Lee’s Summit Plumbing calls can introduce me to some of the greatest people. The customers are always very nice or as I say, “Just good folks.” As their plumber I find myself in some unique and interesting situations. They always start with a story that is their plumbing emergency. The story inevitably involves a tidbit about a family member and the families history. As a transplanted Missouri residence I always enjoy talking with my customers.
A bit of history
First, lets begin with a bit of history. I’m originally from Phoenix. I moved out here about 20 years ago to finish my apprenticeship in the Plumbers and Pipefitters union, make the most beautiful daughter in the world and get married a couple of times. (The last one took.) In the middle of all that was a lot of really hard work in the plumbing industry. There was also a lot of schooling. But fortunately there was also a bit of good fortune. Put that all in a bowl and mix it up and you get Advocate Master Plumbing.
My Experiences With Other Plumbing Contractors
Next, lets briefly (I promise) list some of my experiences with other plumbing contractors. The local plumbing contractors in this region can be very cutthroat with their business models. Your average plumbing technician is working 50 to 6-0 hours a week. They’re all being pushed to sell products with an extreme sense of urgency. It’s pretty difficult to have a family in that atmosphere. They’re pushed pretty hard.
I’ve worked with some of the biggest contractors in the Kansas and Missouri areas. I migrated every few years because I work very hard and expect my paycheck to reflect that. That’s hard to find. And it always seems to change depending on the economy and business environment. But it’s hard for everyone.
The bulk of my early plumbing work was with the union. Then I spent 15 years working for other contractors learning customer service and plumbing diagnostics. The focus of my work in the industry was:
- Water Heater install and repair
- Drain cleaning
- Sump pump install and repair
- Garbage disposer install and repair
- Water pressure regulating valve install
- Leak detections in water pipes, gas pipes and drain pipes
- Water, Sewer and gas utiliities service installation and repair
- Faucet install and repair
- Toilet install and repair
- Water pipe install and repair
- Gas pipe install and repair
- Backflow prevention install and repair
- Water softener installs
- Reverse Osmosis drinking water systems
- Instant hot water dispensers
Carol R. lives in the central Lee’s Summit area. She called me after dealing with 3 other plumbing companies. She came home one winter after a 10 day business trip to find water in her basement, huge icicles hanging from her homes exterior directly outside her kitchen and no water leaks. After suffering over it for a while I finally concluded that her Moen kitchen faucet had been pushed open with excessive pressure building in her water pipes as they started freezing. This prevented the pipes from completely freezing. It also flooded her home. The water splattered on her kitchen counters enough to fall through a hole in her wall and create the icicles. As the excessive water pressure dropped the faucet fell back shut. It was an older style single lever kitchen faucet with the heavy brass lever. If you lubricate the faucet cartridges too much water pressure can push it open.
DIY Plumbing Tip: To avoid frozen pipe issues keep your heater running and your home exterior sealed and insulated. It’ll save you high utility bills and even higher plumbing repair bills.
Eileen T. lives in the North Lee’s Summit area and had a dual water heater system with a hot water heater leaking to beat the band. I only replaced one of the hot water heaters to save her and her family some money. The thing that stands out the most to me is how very nice she was and what a beautiful family she had. That family included 2 crazy and a little spoiled dogs. I’ve been back once since for a grease clog in her sewer.
DIY Plumbing Tip: If you’re water heater is leaking check the insulation around the burner chamber between the outer housing and tank. If it’s wet then you probably need a new tank. If the drain pipe attached to the relief valve is leaking it can be repaired.
Melissa E. lives in southwest Lee’s Summit. She stands out because she and her husband were both as nice as they were highly intelligent. They lived in a newer home in a revitalized area.
Because it was so quickly built and the houses were crammed so closely to each other, there were ground water issues. After dealing with a flooded basememnt she asked that I install a battery back up sump pump system with a new primary sump pump. I told her I’d do her one better. I’ll install a great primary pump with a water powered back up sump pump system that is less of an investment, no maintenance and needs no repairs. She had me back for a leak in one of the plastic glue joints. That happens sometimes when you have to put the freshly glued pvc discharge piping in service too quickly for it to fully cure due to rain. They were very understanding and kind.
DIY Plumbing Tip: If you have ground water issues make sure the ground around your home is graded so water will naturally flow away. Keep your gutters clean and downspouts extended away from the home foundation.
Mike H. lives in northwest Lee’s Summit. He called with a badly leaking garbage disposal and a leaking shower valve.
I told him on the phone that if water is dripping from the bottom of the garbage disposal then please carefully unplug it. The usual culprit for this kind of leak is damage from a previous jammed grinder chamber or drain cleaning acids compromising the seal between the grinder chamber and the motors electrical wiring and windings. I also replaced the cartridge in the leaking shower valve.
DIY Plumbing Tip: I’m not a fan of garbage disposals. They clog drains. I prefer garbage be put in the garbage can. But if you have to have one then I recommend one with a stainless steel grinder chamber. It’ll last longer. And don’t put drain cleaners in the garbage disposal. It will compromise the seal between the grinder chamber and electrical chamber. At that point, you need a new one.
Shari K. lives in north Lee’s Summit. She and her husband had recently purchased their home only to find multiple plumbing issues ranging from leaking toilets, running toilets, and a leaking water shut off.
I pointed out an old and leaking water pressure regulating valve. I ended up replacing her toilet with an inexpensive high efficiency toilet, replaced the water shut off and returned the next day at her request to install a new water pressure regulating valve.
DIY Plumbing Tip: A water pressure regulating valve lowers excessive water pressure. Excessive water pressure will wear out and damage the plumbing pipes, fixtures and appliances. This is my favorite repair. It save my customers so much money.
Jessie L. lives in central Lee’s Summit. A very poorly plumbed kitchen sink had clogged. They had just moved in and knew there were issues. Unfortunately, many of my customers are the victims of a poorly performed home inspection. Their kitchen drain clog was very avoidable. They were such nice people and I hate giving bad news to people. But they don’t hire me to pull punches. I got the clogged kitchen drain unclogged and recommended a kitchen drain repipe.
DIY Plumbing Tip: There are ways to unclog a drain without tools. I’ve unclogged kitchen drains by plugging one side and running the disposer multiple times until the vibration and increased water pressure opens the drain. Then I run hot water down the drain for a while to make sure it stays open.
Your local Lee’s Summit Plumber
In my 25 years of experience in the plumbing contractor business I’ve learned many things. The most important is to earn your customers. Take care of their needs instead of your pocket book. The success will happen if you focus on ethical customer service and fair pricing. At Advocate Master Plumbing you’ll get that. Jerry Miller is the owner and operator of this family owned business. He’s also the only employee. If the job is done right, he is rewarded. If it’s done wrong he has to go back for free. He loses and gains depending on the service he provides. There are no answering services or office workers. You call and you get him. He’ll look you in the eye and shake your hand.