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My Plumber - Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioner Blog

  1. Posted on 12/2/2011 5:57 PM

    Giving Something Back - Arlington Food Assistance Backpack Program

     

    December 2, 2011 – During October My Plumber Heating and Cooling employees turned their attention to Arlington Food Assistance Center’s Backpack Program for Children Living in Homeless Shelters. This program provides preparation free (or microwavable) food for the weekends and holidays, to children who frequently don’t have easy access to a real kitchen. 
    The plumber service in Arlington and the heating and air repair technicians, as well as My Plumber Heating and Cooling’s office staff, worked together to raise money in support of this wonderful program. Office workers paid $5 for the privilege of wearing denim to work, Arlington plumbers and Arlington heating and air technicians collected food with dollars off coupons for 5 cans of food, and the management team paid $5 a head for each employee who dressed in costume for Halloween. In a move that has proved to be a real money generator for the Warm Hands and Full Hearts Food Drive program, My Plumber Heating and Cooling executives also assigned $1 to the food drive for each new “like “ the company received on Facebook. 
    Between the three groups of people they raised 250 pounds of food and $230 that they used to buy easy open microwaveable meals, dried fruit, crackers and juice for the backpack program.   The drive was very successful.
    For November and December, My Plumber Heating and Cooling, Stafford plumbers and Stafford heating and air technicians have decided to focus on raising food and support for the SERVE program. On board for the program, My Plumber Office staff will have a favorite cold weather gear day.  Our technicians including Stafford plumbers and Stafford heating and air repair techs, will be collecting those five cans of food.   The executive management team has not told us what they have up their sleeves yet, but you can bet it will be something good.
    If you would like to do something to help us raise food for Stafford SERVE then please take a moment to “like” My Plumber Heating and Cooling on Facebook. Just Click Here to access the link.    
      

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  2. Posted on 11/10/2011 1:51 PM

    My Plumber Heating and Cooling Honors Military Members and Veterans Everyday With 10% Discount.

    My Plumber Heating and Cooling, a plumber service and radiant heating repair company, announced today that in appreciation to Americas’ veterans, active duty, reservist and family members it offers a 10% discount everyday on heat pump repair, furnace repair and all HVAC and plumbing services.
    As Veterans Day approaches, America remembers the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 when World War 1 was effectively ended. President Wilson designated the day as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. In 1938, Congress mandated Armistice Day as a legal holiday. 
    “My Plumber Heating and Cooling is a staunch supporter of our men and women in the armed forces.” said Mark Presgrave, COO of My Plumber Heating and Cooling. “We can all be thankful for those who have served and made incredible sacrifices defending the rights and freedom of America”.
    My Plumber, a family-owned and locally-operated full-service heating, cooling and plumbing company since 1982, offers a complete range of residential and commercial services including furnaces, water heaters, sewage systems, sump pumps and more with a Same Day Service Guarantee. Serving communities throughout the Northern VA and Maryland areas including: Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Springfield, Bethesda and Silver Spring, My Plumber has won numerous awards including 2011 Finalist for National Capital Business Ethics Award, 2011 Washington Business Journals Top 10 Mechanical Contractors, 2011 Smart CEO for D.C. Metro Area Top 10 Executive Management Teams and 2011 PHC Magazines Top 100 Mechanical Contractors. To learn more about My Plumber Heating and Cooling or to schedule service please call 866.469.7586 or visit the company’s website at www.MyPlumber.com

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  3. Posted on 10/28/2011 3:20 PM

    Beware the Pumpkin on Halloween

     

    Virginia plumbing professionals and the Maryland plumbers at My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to remind readers to beware the pumpkin during the upcoming holiday. Pumpkin is starchy and stringy; a combination that is designed to either jam a home garbage disposal or clog a kitchen drain-line. 
    “The technicians tell me, whether they are in Fairfax plumbing or plumbing Springfield, the results are the same. If the homeowner uses the garbage disposal to get rid of pumpkin rind, pulp or seeds; sooner or later there will be a jammed garbage disposal or a clogged kitchen drain to contend with.” Said Susan E. Phillips, Community Outreach Coordinator “the best thing you can do with pumpkin leftovers is to wrap them up in newspaper and throw them in the trash.”
    “Except for the seeds” she added “they are such a nutritionally, power-packed treat that wasting them is just a shame.”    She recommends instead, that they be harvested and toasted and even provides the following recipe courtesy of My Plumber Heating and Cooling.
    My Plumber Heating and Cooling’s
    Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
    1.        Preheat oven to 400Õ
    2.        Separate seeds from pumpkin pulp, rinse and dry on paper towels
    3.       Scatter pumpkin seeds on a shallow baking sheet leaving space between each seed
    4.       Drizzle with olive oil
    5.       Add salt, pepper and a favorite seasoning mix or single herb (we like rosemary or garlic)
    6.       Bake for 7-10 minutes until seeds are light brown and crispy
    7.       Cool and enjoy 
    My Plumber Heating and Cooling’s Virginia plumbing pros and Maryland plumbers along with all the management and staff would like to offer you this little reminder.... Pumpkin, potatoes, rice and noodles are all starches that turn into glue in the homeowner’s kitchen drain-line.  Celery and other fibrous vegetables, carrot and onion peels will all jam the garbage disposal blades. These food waste items are best disposed of by wrapping them in newspapers and consigning them to the trash can.     

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  4. Posted on 9/8/2011 12:44 PM

    September is National Baby Safety Month

     

    September is National Baby Safety month and the team at My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to remind parents of some basic safety rules that can protect babies and toddlers from plumbing-related accidents in the home. 
     
    • The law requires manufacturers of home water heaters to set the thermostat at 120°F. The reason for this requirement is because babies, the elderly and some people with disabilities burn easily or react slowly. Water temperatures above 120°F can scald in a matter of seconds. Homeowners can save on their energy bills and reduce the risk of scalding accidents by setting the thermostat on their water heater to 120°F.
    • Don’t leave standing water in a bathtub or a bucket; a toddler or baby can drown in as little as an inch of water. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death among 1-4 year olds, and the fifth leading cause of accidental death in infants under one year of age.
    • Keep toilet lids closed and consider using clamps to keep top-heavy toddlers from leaning over an open bowl and falling in.
    • Never leave a baby or a small child alone in the bathtub, even in a safety seat. Safety seats are not foolproof and it can take less than ninety seconds for a child to drown.
    • Face babies and toddlers away from the faucet during baths so they cannot grab a hot water spout or turn on the hot water. Consider installing a shower safety tap. This is a clear box that attaches around the shower tap to prevent children from turning on the water and burning themselves.
     
