Do as I say, not as I do

Franklin Electric, along with others, has always promoted the value of periodic check-ups on private water systems. These involve not only having the well water tested once a year, but encouraging homeowners to have their entire system checked on a regular basis. The end goal is to identify issues before they generate an “out of water” service call at the most inconvenient possible time.

That’s good advice, but the reality is that periodic maintenance simply doesn’t happen very often in our industry. That’s always amazed me and I’ve always said that if I were fortunate enough to have my own private water system, it would be very well maintained – It’s a critical system and I wouldn’t leave it to chance. Along these same lines, I’ve been astonished and somewhat dismayed many times on how little homephoto (5)owners know about their water systems.

Fast forward to just a couple of years ago when I was in my own basement changing the air filters in the heating and air conditioning system. Hidden away next to the blower unit is a Little Giant VCMA condensate pump. Today, I can tell you its model number and that it was manufactured in 1998. But until then, I had never taken any notice of it. As a matter of fact, what actually caught my eye was that it looked just like a product that I had just seen at a Franklin P/HVAC seminar.

In that same Franklin seminar, the periodic light maintenance of condensate pumps was emphasized in order to prevent “silly failures” like stuck float switches due to accumulated dirt and dust. So there I was, the proud owner of a Franklin Electric product that I had not only never serviced over the course of five years, but didn’t even realize I owned (Little Giant was acquired by Franklin Electric in 2006).

Granted, my 15 year-old Little Giant condensate pump isn’t quite as critical as a water system. But if it fails, there’s water in the basement and no air conditioning. I was leaving that to chance, just like all those homeowners that never have their water well systems checked.

It’s said that we are all ignorant, but just about different things. As homeowners, I’ve come to believe that’s especially true. And we all ignore simple maintenance, but just on different things.

Penny wise and hundreds of dollars foolish

Spring is here and even though we’ve had a dry one so far in most parts of the country, it’s the season for thunderstorms and the heavy rains that go with them. Given that, I thought this post from last year was well worth repeating.

Here’s the epitome of “penny wise and dollar foolish” in our industry: Like many of us, a homeowner lives in an area of the country where it rains. Sometimes, it rains a lot. Their home has a basement, and when it rains, they have a sump pump to collect and remove that water from the lowest part of the residence.

When their home was built, the basement was just a poured concrete room that held the mechanicals such as the pressure tank, water heater, and furnace.

But today, it’s a different story. A couple of years ago, the homeowner remodeled the basement, and made it a so-called media room, den, whatever. They spent several thousand dollars on the upgrade, then added a HDTV, carpeting, and maybe even a nice pool table. In addition, in the intervening years, the unfinished part of the basement became easy storage for family heirlooms such as diplomas, Little League trophies, and Christmas decorations.

What didn’t the homeowner do? He didn’t invest a few hundred dollars in a battery-powered back-up sump pump. Maybe their contractor never mentioned it, maybe they didn’t know such a thing existed, or maybe it looked too complicated to install. My guess is that it most likely seemed like an unnecessary expense. Continue reading

Penny wise and hundreds of dollars foolish.

Here’s the epitome of the above in our industry: Like many of us, a homeowner lives in an area of the country where it rains. Sometimes, it rains a lot. Their home has a basement, and when it rains, they have a sump pump to collect and remove that water from the lowest part of the residence.

When their home was built, the basement was just a poured concrete room that held the mechanicals such as the pressure tank, water softener, the furnace, etc.

But today, it’s a different story. A couple of years ago, the homeowner decided to remodel the basement, and made it a so-called media room, den, whatever. They spent several thousand dollars on the upgrade, then added a high definition TV, carpeting, maybe even a nice pool table. In addition, in the intervening years, the unfinished part of the basement became easy storage for family heirlooms such as diplomas, Little League trophies, and Christmas decorations.

What didn’t the homeowner do? He didn’t invest a few hundred dollars in a battery-powered back-up sump pump. Maybe their contractor never mentioned it, maybe they didn’t know such a thing existed, or maybe it looked too complicated to install. My guess is that it most likely seemed like an unnecessary expense. Continue reading