The Unpredictability of Foul Territory

(Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)   I like to check google every week or two to see if there are any interesting articles concerning plumbing or underground or something that might give me fuel for these blogs. Unfortunately, my recent search yielded nothing interesting that I could use. I wasn’t sure what my next blog would be on until I decided to see what was happening in the world of sports. I visited ESPN’s website and, low and behold, I found my next article idea. On the home page of ESPN, they had a story of the Dodgers vs. Angels game being cancelled after the 5th inning due to a broken main spilling sewage onto the field at Dodger’s Stadium. Being a Rockies fan with the Dodgers as a division rival, there are many jokes to be made here, but I’ll keep them to myself. However, as the ESPN writer noted, it was quite the coincidence that the leak happened in foul territory. After the game, the Angel’s manager, Mike Scioscia, stated, “You can always say you’ve seen everything, but we haven’t seen something like that.” Sometimes the unexpected happens and disaster strikes. Being the last game of Spring Training, I’m sure both teams were understandably upset that they could not finish strong before beginning the regular season. A broken sewer main can have major consequences for anyone nearby, apparently including two pro sports teams. Sewer lines, attached to the main, can often have issues as well. These sewer problems can be very frustrating, can occur at any time, and can happen to anyone. If you own a home...

The World Under the Surface

I’ve always been pretty fascinated with what is underneath us. Whether it be James Cameron going in a submarine to explore the depths of the ocean or Indiana Jones finding the Ark of the Covenant under a mound of sand in Egypt, the real or even fictional mysteries that are beneath us captivate me. However, underground is not always about exploring the unknown but about using the space beneath the surface to do amazing things. A recent Business Insider article featured a London-based business called “Growing Underground” that is a farm located 10 stories below the street. This particular farm established in 2012 uses a World War II deep-level bomb shelter to produce two tons of food each month. The owners use hydroponic systems and LED lighting to simulate a day and night cycle. How cool is that? The article states, “The process takes place entirely underground, from the sowing of the seeds to the harvesting and packaging.” This business shows us there is so much land under the surface that could be used in a number of ways. In fact, a quick google search shows the total land surface area of earth is 57 million square miles. Imagine what could be done if we were to utilize the space underneath? Yet, it seems most people don’t think of what is underground or the purposes it could have. We at APEX see this all the time. People don’t often think about the underground pipes and sewer systems that make modern plumbing possible. Just like that London company understands, there is so much use for the area beneath the surface...

The DIY and DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself) Plumbing Projects

{Image credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock}   With the increasing popularity of the HGTV channel, it seems the idea of Do-It-Yourself projects at home has grown astronomically in the last few years. People all across America are now attempting to renovate their entire houses, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, backyards, porches, etc. Why pay for someone else to do a job you could do for cheaper, especially when you have the exact vision for it, right? Whether it be YouTube videos, blog articles, or full websites devoted to it, you can pretty much figure out how to do any job with a few tools and an open schedule. However, unless you’re well versed in construction projects, you can pretty much count on mistakes happening from time to time, even if they’re small. When it comes to DIY plumbing, small mistakes can turn into huge problems due to the water involved. Unless you know plumbing well, it may be best to avoid doing it yourself. But if you are brave and decide to take on the project, consider this recent Washington Post article by Tim Carter (Tim ‘the Tool Man’ Carter?) about how to avoid DIY plumbing mistakes. First, Tim says, “It’s a bad plumbing practice to have a hard 90-degree bend in a horizontal drain line that’s buried in a slab or otherwise hidden. If you have to make a 90-degree bend, use two 45-degree fittings and put a small piece of straight pipe between the fittings, if possible.” However, it is okay to have a larger-radius (sweep) 90-degree bend at the base of a vertical drain pipe where the water begins to travel horizontally....