    Accidents involving babies or toddlers are heartbreaking – even more so when they could have been prevented. We hope that by writing about the safety rules listed above, accidents will be avoided, and readers will be galvanized to put into practice the safety measures necessary to protect small children in their homes.
     

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  5. Posted on 8/25/2011 8:42 AM

    Avoiding a Wet Basement Disaster

     

     

    Avoid a Wet Basement Disaster

    Local meteorologist are predicting torrential rain over the next couple of days for Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland. This is not good news. It compounds difficulties that we were already facing with the earthquake.

    Area plumbing companies are gearing up for the deluge of telephone calls they will receive for flooded basements and broken sump pumps. My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to offer the following preventive checkup that homeowners can perform, themselves to ensure that their home sump pump drainage system is in good operating order.

    Pour several gallons of water through the sump pit. If the sump pump engages and the water disappears, then the sump pump is in good working order and should be able to handle most excessive rain water.

    If the water stands in the pit and does not disappear but the sump pump engages (makes noise) gently shake the discharge pipe to make sure that the float is not stuck. If that does not work call one of My Plumber’s experienced professionals.

    If the water stands in the pit and the sump pump does not engage (remains silent) check your power cord. Sometimes the plug comes loose and causes the unit to fail. If the power cord is plugged in properly then check your breaker box, make sure the breaker switch is engaged.

    If you find that your sump pump is not working and you need the services of a plumber...that’s half the battle. The other half is choosing a professional in whom you can place your trust.  My Plumber has been working to insure the safety and comfort of the local community for almost 30 years.  We have some of the best warranties in our industry

    To request that one of My Plumber’s professional service technicians to call on you dial (866) 4my-plumber (469-7586). To learn more about the company visit us online at www.myplumber.com.

     

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  6. Posted on 8/5/2011 11:17 AM

    Taking Control in a Plumbing Emergency

     

    Many plumbing emergencies involve water running to some place that it should not be. Frequently those places are where it can do damage to drywall, carpeting or hardwood flooring. It is unlikely that you will be able to eliminate all possibility of a burst pipe or overflowing toilet, but there is a way to take control and limit the damage caused to your home.
     
    Mark Presgrave, a Master Plumber and Chief of Operations at My Plumber in the D.C. metro area, says that the first step to controlling many plumbing emergencies is to know where the main shut-off valve is for your home and how it works. Trace the water supply line back from the water heater to an outside wall and find your shut-off valve. Learn how to operate that valve. Be able to shut it off and turn it back on. With this knowledge, you can stop the flooding and gain control over the situation.
     
    Step two is to find all the individual shut-off valves for each fixture in the home. (Please note that not every fixture has a shut-off valve.) When looking for the valves, keep in mind that shut-off valves are usually located under the fixture; as with a toilet, or behind an appliance where it connects to the water supply. Take the time to learn how they work and make sure that they operate properly and are not leaking.
     
    Step three is to teach every member of the household who is old enough to respond appropriately where the shut-off valves are and how to work them. A ten-year old who knows how to work a shut-off valve can prevent thousands of dollars in damage to your home.
     
    One note of caution:  never walk through standing water if there are electrical wires nearby. Find another way to reach the shut-off valve, turn off the power supply, call the non-emergency number for your local fire department or just wait for the plumber. Water and electricity make a deadly combination.
     
    By following the three simple steps explained above, you will be able to take control of a plumbing emergency, and will be much less likely to experience major water damage in your home.

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  7. Posted on 8/1/2011 11:09 AM

    My Plumber Plans to Revive Food Drive

     

    Since the beginning of its Warm Hands and Full Hearts Food Drive program in 2004, My Plumber Heating and Cooling has collected about 85,000 pounds of food for those who are experiencing food insecurity in the area. Unfortunately, the economic slowdown has contributed to a dramatic reduction in collections in the last couple of years, but My Plumber has a plan to turn that around.
     
    My Plumber will add a dollar’s worth of food to the Warm Hands and Full Hearts Food Drive for every member of the community who “likes” the company on Facebook (up to 5,000 people). The company hopes to see an outpouring of support for the food drive that begins with mouse clicks and expands to real world donations.
     
    “We have had days that you couldn’t get through the office without tripping over the food,” said company Vice President Mark Presgrave recently. “Days that we took 500 pounds of food to a shelter it caused a celebration.” He added, “Providing food fits with the work we do. Plumbing service specifically addresses something that is basic and absolutely necessary to the health and well being of the community.   Raising food is something that has become a part of our company personality. We had to find a way to ensure it continues.”
     
    To “like” the Facebook fan page visit www.facebook.com/MyPlumberHandC?sk=app_392248091048#!/MyPlumberHandC?sk=app_392248091048.
     
     To learn more about My Plumber Heating and Cooling visit the website at www.myplumber.com

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  8. Posted on 5/31/2011 2:33 PM

    Dealing with the Heat

     

    Don’t suffer through another summer of sky-high electricity charges. If an overworked or an under-maintained air conditioning unit is to blame, take these hints and get a grip on that utility bill.  
     
    § Make sure that your filter is clean. Many people think that changing the filter or cleaning it twice a year is plenty of protection, but the filter should be checked once a month. If dust is apparent on the filter, it is time to change it. A dirty filter means that dirt is sifting through into the system and a dirty system requires more energy to work.   
    § If your home is on two levels, make sure the upper level vents are wide open and the lower-level vents are slightly closed. Shutting them completely can stifle proper air-flow and harm the system. Heat rises, and limiting the intake on the lower floor will ensure that your home receives equal cooling distribution.
    § Check that your air conditioners fan is in the “on” position instead of on “auto”. This will improve air circulation and will allow you to be comfortable at a higher room temperature.
    § Keep curtains drawn against the summer sunshine. The sun beating through the window may brighten the room, but it plays havoc with the utility bill and sends electricity charges through the roof.
    § Get your A/C system cleaned and checked by a professional HVAC technician. This will improve your systems operations and the technician can spot potential problems before they cause a mid-summer breakdown. 
     
    Be a cool operator this summer. Use these tips in the name of “going green” or because you want to maintain a level of comfort while you save. Either way, using these tips will help you maintain your cool while you keep the electric bill under budget.

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  9. Posted on 3/17/2011 12:44 PM

    Crisis in Japan

     

    In this difficult time of crisis; our hearts are with the people of Japan. 
    My Plumber Heating and Cooling advocates for causes, donates food and clothing and raises funds “in house”. We also provide a great deal of “in kind” service for the communities we serve.
    We can’t accept charitable donations from anyone outside our own organization; we are not set up for that. What we can do is provide news of organizations that do accept donations. Here is a list of a few that we consider a “safe bet” for your money :
    World Vision
    Save the Children
    Salvation Army
    American Red Cross
     
    If we hear other news about how we can help our friends in Japan we will share those resources with you. If you come across a good, practical suggestion that will offer help to the Japanese, feel free to let us know at wecare@myplumber.com
     

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  10. Posted on 3/11/2011 4:14 PM

    Letter From Ronald McDonald House

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  11. Posted on 3/9/2011 12:38 PM

    Avoid a Wet Basement Disaster

     

    Local meteorologist are predicting 3-5 more inches of rain over the next couple of days for Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland. This is not good news. The ground is already water saturated and we have experienced some flooding.
     
