grease trap lid

Baker does the Nasty

BAKER DOES THE NASTY

They are few things worse than dealing with Grease traps. No matter when or where or how religiously maintained these beasts are always filthy and nasty. And yet they must be maintained on a strict and regular basis. In Calgary, these fixtures MUST be cleaned every month or the business risks facing fines or closure. They must have their record of maintenance completed within 5′ of the appliance. It’s very serious business and one that many restaurants and other such establishments must be aware of.

What can be even worse is when a business takes it responsibility seriously and hires out this work to be done and the company hired fails to perform!! This is exactly what happened in the linked video!!

Baker does the Nasty

In the above example the business paid a firm for over a year to clean their traps and never once actually had the service performed!! We discovered the issue on a routine maintenance call on another matter. As a professional business and tradesmen we take our roles very seriously. We want to ensure that both the health of our clients and the operations of their businesses are well cared for. Beware of those that offer deals that seem too good to be true as they often are.

One of our most trusted brands in the grease trap world is Canplas, you learn more about them here! Canplas Grease Traps  with technology that is always improving, few companies provide similar innovations and options. Check them out!!

If you have questions or need service right away don’t hesitate to reach out to Baker Plumbing and we’ll make sure the nastiest parts of your business are well cared for!!

It’s the Plumber!!

If you’ve been the trade long enough you always end up with a few stories about these types of situations. It’s the Plumber can bring forward a host of feelings good, bad and indifferent.

From uncomfortable to comfortable

Check out these links from Family Handyman!

You Should Shop Around for a Plumber

If you have a major fix to deal with in your home, shop around for a plumber to do the work. Obtaining at least three bids helps you determine the range of the project, so you can weigh the pros and cons of price and the reputation of the plumbers. Get references and contact them.

Also, a good plumber knows his craft and won’t nickel and dime you. For the smaller jobs, check out these 11 plumbing tricks.

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Its the Plumber

Turn Off Outside Faucets for the Winter

Want to avoid frozen pipes? Prevent them easily (and and expensive call to a plumber) by disconnecting your outside hoses in the fall. Make sure to shut off the water from the inside as well. Drain the hoses and store them until the following spring.

Check out these ten plumbing fixes to save your wallet. Plus, buy this highly rated garden hose to solve most of your hose issues.

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Replace the Toilet Handle: No Plumber Needed

If you constantly fuss with a loose toilet handle, it means the flap valve needs to be replaced.  Instead of a plumber charging you $100 for the job, you can get the part at a hardware store for a mere $6 and install it very easily yourself. See how to fix that flap.

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Baker Plumbing logo

Plumbers Need a License

No plumber will admit that they don’t have the required license to work for you. So if you know a great plumber, but doesn’t have a license, hire them at your own risk. Licensed plumbers have proven knowledge of the local building codes and regulations, have completed a certain number of hours on the job and are insured.

Want to become a master plumber yourself? Here are 28 tips. Plus, always have a roll of this on hand for DIY plumbing projects.

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Its the Plumber

Plumbers Don’t Clean Up

While their job involves making sure your pipes work like a well-oiled machine, it doesn’t include rebuilding the wall they had to demolish to make that happen. So, while you’re going to get that water problem fixed, you’ll want to discuss in detail what kind of “mess” they might leave behind prior to the start of the project so you can plan accordingly.

Remember, there are some jobs you can do yourself. Here’s how to solder copper pipe joints!

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Where to Find a Quick Plumber Recommendation

If you need a plumber stat, don’t just go with the first person or company you come across on Google. Call a plumbing supply or fixture store, as they usually refuse to work with bad plumbers.

Here are four plumbing repair tips you need to know, even if you DO hire a plumber!

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Its the Plumber 

Your Plumber Might Not Have the Right Part

Need a quick fix? If a plumber tells you he needs a week to get the part to fix your toilet or sink, don’t be too amenable if you can’t wait. There’s no shame in working with another plumber who can get the part and do the job when you need it.

If you’re doing the job yourself, be sure you know these tips for completing a plumbing fix like a pro.

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Its the Plumber

They Can Move That!

Plumbers may not go out of their way to let you know that a toilet or sink can be moved. But if you’ve been working with them on a renovation and they tell you something can’t be transferred to a new space, ask them to explain to you in detail why not.

Speaking of things people don’t want to tell you, here are ten things your neighbor isn’t being up-front about.

