In December of 2015, the California Department of Water Resources predicted many of the state’s water agencies will only receive 10 percent of expected supplies in 2016, half what they received in 2015. Although El Niño’s been helpful, bringing record-breaking snow and rainfall during January and February 2016, the drought is still a major concern throughout California. The state’s reservoirs and groundwater levels are so low that a single wet winter will prove insufficient to refill them even if precipitation continues in the coming months. For noticeable relief from severe drought conditions, the state requires several consecutive wet winters.
One local contractor, Anthony Pouliot, who owns Mira Loma, California-based All American Plumbing and Home Services, realized that his business could provide solutions to their customers in a number of ways that positively affect drought conditions, and comply with the new state water restrictions and regulations.
All American Plumbing provides services throughout all of Riverside County and beyond. Pouliot has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, starting when he worked on jobs with his dad as a teenager in 1985. Now, with 17 trucks and 26 employees, All American is helping provide its wide array of customers with drought-friendly solutions in two key ways: (1) installing products that are approved for SoCal WaterSmart rebates or part of the California-based HERO financing program, and (2) seeking new ways to save water by providing solutions that use innovative technology.
“Although the drought is top-of-mind, we are usually called in regards to a pressing plumbing problem which almost always falls into one of four main problem areas that we see on the job: water quality, water pressure, thermal expansion and bad workmanship or product defects,” Pouliot says. “Our job is to assess the situation and provide solid, long-term solutions to our customers so they do not have to call a plumber again for a good long time.”
Rebates and financing programs on water saving installs
We always note to our customers, if we are replacing a toilet or a clothes washer with a high-efficiency model, that they visit the SoCalWaterSmart.com to learn about rebates available on both items. The rebates are provided by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a consortium of 26 cities and water districts that provides drinking water to nearly 19 million people in parts of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.
Another program All American Plumbing leverages for its customers is HERO, which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity. The HERO Program partners with the local government to offer a unique, more affordable financing option for energy-efficient and water-saving home upgrades.
“The program allows our consumers to add home upgrades to their property taxes and leverage it over 5-15 years if they have equity in their home,” Pouliot notes.
“We’ve been very successful in utilizing HERO installs as the program approves a wide variety of products such as tankless water heaters, high-efficiency showerheads, faucets and toilets and a few key HVAC items,” Pouliot continues.
Once the product is installed and the homeowner signs off on the work, then the contractor is paid by HERO, and there is no fee to the contractor.
Savings from new technology in water treatment and water heaters
If a homeowner has concerns about water quality, All American’s first step in this process is recommending to customers that they test their water as well as review their municipal water reports. This helps to inform their recommendation and allows them to share with the homeowner all the information they need to help make their decision.
“We like the combination of the municipal water report and using our own water testing kit — for chlorine and contaminants,” Pouliot says.
All American’s technicians have iPads that allow them to show the homeowner the test results and to share details about potential solutions for the homeowner to consider. One solution Pouliot personally tested and now often shares with All American’s customers is Enviro Water Products Pro Combo System, which handles water filtration and salt-free softening/conditioning for the whole house.
“We like to install solutions like Enviro’s system that use innovative technology to make our customers’ lives easier. With no salt, drain line or electricity needed and no water wasted, it is easy for us to highlight benefits of that type of product with our customers,” Pouliot says.
Another low-maintenance, innovative solution All American Plumbing often shares with customers is the idea of shifting to a tankless hot water heater. Customers immediately understand the benefits of heating water on demand and eliminating the need to store hot water for later usage. By heating only the water they need, they can reduce utility bills and eliminate the risk of standby energy loss associated with tank-type water heaters. Also, the compact size of tankless water heaters allows them to be easily stored in a closet or other tight quarters. In addition, they are often applicable for rebates or financing programs, which is another major benefit we share with our customers when helping them find the ideal solution.
To date, All American Plumbing has helped hundreds of local residents save water and energy through leveraging rebate and financing programs, as well as sharing innovative technology, such as non-salt based water treatment and high-efficiency tankless water heaters, has helped to provide their customers with the ideal, long-lasting and environmentally friendly solutions they need and deserve, while helping organically grow All American’s business along the way.