    Area plumbing companies are gearing up for the deluge of telephone calls they will receive for flooded basements and broken sump pumps. My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to offer the following preventive checkup that homeowners can perform, themselves to ensure that their home sump pump drainage system is in good operating order.
     
    Pour several gallons of water through the sump pit. If the sump pump engages and the water disappears, then the sump pump is in good working order and should be able to handle most excessive rain water.
     
    If the water stands in the pit and does not disappear but the sump pump engages (makes noise) gently shake the discharge pipe to make sure that the float is not stuck. If that does not work call one of My Plumber’s experienced professionals. 
     
    If the water stands in the pit and the sump pump does not engage (remains silent) check your power cord. Sometimes the plug comes loose and causes the unit to fail. If the power cord is plugged in properly then check your breaker box, make sure the breaker switch is engaged.   
     
    If you find that your sump pump is not working and you need the services of a plumber...that’s half the battle. The other half is choosing a professional in whom you can place your trust.
     
    To request for one of My Plumber’s professional service technicians to call on you dial (866) 4my-plumber (469-7586).   To learn more about the company visit us online at www.myplumber.com.
     

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  12. Posted on 1/19/2011 4:49 PM

    Bath Time Safety Continued

     

    Many people have mobility issues that make personal care difficult. Nerve degeneration, paralysis or problems born of the aging process each holds its own set of concerns that need to be addressed individually. The array of equipment available to assist with these issues is amazing; it requires research to find it all. Some implements are pretty standard for bathing and we will concentrate our attention on them. 
    One of the simplest methods you can use to make bath time easier for someone with mobility problems is to install a hand-held showerhead.   Standing or seated, alone or bathing with the aid of an assistant people find that nothing directs the flow of water where it is needed most, better than a hand-held showerhead.
    Grab bars are a major aid to anyone with mobility issues. The act of pulling their own bodyweight to a standing position or supporting their weight on the bar while they exit the tub encourages muscle strength. Make sure that the bars installed are institutional grade; stainless steel and they are mounted according to the manufactures instructions.  Don’t make the mistake of installing a towel bar with the expectation that it is going to support the weight of an elder family member or someone who is mobility challenged. It won’t and the results could be painful and costly.   
    How the bars are installed and where will depend on the needs of the person, the plumbing layout and the bathtub or shower design. Please avoid the temptation to install a bar diagonally; a vertical or horizontal installation is always best.  If the hand slips and footing is not secure a fall could ensue.
    Bath tub seating can be as simple as a stool with suction cups on the feet setting inside the tub or a “bench” that sits half out of the tub and half in. The bather sits on the outside and slides across the bench to access the inside of the tub. There are also walk-in tubs with a door that seals shut for water retention. A favorite aid is the reclining lift-chair that eases the bather down into the water for a nice long soak.
    For someone who has become mobility challenged many things that were routine become onerous and what used to be an everyday task becomes frustrating at best and sometimes completely overwhelming. The installation of well thought-out bath time aids will go a long way to make life a little easier for that person.

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  13. Posted on 1/12/2011 1:33 PM

    Preparing a Bathroom for an Elder

     

    We often think that our lives differ somehow from the “Good Ole Days” when multiple generations of a family lived together in one home, sometimes several generations together under one roof. But in the current economic climate with children leaving the nest later and the elderly needing care that families simply can’t afford to hire, multiple generational families are becoming common. 
    Post-war baby boomers are aging and their safety and health are being overseen by the next generation. Taking on the care of an aging parent can be intimidating since we are trained from birth to depend on our parents for our own safety and health.  Ratcheting up the safety factor in the bathroom can be an easy way to introduce ourselves to the idea of “caring for” our elders.
    Take a fresh look at the bathroom that older family member uses with an eye for basic safety. Is there a bathmat with a rubberized, non-skid undercoating?   Are there appliqués or some other form of anti-skid prevention in the bottom of the shower or bath? 
    And when was the last time you thought about the water temperature out of your hot water faucet? Our senior family members may be moving a little slower these days and can’t react as quickly to a sudden burst of hot water; their skin has become more fragile and subject to injury. It does not heal as well as it did in their younger years. These factors combined with very hot water can lead to a tragedy.
    It is federal law that manufactures must set the thermostat to heat the water to 120 degrees on all water heaters before they released for sale.  The installer is also equally compelled to leave that setting where he found it. For anyone else (usually the homeowner) the thermostat setting is a matter of personal choice.  If they choose to set the water temperature to 140 degrees or even 160 degrees it is their right to do so. In many homes circumstances have at times dictated those higher water settings, but in a home with an elderly resident safety over-rides any other consideration.  Check the water heaters thermostat setting.
    Many seniors hold a silent fear of bath-time, they are unlikely to talk about it, may not even be consciously aware that that is what they are feeling. They just know they dread bathing.  The consequences of that fear can be difficult to live with. 

    There are devices that have been created to make bath-time easier on everyone involved.  They are almost innumerable and finding the ones that are most helpful to your particular situation can be over-whelming. Next week we will begin discussing these helpful aids and hopefully, we can remove some of the intimidation factor.    

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  14. Posted on 1/4/2011 10:28 AM

    The Pretty Plumber

    Today, January 4th   is the birthday of Lillian Baumbach, the first woman on record to earn a Master Plumber’s license. In an era when most women aspired to work as a nurse or a secretary and only until they had their first baby, Lillian earned her Master Plumber’s license, became a remodeling estimator and ultimately helped her father build his company into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

    Her favorite interviewer according to her younger brother William was Walter Cronkite. She was on the game show What’s My Line, and she was the pin up girl for an Infantry company stationed in Korea during the conflict. She received fan mail and marriage proposals from all over the world, so much that the US Postal Service forwarded letters addressed only to “The Pretty Plumber” to Lillian’s office at Baumbach Plumbing.
     Her plumbing skills coupled with the fact that she was dainty and pretty, with sparkling eyes and a head full of dark curls, captured the imagination of the nation. The many photographs and news stories posted online at   http://www.baumbach.com/History/lillian.htm can attest to the truth of that. 
    We lost Lillian to Leukemia on January 31, 2000, but we still feel her influence. Every woman who picks up a wrench and earns her living in the trades can look to Lillian and say, if she could do it in the times she faced…then I can do it now.                   