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Its the Plumber

You Have a Choice With Parts

Some parts cost more than others to do the same job. If a plumber doesn’t give you an option, ask—or better yet, do your own research if you have the time. Chances are, you can use PVC pipe instead of copper and save some money. If you’re DIYing, here’s how to connect a PVC pipe to ABS pipe.

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Fix a Running Toilet Cheaply by Yourself

Help! The toilet won’t stop running. It’s a bummer, sure, but not something you need to call your plumber about. In fact, DIYers should take note that this quick fix costs you just $5 in parts and materials. For instance, solve a sticking handle by spraying some lubricant where the handle meets the porcelain.

Ready to DIY? Here’s how to fix a running toilet. Need a new flap? Get one here.

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Its the Plumber

Spend More Now, Save a Lot Later on Plumber Work

Not all plumbers deliver the message that installing better fixtures reduces the likelihood of future house calls.

Case in point: Rubber washing machine hoses burst far more frequently than the more expensive and durable stainless-steel ones. Check out these other 35 ways to save money around your home.

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Its the Plumber

Keep That Allen Key

Garbage disposals usually come with an Allen key. Find a good place to store it. When the disposal jams, you can follow the directions in the owner’s manual to fix it yourself. It’s as simple as inserting and twisting.

Doing this yourself saves you the hassle and fees from a service call to the plumber. Speaking of tool storage, check out these clever tool-storage ideas.

Service, Service, Service

Night or day, evenings and weekends are the moments that Baker Plumbing proves itself over and over again! Service is what we do! Service is what we focus on. Service is what matters to our client base.

What does Service actually mean? Service Definition

Every Plumbing out there has to make the decision of what will separate them from the rest. At Baker Plumbing, we decided decades ago that its service

What it means to Baker!

We’re there when you need us, no matter the time, place or circumstances. Here when you need us!

Need a reliable, professional plumbing company that’s focus is service? Then Baker is here and ready.

Contact us today to be added to our preferred client base and ensure that when you need us, we’ll be there with you guessed it! Service!

Service. For such a simple word it sure can mean a lot of different things to different people. For sports fans, a good service is a critical part of tennis success. For the religious, a service is a ceremony of worship. For the military, it’s their employment, i.e. military service. And in other vocations it’s the length of time that they have stayed with that particular employer.

For lawyers, service is the formal delivery of legal documents such as a summons. For homeowners, it can be a utility such as gas, electricity, or water. For car owners, it’s the annual maintenance of their vehicle. And (you can tell I’m running out of steam here), it could even be a set of matching crockery of all things.

So, service can mean different things to different people. And service in the context of our Plumbing company no different.

Mission Impossible for Plumbers

Mission Impossible for Plumbers. Its a common theme here at Baker Plumbing. Another plumbing has come in assessed the situation and given the client all the bad news and a outrageous bill. Baker Plumbing shows up with the knowledge, skills, experience and tools to save the day.

Case in point, client wanted a second opinion and we when showed him where the drain was located he was shocked. The previous company had missed the location by almost 6 feet!!! That’s why it’s Mission Impossible for Plumbers.

BAKER DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE

It’s hard to know what is going on inside your pipes with-out an inspection. We have some of the best drain camera inspection CCTV equipment in the industry. This allows us to record video of what is happening in your pipes hundreds of feet away and explain to you exactly what is going on. We can show you video footage of the issue and diagnose the pipe problem quickly with our drain cameras. This results in a laser focused solution to the issue at hand. With-out these specialized inspection cameras, many of them developed by Ridgid  equipment we would be taking a “best guess” as to where the problem is and that type of guess work is unacceptable at Baker Plumbing.

You can’t fix what you can’t look at;Baker gives you a range of options to find, see and pinpoint exactly where a problem lies with industry-leading precision. Our reels, imaging cameras, monitors, locators and recorders are designed together to work together on locates, we can provide fast and effective information about your job.

If you are experiencing a drain or pipe issue and think you need a camera inspection please give us a call. We offer 24 hours / 7 days a week (24/7) plumbing and heating services, so please call now (403) 800-3007.

