Plan, which comes with every Flo device purchase.
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Top 5 Plumbing Blogs

Want to stay in the know about issues that affect Plumbing professionals?
Check out this list of the top 5 Blogs for Plumbers.

(Blogs are ranked in no particular order)

  1. Mr. Rooter Blog
    As one of the most recognized names in the plumbing industry, it’s not surprising that they offer a blog packed with high-quality content created by seasoned professionals. Their blog has been active since 2011.
  2. LEN the Plumber
    Len the Plumber has established itself as a premier plumbing service in multiple markets and has accumulated an incredible blog of plumbing topics. Although it’s geared toward homeowners and potential customers, it’s a veritable treasure chest of plumbing topics and will give you insight as to how this particular company engages its customer base with friendly, fun topics.
  3. Plumbing Tips and Tricks
    Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

    Plumbing Tips and Tricks is the official blog of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. This company has partnered with Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe” to produce high-quality plumbing content. You’ll gain exceptional insight on all the new trends facing the plumbing industry in this blog.

  4. The Plumber.com
    This blog has been around for decades and is a reliable source of plumbing industry information for both tradespeople and homeowners. You’ll find it’s content to be relevant to today’s professional plumber.
  5. Plumbing & Mechanical
    Although Plumbing & Mechanical is a print publication, they also have a website packed with relevant content for professional contractors as well as plumbers. They run several blog series, including Al Levi’s “7-Power Contractor” geared towards increasing revenue.

These are just a few of the many top quality blogs available to plumbing professionals. Subscribe to a few today, you’ll likely learn an abundance of tips and tricks in your spare time.

 

 

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Diving Deeper into Plumbing: Pathogens, PPE and Prevention

Plumbers are exposed to a variety of pathogens and substances every day. Preventing contact with these hazards is vital to their health and the health of the communities they serve. With the many strange and gross things that end up down the toilet or drain, plumbing isn’t a job for the faint of heart. It’s also not a job for the careless. June is National Safety Month so here is a reminder of the dangers lurking in raw sewage and how you should protect yourself.

Raw sewage is, as you can imagine, a germ jubilee! It can carry dozens of life-threatening microorganisms including tetanus, E. Coli, hepatitis A and B, and typhoid fever. Plumbers can also be exposed to infections like histoplasmosis or hantavirus, from bird or rodent feces found on roofs, basements and in crawl spaces. Such diseases can cause hemorrhagic fever or kidney failure. Plumbers are also commonly exposed to hazardous substances like lead, asbestos, mold and sulfur dioxide. Long-term exposure to mold can cause serious issues like upper respiratory tract illnesses or the development of asthma.

Wearing PPE’s prevent pathogens from contacting the skin. They should be waterproof or liquid-repellant to prevent sewage from reaching your skin or any cuts and abrasions. But wearing the right equipment is only half of the battle when protecting yourself from biohazards and toxic substances.

The final piece in preventing job-related disease is keeping contaminated items away from clean spaces. If you wear your dirty work boots home, you risk exposing yourself and your family to everything on them. Work gear should be left at work and cleaned separately. If you drive your work truck home, change out of contaminated clothing and shoes before getting in the driver’s seat.

In the end, preventing disease comes down to one simple idea: clean it no matter what. Your clothes, your equipment, and your truck; it’s better to be safe than sick. Following this simple rule protects you from most cross-contamination: Wash your hands; wash your hands; wash your hands. Wash with soap and water before eating, drinking, smoking, using the bathroom, touching your skin or after any contact with contaminants.

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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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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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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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United States Plumbing Infrastructure-A $300 Billion Problem

The United States has a major infrastructure problem. Many of the pipes bringing water to homes, hospitals, and businesses are over 150 years old. Although lead pipes were banned 3 decades ago, more than 10 million lead pipe systems remain.

Two industries, plastic, and iron are currently lobbying to take charge of the $300 billion project. The plastics industry has used Flint as evidence that iron pipes are not a good solution. Upwards of 8,000 children were exposed to lead in unsafe levels in Flint and two outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease followed. Plastic lasts longer and has no possibility of leaking lead into drinking supplies. 

On the other hand, some local governments believe the plastics industry is using their money to wage an unfair war against iron piping. Many scientists feel that a rapid replacement of iron pipes with plastic will lead to another set of health problems as it becomes increasingly clear that chemicals can find their way into water carried through plastic pipes. The pipes themselves can leach chemicals and contaminated groundwater can find its way through plastic pipes far easier than iron.

Local governments nationwide will determine if they prefer lead or plastic on a case-by-case basis and plumbers across the nation can expect an uptick in government work over the next decade.


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What’s the Weirdest thing You’ve Pulled Out of a Drain?

Photo by: Walter Siegmund

Every plumber has a story about the inappropriate things they've found in a homeowner's drain. Here are a few of the strangest we've found.

  1. A head of lettuce clogging a washing machine pump. Turns out the homeowner thought they could use their washer as a salad spinner.
  2. An entire bedspread was found while doing a drain cleaning. The plumbers have no idea how that happened.
  3. One plumbing company received a call to the college student housing facility because feces was coming out of the shower. When they cleared the drain they found an intact beer bottle in the shower pipe. Again, how did this happen?
  4. Finally, a plumber in California found a set of upper and lower dentures while trying to fix a toilet clog. They discovered the homeowner had lost them after drinking a bit too much and getting sick the day before.
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