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  15. Posted on 12/30/2010 12:18 PM

    Spotlight on Jennifer Tierney

    Spotlight On

    Lead Coordinator - Jennifer Tierney (Pictured Left)
     
    Jennifer Tierney is My Plumber Heating and Cooling’s Lead Coordinator for their busy HVAC and Sewer divisions.  She coordinates visits by the sales rep for the HVAC division and arranges for customers to receive the free video of interior of their sewer offered when we clear any main-line stoppage.
    Sound easy?   Spend a few minutes in Jennifer’s shoes and you would change your mind quickly. Juggling the comfort consultants and sewer specialist’s schedules, to meet our customers’ needs is not easy. Jennifer cannot hold a three minute conversation without her cell phone ringing or an overhead page calling out her name. 
    The woman is in high demand and she meets that demand well; fortified by a life history as a U.S. Marine brat.  Her family moved around – a lot. In fact, by Christmas of her 7th grade school career, Jennifer had been in three different school systems. She has said that it was a good thing that she had 1 brothers and 2 sisters so close in age, because without them she would have never had friends. Jennifer is not complaining, it prepared her for the constant changes that she handles so well now.
               Of all the skills that Jennifer has developed over the years, she values her super-shopper abilities, the most. She manages to feed her family on $125 a week for four people (including lunch, every day). “I save money, but I don’t sacrifice on quality or quantity.” She scours the sales flyers and clips coupons, every week, instead.

                Jennifer Tierney is a My Plumber Heating and Cooling asset.  

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  16. Posted on 12/22/2010 2:52 PM

    Knowledge is Power

     

    Take Control of Plumbing Emergencies Before They Wreak Havoc on your Home
     
     
    Many plumbing emergencies involve water running from a source that it was never intended to run from, like a busted pipe or an overflowing toilet. Frequently it runs right where it can do the most damage to drywall, carpeting or to hardwood flooring. It is unlikely that you will be able to eliminate the occasional busted pipe from your life but there is a way to take control and limit much of the trauma involved with the event. 
     
    Mark Presgrave, a Master Plumber and Chief of Operations at My Plumber says that the first step to controlling many plumbing emergencies is to know where the main shut off valve is for your home and how it works. Trace the water supply line back from the water heater to an outside wall and find your shut off valve. Learn how to operate that valve. Be able to shut it off and turn it back on. With this knowledge, you lose your victim status and start to gain control over the situation.
     
    Step two is to find all the individual shut off valves for each fixture in the home, that has one.  When looking for them, keep in mind that shut off valves are usually located under the fixture; as with a toilet or behind an appliance where it connects to the water supply. Take the time to learn how they work and make sure that they operate properly and are not leaking.
     
    What’s step three? It’s simple really. Teach every member of the household that’s old enough to react what you just taught yourself. A ten year old who knows how to work a shut off valve can prevent thousands of dollars in damage to your home.   
     
    Just one note of caution, please don’t tread thru water if there is an electrical source present. Find another way, cut the power supply, call the non-emergency number for your local fire department or just wait for the plumber. Water and electricity is a combination that is better left for a professional to deal with. 

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  17. Posted on 12/8/2010 2:48 PM

    Cold Weather Advisory

     

    With nighttime temperatures dropping into the teens, My Plumber offers the following reminder:
     
                A trickle of water in the faucet furthest from the homes water heater will help prevent most frozen pipes.
     
                Additional protection for pipes tucked against an outside wall.....open cabinet doors to expose pipes to more of the homes warm, inside air.   
     

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  18. Posted on 12/6/2010 2:23 PM

    The Heifer International Gift Catalog

    Do you know someone who has everything.  Are you stressed out trying to figure out what to give?  Something, new, fresh and more importantly something they don't already have?  

    You might consider a hive of bees from Heifer International.  When you donate to Heifer in a friends name, they are giving a helping-hand to a family in need.  Specify a gift of bees and you insure that a community will as much as double, their crop production.  The family will have honey, beeswax and new hives to sell and because part of the Heifer process is to learn the art of "giving back" the gift will be shared with neighbors and friends, ensuring prosperity for the local community. 

    Heifer does not just "hand-out" the goods and walk away.  They work with thier families, ensuring that they can care for the animals, rotate the crops, utilize the gift they receive to its best advantage.  They learn how to prosper, where they live.

    Would you like to learn more?  Here is the link to Heifer Internationals website  http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.204586/ .      

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  19. Posted on 12/2/2010 12:31 PM

    Spotlight on Joseph Hunt (Head of Human Resources)

    There are not very many people who know as much about My Plumber Heating and Cooling as Joseph Hunt. Joe has been with the company since early 1987. He started his career as a parts-runner and eventually became our Head of Human Resources.
    If you become employed with My Plumber Heating and Cooling, no matter what your position, you can count on being guided through your first couple of days here, by Joe.    It is his job to make sure that you know the rules your first days here and to ensure that you receive a fair shake, if things start going wrong.
    Beyond that, it is Joe’s job to make sure policy updates and changes are communicated to employees, as quickly as possible and to ensure that changes are expressed in a manner that employees understand. Additionally, it is Joe’s responsibility to make sure that all employees receive adequate safety training, and that training equipment is kept up-to-date.
    Joe Hunt, an outstanding staff member and a corner-stone employee who has helped My Plumber Heating and Cooling grow into the wonderful, local company that it has become. 
     

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  20. Posted on 11/29/2010 3:55 PM

    Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

    Your home is closed tight against the outside chill and the furnace clicks on and off. Running at intervals it is designed to keep your home at a steady temperature. Your home is warm; you are cozy and safe from the wicked cold that whistles past your windows. You don’t realize it yet, but your warm, safe cocoon is slowly poisoning you and your family to death.

    Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and invisible but, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) it is responsible for more than 500 deaths and an incredible 15,000 hospital emergency room visits each year. Carbon monoxide is an insidious thief that steals the health, mental and emotional well being of those who are unlucky enough to inhale it. If it is not detected, carbon monoxide will steal the very life from its victims.
    The most common cause for carbon monoxide poisoning is a malfunctioning automobile exhaust system, or a non-electric heat source in a home with an obstructed or malfunctioning exhaust system. Poisonings are most common during power outages when people use electric generators or drag their gas grill indoors and use them in an attempt to stay warm. However health professionals and first responders never forget that gas powered home heating systems can have a cracked heat exchanger. A cracked heat exchanger can cause a most terrible case of carbon monoxide poisoning.
    Carbon monoxide poisoning is exhibited through flu-like symptoms…headache, nausea and fatigue are all common. These can be followed by shortness of breath and impaired judgment.   Like heat, carbon monoxide rises, so a slow poisoning from a small crack in a heat exchanger will affect those who spend the most time in the home or who sleep on the highest level of the home, then affect other family-members later.   A major crack in the heat exchanger can put a whole family in a fight for their very lives in a single night.
    A yearly cleaning and examination of a gas heating system will reveal a crack in the heat exchanger as well as optimize operations of a home heating system. Convincing people, that they need a pre-season checkup on their heating system, however, can prove difficult. Convincing them that a byproduct of their gas heating system is escaping into their homes and that it will kill them, is even more difficult; but it is an argument that HVAC technicians know that they can’t lose. After all lives are at stake.

