Plumber Jobs Myths

Myth: Blue collar jobs, like plumbers, are less than White collar jobs

Since ancient times, manual labor has been looked upon as a job for slaves. The upper classes did their work with their minds. They philosophized, ran cities and nations, sold and traded goods. These groups of people spurned physical labor, and forced others to do it for them. It was hard, and as our human tendency is to seek comfort where we can, it was a mark of status to be above manual labor.

During the industrialization period at the start of the 20th century, manual labor lost some of its stigma. It was where the economy was going, it was where most of the jobs were, and there was the sense of it being absolutely essential to the building up of the country’s quickly expanding roads and cities. As learning a trade was a definite step up from being a cog in the factory system that had arisen in the 1800′s, skilled craftsmen gained a greater measure of respect.

After WWII, however, more and more folks began enrolling in 4-year colleges, beginning in large part by vets getting their tuition taken care of by the US government through the GI Bill. If you could make a living with your mind and not have to physically work hard, all the better.

plumber jobs

President Roosevelt signing the GI Bill

The increasing number of college graduates coincided with an economy that was shifting from manufacturing and agriculture to a more intellectual and service-oriented market. Today, over three-quarters of Americans work in some kind of white collar position.

With the image of blue collar work diminishing and the market for white collar jobs expanding, it began to be cultural dogma that if a young person wanted a good, respectable, well-paying job, the only option was to go to college. More education was always seen as better, the assumption being that the more education someone has, the smarter they are, and the better job or life they’ll have later on. Trades, on the other hand, often require less schooling (by about half, in most cases, but sometimes as little as a third or quarter as much), and so this career path became associated with lesser prospects for success.

plumber jobs

In the last 30 years, both the respectability and desirability of learning a trade had greatly diminished, while the distance between white and blue collar workers had grown. This belief that different work means lesser work, is a myth that truly needs to be busted.  It is time that we ask, “What defines ‘better’ anyway, in terms of a career?” Trades jobs have in many cases become better paying and more stable than most office jobs. Many of the office jobs today can easily be outsourced overseas which, in turn, saves the companies a lot of money.

In the past, it was a sign of cultural status to be a businessman rather than a factory worker. As our economy shifted to the service sector, the difference between wages and quality of life was enough that being a businessman really was a better job. But today, in many trades or blue collar professions, those gaps are simply no longer present based on how we define good jobs — largely in terms of pay, stability, autonomy, benefits, work-life balance, etc.

Plumber Jobs are here to stay

There will always be a need for plumbers. As long as there are water delivery systems, septic tanks, and toilets there will be a need to have plumbers. You can’t send that job overseas. Since the education and training for the plumbing trade is shorter and costs less, plumbers can start off ahead of the game by not having high student loans to pay off.

plumber jobs

“Blue collar and white collar are two sides of the same coin, and as soon as we view one as more valuable than the other, we’ll have infrastructure that falls down, we’ll have a skills gap.” -Mike Rowe

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A Career in Plumbing? Plumbing Jobs are High Tech

Plumbing Jobs

There are not many people looking for plumber jobs even though there are plenty of them available. It is time to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions about plumbers and having a career in plumbing. It is time to bust a few of theses myths and we here at Ben Franklin Plumbing Orlando are going to discuss a few of them

Plumbing is mindless

Young people today want to be intellectually stimulated by their job. It seems as though everyone wants to be creative and innovative, like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. The issue is that we limit ourselves in how we think we can attain those qualities in our workplace. Surely it can only happen in a modern, office with a Mac and iPhone at hand, a big whiteboard on the wall, and fancy coffee at the ready, right? How can you be creative when you are sitting at someone else’s house with a drain snake in your hand getting ready to feed it down their toilet?

There have been many technological advancements used by plumbers these days. If you were to see the plumbers of today compared to just 15 years ago, you would probably not recognize that they were plumbing professionals. With the advancements made in solar power, tankless water heaters, boilers and gas lines the jobs that a plumber can go on are far more advanced than just sitting there with an auger and a plunger. Plumbing jobs require much more training today than ever before.

plumbing career

Does this look simple to you?

The fact of the matter is that just over 90% of all office workers are numbed by the same tedious and boring day to day tasks that they perform every day. They say that they are unchallenged, not satisfied with their work or just plain bored. Does that sound like an awesome intellectually stimulating and creative work place?

plumber jobs

Does this look exciting and innovative to you?

