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10 Ways COVID-19 Is Impacting the Plumbing Industry

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The domino effect of COVID-19 is starting to impact virtually every aspect of the economy, including the plumbing industry.

Like many service providers, plumbers in Los Angeles deal with customers in a face-to-face manner.

We’re out there entering our clients’ homes and providing “hands-on” assistance with various issues. In the midst of a pandemic, the problems with this type of business are obvious.

1. Customers Might Not Want Us To Visit Their Homes

Customers may not want to have service providers like us in their homes, even if they’re dealing with a major plumbing issue. Many of our customers are being told that they must stay home and self-isolate, and many of them feel like it’s not the right time to have repairs done.

2. The Need For Plumbing Is Still There

That being said, plumbing is in many cases an “essential service.” After all, if your home starts flooding, you need to call us up – even in the midst of this pandemic.

Our customers need running water to survive, and it doesn’t make sense to die of thirst just so you can avoid an illness that likely only effects a relatively small percentage of the population.

3. The Plumbing Industry Is Better-Suited To Deal With These Issues Compared With Other Services

We’re all dealing with challenges right now, but our business might be in a better position than many other service industries.

Unlike a house painting service or a pool installation company, plumbing is essential. While our customers may wait months until they make aesthetic renovations, they can’t delay when they have a broken pipe causing a flood in their basement.

4. We’re Getting Busier Over The Pandemic

COVID-19 is impacting our industry in some pretty interesting ways. As plumbers all over the country are discovering, this pandemic is actually leading to high call volumes in some cases.

With so many people staying at home, we’re getting lots of calls from those who are testing their home plumbing systems like never before. The entire system is being put under a lot of strain.

No one is going to work or school, so their home plumbing system must bear the full weight of their showers, baths, water drinking, and of course toilet use.

Your plumbing system might be even more prone to failure if you live in an older apartment building with hundreds of tenants.

5. Vacated Buildings Need Extra Maintenance

Of course, there’s a flipside to all of this. Because people aren’t going to work or school, what happens to the plumbing systems in these buildings?

They’re not being used by a single person.

From decades of experience, we can tell you that plumbing systems can actually deteriorate after months of disuse.

Losing the septic seal in the traps is one potential issue, and this is caused by the evaporation of water. Because of these issues, we could be seeing a lot of calls to vacated buildings that need trap seals installed.

6. It All Depends On City Inspectors

Of course, this all depends on whether or not City Inspectors are ordered to stay home. If no one is inspecting these vacating office buildings and schools, the plumbing issues in these buildings will go unnoticed.

Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to maintain these buildings so that when people do go back to work and school, the plumbing systems will be fully functional.

7. COVID-19 Is Changing The Way We Communicate With Our Customers

We recognize that we’re going to have to make certain adjustments in this environment. Adaptation is key. We’re looking into communicating with their customers online through video chat apps.

With these tools, we can potentially offer advice and virtually diagnose various problems. Our plumbers are also starting to wear gloves, masks, and shoe covers when they arrive at our customers’ homes.

8. Economic Strain Can Cause Many Customers To Delay Scheduled Maintenance

We also recognize that some of our customers will be canceling and postponing maintenance work.

If you’re not experiencing major issues with your plumbing system, you might be reluctant to have our plumbers show up on your doorstep.

We understand that money can be tight right now, especially with so many people staying home from work. Because of this, we’re expecting that older, aging equipment will stay in place for a longer period of time.

9. Bidet Systems Are Surprisingly Popular Now

We’re also noticing that this situation is presenting us with new opportunities. While one type of service might be getting less popular, others are actually rising in popularity. Take the bidet system, for example.

With toilet paper shortages, many of our customers might want to get this system installed. We’re hearing from other plumbing companies across the country that this has been a very popular service in recent weeks.

Those who switch to bidet systems to “beat” the toilet paper issue will probably continue to use this system long after the pandemic passes.

We’re looking forward to installing and maintaining bidet systems for our customers in the future. In this situation at least, the toilet paper shortage is a stroke of good fortune for plumbing businesses like us!

10. Adaptation Is Key

At the end of the day, our industry has had to deal with considerable changes during this pandemic, but it’s not all bad news.

We’re committed to helping our customers as we adapt to these changes and work hard to create solutions that help our community.

The good news is that every day, we’re discovering new ways to remain profitable amidst all of this uncertainty.