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  21. Posted on 11/22/2010 5:43 PM

    A Thanksgiving Reminder

     

    Thanksgiving Day is here and you have 12 guests due at dinner. The turkey is in the oven, potatoes are mashed and the green bean casserole is ready for its debut. Everything is running smoothly in the kitchen when you decide to dispose of some celery and carrot peelings to get them out of your way and all heck breaks loose, at your house.
    Among the food items that should never be processed through the average home garbage disposal are fibrous vegetables like celery strings, carrot peelings and onion skins. Other foods that your garbage disposal should never be introduced to include anything greasy and starches (like rice and potatoes). Fibers can wrap around the blades, jamming the garbage disposal, fat can coat the pipes as can starches, worse they can attract small tidbits of this and that and glue them to the ever increasing restriction in the pipes, setting  your kitchen drain line up for a clog.
    As you prepare for Thanksgiving keep in mind the fact that your garbage disposal, like anything else, has its limits.
    ·         Before you start working in the kitchen, run a tray of ice through the garbage disposal to clean and sharpen the blades.
    ·         Throw a lemon in afterwards to cut grease build-up and further clean the blades.
    ·         Avoid filling the hopper with large quantities of food waste; small batches are more easily processed by your garbage disposal.
    ·         Avoid pouring grease down your drain.
    ·         Don’t process potatoes, rice, food peelings, onions, carrots, celery, and any fibrous, greasy or starchy food through the garbage disposal. 
    ·         Run cold water, not hot when processing food waste and continue to let the water run for at least 10 seconds after you have processed the food.
    Keep these things in mind as you prepare for Thanksgiving and you probably won’t have a problem in your kitchen drain that needs a plumber to solve over the holiday. And from those of us at My Plumber Heating and Cooling to all of you in Fairfax, Alexandria, Leesburg, Potomac, Laurel and Annapolis have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.         

    Food on the Table

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  22. Posted on 11/19/2010 11:36 AM

    A Question About Our Service

    A gentleman from Accokeek Md. recently wrote to us and asked:

     

    I am unhappy with the company that I currently have a heating and A/C repair contract with.  I was wondering if you offered contracts that for an annual fee provided a heating inspection in the fall and an A/C inspection in the spring and provided a reduced cost for repairs.  We have been with the same company for 8 years however the technicians they have been providing have been doing substandard work of late that resulted in our system failing 2 weeks after the inspection 3 times in a row, all due to missing problems.  We are looking for a new and reliable company to provide all services for our systems.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Our Answer

     

    Sir, we have the kind of program you are asking about, with some pretty incredible side benefits. Our Priority Club offers three preventive checks a year, one for each of your systems (heating, cooling and plumbing) in addition to a fantastic bundle of services and perks available only to you, as a Priority Club member.
    Some of these services include:
    ·         Extended Same Day Service Hours – Call before 2PM Monday – Friday and before 10AM Saturday and Sunday
    ·         Waive the Plumbing Dispatch Fee
    ·         Double your Discounts, up to $200
    ·         Concierge Service! Each member gets a concierge phone number to call, and receive Priority service
    ·         Over $2,200 in Coupon Savings – available only to Priority Club members
    You can look at our Priority Club online at our website.   The address is http://www.myplumber.com/priority/   and if you have any questions our customer service agents will be happy to help you at 1-866-469-7586

     

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  23. Posted on 11/15/2010 2:06 PM

    Keeping Baby Safe in the Bathroom

     

    It happens: a young parent steps out of the bathroom and leaves the baby sitting in a tub of water “for just a minute”. The result is a tragedy from which that parent will never recover. 
               
    Somehow we always think, that can never happen to me but each year babies and toddlers continue to suffer burns and drown in horrible accidents that were preventable. My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to remind readers of some basic safety rules that can protect babies and toddlers from plumbing-related accidents in the home; specifically, hot water burns and drowning.
     
    • The law requires manufacturers of home water heaters to set the thermostat at 120°F. The reason for this requirement is because babies, the elderly and some people with disabilities burn easily or react slowly. Water temperatures above 120°F can scald in a matter of seconds. Homeowners can save on their energy bills and reduce the risk of scalding accidents by setting the thermostat on their water heater to 120°F.
    • Don’t leave standing water in a bathtub or a bucket; a toddler or baby can drown in as little as an inch of water. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death among 1-4 year olds, and the fifth leading cause of accidental death in infants under one year of age.
    • Keep toilet lids closed and consider using clamps to keep top-heavy toddlers from leaning over an open bowl and falling in.
    • Never leave a baby or a small child alone in the bathtub, even in a safety seat. Safety seats are not foolproof and it can take less than ninety seconds for a child to drown.
    • Face babies and toddlers away from the faucet during baths so they cannot grab a hot water spout or turn on the hot water. Consider installing a shower safety tap. This is a clear box that attaches around the shower tap to prevent children from turning on the water and burning themselves.
               
                Accidents involving babies or toddlers are heartbreaking – even more so when they could have been prevented. We hope that by writing about the safety rules listed above, accidents will be avoided, and readers will be galvanized to put into practice the safety measures necessary to protect small children in their homes.
     

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  24. Posted on 11/11/2010 1:57 PM

    Getting Ready for Winter

     

    Preparing for a Hard Winter
    Winterizing Your Outside Plumbing System
     
    Northern Va. and Suburban Md. - “If the cool, crisp days of autumn are upon us,” said Mark Presgrave of My Plumber Heating and Cooling recently, “it stands to reason that freezing rain, sleet and snow will soon follow.  It is time to winterize your outside hose bibs to protect your home from a burst water supply pipe.”
    There are frost-proof Hose bibs and non frost-proof hose bibs.  The easiest way to identify the difference is by the location of the handle.  If the handle is on top of the faucet, it is probably not frost-proof.  If the faucet continues to drain for a few seconds after it is turned off, it probably is frost-proof.  Both types of hose bibs need to be winterized for full protection against a burst pipe causing a plumbing leak, during a hard freeze.
    First, disconnect the hose and any timer or other device attached to the hose bib.  Then locate the shut-off valve (inside the house) for the hose bib and turn it off to interrupt the water supply.  Back outside, simply open the faucet and let it drain completely.  This simple act of prevention, which takes just a few minutes, can protect a home from serious water damage caused by a frozen, broken water pipe.
    For more information regarding this plumbing alert or further information about My Plumber Heating and Air, please visit their website at www.myplumber.com.  To contact My Plumber Heating and Air, e-mail myplumber@myplumber.com.
     