It could pretty easily be argued that a plumbing career could offer more intellectual stimulation than the majority of office jobs out there. Think about the residential plumber. He’s out and about all day, seeing new places, meeting new people, and dealing with new problems. There could be any number of issues as to why a toilet isn’t flushing or a septic tank system isn’t working properly. The plumber will start off testing the standard issues and fixes, and if that doesn’t work he’ll utilize increasingly complex troubleshooting procedures to determine the root cause of a problem. He’s executing problem solving skills and quick thinking in a way that many of us in white collar jobs never have to. The skilled trades simply offer a different type of creative outlet than a job with a startup in a trendy office. Plumbing jobs have advanced and they can’t be outsourced overseas.

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Tankless Water Heater Information

Tankless Water Heaters in Orlando

There are many benefits to having a tankless water heater. No matter if you are concerned about saving money or saving the environment. We have compiled a list of a few reasons that many of our neighbors in the Orlando area should consider making the switch from a traditional hot water heater to a tankless water heater.

Money Savings

tankless water heater

Saving your green means more than just money

The financial savings are more than just noticeable, they are outstanding. Did you know that a typical tankless water heater uses up to 40% less energy? Now this all depends on what your energy source is and is based upon the national average of hot water usage. It has been estimated that a typical family uses approximately 64 gallons of water per day which equals 23,000 gallons every year.

Energy Use

tankless water heater

A conventional hot water heater is on all the time, thereby using energy when there is no demand for hot water. A tankless water heater does not store hot water. When there is a demand for hot water, it flows through the tankless water heater and is quickly heated to the desired temperature and is sent to where the hot water is needed. As soon as there is no longer a demand for hot water, it turns off and stops wasting energy.

There are savings in the long haul

A conventional hot water heater will generally last 10-12 years. Over time, sediment builds up in the bottom of the tank which reduces the efficiency and shortens the life span of the unit. When a key component breaks, many times the home owner will have to replace the entire unit. With a tankless water heater there is no sediment buildup which is important and does not adversely affect the lifespan of the unit. Many tankless water heaters last 20 years or more and are modular. That means that when a key component breaks or fails, it can be easily replaced without replacing the entire unit. A typical warranty for a conventional water heater is 6 years. Many tankless water heaters have a 12 year warranty.

Green Benefits

tankless water heater

Reduce landfill waste

Tankless water heaters reduce carbon emissions. If every home in the United States had gas powered tankless water heaters installed, it would be equal to removing almost 7,000,000 cars from the roadways. Many of the tankless water heating units use recyclable components and easily replaceable parts. Since they can last up to 2 times longer than conventional storage tank water heaters, this can dramatically reduce landfill waste as every year there are just over 7 million water heaters disposed of in landfills.

Going Tankless is Easy

licensed insured plumber

Since there is no large storage tank for a tankless water heater it takes up less space. There may be a few minor alterations made for the water flow and energy source, but a licensed and insured plumber in Orlando can help you determine the best make and model tankless water heater for you and your family.

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Septic Tank System

Septic Tank System Holiday Tips

If you are like many of us this holiday season in the Orlando area, you are having friends and family coming to visit. We all have relatives and family friends who live up north in colder climates who love traveling to Central Florida this time of year for one last blast of warm weather fun. We here at Ben Franklin Plumbing Orlando want all of our neighbors to have a great holiday season so here are a few tips.

Septic Tanks and Drain Fields

septic system

When a home is initially built, if there is an attached septic tank and drain field with the house the size is determined not by the number of bathrooms in the house, but by the number of bedrooms. This is a much better way to resolve what size septic tank will be needed based on potential usage. In most cases, your septic tank will work for many years with little or no maintenance. The drain field, sometimes called a leach field, can operate for many years. However, over time the soil can harden or become compacted which can degrade the performance. No matter what, the drain field will most likely need some sort of service, such as a rejuvenation, after 15-20 years. It may also need to eventually be completely replaced.

Septic System Don’ts

septic system tips

It is vital that you are careful about what is flushed down your toilet and introduced to your septic system. You want to make sure that you do not use harsh chemicals very often. There are microbes in your septic tank that help decompose the solid waste in the tank. Many of the harsh cleaning chemicals can upset the balance of the microorganisms living in your septic tank.