John Wick of Plumbing

Baker Plumbing the John Wick of Plumbers

Hire the Best, Hire Baker

drain cleaning contractor

Baker Plumbing the John Wick of Plumbing

In a world full of pretenders with their stock photos, pressed uniforms and canned phrases Baker Plumbing stands apart with the experience, tools and the knowledge that makes the difference. Youtube feature Slaying Drains With 65 years of said experience, we much like John Wick who is highly confident in his abilities and carried a reputation of being greatly respected and feared by many within his field. Baker Plumbing enjoys many of the same associations. John Wick the Movie

Baker Plumbing continues its growth and development as a family owned plumbing service contractor. With the addition of Isaiah and Peter to the ranks, the 4th generation of plumbing in Calgary is well under way. Isaiah is months away from completing his journeyman’s ticket, only delayed by the COVID_19 shutdown. Pete’s freshly back from an LDS service mission the Philippines (and yes, he’s fully fluent in Tagalog) so test him if you’d like! We’re very pleased and excited that our scope of work and our ability to diversify is expanding!

With the ability to service both large and small commercial businesses and with a strong and vibrant residential client list. Baker serves not only Calgary and area but Lethbridge, Airdrie, High River, Okotoks, Bragg Creek, Springbank, Priddis and many others. From drain cleaning, emergency plumbing services, HVAC and furnace repairs to boiler maintenance, back flow or cross connection testing. If you need a 24 hour plumber in Calgary, we can tackle any project.

See what over 65 years of knowledge, experience and skills can bring to your project,

Check out our history

Baker Plumbing the John Wick of Plumbing

Turbo

When BC and Alberta plumbers collide

What happens when BC and Alberta Plumbers Collide?

When BC and Alberta plumber collide

When BC and Alberta plumbers collide. What could go wrong when two head strong and very experienced plumbers meet head to head. One from BC and one from Alberta? Interested in finding out the results? Watch the video above, spoiler alert the results are absolutely fabulous!!

The good and bad of social media can be debated for decades with the merits of each side validated and proven. Yet this week we understood and felt the powerful good that social media can provide with an amazing collaboration between to fantastic plumbers. When BC and Alberta plumber collide

Pete smiling as BC and Alberta plumbers collide

How it happened

We been in contact with Turbo Plumbing and Heating for several years and as he was passing through Calgary to visit some family. He decided to stop in for a visit. After asking if he had work clothes and steel toes, we immediately put him to work!! Watch the video above and watch in real time as Robbie puts Baker’s latest J-man and young apprentice through the paces of a pipe replacement. In the particular job we use 3 of 4 methods of joining pipe. First and my personal favorite, Victaulic, next is the latest tech and the use of Press tech.Finally we use the tired and true, mechanical threading. We could have used solder as well but considering the time we decided to skip it.

Commercial heating systems is one of the many fields that Baker Plumbing prides itself in being an expert in. As a 4th generation company you can watch the latest generation work with Rob. Completing some complex tasks in short order!!

Check Turbo on IG and on the web at TURBO PLUMBING and of course come check us out at BAKER PLUMBING

Have plumbing or heating needs in BC or Alberta these two companies have all the bases covered!!

Baker logo

Why is Plumbing so expensive?

Why is Plumbing is Expensive?

Baker Plumbing at work
                                                                     The Bakers hard at work

Plumbers are expensive because it is a highly specialized trade requiring thousands of hours to master. Additionally, they make house calls meaning they spend time and money investing in vehicles, tools, equipment and gas to bring to you. They also carry insurance and have other overhead expenses. Labor shortages in the field also contribute to premium pricing.

How do I find inexpensive plumbers?

A Dirty White Boy doing Dirty Things

Finding inexpensive plumbers is often a mistake. If you have a cousin or friend in the trade, they may work cheaply for you. However, it’s a highly specialized skill developed over years of training and experience. Their fees are a reflection of their skill, overhead and demand.

Commercial vs. Residential Pros


Commercial plumbers average $100 per hour. Residential plumbers average $80 per hour. Commercial contractors rarely do residential work and vice versa. Building codes, equipment and skill sets vary between the two types.

Service call fees range from $100 to $350 and usually include the first hour of work. Service calls cover a wide range of common services including clogged drains, leaking pipes and fixture repair.

See our Website for details

Trip or Call Out Fees

Trip fees range anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on your location and the distance they need to travel. Unlike a service call, this fee is in addition to labor charges.

Minimum fees and trip charges help offset the time and materials of travelling to and from job sites. Plumbers spend much of their time travelling to a jobsite and a supply house to pick up materials for your project.

Most offer a flat fee within a certain radius of their shop with additional mileage pricing past that.
Alternately, some skip the trip charge and simply charge a 1- or 2-hour minimum. So, if they spend only 15 minutes working, you’ll pay the minimum amount of time.

Winter in Calgary

Winter in Calgary can Sting

Poetry in Motion

How cold does winter in Calgary get?