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  25. Posted on 10/22/2010 1:54 PM

    Company to Give Away a Heating System

     

    Company to Give Away a Heating System
    Looking for the Right Person to Give a Home Heating System
         My Plumber Heating and Cooling prides itself on a long history of giving back to the communities that it serves. As company founder R. Wendell Presgrave explains it, “We consider it our privilege to give something back to the communities that provide our living, and frankly, we love having the opportunity.” My Plumber has collected many tons of food for the hungry, performed free or deeply discounted plumbing repairs for homeless shelters and in private homes throughout Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland, and sponsored sports teams, school plays and many other educational activities. The company also has a tradition of replacing, for free, the oldest, ugliest heating system that it can find each autumn.
         Over the past year, My Plumber has spent some time thinking about the best ways to give back to the community, and the most effective ways to use its resources. The company decided to add a new element to its tradition of giving away a new heating system by searching for a deserving local resident to be the recipient, instead of simply replacing the oldest system it found.
         To that end, My Plumber has developed an application process for those in its service area who are interested in receiving a free new heating system. The successful candidate will be someone who does work that is vital to the community, but who does not have a high income. Special consideration will be given to the candidate who also volunteers: for example, a local police officer who volunteers to teach English to immigrants, or a teacher who volunteers time with hospice patients. Finally, the candidate must have an old heating system which is in danger of failing.
         Applications for My Plumber’s Heating System Giveaway are available at My Plumber headquarters (9975 Pennsylvania Avenue, Manassas, Virginia), or request an application by e-mail to susan@myplumber.com. Completed applications and supporting materials must be received by noon on Tuesday, November 23, 2010. The winner will be announced December 10, 2010 at 2:00PM EST.
    ###
     

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  26. Posted on 9/2/2010 12:44 PM

    Wet Weather May be on the Way to Metro D.C. Area

    September 2, 2010 - It looks as though Hurricane Earl will bypass Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland with just a little rain on Friday.  But when it comes to the weather you never can tell what will happen.  For our customers who live in low-lying areas and rely on a sump pump to keep their basement dry, we would like to offer the following information...just in case. 

    Before we get the torrential rains that can accompany a hurricane please check your sump pump's functionality. 

    • Is your sump pump properly plugged in?
    • Check your breaker box.  Is the power supply functioning?
    • Gently shake the discharge pipe; this will loosen the mercury float if it is stuck from the lack of use.

    You can decrease the chances of a sump pump emergency if you run a frequent check of your sump pump system.  This can be done by pouring a bucket of water through the system to make sure it is working.  Sump pumps can prevent expensive flooding damage, but only if they are working with the rains come. 

    If, despite everything your sump pump should fail, please remember to stay out of the water.  Water in a basement can be charged by an electrical outlet or wire and can present a danger of injury or death.  If you do have standing water in your basement, please call a professional and stay dry until you receive an all clear.         

     

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  27. Posted on 8/30/2010 3:23 PM

    Singing the Summertime A/C Bill Blues?

    Don't suffer through another month of sky-high electricity charges.  If an overworked or an under-maintained air conditioning unit is to blame, take these hints and get a grip on that utility bill.

    • Make sure that your filter is clean.  Many people think that changing the filter or cleaning it twice a year is plenty of protection, but the filter should be checked once a month.  If dust is apparent on the filter, it is time to change it.  A dirty filter means that dirt is sifting through into the system and a dirty system requires more energy to work.
    • If your home is on two levels, make sure the upper level vents are wide open and the lower-level vents are slightly closed.  Shutting them completely can stifle proper air-flow and harm the system.  Heat rises, and limiting the intake on the lower floor will ensure that your home receives equal cooling distribution.
    • Check that your air conditioners fan is in the "on" position instead of on "auto".  This will improve air circulation and will allow you to be comfortable at a higher room temperature.
    • Keep curtains drawn against the summer sunshine.  The sun beating through the window may brighten the room, but it plays havoc with the utility bill and sends electricity charges through the roof.
    • Get your A/C system cleaned and checked by a professional HVAC technician.  This will improve your systems operations and the technician can spot potential problems before they cause a midsummer breakdown.

    Summer is almost over but it is not too late to be a cool operator.  Use these tips in the name of "going green" or because you want to maintain a level of comfort while you save.  Either way, using these tips will help you maintain your cool and keep your electricity under budget.

       

     

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  28. Posted on 8/10/2010 11:08 AM

    Water Heater Maintenance

    Important Maintenance Information for Tank-Style Water Heaters

    The average water heater sits in the dark recesses of the basement year in and year out with little or no attention from its owner. Although most people enjoy the luxury of hot water when bathing, they don’t actually think about the water heater. People seem to expect a lifetime of safe operation out of their tank-style heaters and never anticipate that a problem could occur. Occasionally, My Plumber will hear from one of its technicians about someone who built a room around their water heater and made the entrance smaller than the circumference of the tank, or just dry-walled completely around their water heater.
                Considering how much people depend on having an available supply of hot water, it should be a priority to make sure one’s water heater is operating properly. Whether powered by electricity or gas, if it stores hot water in a tank until needed, it needs to be inspected frequently.
                Hot water heaters come with an owner’s manual, and the safety instructions and inspection procedures outlined there should be followed. If the owner’s manual cannot be located, contact the manufacturer and request a new copy. Most manufacturers will be happy to oblige.
                Here are a few tips about water heater safety:
     
    ·            Avoid leaving any flammable liquid, solvent or chemical stored in the same room with a tank-style water heater. Those items should be stored elsewhere, with lids firmly in place and away from children and pets.
    ·            Keep the thermostat set below 125°F. At higher temperatures, the elderly, the disabled and small children can be easily burned or may be unable to react swiftly enough to avoid scalding water.
    ·            Check around the base of the water heater for moisture. Moisture indicates serious problems in the making which should be addressed quickly.
     