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Faucets & Sinks

Review of Ritz Plumbing
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Customer Symptoms:

A distressed homeowner contacted us complaining of a leaking sink. He said that the problem had been ongoing, and he had tried to tighten washers in an attempt to fix it.

Issue:

While the homeowner considered himself a handyman around the house, the technician was dispatched to assess the situation. After checking to ensure the washer seat was clear of debris and that the fixture was tightly mounted to the sink, the technician discussed a full faucet replacement.

Resolution:

The homeowner did not want to lose any more money on excess water bills so he agreed to a replacement. The technician turned off the water supply to the home, unbolted the current faucet from the sink and set it to the side. He removed any remaining caulk before setting the new faucet on top of the base. Before applying new caulk, he made sure that the spray hose would line up in the new faucet. It was a tight fit, and the technician had to tweak the fixture so that the hose would be in sync. He then tightened the nuts to ensure that the new faucet was securely mounted on the sink. After reconnecting the water lines and turning the water on in the home, he tested the unit to make sure the installation was successful.

Sewer Repair

Review of Ritz Plumbing
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Customer Symptoms:

A homeowner contacted us with reports of a clogged sewer. Before we sent a technician to her home, she was able to tell us that she had recently purchased her home and that it was a few decades old.

Issue:

Armed with this information, the technician asked the homeowner if she knew if she had clay tile pipes in her sewer system. She was not certain, but the technician explained that the roots of the trees in her yard may often be drawn to the warmth and moisture in the sewer lines; clay pipes provide a great way for roots to access the water.

Resolution:

After using a camera to view the pipes, the technician verified that the system was, indeed, made of clay and that the roots had been growing into the loose joints and tiny cracks that had developed over time. Fortunately, the damage had only been done in one area of the pipe, under a particularly large tree, so the technician was confident that he could cut through the roots to remove the clog. However, he suggested that the homeowner consider replacing her pipes with newer PVC or concrete pipes to prevent the situation from reoccurring in the future. The homeowner said she would consider it and contact us to schedule a future appointment.

Drain Cleaning Repair

Review of Ritz Plumbing
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Customer Symptoms:

A client called us to ask us if there was any way to unclog the drain in her garage. The strainer was not completely secured on the drain hole when she had been sweeping the garage early, and she reported that she had accidently swept leaves and grass clippings into the pipe.

Issue:

The technician was dispatched to her location to assist her and to determine if the drain needed to be cleaned or if the clog was due to a blockage that was beyond repair.

Resolution:

Our technician first removed the strainer from the drain and fed a cable into the drain pipe. He was then able to plug in the power augur near the drain. The technician set it to function in a clockwise motion and turned on the unit before pushing into the drain. Once he located the source of resistance, he repeatedly pulled the cable out and placed it back into the drain until he was able to successfully break up the clog. He ensured the drain was clean by pouring three buckets of hot water into the pipe.

Installation of Gas Line

Review of Ritz Plumbing
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Customer Symptoms:

A business owner called to report that his company was not able to have hot water at his location. He was unsure of the cause, as the hot water had been working the previous day.

Issue:

The technician met the owner to discuss the possible causes of the hot water malfunctioning. After ruling out leaking pipes, the technician determined that the gas line was either clogged or needed to be repaired.

Resolution:

Our technician used an inline camera to detect the source of the issue and found that both the pilot light needed to be relit and that the gas line required replacement. He explained to the customer that over time, the gas lines can become corroded and worn, thus negatively affecting the ability to provide hot water. While the customer was surprised that the technician needed to install a new gas line, he was relieved that we were able to solve the problem before a serious gas leak occurred.

Low Water Pressure

Review of Ritz Plumbing
img3 img3 img3 img3 Overall Experience 4/5

Customer Symptoms:

A landlord received complaints from multiple tenants in his building that the water pressure was very poor.

Issue:

Although he attributed the first report as merely a problem with a single faucet in the apartment and had previously called a repairman to inspect the unit, after he received calls from every client, he realized that the whole building needed to be checked.

Resolution:

The technician needed to narrow down the cause of the low water pressure. He first checked the water meter to ensure that it was turned on the whole way and that the repairman had not turned it back. He found that the meter itself was not completely on and mentioned this to the client. The client remembered that he had called a repairman to look at one apartment after he received the first call and realized that the repairman may have forgotten to turn it back on the rest of the way. The client thanked the technician for being thorough and narrowing down the cause of the low water pressure so quickly.

