Four Great Ways to Celebrate Your Freedom

This week is America’s birthday, and we’re all part of the celebration! It’s that special time of year of sparklers, BBQs, and fireworks. But it’s special for another reason: the tremendous freedoms we have and fight for each and every day. We thought we’d pay special tribute this year by sharing some of our favorite ways to express our freedom and gratitude for it.

1. Votestatue_liberty

This may sound simple or redundant, but it cannot be expressed enough that our current, albeit limited and critically flawed, democratic process can only truly be democratic if we represent ourselves. The best way to do this is through voting, and not just once every four years. Local and state elections directly effect everyone in our community. And don’t just vote, do your research! Voting in ignorance is worse than not voting at all.

Here in California we have the powerful initiative process in which any CA citizen, including you and me, can push for legal change in our great state with just enough support. These law changes are crucial to pushing the envelope of democracy and providing a precedent to the rest of the nation on alternative solutions to everyday problems.

Another way to vote: buy locally. This applies to all levels of economy, but we mostly feel it here with food. We’re blessed with weekly farmer’s market, and our great Chico Natural cooperative, that both host some of the best produce and agriculturally products in northern California, arguably the whole nation (or world!). Each time you make a purchase, you’re casting your vote of support for that product, store, and lifestyle. That’s your hard earned money, your time and dedication that provides the sustenance of life for you and for family. So invest in your local economy, help your neighbors grow, and vote for Chico!

2. Plant a garden

This goes hand in hand with #1. Growing your own food is a great (and sometimes radical) way to break away from the monotony of daily living and reconnect with the Earth. What better way to celebrate being free than by growing your own food, unprocessed, without labels, and totally innocent of third party or corporate influences.

If you’re really into freedom, do a Google search for permaculture:

https://www.google.com/search?q=permaculture.

3. Engage Your Community

The first amendment gives us the most basic and powerful right for expressing our freedom in this country: freedom of speech. This extends to freedom of the press and freedom to protest, but it represents something much deeper and closer to the soul of the human being. The freedom to express yourself freely literally means the freedom to be yourself. Even though we’re preached by the media to be like everyone else and fear peer judgement, the reality is we don’t have to live that way. From the way we dress, to the music we listen to, to starting your own business, we’re free to pursue our chosen lifestyle, within the limitations of modern society.

So get out there! Hold a workshop and teach your skill, hold a public feed for the homeless, start an online forum or Facebook group to discuss an issue important to you. In the immortal words of Mahatma Gandhi:

“Be the change you want to see in the World.”

4. Have Party!

What better way to celebrate than, well, celebrate! Fire up the BBQ and grab an extra pack of lighters. Crank up the tunes and call over some family and good friends. It’s summer, it’s the 4th, and we’re in Chico! What more reason do we need to party!

Happy holidays to everyone and remember party responsibly. And as always, if you need our assistance to save your party from crashing, we’re ready for your call, even on holidays.


Get Your Free Sprinklers And Make Your Lawn Happy

free_sprinklersBefore you roll your eyes and prepare to gloss over this article, know this is NOT a scam. Local water service providers all over California are participating in this limited free give away. For example, anyone in Butte County using Cal Water can sign up easily just by visiting this website:

https://www.freesprinklernozzles.com/enter-butte.asp

Just enter in some basic information from your water bill and you’re set!

Again this is a free service, and we’re just passing the word along. Feel free to contact us for assistance installing your new sprinklers, as well as adjusting your system to the proper settings.


Water Wells that Won’t Work (And What To Do)

hand_well_pumpIt’s just another quiet, peaceful morning up in the foothills. Like a windup doll you start your daily ritual of preparing coffee to rouse the senses and convince your brain it’s a good idea to think. You step to the sink, turn on the faucet, and wait… no water!

If this sound familiar, you might even respond with a half woken here we go again. But no matter how many times it’s happened before, when your well stops producing water, everything becomes difficult. Cooking, cleaning, and bathing are out of the question, not to mention gardening & irrigation, swamp coolers, and, that’s right, the toilet won’t work either.

Sometimes there’s no warning, but often times a well system will have one or several signs that there’s something wrong. Quick diagnosis and repair can be the difference between a simple fix and a costly pump replacement. What starts as a minor failure can result in collateral damage that exponentially increase the cost, difficulty, and effectiveness of repairs to your system.

Because of the complexity of modern residential well systems, troubleshooting can be difficult and prone to errors. The only sure fire way to determine the source of a failure is to contact a license well and pump contractor in the area. Earl’s Plumbing is proud to offer this service to our entire service area.

If you see any of the following red flags contact us right away for a free well system analysis to diagnose the situation:

– Loss or inconsistency in water pressure
– Your pump cycling on and off
– Sparks or arcing at the electrical connections
– No water at the home
– Anything else out of the ordinary for your system

If you’re having pump or well issues, call Earl’s Plumbing or schedule online today. We offer complete service, repair, and replacement of well pumps and components, so call us to get your well pump fixed right, right now!