    And finally, check the function of the T&P (Temperature and Pressure) relief valve. Because most tank-style water heaters function day in and day out without problems, it is easy to forget about them. But a tank-style water heater with a malfunctioning T&P valve is a bomb waiting to explode, and if it goes off it may very well take out the side of a house, or take off and go right through the roof.
                In fact, water heater explosions were a fairly frequent occurrence before plumbing code demanded the inclusion of a T&P relief valve as part of a water heater’s installation. Providing all water heaters with a T&P relief valve prevented the excess pressure build up inside the tank and prevented the explosions. But the T&P valve can fail, so it should be inspected frequently.
                The T&P valve is found on the side or on the top of the tank. Water dripping from the pipe connected to the T&P valve is an indicator that the valve needs to be replaced or that the water is getting too hot due to a malfunctioning thermostat. If the T&P valve needs to be replaced, it needs to be replaced sooner rather than later. 
                The plumbing system has been estimated to make up one seventh of the cost of building a home. Plumbing disasters can cost homeowners thousands of dollars when they occur. A careful inspection of the plumbing system and judicious maintenance can prevent many problems. Because the failure of a water heater’s T&P valve can cost more than dollars can ever measure, the Master Plumbers and Journeyman technicians at My Plumber Heating and Cooling strongly recommend that readers take a moment to check their water heaters soon.

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  29. Posted on 7/13/2010 4:57 PM

    Celebrating America

    This is the second entry in our Celebrate America series.  We hope you enjoy this visit to the second of four pivotal points in American History

    General Washington Crosses the Delaware

     In the winter of 1776, morale was low for American soldiers.  They consistently lost battles.  They were cold, hungry and desperately short of supplies. Many enlistments were ending in January and the average fighting man was not expected to renew.  General Washington recognized that his army was close to losing the fight for American independence.

     
     
    On December 25, while the Hessians (German soldiers hired to fight by the British) celebrated Christmas with a feast and heavy drinking in their encampment at Trenton, George Washington put a desperate plan into action.  With 2,000 soldiers, he crossed the bitterly cold, ice-encrusted Delaware River at night to reach that encampment.
     
     
    The Germans were drunk, overfed and surprised by the attack.  And in 45 minutes, the surprise attack was over.  The American army gained 900 German prisoners, provisions and food, and a restored will to fight.
     
     

     

     

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  30. Posted on 7/1/2010 4:05 PM

    Pivotal American Moments - The Pilgrims Meet a New Friend

    At My Plumber Heating and Air we promised you that during the month of July we were going to visit some pivotal moments in American History. Our first moment is a point in time which many think of as the beginning of the nation. In reality there were people from all over Europe, living and working here before the Pilgrims made their ill fated voyage. But somehow their story invokes the spirit of the American heart and mind. What they suffered and their amazing endurance clarifies the essence of the American story.    

    Pilgrims Meet a New Friend

     

    They left Plymouth in September more than 100 people bound for Virginia to create a life in a new land. Unfortunately, they were blown off course and it took them more than two months to reach American shores.  Quarters were cramped and cold, the food was bad and people sickened from eating it. The voyage was miserable and two of the travelers died. It was good practice: a harbinger of the horror to come.
                    The next few months were a trial for their souls. They traveled the coast line searching for a place to settle, they knew they couldn’t make it to Virginia. They found some meat, fresh water and were able to steal some stored Indian grain and beans. But, they were constantly cold and the weather was bitter.
                    They encountered very few natives. The native peoples were not unfamiliar with the pale-skinned strangers, traveling their coast in ships and had learned the hard way to be wary of them. They practiced avoidance where they could, but once when the strangers robbed their food stores, they attacked.
                    Finally in December they found an abandoned Indian village. The original owners had been ravaged by an illness that killed most of them. They found some bodies of the people who were left where they died. The pilgrims own numbers were dwindling. People were falling victim to some form of congestive illness. They had to have warmth and shelter and they had to have it fast. No matter how gruesome the circumstances; the abandoned village with its promise of shelter against the winter snows was a godsend. They buried those that were long-dead and took residence. 
                    The warmth and shelter of the village improved their circumstances but still people continued to die. Scurvy was rampant among them. They knew that citrus fruit or even sauerkraut could help them, but they had access to neither. Had they know it, the needles of the evergreen trees in the area, steeped into a tea was loaded with the vitamin c could have cured them, but they did not know that and more of their numbers died. By spring 47 percent of the original colonists were dead.      
                    In the early spring help came. Not from England, but from a native. His name was Squanto and his life story was both amazing and tragic. He was better traveled than many European sailors of his day and had lived in England for a number of years. He had returned home to the very village that the settlers now occupied only to find his loved ones dead or gone. He befriended the pilgrims and taught them how to survive.
                    Squanto taught them how to raise local produce and what plants were poisonous and which ones had medicinal qualities. He helped them hunt and acted as a representative and sometimes intermediary between the pilgrims and the native people. He was only with them for a couple of years before death took him, but what he taught them helped them survive, even thrive in this new land.  
     
     

     

     

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  31. Posted on 6/11/2010 10:46 AM

    Congratulations Graduates!

    2010 Plumbing School Graduates

    My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to congratulate its 2010 graduates from the trades program of the Fairfax County Public Schools’ Department of Adult Education.  Five employees from My Plumber completed the four-year training program, including Manassas resident Malcolm Fisher, who was named Apprentice of the Year.  Pictured below from left to right are:  James Wiggins, Ariel Andrade, Oscar Sosa-Morales, Craig Pumphrey and Malcolm Fisher.

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  32. Posted on 5/21/2010 8:54 AM

    Questions to Wecare@myplumber.com

    A Customer Has a Question for My Plumber 

     

    Recently we received an email from a customer of ours.  He asked us to settle a difference of opinion he had with his wife and we were happy to oblige.  The email question follows:

      “My wife and I always use My Plumber for our plumbing needs and I was wondering if you could settle a little dispute we are having. I have started trying to help more around the house since she started her new job and part of my job is the laundry.  After I dry clothes I like to hang them as quick as I can to keep the wrinkles out, then I hang the hanger on an exposed drain pipe in the basement ceiling. My wife says that this is a bad idea that it will hurt the plumbing and we will have to have you guys back out. Is she right about that? It doesn’t seem to me that a couple of shirts, a dress and two pairs of pants should cause a problem for the pipes.”

    My Plumber's Reply:

    First, we commend you for sharing the household duties. But we have to agree with your wife on this one. Plumbing pipes are not designed to carry additional weight. Over time, the added stress of a little laundry will weaken connections and loosen fasteners, causing the pipes to leak.
    We recommend purchasing a rolling laundry cart that has a bar across the top. The bar is designed for hanging clothes and will keep items wrinkle-free until you can get them to the folding table. Laundry carts are affordable and widely available, and could save you from hearing “I told you so.”
     
    *If you have a general plumbing, heating or air condidioning question, please write to us at wecare@myplumber.com and request a blog reply.  We will be happy to answer. 