Another thing you will want to be careful about is the toilet paper that you use. Does it break down easily in water? One easy way to find out is to put some into a jar of water and shake it up. If it breaks up and dissolves quickly than it should be fine in your septic system. You also want to avoid flushing feminine products. These can cause a serious clog in the drain line or sit in the tank without dissolving.

Don’t use too much water. This can be a problem during the holiday season as you may have more people at your home than normal. If you put more water into the system than it can properly disperse through the drain field, you will get some backflow into your home. This could be just a sign of having to give the water time to flow through the drain field and leach out into the soil, or it could be indicative of a larger issue.

septic system

It is difficult to avoid using more water than normal during the holiday season as you will have guests over. There will be more water used for showers, dish washing and laundry. Try to make time in the shower minimal. Make sure that the dishwasher is full before running it and use the proper water level selection for your laundry.

Enjoy Your Holiday

We at Ben Franklin Plumbing Orlando want you to enjoy your holiday with your friends and family. No one wants to have to call in a plumber after a disgusting over flow or septic system failure. Read more tips in our Orlando plumbing blog.

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Clogged Disposal

Holiday Tips for a Clogged Disposal

The holidays are approaching and one of the most common plumbing problems that we see at this time of the year is clogged disposals. There are many things that may clog your garbage disposal, but the holidays is one of the times that you don’t want to have to call in a plumber to fix something that could have been easily prevented. Here are a few tips to keep your drain clear and your home festive this holiday season.

Grease is the Enemy

clogged disposal

Grease build-up can cause a clog

This time of the year, many of us are having company over to our homes. Here in the Orlando area, it is very common for us to have friends and family comes down to visit from up north. They get to enjoy our mild winters and our company while we get to show them how awesome it is to live in Central Florida. However, it is also during this time of year that we are doing more cooking than normal. We have hams, turkeys and chickens to prepare and that means the garbage disposal gets a lot more use, too.

When grease is put down the disposal, it may end up getting stuck in the trap right below the disposal. Over time, this could lead to a big clog. It will be especially bothersome when there is other material put down the disposal such as coffee grounds, egg shells or other organic materials, which can get stuck in the grease leading to a big build-up of gunk.

Fibrous Foods

Another problem is when you put fibrous materials, such as banana peels or potato peels, which can get caught in the sludge. They can also get caught in between the blades of the garbage disposal. One easy way to help keep this from happening is to make sure that you run plenty of water through the disposal while you are running it and then for another 30 seconds after the job is done.

Enjoy your Holidays with Your Family and Friends

clogged disposal

No one wants to have to call a plumber over the holidays. Here is a tip that may help prevent your garbage disposal from being clogged.

plumbing problems orlando

Plug and fill your sink with hot water, but not too hot. Put in a just enough detergent (if you have detergent that fights grease, even better) to make suds. Remove the plug and start the disposal. Turn-off the disposal, take out a small brush and begin scrubbing the inside of the garbage disposal. This should help remove any grease and other particles on the inside of the unit. A great way to freshen things in the kitchen is to add some lemon peels after the scrub. They won’t clog things-up and they’ll give the whole area a nice aroma. Turn on the disposal, letting it run for a minute while you are running cold water. By avoiding certain food scraps and with a little maintenance, you can avoid having to deal with a clogged disposal this holiday season.

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Solar Hot Water Heaters Save You Money

Solar Hot Water Heaters

Living in Orlando, we know how much sunshine there is as this is the Sunshine State. Now think about harnessing the power of the Sun to heat your water. Now is the time to start thinking about having your old water heater replaced and updated with a solar powered hot water heater.

Check Your Sunlight

Solar hot water heaters

We live in the Sunshine State. Let the sun save you money

When you are looking to upgrade with a solar hot water heater, the first thing you will want to do is make sure that you have enough sunlit area on your property. If you are not sure, call in a certified, licensed and insured plumber to come take a look at your property. He or she should be able to tell you the best place to have the solar power cells installed. You want to make sure that it is relatively close to your home. A reputable plumber should have no problem giving you an estimate on the price of a solar hot water heater installation. The biggest variation in the pricing should be the make and model of the water heater and if it is a more traditional or tankless model.

Getting You Solar Water Heater Installed

solar hot water heaters

Solar hot water heater service in Orlando and throughout Central Florida

Now that you have made the decision to have a solar hot water heater installed, it is time to make sure that you have the best plumbers do the work for you. This is not a job for a handyman or for you to get a group of your friends over to help you with, unless you or they are licensed and insured plumbers. You will have to make sure that everything in the house in prepared. Get the water turned off to the house and then run all of the power supplies from the solar panels to the water heating system. Everything needs to be tied together and then once the plumber is done with the job, you are ready to begin saving money.