Don’t Get Heated – Some Tips to Keep Your Cool This Summer

blazing_sunJune is here, and that means sun, sweat, and a week or two of triple digit heat here in the North Valley. For those of us in the area, staying cool isn’t just a passing comfort, it’s a necessity! Here are some simple tips to beat the summer super heat:

* Open the windows in the evenings when it’s cool and close them in the morning before the sun comes up. Will will stop the daily heatwave cold in it’s tracks.

* Hit the water. We’re blessed with a ton of rivers, lakes, and swimming holes perfect for a quick dip or taking the guys out for some fishin’!

* Plant trees around your house. Providing shade to your home will increase it’s ability to fend off the pounding heat of the sun during those cloudless scorchers.

* Drink plenty of water. This is a simple one but often overlooked. Besides the practical implications of fighting dehydration, your body also uses stored water to cool off. (Ice cold water is somewhat less hydrating than lukewarm water)

* My personal favorite: cook outside, eat salads, and enjoy some cold treats (aka frozen fruit, smoothies, or better yet, ice cream!). Keeping the kitchen heat outside will let your house stay cool and a little more tolerable.

When shade just isn’t enough, use the advice above to keep your home somewhat livable. If you need advice on your AC system, we’d be happy to extend our professional recommendation. Or if you need help with your swamp cooler, irrigation system, or swimming pool supply lines, give us a call and we’ll send one of our friendly technician’s to your home for a free assessment.


Memorial Day Weekend Efficiency Tips

bbqMemorial Day weekend is just ahead and for many it may mean taking to the highway for a quick vacation, breaking out the grill for some outdoor cooking, or taking that first dip in the pool. However, there is never a reason not to be a little conservative with all the grillin’ and swimmin’ taking place during this upcoming weekend. Here at Earl’s Plumbing we strive to keep everyone informed on the various tips that can help you save a few hard earned dollars and be efficient all at the same time. Here are a few:

 

If you are planning on having a BBQ…

 

1. Consider natural gas as an option. Using natural gas is much more efficient, easier, and cheaper to use than charcoal. It costs around 7 cents to cook six hamburgers with natural gas compared to 55 cents with a charcoal grill. A natural gas grill will heat up very quickly (up to 600 degrees in six minutes). And, with control settings, you can cook your foods at the exact temperature required.

 

2. Not only is natural gas a cheap and efficient way to cook food but it is also much safer. Natural gas is safe because it is lighter than air and will rise into the atmosphere in the event of a leak. It is easy to operate as well. With automatic ignition controls, all you need to do is turn the dial, start your grill and begin cooking (all within minutes).

 

If you have a pool…

 

1. Is your pool heated? The Department of Energy has found that water evaporation is overwhelming the single largest source of energy over consumption, accounting for 70% of total energy lost in both outdoor and indoor pools. With evaporating water goes much of a swimming pool’s heat. For every gallon of water that evaporates it takes with it over 8,500 BTUs, and a typical pool loses 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water a week. For a 1,000 square foot pool, an inch equals 625 gallons or over 50 therms of natural gas. A therm is equal to 100,000 BTUs. Because of all the energy required to evaporate a gallon of water, evaporation turns out to be 70% of heat loss from a pool.

 

Also consider that it takes only 1 BTU to raise a pound of water 1 degree but each pound of 80 degree water that evaporates takes 1,048 BTUs of heat out of the pool. In other words, it’s much more efficient to keep as much of the water you’ve already heated (and paid to heat) in the pool than to keep replacing that heat when lost. And, over consumption of energy is not only costly, but it also increases air pollution.

 

Solution…

 

Consider the appropriateness of installing windbreaks as even modest winds increase evaporation rates. A mere 7mph wind on the pool surface can increase energy consumption by 300%! Windbreaks should be tall enough and close enough to the pool to limit air turbulence over the pool surface.


Inspecting Turf Irrigation Systems

sprinklersManually start your irrigation system for each zone to check for leaks, broken pipes, damaged or tilted sprinkler heads, blocked sprinkler patterns and overspray onto impermeable surfaces such as roads and sidewalks.

 

Check for soft, wet spots that are around sprinkler heads. If consistent, these spots could indicate a leak that is being absorbed into the ground.

 

Look for dry spots. They are signs of one of the following:

The sprinklers may be placed too far apart
The water pressure is low
Sprinkler patterns may be blocked by overgrown grass
Shrubs or low-hanging limbs may be blocking sprinklers
The screens inside the sprinklers are clogged

Look for signs of overwatering including:

Runoff
Pale light/green tint to lawn
Mushy feeling when you walk on the lawn
Moss in plant beds and/or on trees
Mushrooms
Dollarweek

Adjust, move or add sprinkler heads if your current sprinklers do not throw water 80 to 100 percent of the distance to the adjacent sprinkler. This is known as head –to-head coverage and is essential to irrigation system efficiency.

Turn and non-turf areas should be on separate zones.
Look for signs of excessive mist from sprays which could indicate excessive water pressure or a dirty filter.