Just Plane Funny

If you’re like me, you love flying on planes and love the anticipation of getting to your destination. Although I’ve never been on a flight that’s been forced to turn around, I figure that’s one of the worst feelings. Not only is the anticipation put on hold, but there also might be a tendency to freak out in thinking something must be wrong. There are actually quite a lot of reasons for flights to turn around, many of which are weird. But a recent USA Today article reported on a flight turning around mid-flight for a pretty funny reason. Shortly after departing Oslo Airport for a two-hour trip to Munich, the Norwegian plane was forced to turn around at the Swedish border because the toilets were out of order. What makes this funny? The flight had around 85 plumbers on board going to a trade show in Munich. Of course, the problem could only be remedied from underneath the plane, but the irony of the plane turning around, especially for that reason with so many plumbers on board, is too funny. As ironic as that is, I think there is a similarity between that plane and real life. Though plumbers can work on toilets, many can’t fix what is underneath the surface. This is where Apex comes in. Known as “the underground guys,” we fix what traditional plumbers can’t. Water, sewer, and fire lines require special equipment to dig them up and, in turn, that equipment requires men with experience to operate them. Our crews have several decades of combined experience. Just like with the plane, sometimes plumbers can...

Dealing with Frozen Pipes?

With the most recent cold front that moved through CO this last weekend, most of Denver was hit with at least 4” of snow and temperatures that got down into the teens. Though that was the most snow we’ve had this winter, the Denver Metro area has had some seriously cold days and nights in the past few months and I’m sure we will have more in the upcoming months. We in Denver aren’t the only ones facing cold spells in the U.S. Over New Year’s holiday, nearly the entire country saw some of the coldest temps they’ve seen in a while. An unfortunate effect of this weather is pipes freezing and breaking. Do a simple Google search of the word “plumbing” and click on the ‘News’ section of Google and you will see several articles from news sources all over the country about safeguarding your home from frozen pipes. I would encourage every homeowner to become familiar with ways to keep your pipes from freezing to prevent expensive and frustrating outcomes. These ways include keeping your garage door closed, opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors, wrapping insulation around exposed pipes, putting an insulation blanket on the water heater, turning off the water supply to sprinkler pipes, and more. Burst pipes can cause all sorts of problems, the most obvious of which is flooding, which can result in thousands of dollars of damage. You can find more tips to prevent frozen pipes here and here. Though the majority of major frozen pipe problems come from above ground pipes, sometimes those forgotten lines well underneath the ground can crack due to...

Technology in Plumbing

For the last 50 years, the world has experienced an unprecedented jump forward in technological advancements. From computers and internet to smart phones and tablets, electric vehicles and self-driving cars to rockets that are being built to reach Mars, it seems we are definitely in the golden age of technology. Though it is not often thought about in terms of advancements, the plumbing world has experienced some amazing technological feats in the last few years as well. Most recently, scientists from USC’s Information Sciences Institute have developed a new device called the Pipefish. This nifty little gadget is sent through fire hydrants into a city’s underground water system. As an article from Phys.org states, “The device captures real-time video, using sensors and navigation technology to collect data and log its position as it goes.” While the U.S. is soon to face a crisis due to the aging plumbing infrastructure and deteriorating pipes, this invention proves to be a possible game-changer. Denver Water has stated that there are over 3,000 miles of water pipe in the Denver area. Instead of having to manually scope lines to see if they’re broken, imagine being able to view all 3,000 miles and know exactly where each break and crack is? That’s what the Pipefish offers. Along with this amazing gadget, another new invention is on the horizon that has the ability to help cities better detect lead in water lines. Noticing the devastation caused by lead poisoning during the floods in Flint, MI, a 12-year-old girl from Lone Tree, CO named Gitanjali Rao began looking for a way to help. As someone who...

Where Are All The Plumbers?

A recent article from Long Island, NY news publication Newsday revealed that Long Island is facing a plumber shortage despite a median annual wage of $95,010. How could a job that pays nearly $100k be facing a shortage? The article states it is mainly due to the number of baby boomers retiring and the lack of young people who are interested in the trade. The supply of young plumbers is not meeting the demand caused by the retirement of older ones. However, the article states, “Ironically, plumbing is one of the fastest-growing professions on Long Island. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of plumbers on the Island is expected to swell 32 percent, Labor Department data show.” Demand is still so high that plumbers are having to turn away work due to such a heavy workload. Business owners cannot hire enough people to fill the demand for the work they’re offered. For the last half a decade, the State of Colorado has seen major growth in population, but we are experiencing a similar plumber shortage like Long Island. Though we at APEX specialize in underground plumbing, we feel the same pain in that it has been difficult to find people interested in the trades. However, there are multiple reasons why working in the trades can be more rewarding than merely pushing paper. Just consider what APEX Plumbing offers. Full-time work in an exciting field Highly competitive pay Review for raise after 90 days Ability to move up in the company Benefits (eye, dental, health) Holiday pay Paid vacation after one year A positive working environment A family-like atmosphere Working...