Orlando Plumbers Have Experience

Ben Franklin Plumbing Orlando have many plumbing techs that have had a lot of experience installing, servicing and repairing solar powered water heaters. Give us a call for a free estimate at (407)712-2202 to find out more information.

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Plumbers in Windermere Rise to Custom Challenges

Plumbers Windermere

Plumbers in Windermere have many interesting challenges when they go out on a call there, from custom built homes to fixtures from overseas. While there are many challenges, a licensed and fully trained plumber can handle it all.

Access to the Plumbing

Many of the beautiful homes in Windermere are custom built with high ceilings. Some of them can be up 18-20 feet from the floor. This can present a challenge to a plumber if they need access to an area where there are plumbing pipes that can’t be reached from the attic. There are also many bathrooms with expensive marble flooring. No one wants to have an inexperienced plumber cutting into their costly flooring. A great plumbing company will not only be able to do the job right, but will be able to make sure that the flooring is repaired by an expert. The job will be so seamless, that the owner will never be able to tell that they even had a plumber in their home. There could also be walls that need to be cut in order to access the plumbing. Many custom homes have textured walls that can be difficult to patch back up.

Speaking of Plumbing Underneath the Floors

Plumber Windermere

Let’s not forget that many of the beautiful homes in Windermere have exquisite hard wood flooring, high end carpets and rugs. Many times, the flooring is imported and very difficult to match. Imagine being a plumber and knowing that you may have to cut into the floor to repair a burst pipe? What about just walking onto a rug that costs $40,000? That could be a disaster.

Imported Fixtures

Plumber Windermere

Many of the homes in Windermere have imported fixtures and counters. You can’t go to your local hardware store and pick up a replacement. You must know where and how to find matching fixtures and parts for them before you even think about doing the work. That may not be possible for some plumbing companies in the Orlando area.

Custom Plumbing in Windermere

Our fully licensed and insured plumbers will be able to help with any plumbing problem in Windermere. We can find the materials and the craftsman that will be able to repair any of the cuts that we may have to make in order to fix your plumbing problem. Call us at (407)712-2202 for the best plumbers in Windermere.

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Why Hire Licensed and Insured Plumbers?

Why Hire Licensed and Insured Plumbers?

There are many people who have worked on their plumbing. Orlando and the surrounding areas of Central Florida are full of handymen who have lots of experience working on electrical, carpentry and plumbing, but just because they have experience does that mean you should hire them?

Sure, there are some plumbing issues that can be easily taken care of by home owners or handymen. Some of these could be the simple tasks of unclogging a toilet, installing new plumbing fixtures or putting in a new toilet. However, would you let just anyone deal with your plumbing vent or gas hot water heater?

Faulty Work Will Cost You

The reason that plumbers are required to be licensed and insured is because if there is a mistake made, it could prove to be fatal. Imagine you have a handyman install a gas powered hot water heater and he doesn’t connect it all together correctly. That could lead to your water heater leaking gas and your home being filled with highly flammable gas.

insured plumber

How about a pipe with a slow leak behind your wall? You and your family may not detect the leak for quite some time. During this time there can be a lot of damage happening to your drywall and framing, if you have a wood frame house. Then there is the chance of having mold in the walls. Many of us have heard about the dangers of black mold, so this can be a major health issue.

Will Home Owner’s Insurance Cover That?

Many people probably have not read every sentence in their home owner’s insurance paperwork. There is a very strong possibility that any damage caused by a plumbing failure will be thoroughly investigated by your insurance company. It is also highly unlikely that if you have had work done by an unlicensed plumber or handyman, your insurance company will refuse to pay for any of the damage. That could end up costing you, the home owner, thousands of dollars. If you have any questions, contact your insurance company and check with them.

Always Be Safe

licensed insured plumber

The old adage, “Better safe than sorry”, comes to mind in these situations. Sure, you could save a little money at the onset of a plumbing problem, but wouldn’t you like to have the peace of mind during the entire project and afterwards that you and your family will be safe? If you ever need a licensed and insured plumber anywhere in the Orlando Metro and throughout Central Florida, call us at (407)712-2202 and get the best licensed and insured plumbers in Orlando.