After you have inspected your irrigation system, there’s a great reason to look up and hope for clear skies! On May 20, 2012, an annular eclipse of the Sun will be visible from eastern Asia, the northern Pacific Ocean and the western United States. An annular eclipse means the Moon will not cover the Sun completely, and so when the Moon is directly in front of the Sun, there will be a bright ring of visible light on the surrounding edges, creating a so-called ‘ring of fire.’ The eclipse begins at 1:56 PDT and ends 7:49 PDT.


Avoid Contractor Scams – 5 Signs that You’re Getting Ripped Off

flushed dollarsDon’t Throw Your Hard Earned Money Away!

When you’re in a real jam, you don’t always have time to thumb through the yellow pages looking for the right plumber. You need to find someone quickly, but how do you find the right plumber and yet still avoid getting ripped off?

We’ve put together a short list of 5 Sure-Fire Signs of a Contractor Scam to aid you when searching for and working with any service company.

1. Scare Tactics (“Your water heater could explode any minute!”)

Avoid contractors that look for problems rather than solutions. Sentances starting with “if you don’t replace this now, then…” are an easy way to back you into a corner. Look for contractors that give you some real options instead of leaving you frightened for your life.

2. Verbal Quotes (“Sure I can fix that, just $1,000… or so…”)

Make sure you get a firm price in writing that completely details the work that is to be performed. Avoid any contractor that takes a quick glance at a large project and instantly has a number without any diagnosis.

3. Upfront Payment (“Pay me now, and I’ll be right back to do the work…”)

An honest contractor will complete the work and make sure you are completely satisfied before collecting the payment. Don’t pay for anything until the job is done to completion.

4. Intentional Damage (“While I was working I noticed this large hole in your…”)

It’s not uncommon for poor quality contractors to intentionally cause damage in order to sell you the repairs. Make sure you take a thorough look at your problem before calling a contractor, and ask them to explain to you exactly what it is they are doing before they start.

5. No Warranty (“Read the Fine Print!”)

If you get a quote that doesn’t mention or offer some kind of guarantee, be wary. If they don’t stand behind their work, you can bet there’s a reason. Any new installation should have the option of an extended warranty.

So stop flushing your hard earned money down the toilet!

Take advantage of the tips above and know where you’re money is going. Support local, upstanding businesses that stand behind their work and offer strong customer service. In the end, use your best judgement, and don’t be afraid to consult family, friends, or other contractors when you’re unsure.

When in doubt, call Call Earl’s Plumbing and we’ll walk you through your problem from start to finish. Got a non-plumbing issue? Call us anyway! We might be able to recommend someone trust worthy and save you some headache.


Tax Credits for Tankless Water Heaters in 2011

Just one more reason to Go Tankless!

Tankless water heaters are significantly more efficient than traditional tank-style water heaters. Because of this, the United States Government is offering up to$500 in federal tax credits for the installation of tankless water heaters.

“How do I qualify?”

1. The water heater must be installed during 2011
2. You must claim the tax credit on your 2011 tax return new_heater_line_up
3. The water heater must have an energy factor of 0.82 or better
4. You can claim 10% of the total installation cost up to $500

 

All our Tankless Installations Qualify

Earl’s Performance Plumbing installs Noritz tankless water heaters, the most advanced, efficient, and maintenance-free units available. All our Noritz installations qualify for this federal tax credit. Simply keep a copy of your invoice handy, and when it’s time to file your taxes, you’ll have everything you need.

For more information about tankless water heaters, the 2011 tax credit, or to schedule your free tankless system analysis, call us at (530)343-0330, or schedule online.


Spring is Here

The warm weather has finally settled in for good in Northern CA, and it feels great to get out doors and be active! It’s also a terrific time for spring cleaning. This blog post offers a number of ways to involve your plumbing into this time of cleansing.

Repair It or Replace It?
If you’ve had to battle with a leaky faucet that just won’t stop dripping or a toilet that refuses to flush without proactive involvement, it’s time to weigh the costs vs the benefits. Often times simply replacing your fixture with a new, efficient, professionally installed unit will pay for itself many times over in the long run. That’s why we offer lifetime warranties on all new installations: we do work that lasts a lifetime.

Clean Up Your Energy Bill
Give your spring season a boost with a new tankless water heater. There’s no better way to go green and save on energy bills at the same time. Our energy star rated units are eligible for tax rebates and are all backed by our standard lifetime warranty. Call today to schedule your free in-home consultation and find out how you can go tankless.


Earl’s Online

Earls Online

Posted Thursday, Feb 10, 2011

Earl’s Plumbing is a growing in a lot of big ways. The online world is expanding, and Earl’s is on the edge of that evolution. With the onset of advanced technology, finding www.earlsplumbing.net online has never been easier. With numerous consumer resources available to find, research, and rate different business and service professionals, your online reputation can make or break a business. That’s why Earl’s is proud to boast it’s online campaign. Here’s a current list of all the sites with information about Earl’s:

Earl’s Plumbing Facebook Page
Earl’s Plumbing Twitter
Earl’s Plumbing Myspace
Earl’s Plumbing YouTube Channel
Earl’s Plumbing Yelp Page

I’m sure there’s more links out there point to Earl’s. Be sure to check out our profile on some of these sites, or http://www.earlsplumbing.net/reviews, to leave a review for Earl’s Plumbing.