     

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  33. Posted on 5/11/2010 8:20 AM

    Mark Presgrave Wins 2010 SmartCEO Circle of Excellence Award

     

     Vice President of My Plumber Heating and Cooling recognized as one of Greater Washington’s most accomplished and unique business leaders

     
    Manassas, Va. May10, 2010 – My Plumber Heating and Cooling announced today its Vice President, Mark Presgrave, has received a Washington SmartCEO 2010 Circle of Excellence Award, which recognizes 10 Greater Washington CEOs who have demonstrated specific leadership attributes that have made them uniquely successful in the business community.
     
    The 10 winners of the Circle of Excellence Award will be celebrated at SmartCEO’s Business Awards event on May 27, 2010 at the National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20045 from 6:00-9:00p.m. Joining the Circle of Excellence recipients are all of SmartCEO’s past award recipients and our pick for CEO of the Year.
     
    The Circle of Excellence categories for which CEOs were nominated and honored are:
     
    • Growth Management
    • Philanthropy
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Turnaround
    • Product Innovation
    • Client Relations
    • A Classic
    • Strategic Leadership
    • Marketing
    • Resilience
     
    “Circle of Excellence winners are not only selected and honored for their accomplishments, but for demonstrating success in applying a unique leadership attribute that significantly benefits their business and the community,” said Jaime Park, Publisher of Washington SmartCEO magazine. “We are honored to recognize Mark Presgrave as one of Greater Washington’s standout leaders.”
     
    Washington SmartCEO magazine is a regional “growing company” publication. SmartCEO believes that a “growing company” is really determined by the spirit, drive and dynamics of a company's owners and managers, rather than by the size of its building, the number of its employees, or its sales volume. Each month, a variety of businesses in the greater Washington and greater Baltimore areas turn to our pages for features, case-study advice and trend analysis, all with a uniquely local flavor. SmartCEO is read by more than 34,000 business owners in Baltimore and Washington.
     
    For a complete list of winners or more information about the program and event, visit www.smartceo.com.
     
    My Plumber Heating and Cooling has been honored by the communities in which it operates for providing excellent service, technological advances and for its commitment to meeting the needs of the people in the communities it serves.  To learn more about My Plumber visit their web site at www.myplumber.com read their blog at www.media.myplumber.com/blog/.
    XXX
     

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  34. Posted on 5/4/2010 9:56 AM

    HVAC Dept. Forms Third Install Team

    Congratulations Rafael Onato

     

    Congratulations Rafael

    A shout out to HVAC installer Rafael Onato.  Congratulations are due Rafael; he came to My Plumber as a trainee and now he is being promoted to lead a brand new install team of his own.  Good luck to  you Rafael and good luck to Team 3.        

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  35. Posted on 4/26/2010 11:20 AM

    Taking Control in a Plumbing Emergency Can Eliminate a Homeowner's Nightmare

    Knowledge is Power

     

    Taking Control In A Plumbing Emergency Can Eliminate A Plumbing Disaster
     
    March 26, 2010 - Many plumbing emergencies involve water running to some place that it should not be.  Frequently those places are where it can do damage to drywall, carpeting or hardwood flooring.  It is unlikely that you will be able to eliminate all possibility of a burst pipe or overflow­ing toilet, but there is a way to take control and limit the damage caused to your home.

    Mark Presgrave, a Master Plumber and Vice President of My Plumber Heating and Cooling in the Metropolitan D.C. area, says that the first step to controlling many plumbing emergencies is to know where the main shut-off valve is for your home and how it works.  Trace the water supply line back from the water heater to an outside wall and find your shut-off valve.  Learn how to oper­ate that valve.  Be able to shut it off and turn it back on.  With this knowledge, you can stop the flooding and gain control over the situation.

    Step two is to find all the individual shut-off valves for each fixture in the home.  (Please note that not every fixture has a shut-off valve.)  When looking for the valves, keep in mind that shut-off valves are usually located under the fixture; as with a toilet, or behind an appliance where it con­nects to the water supply.  Take the time to learn how they work and make sure that they operate properly and are not leaking.

    Step three is to teach every member of the household who is old enough to respond appropriately where the shut-off valves are and how to work them.  A ten-year old who knows how to work a shut-off valve can prevent thousands of dollars in damage to your home.

    One note of caution:  never walk through standing water if there are electrical wires nearby.  Find another way to reach the shut-off valve, turn off the power supply, call the non-emergency number for your local fire department or just wait for the plumber.  Water and electricity make a deadly combination.

    By following the three simple steps explained above, you will be able to take control of a plumbing emergency, and will be much less likely to experience major water damage in your home.

     

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  36. Posted on 4/20/2010 12:05 PM

    Another Water Conservation Tip

    More from Wendell and Mark's Favorite Tips

     

    Fruits and vegetables often come with a residual coating of dirt, wax and pesticides. Most people rinse the food under running water to wash away the coating. However, this practice eliminates only about 25% of the foreign matter and wastes a lot of water. 

    There are better ways to clean fruits and vegetables before eating. For soft-skinned fruits such as peaches and apricots, make a wash of three parts water to one part vinegar in a bowl and soak the fruits for 30 minutes. For hard-skinned fruit or vegetables, such as apples or carrots, soak with a spray mixture of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 2 cups of water. Scrub with a soft brush and then rinse again with the lemon juice solution. 

    For your sprayer, avoid contamination by using a new clean bottle and sprayer, purchased for this purpose; wash it well with soap and water prior to its first use. Don’t try to repurpose an old bottle that previously contained household cleaner or beauty products.  

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  37. Posted on 4/12/2010 1:03 PM

    Wendell and Mark's Favorite Plumbing Tips

    Our Favorite Plumbing Tips

    It is easy to check for toilet leaks that might waste water and raise your water bill.  Teach your children about water conservation by letting them help you.  Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank.  If colored water shows up in your toilet bowl before the next flush (at least 15 minutes) then you know that you have a leak that is wasting water and costing you money.   

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  38. Posted on 4/2/2010 9:04 AM

    Keeping It Clean

    Keeping It Clean

    Nothing says clean like the smell of fresh lemon.  Manufactures know this, it is why so many house-hold cleaning products smell like the yellow, tropical fruit.  The thing is - that wonderful lemon smell is just the surface, lemon oil and those wonderful acids that the fruit has in abundance really are effective cleaners...cutting through grease and sterilizing.  

    That is why one of the best ways to clean the blades on your garbage disposal is to simply run a lemon through the hopper and process it, like you would any food waste.  It will cut any greasy build-up and leave your blades sparkling clean.

    The side benefit?  It will also leave your kitchen smelling lemon-fresh.    

     

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  39. Posted on 4/1/2010 3:37 PM

    Test

    This is a test of the blog

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