Fall Weather Tips

iStock_000014942576XLargeAs the temperatures begin to dip around the nation, it’s a reminder that fall has arrived and winter is just around the corner. With the Farmer’s Almanac predicting another frigid winter complete with extreme cold and heavy snow for many parts of the country, the time is now to prep your plumbing for the cold.

  • Retire the outside water hoses and sprinklers for the season.
  • Turn off the water valve to external pipes to prevent pressure from building up.
  • Inspect all outdoor faucets for leaks and cracks and make any necessary repairs. Even a tiny crack could cause serious damage if left untreated.
  • Cover outdoor faucets with insulation or plastic bags to add a layer of protection between snow, ice and cold and the pipes.
  • Inspect gutters and downspouts for debris which can cause water to pool and freeze, causing damage to your house.
  • If you plan to take an extended trip this winter, add a calendar reminder to your phone to shut off the main water valve to your home. Don’t take the chance of returning home to an “ice house.”

Don’t let the winter weather catch you off guard. Fall is a great time to tackle these tasks before the extreme weather hits, which for some parts of the nation could be as early as November.

Customer Story: Michael and Kathleen O’Brien

ObrienWhen you live in a scorching desert climate like Arizona, having a tree on your
property can bring beauty, cooling shade for your home and even a quiet place to gather outdoors as a family. However, trees can also be hazardous to your sewer lines, as Michael and Kathleen O’Brien recently learned when their beloved mesquite tree’s aggressive roots collapsed a portion of their sewer line, which could have led to disaster.

“We first noticed that when we would do a load of washing, everything would slow down,” said Michael O’Brien. “We live in an area that has sewer pipes that were put in during the 1980s. It was a different
type of plumbing quality back then.”

Their beautiful mesquite tree towers over their home and has spent many years providing the family
shade in their yard. It’s a special tree to the family, but mesquite trees have extremely aggressive root systems and over time the roots invaded the O’Brien’s line, causing problems.

Upon contacting Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA), a plumber was dispatched to evaluate the situation. It was quickly determined there was a collapse in the line near the tree that would need to be excavated and replaced. The O’Brien’s feared their beloved tree was a goner – but knowing the importance of shade in Arizona, our plumber was able to save the tree with little disturbance.

Obrien 2“There was no access for the excavator, so we had to send our crew out to physically dig the connection while grinding through an old tree root system,” said Erik Keiser of Presidio Plumbing. “It was during the peak of summer and over a hundred degrees every day, but we had to make it happen. People can’t live without their sewer.”

“The plumber [and his crew] were incredible from day one,” said Michael O’Brien. “They came out, cleared the pipe and found the tree roots. They were able to excavate and circumvent the tree. I mean, it’s Arizona! I need all the shade I can get. The backhoe wouldn’t fit into most of the area, so there was a large part that had to be done by hand. We kept bringing water out to the guys for doing such good work. They worked hard and got it all done in record time and restored the yard to what it was. It was perfect! I was just overwhelmed by the customer service.”

Although the repair to the O’Brien’s lines took about 12 days due to permits and manual work to save the tree, our network contractor made sure the family only had service interruptions for short periods of time sporadically.

“From the outset, your customer service people were incredibly helpful and acted with sympathy, compassion and a sincere desire to help,” said Michael O’Brien. “When it came to digging up and replacing more than ten feet of crushed pipe, your contracted agent, Presidio Plumbing, was as professional and efficient as plumbers can get. The interruption of normal utility delivery was minimal and when the job was completed in record time, you would hardly know they were ever there. Superb work!”

Obrien 3As his neighbors watched, O’Brien heard many commenting on having such a significant repair and
wondering what the ending bill would be. He smiled when the final invoice was nothing but zeros.

“This program saved us thousands of dollars,” said Michael O’Brien. “Our neighbors were walking down the street saying this is going to cost a fortune and we kept telling them we’re covered! [Without this program], this repair would have put a huge dent in our savings. I’m a retired teacher and my wife is semi-retired. It would have limited our ability to do anything else for a while.”

While the plumber worked hard on the front line, the SLWA team in the office kept the O’Brien’s in the loop every step of the way.

“Every phone call was answered by someone who knew the situation and was responsive, kind and helpful,” said Michael O’Brien. “They couldn’t have been nicer. A company that is this compassionate and caring is unique! It’s like dealing with a good friend or close relative.”

Warranty Analyst Amanda Victor was one of the agents who worked closely with the O’Brien’s claim.

“When people call in with claims, they’re in panic mode because they have water in the yard or the basement,” said Victor. “It’s my job to inform them of what they have covered and what I’m going to do to help them right away. We go over everything, make sure they understand the process and then follow up to make sure they’re happy. When you call and follow up, the customers know you truly care. They aren’t just a customer – we treat them like our own family and friends and help them through the situation. I honestly know that they’re frustrated, so they just need someone to reassure them that everything will work out and be fine in the end.”

Now that the repair work is complete and the yard restored, the O’Brien’s are grateful for the service they received from Service Line Warranties of America.

“We are really grateful for your excellent service and quick responsiveness,” said Michael O’Brien. “When service lines fail it can be at least very disruptive and at worst seriously critical. Repairs and reinstatement of service is often vital. It is so good to know that Service Line Warranties can be counted on. Thank you for your professionalism and reliability.”

Sing in the shower and conserve water

babyWe’ve all heard the phrase take a shorter shower – but how long should your shower be? The Metropolitan Water District in Southern California wants to help you nail down that time with a special Pandora music station designed to let you sing a tune and conserve water.

Aimed at fighting the ongoing drought, the station has a collection of water-inspired songs like Blind Melon’s “No Rain” and Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” on an endless loop. Just a quick cue of the playlist and you’ll know exactly when it’s time to dry off.

To access the playlist, users should search for “Water Lovers Playlist” in the “create a station box.”

But why use a timer for your shower? On average, a shower uses about 5 gallons of water per minute. If you take a 15-minute shower, that’s 75 gallons of water. Since most people like hot showers, every minute you cut back also saves you on heating costs – double savings!

Regardless of whether your area is suffering from a drought, water conservation is important in every community. So the next time you grab a shower, throw on some tunes and conserve water and energy!