Repiping a House

Review of Ritz Plumbing
img3 img3 img3 img3 img3 Overall Experience 5/5

Customer Symptoms:

Our company received a call from a customer who was suffering from defective galvanized pipes throughout his home. He requested that we send a technician to repipe his entire house to ensure that his property and family would be safe from leaking pipes or other subsequent water damage.

Issue:

In order to completely repipe the home, we needed to bypass the existing distribution system starting at the middle point between the interior and exterior pipes and finishing at different fixtures such as faucets and sinks throughout the house.

Resolution:

As our technician began to work, he noticed that the old pipes had developed many pinhole leaks that were resulting in mold growth in the walls. The technician reassured the homeowner that he did the right thing by calling a plumber because if he had let the problem go much longer, he would have been faced with expensive damages. In addition to replacing the pipes, the technician also repaired the places in the drywall where he had previously accessed the system.

Dishwasher Repair

Review of Ritz Plumbing
img3 img3 img3 img3 img3 Overall Experience 5/5

Customer Symptoms:

A frustrated homeowner contacted us with a claim that her dishwasher simply wasn’t getting her dishes clean. With four young children and an always-hungry husband, she was becoming increasingly frustrated with doing dishes three times to get them clean.

Issue:

The customer had acknowledged that she had tried different soaps and tablets in an effort to clean her dishes, but nothing was working. The technician assessed the unit and determined that the dishwasher may not be receiving the proper amount of water.

Resolution:

To confirm his suspicion, the technician checked the electrical valve in the unit. This water inlet valve should open up to allow hot water into the unit when it is working properly. However, the technician found that the valve had failed, thus resulting in the lack of water to clean the cookware. The valve was old and beyond repair, so our technician was able to remove it and replace it with a new model. The homeowner already had dishes waiting to go, so the technician remained in her home to verify that the cycle would be completed properly.

24 Hour Plumbing

Review of Ritz Plumbing
img3 img3 img3 img3 img3 Overall Experience 5/5

Customer Symptoms:

We received a call from a client who was experiencing flood-like waters in her basement. She did not know where the water was coming from and was concerned for the protection of her valuables and furniture.

Issue:

We know how important emergency issues can be so our 24 hour plumber responded within the hour. We surveyed the situation and determined that the excess water was the result of a clogged sewer drain. We asked the customer if she had been experiencing delaying flushes or prolonged refilling times when she used her toilet, and she reported that she had experienced difficulty earlier that day.

Resolution:

We used state-of-the-art equipment and technology to locate the source of the problem. Our technician found that the best method to find the clog was to thread a camera into the drainage system rather than begin digging in areas simply to guess where the issue began. After locating the clog, the technician was able to quickly and efficiently restore the sewer system with minimal damage to the customer’s property. She was happy to know that we took the effort to accurately find the troubled area before we started to rectify the problem.

Sump Pump Installation

Review of Ritz Plumbing
img3 img3 img3 img3 Overall Experience 4/5

Customer Symptoms:

We received a call from a client requesting that our technicians install a sump pump in her home. She had been experiencing a leaking basement and had a feeling that the old sump pump was to blame.

Issue:

We verified that the sump pump did, in fact, need to be replaced. The client was more than willing to allow us to complete the task because she did not want to have any more water leaking into her basement as she was making plans to furnish it.

Resolution:

Our technician determined where the utility, sewer and water lines were and designated a spot away from this area at the lowest point of the basement. The technician dug a whole to the manufacturer’s recommended depth and put the liner into the hole. He then filled the hole with gravel and attached the discharge pipe to the sump pump. He finished the job by caulking to guard against leaking and adjusting the float valve on the sump pump.

Sprinkler Repair

Review of Ritz Plumbing
img3 img3 img3 img3 img3 Overall Experience 5/5

Customer Symptoms:

A business owner had contacted us with concerns that his current sprinkler system was not functioning properly. The sprinkler heads would spray water wildly at some times or they would not work at all.

Issue:

He claimed that the sprinkler heads were not directing water correctly and that they appeared to be clogged. We examined the heads and looked for broken and cracked plastic casing to verify that we needed to replace them. We explained to the customer that over time, the heads can become worn due to constant use, weather elements and careless lawn mowers.

Resolution:

Our technician was able to turn off the water system and dig a three-foot diameter ditch around the sprinkler heads. He removed the sprinkler head from the riser using a wrench. The technician attached a new sprinkler head by screwing it back onto the riser. Before he filled the hole, he turned the water supply on to test the system and set the sprinkler pattern to the customer’s needs.