Pros are on the way!

Inside Bergen Games I: BergenMania

 Minnie Splits, here. The last time you saw me I was reporting live on the scene, bringing you the date of the historic Bergen Games I: BergenMania. I now bring you another update on the most anticipated sporting event of the century. With just one week to go until the first Bergen Games, I gained early access last night to what was once the warehouse of a local plumbing and HVAC company, and now houses the blood, sweat and dreams of soon-to-be champions.

 

The Arena

After the work day was done, the company’s warehouse was converted to a full-fledged arena for the games. Furnace and air conditioning units lined the perimeter, shelves of shining silver fixtures, and various nuts and bolts caught the fading twilight, a reminder that this space still functioned as one of the Cedar Valley’s top plumbing and HVAC companies from 8:004:30, Monday-Friday.

The technicians were insatiable. There long after their last service call or install of the work day, they attacked the training equipment pulled into place each night. Punching bags, treadmills, and half-assembled plumbing fixtures tested these athletes’ mental and physical limits. But when an overtime call came in, two techs sprung into action, putting down their weights and removing their gloves before running to their Bergen vans, off to help another invaluable customer in need.

 

The Competitors

I caught up with Bergen Games hopeful, A.C. Heaton, technician by day and athlete in training by night, as he took a lap around the Bergen offices. “I’ve been working towards this since I was just an apprentice,” he told me. “When other apprentices would be at the bar or the movies, I was here assembling and reassembling a garbage disposal. I’ve taken 2 minutes off my time since last year. It’s my time now. I’m going to bring home gold for my family and my county!” Perhaps a legacy in the making? A year from now, his face could cover every Wheaties box in the country, but for now he is simply a humble player, honing his skills.

Athletes surrounded me in the arena, training late into the night. One curled a refrigerant jug, another practiced removing and installing furnace filters with a determination and coordination I hadn’t seen since the Berlin Wall fell. Yet another athlete augered a drain at near-record pace. These techs have been pushing themselves to the extreme, even though there are no known records for the events of these games, an opportunity these athletes are counting on in order to gain the fame and glory they so desperately seek.

Even the office staff is participating in the games, and they’re out for blood. The rookies of the field, they may not know a copper pipe from a scissor lift, but they’re eager to prove themselves. One thing is for sure, if the games involve numbers crunched or calls answered, these men and women will certainly pose a threat to their more seasoned opponents.

 

The Games

I’ve been forbidden from reporting in any great detail on the exact specifics of the events, but I can tell you they will require a mastery of speed, strength and perfected technical skills in order to truly compete in these games.

A target hung in one corner. A ladder and a series of buckets were strategically set up outside the building with the final destination seeming to be the roof. Athletes slid past me on the concrete floor as they performed yet another round of practice runs in shoe covers. Perhaps a take on speed skating will be at the Games? Or maybe this was simply part of their strenuous conditioning. The purpose of their efforts was unclear, but their hunger for gold was apparent. Rumors swirl of a relay race unlike anything the sports and plumbing world has ever seen before. Whatever the events, BergenMania spirit is alive and well, and it can assemble a potato cannon in under a minute.

 

The Buzz

Much like the athletes, sponsors have been clamoring for their place in the Games. Nike and Gatorade were left behind with too little, too late bids to earn their names on the backs of these competitors. Advertising space is filling up quicker than a toilet tank with a broken flapper. 

Press coverage has been limited to protect the integrity of the games, and suspense is building as the spectators await any and all news on the Games. The world is watching these fierce men and women, and with all eyes on Bergen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling anticipation levels are almost as high as customer satisfaction. Greatness awaits, and these pros are on their way.

 

 

 

Bergen’s Best

 

At Bergen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, we know your home is your oasis. You have a hectic life and a busy schedule. Properly working heating and cooling units are a necessity for home comfort, which is why we’re inviting you to join Bergen’s Best Preventative Maintenance Agreement. We want all of our customers to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with regular preventative maintenance on their HVAC equipment.

You depend on your heating and cooling units to keep you comfortable when you come home from a long day, and with that humid summer weather right around the corner, your home’s cooling equipment is about to become more crucial than ever. But rather than waiting for a system malfunction, why not service your cooling equipment before it decides to take the day off? That’s why we call it preventative maintenance. Avoid the hassle, the frustration, and the potential overtime fees that so often come with these inconvenient breakdowns.

