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Don't Forget the Plumber When Purchasing a Home: A Conversation with Stanley Selig of Plumb Perfect

By Amy Dwyer

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We primarily offer plumbing services and installation for residential properties, as well as heating system installation, replacement and maintenance and drain cleaning.

How did you get into this line of work?

I am a third-generation plumber and have been doing this since I was a teenager. My father was a plumber and I worked for him over the summer during high school and college. Later, I created my own business in Burlington, Vermont.

What advice do you have for new homeowners in terms of plumbing maintenance?

I advise new and existing homeowners to check for leaks. With many older homes, you find old galvanized or cast iron pipes, which can get blocked up and exhibit scaling in the drains in tubs, sinks and bathrooms. Additionally, old, galvanized water pipes will also accrue rust which can lead to low water pressure or can cause venting issues (where homeowners will complain of a strong, sewage odor. For hotwater baseboard heat, the covers should be taken off periodically and the fin tube should be vacuumed of dust accumulation, as dust hinders the convection flow of the heat. New homeowners should consider upgrading these systems to newer materials, such as PVC pipes, as the pipes can get constricted which can lead to slow drainage. Over time, you'll see a reduction in your water bill with the newer materials.

What are common failures in plumbing?

Slow drains or drains backing up. Another common issue we find are water heater tanks; these should not be more than 15-20 years old as they start to leak and can cause water damage in their home. Even worse, the hot water heater could even split and ruin carpeting.

Is it necessary to have a plumber inspect your home prior to purchase?

For older homes, from 1950s-1960s, I would not just rely on a home inspector. I recommend that a plumber review the infrastructure of the plumbing and heating systems.

What types of issues do you run into with heating systems?

For warm/forced air systems, ducts should be cleaned once yearly. Hot water baseboard systems are fairly low-maintenance; you should check every controls, etc. every few years to make sure there are no leaks of any kind.

What are your recommendations regarding newer energy efficient systems?

Most homes with furnaces or hot water boilers that are 20 years plus have 78-82% efficiency; whereas, high-efficiency systems are between 95-98% efficient so customers will see that payback on their energy bills over 4-5 years, especially natural gas, which has been cheaper over time.

What should customers look for in a plumber?

Customers should pay close attention to the plumber's level of experience as well as their specialties. Are they a licensed journeyman or do they have their master's license? Also check references on plumbers.

Do you have any other advice to homeowners?

I strongly recommend you have a plumber inspect the age of the piping and infrastructure before purchasing a home. A home inspector is not enough; buyers should also consider a furnace specialist, an electrician and a roofer in their inspections. Too many people run into problems or surprises by just relying on the home inspector. Most of these folks won't charge as this is advertising for further business/projects.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Via cell phone at 802-233-5564 or via email at plumbson54@gmail.com, real-time phone is great as well as e-mail.

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