The War Between Plastic and Iron Pipe Makers

Did you know there are 1.6 million miles of water and sewer pipes in the United States? Did you also know cast iron pipes in at least 600 towns and counties are more than a century old? A New York Times article earlier this month gave these and many more details about the state of America’s underground plumbing. The article mainly focused on the war between the iron and plastic industries to win contracts from city and town councils, state capitals, and more to replace their underground plumbing in the upcoming decade. According to the Times, “Traditional materials like iron or steel currently make up almost two-thirds of existing municipal water pipe infrastructure. But over the next decade, as much as 80 percent of new municipal investment in water pipes could be spent on plastic pipes, Bluefield (Research) predicts.” The push for plastic pipes has grown increasingly since the flooding in Flint, MI that caused as many as 8,000 children to be exposed to unsafe levels of lead in the aftermath. Corroding iron pipes in Flint have also been linked to two outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease. The nearby town of Burton, MI chose to use plastic to replace their service lines, which has saved the city of 29,000 residents at least $2.2 million. However, many argue that plastic service lines are unproven and could be putting chemicals into the drinking water. Though the cost is considerably more expensive than plastic, the City of Flint chose to replace service lines with copper. This has proven to be a very reliable material for water lines and is what we at APEX...

90-Year-Old Plumber? What’s Wrong With That?

Herb Hohengasser doesn’t know what it means to retire. Who is he? He’s a 90-year-old plumber and gas inspector in Deerfield, NH. At 90, he is one of the oldest plumbers in the U.S. As the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports, Hohengasser is technically retired, but he still inspects on average five to 10 buildings per week and continues to plumb. In the 1950s, Herb joined the Franklin County Master Plumbers Association, which is now composed of dozens of plumbers. He worked under the organization’s founder before becoming a self-employed plumber in 1965. Why does he continue to work at 90? “It gets me out of the house,” he says. His friends/co-workers call him a “wealth of information.” After all, you’d probably learn a thing or two in 60+ years! Did you know APEX Plumbing has been around for 32 years? Not quite as impressive as Herb Hohengasser, but we’d like to think we too have learned a few things in the last three decades. Unlike Herb, we specialize in underground plumbing and have become the premier wet utilities contractor in the Denver Metro area. Having performed tens of thousands of water and sewer line installations, repairs, and replacements, we believe we can answer any question about wet utilities that is thrown our way. Like Herb, we too are considered a wealth of information by plumbers, homeowners, realtors, municipalities, and contractors. In fact, we offer free presentations that explain the process of working on underground utilities, how to evaluate a sewer line video, the important questions to ask before beginning a project, and much more. And coming soon, we will...

World Kindness Day

Did you know that today, November 13th, is World Kindness Day? It is a day to focus on the kindnesses that have been shown to you and to think of how you can spread that kindness to others. The day came about through the organization known as the “World Kindness Movement” (WKM). On November 13, 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, the organization was formed when Japan brought together like-minded kindness organizations from around the world for the first time. As their website states, “WKM is now recognized as the peak global body for Kindness and whilst not a governing body it is a platform for collaboration and sharing.” Now, there are over 28 nations involved in the movement! Today is a day where we can focus on doing random acts of kindness for others, regardless of the appreciation or anything else we may get in return. One great article gives some suggestions for how you can do this including calling a loved one, giving someone a nice note, adopting a pet, donate some money, give someone a compliment and more. Here at APEX Plumbing, we are always looking to show kindness to others and to demonstrate our appreciation for the kindness that has been shown to us. Whether it is donating our time and money to help out the community or keeping our prices at wholesale to give each customer the best bang for the buck, we strive to be a kind company. We also believe in showing kindness through our excellent customer service. Our receptionists seek to brighten your day and our estimators work hard to give you the...