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  • material Perceptions

    material Perceptions

    I did a water heater 11 Years ago For a couple , I did the most beautiful Copper job you could imagine :-)

    Fast forward to today The lady is a widow .... did the New heater in pex customer says what's this ?
    I also used to use the F250 van Now I usually run an s-10 small tool bag and run to the shop for parts instead of carrying it all with me ...


    I said that's how we do IT now ... I work in a small lower income retirement community .... I am getting a lot of backlash when I cut out copper and re install Pex ....


    Is using pex killing the goose ?

  • #2
    Re: material Perceptions

    I use a lot of pex but don't use it for installing water heaters if the customer already has copper pipes. I had the understanding that you have to use copper off the water heaters anyway for a certain amount of inches before transitioning to pex. That's the way I do it when I'm doing a re-pipe with pex.
    I think it would look tacky to have copper coming off the water heater, then a foot of pex attached to more copper? I wouldn't do it.
    Regarding running service out of a little S10, I couldn't even imagine and in my opinion not very professional. I have my extended one ton van loaded to the hilt and would love to have a larger box van, maybe my next one.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: material Perceptions

      I agree, cutting out a chunk of copper in middle of a run and using pex would look scabby...

      Same w/ running back and forth for material instead of having it w/ you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: material Perceptions

        The entire job in pex all the way to where the copper comes out of the floor ... Copper behind heater out of sight Only pex visible ... Electric heater

        I do an initial "Consult" give quote then go to shop and load up truck with everything to do job ...

        I work by myself so I have no Yard Dog to keep the bigger truck fully organized ... not enough $$$ to keep an employee ...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: material Perceptions

          [edit] I walked away from the PC while typing this to deal with the dogs, so its a touch out of context.[/edit]

          There are many ways of getting the job done, if he wants to drive an S-10 pickup and give people the perception of him being a hack who cannot afford a proper work van, than that is his choice. I got over the funny looks over not using a "proper rig." Under normal circumstances I can shove everything I need into my little "3/4 ton" Jetta, and get 30MPG to boot as well. Maintenance is half the cost of what my truck is. A guy working out of his car does make him look like a hack IMO, but as long as I keep getting work, I could care less. I do a good deal of work for low income people, the car helps keep my overhead down so I can afford to work for the little guy. The truck comes out on the larger jobs, otherwise it gets the day off.

          I agree with the others on the copper issue, if it had copper to begin with, it should go back as copper. IMO, your customers would be getting a perceived value of maintaining copper piping as opposed to being "ripped off" with having plastic pipe. Alot of the old timers remember the "joys" of plastic pipe of 40 years ago, more than likely still harbor ill feelings towards it, as many of my customers have expressed. I give my customers a choice between Pex and Copper, tell them copper is more expensive in materials and labor, and Pex is not that old plastic garbage that they are thinking of(POLYBUTYLENE) that is failing on them and their neighbors (mobile homes) on a monthly basis. Once convinced of the merits of going pex, they usually they will go with the cheaper alternative. How much copper are you tearing out anyways when you replace a water heater?
          Last edited by masterbeavis; 09-11-2011, 12:57 PM.
          We don't have preventative maintenance around here, we have CRISIS MANAGEMENT!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: material Perceptions

            If you've been running a plumbing business with an S10 that's lasted 11+ years(the business, not the truck) then good on you. Why fix something if it isn't broke?
            Buy cheap, buy twice.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: material Perceptions

              Good point Bevis ... The new heater was 4 inches taller than the old one it had male adapters choked up tight to the elbows No way to Un-Solder anything so basically all the piping would have to have been re-done

              I lost a long time customer because she did not understand when I told her I Can't get solder on cones for her copper supply tubes anymore :-( She is Cheeeep ! She said "Only fix the leak" So here is a wall hung lav with one copper and one SS Braid Supply tube in plain view she would NOT budge and pay for another SS Tube :-( and I sure as He77 an not using rubber Cone washers !!!

              Dr's Ex Wife almost as bad as Maui's experience :-(

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: material Perceptions

                I knew a guy once that worked out of an old station wagon. had 20 foot pipe sticking out of the open back window, looked foolish, looked unprofessional. Sure people were nice to him but when he was gone customers just shook their heads. I heard about him all the time from my NEW customers that once used him. If I was the customer I would not allow him in my home. If I call for a professional I expect a professional to show up. I do not expect him to show up in a car or not to have materials for a simple repair. What else? Wear flip flops and Bermuda shorts? Where do you put your materials, in your back seat?
                If I'm going to charge a professional rate and portray myself as a professional I could not imagine driving to a customers home IN A CAR!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: material Perceptions

                  I have been in business 30+ years with all kinds of trucks if the economy ever improves I'd consider a ford transport ...