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What is a Plumbing Vent?

What is a Plumbing Vent?

Ever notice those PVC pipes sticking out of the roof of your home? Those are your plumbing vents. They are up there for a reason. The plumbing vent is designed to release sewer gases and allow air into the waste lines of your home. When water travels through your drain pipes it creates a vacuum. If your home isn’t properly vented or if the vent pipe is clogged, it can suck the air through the P-traps and could suck the water out of the P-traps.

plumbing vent

Symptoms of a Clogged Plumbing Vent

One of the easiest to detect is the odor from your sewer or septic tank. You can’t miss it. It can fill your home with the smell of sewage and it can be hazardous to your family’s health on top of being disgusting. Without the air pressure there to keep the normal water seal in the P-traps, the smell will come up the pipes and drains.

Do you have slow drains? This could also be a sign that you have a clogged vent. Of course, it could also be a clogged drain. In order to find out, try plunging the drain or using a drain snake. If that doesn’t work, then it is time for you to go check the plumbing vents.

Check your Plumbing Vent

It is a fairly easy thing for any homeowner to do, but you should be very careful due to the fact that the vent is on your roof. Once you are on your roof, check the opening of the vent. You should only be able to see about 3 feet down into the pipe, but there could be an obstruction that you can see near the opening. It is fairly common to find leaves or sticks, or that squirrels have put acorns into the vent or that birds have attempted to build a nest. If you can clear them easily, then do so and then have someone flush a toilet and listen for the tell-tale gurgling.

You can spray water from your hose into the vent line as it can push some obstructions, such as leaves, through and clear the problem. When you are doing this, have someone listening for water spraying in the wall as that could be an indicator of a more serious problem that will probably require a licensed plumber to repair.

drain snake

If the water backs up to the vent opening, you can attempt to clear the blockage with a plumbing snake or drain snake. Put it into the vent opening and unwind it until you encounter the problem. Then gently work it in and pull back out of the opening from time to time to pull up some of the loosened material.

Know when to call in a Pro

plumbing vent clogged

Many times home owners will stay up there and finish the job. That could, however, lead to more damage. When you can’t unclog a roof plumbing vent easily, it is time to call in a professional plumber. Orlando and all of Central Florida is our backyard here at Ben Franklin Plumbing. Call us at (407)712-2202 for help with your plumbing vent or any other plumbing problem.


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Is Your Plumbing in Orlando Prepared For Winter?

Emergency Plumbing in Orlando

While we know that the winters here in the Orlando area are mild, there is still potential for there to be problems during the brief winter here in Central Florida. While we don’t have the prolonged periods of freezing temperatures, we can still have freezes and cold snaps.

Check Your Water Heater

water heater

Because of the rapid drops in the temperature, there could be additional stress placed on your hot water heater. You will want to make sure that you do a thourough inspection of your water heater for any leaks or cracks. You should also drain the hot water heater tank to flush out any sediments that could be built up over the summer that could corrode the tank and lead to the failure of the appliance.

Freezing Temperatures

burst pipe

Believe it or not, we do get freezing temperatures here in the Orlando area. Because of that, you will want to check your outdoors hose bibs for any leaks. If there is a cold snap on the way which brings potential freezes, you will then want to turn on your outdoor hose bibs and let them drip. This will help prevent the water from sitting still in the pipes and freezing which can burst the pipes.

The Holiday Season is for Family, Not Plumbing Problems

Plumbing Inspection Camera

Professional plumbers will use an inspection camera

Like many of us, you may be having guests at your home for the holidays. Many of us have relatives that live up north in much colder climates and this time of year here in Central Florida is a perfect time for them to get away from all the ice and snow. Many of us will have guests for parties and family gatherings at our homes, so you will want to make sure that your plumbing can handle the extra use. This is of particular concern if you are on a septic system. If you think you may have an issue with your septic tank, have an expert come in and inspect your system before your guests arrive.

Stay Prepared and Enjoy

plumbing problems orlando

Our namesake, Benjamin Franklin, was a big advocate of preparedness. We believe that he was 100% correct. No one wants to have to call a plumber in Orlando when they have friends and family visiting, but we all know that emergencies happen. Our professional plumbers at Ben Franklin Plumbing Orlando are available 24/7 for all your plumbing needs. Call us at (407)712-2202 for any plumbing emergency in Orlando or if you want a pro to inspect your plumbing before winter arrives.

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