Occasionally it can get very cold in Calgary, temperatures have been known to dip to -30 degrees Celsius! However, usually the average temperature in Calgary during winter is between -5 and -10°C. In general, January is the coldest month in Calgary.

Surprisingly enough, when the Chinook Winds blows temperatures can suddenly increase with as much as 15°C! Furthermore, while it’s cold in winter, Calgary is the sunniest large city in Canada. And nothing beats being outside on a cold and sunny day…

Is winter in Calgary colder than Toronto or Ottawa?

Yes, winter in Calgary is generally colder than in cities on the East coast of Canada. However, locals describe the cold as a ‘dry cold‘ making it easier to cope with than with the ‘wet cold‘ of the east.

And, as mentioned above, Calgary is also the sunniest Canadian city so on many winter days going outside is still very enjoyable.

WHAT TO DO IN CALGARY IN WINTER

There are many places to visit in Calgary in winter, which isn’t surprising for a city that experiences winter for almost six to seven months a year. While the Calgary Stampede is the biggest draw when visiting Calgary in summer, the Calgary winter season has no shortage of festivals and celebrations either.

From the High-Performance Rodeo (Calgary’s international art festival) to the BIG Winter Classic (music, arts, and local craft beer) and Glow (a family-friendly Winter Light Festival held in downtown Calgary), there are lots of Calgary winter events.

What can wrong when Winter hits

School is in full swing, the leaves are changing color, and that pumpkin spice latte just isn’t enough to stave off the morning chill. It’s time to switch your HVAC system over to Heat. Check the following list to be sure your furnace is ready for the coming winter.

1. Turn on the thermostat.

Switch from cooling to heating and set the temperature a couple of degrees higher than the current room temperature. If you don’t hear the heat kick on within a minute, pull off the cover and make sure the wire connections are secure (if you feel comfortable doing so). If the connections are snug, make sure the power source to the HVAC system is turned on. If it’s still not working, you could check the furnace fan, blower or heat pump — but it likely makes better sense to call in a professional.

2. Change the air filters.

You probably have air filters behind a vent grill in the wall or ceiling, or a single filter in the HVAC system itself. Change these filters every few months. Or, if you have a permanent electrostatic filter, you can wash and reuse it. Cleaning or replacing your filters regularly keeps particles out of your HVAC system and can prolong its life. While you’re at it, change your humidifier filter and set the humidistat, if your HVAC includes a humidifier.

 

3. Cover the AC condenser.

Unless your HVAC is a heat pump (in which case, don’t cover it at all because it runs all year), cover the condenser to protect it from falling icicles. “A large trash can lid secured with bungee cords works quite well for this function,” says David Kenyon, training manager for Sears Home Improvement. You can also use a board to cover the fan — but don’t wrap it in a moisture-trapping plastic tarp.

4. Clean the heat exchanger.

“The heat exchanger should be brushed and vacuumed out annually by a trained professional while the unit is disabled,” Kenyon says. While it’s being cleaned, a Sears technician will look for cracks, which could lead to a dangerous carbon monoxide leak into your home.

5. Lubricate and clean the blower motor.

First check the owner’s manual to see if your motor is the kind that needs lubricating. If it does, turn off the power, open the cover and clean the caps covering the bearings. Then remove the caps and lubricate the bearings.

6. Test the igniter switch.

On an old system, you might have to relight the pilot. Newer systems have electronic ignitors. If the ignitor isn’t working, push the reset button. If that doesn’t do the trick, check your breaker. Still not working? Call in a professional.

7. Inspect the chimney and carbon monoxide detectors.

Chimneys can house carbon buildup or even small animals. “A professional should inspect them periodically,” Kenyon says. Routinely test or replace carbon monoxide detectors as well, as they help protect you from the “silent killer.”

Every Renovation starts with the Demolition

Demolition is the fun part of the Renovations

Baker Boys in Action

Renovations begin with demolition!! Demolition is actually the fun of the renovations if you don’t know that then you’ve never done it. Few things more invigorating that smashing, ripping and tossing out the new in preparation of the new.

As always follow the links for more information on Baker Plumbing and the services we can provide for you and/or your company. Baker Plumbing Home Page

Before any renovations can begin the Demolition, is the first on the list of to do’s. Its known as the science and engineering in safely and efficiently tearing down of buildings and other artificial structures. Demolition contrasts with deconstruction, which involves taking a building apart while carefully preserving valuable elements for reuse purposes.