The benefits of preventative maintenance go far past simply convenience. Regular maintenance will keep your units operating at their best, maximizing their efficiency and extending their life overall. Not to mention, preventative maintenance is a requisite of most warranties. We can’t promise you’ll go all year without a system error, but many of the regular issues we see that cause these sudden shutdowns can be easily prevented with regular maintenance. Plus, when you join Bergen’s Best, you’ll have a standing appointment on our schedule. We’ll call you every six months to check and service your units to ensure they’re working through every season. Let us take care of all the details.

We know how important these bi-annual service calls are in keeping our customers comfortable, so we’ve put our lowest price ever on these service calls.  For $69 per service with a three year price lock, Bergen’s Best is our best deal yet! We want to take care of our customers, and to do that we need to take care of your units. Join today and we’ll have you feeling fine at $69 all year.

 

How to Impress Your Kids’ Friends

Many years ago, I was chauffeuring my 10 year old son and several of his classmates from school to our home for a sleep over. In the backseat, the boys began to do what boys of that age will do. They began to “One Up” each other. One boy’s dad just bought a new truck. Another just got the latest and greatest iPad; baseball bat; and the list went on and on. When all but my son had shared their “I have the best . . .,”  my son declared, “Those are all great, but our toilet washes your butt!” There was an immediate silence, followed with, “No Way!” “How?” “Can we try it?” I barely had turned off the engine and a group of 10-year old boys rushed into our home to check out what is now affectionately referred to as The Butt Washer. They all crowded into the bathroom while my son gave them the instructions and explained how it worked. Then one by one they all took their turns using the Toto Washlet.

Now, we did not install the Toto Washlets in our home on a whim. I did my research and knew that the Toto Washlet was at the top for personal hygiene, ease of use and comfort.   The Toto Washlet can provide relief for many conditions like anal fissures, hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, anal fistula, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.  Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. These statistics are quite scary for anyone, and especially for those with a family history.  To encourage good regular hygiene for our children a washlet was a must.  As for comfort, how many times have you had to get up in the night to use the restroom, but you lie there longer than you should because you know when you stick your tuckus to the seat you are going to be cold?   If you have never experienced a heated toilet seat then you are truly missing out.

Since our inaugural “butt washings” we have moved to another house and sadly left behind our beloved Toto stools and washlets.  The first pieces of furniture to be bought and placed in our new home were Toto Aquias with the Connect+ S350e Washlet.   If you would like to experience the Toto Washlet, contact us today.

Monet in the Mechanical Room

When was the last time you grabbed some aged cheese, glass of wine, and made your way down to your mechanical room to admire the artwork?  I am not assuming that you keep your Dogs Playing Poker in with your furnace and water heater, I am literally talking about your furnace and water heater. I hope, that as you are visualizing your mechanical room at this moment, that it was the Sistine Chapel to a local plumbing and heating version of Michealangelo. A mechanical room offers so many opportunities for a licensed professional to take pride in his or her craft and show off their talents on a daily basis.

It is easy to overlook these masterpieces, mainly because most of us don’t know what we are looking at.  But like so many great paintings, the greatness is in the details.  Let’s start with the pipes that are coming into and exiting your furnace, are they parallel? Do they turn and travel with each other like a pair of figure skaters at the Olympics? There is writing on PVC pipe, did your artist take the time to line up the writing so that it is one continuous line throughout, or perhaps they preferred to turn all of the writing towards the furnace so that it wouldn’t be a distraction to the rest of their creation?

Your ductwork is a balance of cold hard steel that is strong and forceful while bringing the warmth (or coolness) of comfort throughout your house with perfect velocity. How your DaVinci tied together all of their puzzle pieces is as unique as their signature.  If you have a humidifier, a large filter cabinet, or a UV light it gives the professional an added challenge to blend them into your system like they were always meant to be there.  Those items also give you the added comfort of knowing your system is as beneficial to your family’s health as it is pleasing to the eyes.

Take a look at the screws, are they lined up? I’m serious. Some technicians take the pride in making sure everything is in perfect symmetry while others prefer a more VanGogh approach to their connections.  There are so many ways in which installers take pride in their daily tasks.  Their first priority is to solve a problem which you entrusted upon them but the ones who truly love what they do want to breathe life into a custom masterpiece each and every day that blends your needs with a certain flare.

