It's summer-time. It's hot. You're using more water....and you're probably noticing higher utility bills as a result. How can you become more water-wise? Houzz provides some great ideas on some changes you can make, big and small, to change your water usage this summer.
Building a new home can be an extremely exciting time - but as some may know that have gone through the process before - it can also be a very overwhelming, stressful experience. So how can you avoid the major stress of a building experience? Here are a few tips to keep you smiling throughout the process.
1. Hire qualified contractors. This is the single most important thing you can do to eliminate potential problems during the construction process. You need to be able to trust who is working for you to show up on time, do quality work while they are there, and to be honest and up front with you regarding what was included in their original bid and what was not. It's also important to keep in mind that it's not always best to select the cheapest contractor. Your mother was right when she said, "You get what you pay for." If someone is significantly less than the other bids you've received, it can be a sign. Review the bids closer - see if what they've bid is apples to apples. If you're still not sure, ask for job references. You need to be comfortable that they are a quality, reputable contractor.
2. Do your homework - plan ahead. The building process isn't something that you want to rush into. Before you even begin the process you should have a very good idea about what you want in the home. Decide on what your must-haves are and then what you may be willing to settle for. Unless you are lucky enough to have an unlimited budget, at some point throughout the process the budget will prevail and you will need to make decisions about what you can cut out.
3. Be specific when getting bids. Directly related to the previous recommendation of planning ahead, it is so important to be specific about what you want when you are getting bids from contractors. If you know that you absolutely want to have oil rubbed bronze plumbing fixtures in your home, you should make sure your plumber is bidding your home including those fixtures. If nothing is specified, a chrome finish is typically bid - which is the lowest price option - but if a different finish is desired it can add a significant amount onto your fixture cost. Decide what you want early on in the process and let your contractors know. If you can have the exact product and features that you want bid you leave less room for potential budget shift later on.
4. Leave room to grow. As we've said earlier, unless you have an unlimited budget, you will most likely have to make some compromises. Make sure those compromises make sense. This is where having quality contractors makes a difference because they will be able to give you honest advice. If you need to leave the basement unfinished in order to save money, make sure you discuss having future plumbing stubbed up for a future bathroom. By trying to "save" this part in the short-run you could potentially spend thousands extra having to go back and jack hammer a floor later. Discuss these things with your plumbing contractor, electrical contractor, HVAC contractor and your builder. If you need to save overall, it might make sense to design an area on your home that is easy to add-on to in the future. Perhaps you do vinyl siding and later-on add stone. The options are endless and that's where some good advance planning, and honesty with your budget can make a big difference.
5. Enjoy this time. How incredibly exciting is it to be building a new home, that is all yours, and exactly how you want it?! This is the place where you'll be building memories with your family. You might be bringing your first child home to this place. Or this might be the place that your children have their first birthday sleep-over at. Either way, this is the place that you will call home. It will be your safe haven from the world. Enjoy this time putting your dreams into reality.
Good luck with your project and remember our tips. They can make a big difference between a great experience and a not-so-great experience.
Matt and his daughter Rhessa
Matt came to Top Tier in October of 2012 and while it hasn't been a really long time, you'd never know it by how well he's settled into the Top Tier family.
Matt was born and raised in the Reedsburg area which helps him understand and relate to our customers so well. The minute you meet Matt he makes you feel at ease and by the end of the conversation you feel like old friends.
An experienced plumber, and newly licensed well pump installer, Matt knows how to do the job efficiently and get it right the first time. He'll take the time to explain things to you and make sure you're comfortable with the job.
Matt's hard work and dedication are evident not only in the shop, but also with his beautiful family. We think part of what makes Matt such a great plumber is the support he receives from his family. Everyone at Top Tier likes to work hard and help our customers, but at the end of the day it's our families and how we're able to help your family that matter most and we work hard to always remember that.
We're so glad that Matt is part of the Top Tier family - thank you for always doing such a great job Matt, you're an incredible addition to the team!
Kaleb and his biggest fan
Kaleb is not only Top Tier's newest plumbing apprentice, but he is also Top Tier's longest employee - he's been with us almost from the very beginning. Kaleb has worked with us through the growing pains that are inevitable with a growing business.