                  I have an Isuzu Box truck but the Local Code NAZI's would ream me !!!


                  Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                  If you've been running a plumbing business with an S10 that's lasted 11+ years(the business, not the truck) then good on you. Why fix something if it isn't broke?
                  Last edited by NoeEttica; 09-11-2011, 03:13 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: material Perceptions

                    Before I had my own biz I had a 3/4 ton diesel pickup. It was a dodge with the cummins and I had messed with it, plate steel bumper, 5" lift, 35" tires, 5" dual turn out stacks in the bed. It was fun to drive and sounded just like a big semi does. I thought it was cool... well then it became my work truck. I honestly didn't think of it, as I don't think this way, but my brother pointed out that potential customers might think I am just some punk kid (i'm 33) with to much money and that it was "unprofessional". I didn't want to admit to it, but he was probably right. He to this day thinks we lost a couple jobs we bid on because of my truck, though there is no way to prove it. I got rid of the stacks, pulled the lift (down to 3" as I had modified some suspension parts and I couldn't go back all the way) and donated the bumper to a friends "overhaulin" type rebuild.

                    I have since sold that truck and now drive a 3/4 dodge, and this one is stock height, is white, has a topper, but still has a couple items I want to remove that previous owner installed that are a little tacky (hood scoop and a superbee style graphic on the tail of the box) behind is a 14' enclosed trailer with all my tools.

                    Only thing stopping me from vinyl graphics is the DOT Nazi's.

                    On the repiping with pex, my plumber seems to now use pex only if it is not seen. If its in the open where the final product won't be hidden in the wall, he uses copper.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: material Perceptions

                      How much time/money are you saving by using pex on a water heater really? Like 3 bucks and 5 minutes? Adapters flush with wall will accept the other flavor of adapter. then solder from there. If she didn't like the flex connectors with the nuts on the end, she would probably not have any problem with hard piping all the way. It is her money, her house and what she THINKS is what matters. If you can't persuade her towards the better product/method then you better play to her likes. Toss in some propress and let her hold a fitting and she will fall in love if she is a die hard copper fan.

                      And I have yet to see a customer that said, hey that copper is to expensive put in pex.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: material Perceptions

                        Depending on the situation, type of home & current material installed would determine what material is used. It's like replacing a faucet, are you really going to replace a hansgrohe faucet with a delta in a high end home or vice versa? We can't use pex outside of the walls here anyway but I would still prefer copper connectors. Then again its all on the situation. Typically when I explain the price difference between the two people almost always choose pex. Plus there is some interesting research showing that copper water lines are a leading cause of Alzheimers.
                        Ray

                        “Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.”— Francisco d'Anconia
                        Atlas Shrugged (Part 2, Chapter 2, Page 411)

                        www.mauiplumbinginc.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: material Perceptions

                          It shouldn't take too much longer to put in a similar heater with the original copper. I would't cut that corner for the cost of reputation.


                          J.C.

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                          • #14
                            Re: material Perceptions

                            Thanks for all the input ...

                            The public is Not ready to go "Green" The S-10 uses 1/3 the fuel of the F-250 van

                            and how much pollution and resources does it take to run a torch for 30+ minutes of acetylene torch use

                            Compared to crimping .... Then there is the Torch inside the house Liability ...

                            I can do a heater in pex in 1/2 the time as Sweat ...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: material Perceptions

                              Originally posted by NoeEttica View Post
                              Thanks for all the input ...

                              The public is Not ready to go "Green" The S-10 uses 1/3 the fuel of the F-250 van

                              and how much pollution and resources does it take to run a torch for 30+ minutes of acetylene torch use

                              Compared to crimping .... Then there is the Torch inside the house Liability ...

                              I can do a heater in pex in 1/2 the time as Sweat ...
                              In my opinion, if you are getting much recognition on the transition, then you will gain more with your reputation than the time saved using PEX.

                              I have made that transition many times myself depending on what I run into. But if I was getting much blow-back on it, I would always hard pipe.

                              And I've roughed in slabs out of a Honda Accord. Trunk easily holds:

                              PVC saw
                              Level
                              Shovel
                              Hammer
                              Tape Measure
                              Mason's Twine
                              Glue and Primer
                              Water Hose

                              Pipe delivered. You do what it takes...


                              J.C.

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