I’m not suggesting that the next time you need a new piece of equipment that you get out the finger paints and have the estimators paint happy trees for you instead of getting quotes.  But I would ask that you ask some deeper questions about passion. We should all want someone in our home who looks at every installation or repair as a unique occasion to make their positive mark on another’s life. I hope this gave you a new appreciation for your “ordinary” furnace, water heater, or piping in your basement and the artisans who crafted it.  If, by chance, after reading this you feel that your mechanical room is more of an Andy Warhol than a Charles Monet, please feel free to give Bergen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call, we’ll do our best to add a little slice of personality and pride.

With Protection – More is Better

guilotine

My basement flooded. It wasn’t in 2008 like half of Eastern Iowa, it was in 2009 when we got an excessive amount of rain in a short period of time. The city storm sewers couldn’t handle the flow and started backing up into people’s homes that had never experienced water problems before. I had sewer protection, but I had never had it looked at since I purchased the house and assumed it worked perfectly. It didn’t. In the aftermath I started doing research on sump pumps, backflow preventers, back-up sump pumps, alarms, and any product that had to do with that industry. There is a lot of information out there. After deciphering all of the information I knew the answer was “more is better.” All of this information is again relevant because the cities of Waterloo and Cedar Falls are currently requiring home owners to bring their basement floor drains up to code and in some instances giving homeowners a financial rebate to have the work done.

It is amazing how soon past events become “ancient history”. I think back to what started out as the 100 year floods than progressed to the 500year floods and eventually became the 1000 year floods that consumed so much of Eastern Iowa. At that time everyone was concerned about protecting their basements via sump pumps or generators. But time has passed and now the general consensus is almost back to the reactionary status that it was before 2008/2009. If you are thinking about having your protection looked at, there are two things that I would ask my plumbing contractor specifically about. The first extra step of protection I would recommend is a knife gate valve. It really is as cool as it sounds, think of a guillotine for your sewer. This will serve as a manual way that you can close your house off from the city sewer if you know lots of rain is eminent. This is in addition to an automatic backwater valve that most contractors are going to recommend. The second extra step of protection is a water powered back-up sump pump. This will protect your home even if the power is out. Why water powered vs. battery backup? My vote is water powered because I know that I would probably forget to check on the marine battery and about the time I needed the back-up protection, I wouldn’t have a charge. Water powered back-up pumps use your house water pressure thru a venturi to create the suction you need. Now all water powered backups are not created equal either, we use the BasePump (basepump.com) because of its gallons per minute and because it doesn’t require the installation of an additional backflow preventer to protect your drinking water.

If every time it rains hard you worry about whether or not your basement is going to stay dry then it is probably time to call a licensed and bonded plumbing technician to take a look at your system. Estimates are free and if everything is perfectly protected you will at least have that peace of mind. I couldn’t have finished this blog at a more appropriate time, it is just starting to rain outside.

Your Car vs. Your Heating/Cooling System

bryant system

 

As spring approaches and we pull our cars out into the driveway to wash them off and shine them up, it is also a great time to make sure that your HVAC system is looked over and metaphorically given a new coat of wax. The similarities between your vehicle and your heating and cooling system are numerous yet we don’t place the importance on servicing the equipment keeping our families cool and warm as much as we do changing our oil every 3000-5000 miles.  I know that I am in the minority driving around a 13 year old car and having a highly efficient furnace and air conditioner but when my wife and I did Time/Cost analysis on those items we discovered that we spend a lot more time in our house than in our cars.  I know this one article isn’t going to change people’s mentalities  but what I hope it does is make you aware that you should give your system as much attention as you do your main mode of  transportation. How many people reading this are asking themselves “When was the last time I changed my air filter?” If you can’t answer that, it has probably been too long. Our lives have become so busy and sometimes it makes sense to have someone think about those things for you and to be the expert that you don’t have time to be. Signing up for spring and fall check-ups is an easy way to remember to do something that you have every intention of doing but just don’t have the time. How many of us would never go to the dentist if they didn’t schedule us out 6 months in advance? There are also always new products and features that are evolving in the HVAC industry just like in the automotive field. You can accessorize your furnace with special filters if you have someone in your house with breathing problems, or can have a hybrid heating & cooling system to match the hybrid car in your garage.  Have fun enjoying the ever warmer days while washing your cars, planting flowers, and playing outside with your children but make a call to a licensed professional to look over your system so you that you have the peace of mind that it is purring like a kitten.