Why is Top Tier so lucky to have Kaleb on our team? For an employer, it's a rare thing to be able to find an employee who works as hard as Kaleb does and always comes in with such a great attitude and treats our customers like they're members of our family. No matter what goes on throughout the day, Kaleb always has a smile on his face even if it's been a 12 hour day out in the hot sun, freezing cold, or up to his knees in sewage. Not to mention I don't know that we could find anyone else to put up with Tim and Matt's antics all day long :-)
Thank you Kaleb for being such a wonderful employee and great team player. Our customers think you're great and so do we!!
We can't help but show our love and appreciation for Top Tier's Master Plumber and owner Tim Schumann!
Tim began plumbing when he was 19 years old. He was lucky enough to have an outstanding teacher - Kevin Krueger of Krueger Plumbing who he worked for until September of 2010 when Kevin decided to relocate and Tim went into business for himself.
Ever since then, Tim has been working hard to build his business and perfect his trade. He truly enjoys working hard and being able to produce a quality product that a customer can appreciate for years and years.
He also likes being able to give back and be a part of the community that he has grown up in. He is truly thankful for the opportunities he's been given and the business he's worked to build.
And Top Tier is thankful for Tim. Thank you Tim for not only being an amazing husband and best friend, but I am also incredibly thankful that you have been my live-in plumber for the last 9 years! Thank you for fixing the water heater on a Sunday night at 9pm so I could take a shower the next morning before work. Thank you for taking apart the bathroom drain when I've dropped jewelry down it. Thank you for installing a backflow preventer valve in our last house so that our basement did not flood with sewage during the flood of June 2008 when so many others did.
Thank you for being the hardest working man I know, and someone that I am extremely proud to be able to call my business partner and my partner in life.
As part of "Hug a Plumber" week for Top Tier, we wanted to send out a hug to a special plumber - Meg's Grandpa Carroll.
Roger Carroll began plumbing and heating work in the late 1950's where he ended up becoming a part owner of Webb Plumbing and Heating. In 1986, Roger formed Carroll's Plumbing and Heating with his son Tom. Tom still operates Carroll's in Lancaster with wife Patti and his son Mike.
During his career, I have no doubt that Grandpa Carroll saved the day for countless customers, but I'm sure what they all remember is what a hard-working, incredibly kind man he was.
I will forever remember Grandpa's hands, that were always stained black from the work he did with just a little plumbing glue stuck on in places. They were working man's hands. The same hands that helped gently raise 10 kids and later hold grandkids with. What made Grandpa a great plumber was the same thing that made him a great man, he was kind and truly cared about people. Little did I know that I would be lucky enough to find a plumber to marry that is a lot like my Grandpa - kind and caring. I wish Grandpa and Tim would have had the chance to meet. I'm sure when they do, they'll have a lot of projects to scheme about together.
We'd like to wish my Uncle Tom, Aunt Patti, Cousin Mike and everyone at Carroll's Plumbing & Heating - Happy Hug a Plumber Day!!!
April 25, 2013 is "Hug a Plumber Day". Top Tier loves their plumbers so much that we've decided to celebrate with an entire week!!
The week of April 22-26 we are celebrating not only our plumbers - but plumbers everywhere. We want to thank them for the long hours, hard work, and well, you know, the literally sh**ty work days they have. Without you we wouldn't have clean water to drink, warm water to shower, and comfortable places to do our "business" in our homes.
Thank you plumbers! A special thanks to the hardest working, most fun plumbers we know - Tim, Matt and Kaleb - you guys are the best.
Stop wasting water and get that leak fixed already!! Save yourself some money and help the world conserve one of our most prescious resources by finally getting any household leaks you have fixed. Check out these great facts from the US EPA regarding leaks: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/fixleak.html.
When you're ready to tackle those household leaks and replace fixtures with WaterSense labeled products give us a call!
Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Top Tier! Our shop dogs had fun with making a valentine this year. We hope you're able to have a wonderful day with those you love!
Megan is co-owner of Top Tier, LLC. Her appreciation and love of a fully functional plumbing system began back in 2008 while on a date with Tim (the other co-owner of Top Tier) when he took her on a drain cleaning call. It was then that she fully realized how truly wonderful it is when your plumbing system works correctly and you can call a reliable professional to take care of your problem instead of having to do it yourself!