For small buildings, such as houses, that are only two or three stories high, demolition is a rather simple process. The building is pulled down either manually or mechanically using large hydraulic equipment: elevated work platforms, cranes, excavators or bulldozers. Larger buildings may require the use of a wrecking ball, a heavy weight on a cable that is swung by a crane into the side of the buildings. Wrecking balls are especially effective against masonry, but are less easily controlled and often less efficient than other methods. Newer methods may use rotational hydraulic shears and silenced rock-breakers attached to excavators to cut or break through wood, steel, and concrete. The use of shears is especially common when flame cutting would be dangerous.

Renovations begin with Demolition

Demolition Described

Renovations begin with Demolition

Before any demolition activities can take place, there are many steps that must be carried out beforehand, including performing asbestos abatement, removing hazardous or regulated materials, obtaining necessary permits, submitting necessary notifications, disconnecting utilities, rodent baiting and the development of site-specific safety and work plans.

The typical razing of a building is accomplished as follows:

  • Hydraulic excavators may be used to topple one- or two-story buildings by an undermining process. The strategy is to undermine the building while controlling the manner and direction in which it falls.
  • The demolition project manager/supervisor will determine where undermining is necessary so that a building is pulled in the desired manner and direction.
  • The walls are typically undermined at a building’s base, but this is not always the case if the building design dictates otherwise. Safety and cleanup considerations are also taken into account in determining how the building is undermined and ultimately demolished.

In some cases a crane with a wrecking ball is used to demolish the structure down to a certain manageable height. At that point undermining takes place as described above. However crane mounted demolition balls are rarely used within demolition due to the uncontrollable nature of the swinging ball and the safety implications associated.

High reach demolition excavators are more often used for tall buildings where explosive demolition is not appropriate or possible. Excavators with shear attachments are typically used to dismantle steel structural elements. Hydraulic hammers are often used for concrete structures and concrete processing attachments are used to crush concrete to a manageable size, and to remove reinforcing steel. For tall concrete buildings, where neither explosive nor high reach demolition with an excavator is safe or practical, the “inside-out” method is used, whereby remotely operated mini-excavators demolish the building from the inside, whilst maintaining the outer walls of the building as a scaffolding, as each floor is demolished.

To control dust, fire hoses are used to maintain a wet demolition. Hoses may be held by workers, secured in fixed location, or attached to lifts to gain elevation.

Loaders or bulldozers may also be used to demolish a building. They are typically equipped with “rakes” (thick pieces of steel that could be an I-beam or tube) that are used to ram building walls. Skid loaders and loaders will also be used to take materials out and sort steel.

The technique of Vérinage is used in France to weaken and buckle the supports of central floors promoting the collapse of the top part of a building onto the bottom resulting in a rapid, symmetrical, collapse.[2]

The Japanese company Kajima Construction has developed a new method of demolishing buildings which involves using computer-controlled hydraulic jacks to support the bottom floor as the supporting columns are removed. The floor is lowered and this process is repeated for each floor. This technique is safer and more environmentally friendly, and is useful in areas of high population density.[3]

Fred Dibnah used a manual method of demolition to remove industrial chimneys in Great Britain. He cut an ingress at the base of the chimney—supporting the brickwork with wooden props—and then burning away the props so that the chimney fell, using no explosives and usually hand-operated power tools.[4]

Every Renovation begins with Demolition.

The Renaissance man of Plumbing-Hub Spotlight

Hub Spotlight: Bob Baker—Plumbing’s Renaissance Man

As the Renaissance man of Plumbing, we at Baker Plumbing are absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Mechanical Hub efforts to increase trade exposure. We truly believe that Eric, John and Tim are doing God’s work when it comes to education, exposure and trade excellence. Give them a follow on one of their social media accounts, you won’t be disappointed. Head to our home page for more information BAKER PLUMBING

Plumbing’s Renaissance Man

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heating

 

If you’ve ever seen Bob Baker’s Instagram page (@bakerplumbing), you’ll notice a few posts sprinkled in that show the beauty in this world, the good in people and an optimistic underlying tone. “It’s really become a focus for me as it seems that much of what is ugly and unkind dominates the news and many feeds I see. Honestly, it is therapeutic for me to focus on the wonderful things that this life, the world and the trade has to offer,” says Baker.

While it’s hard to escape all of the negativity, Baker sees the more positive approach as more of a mental exercise more than anything, to keep him focused on the good, simple, beautiful things that surround him if only he took time to notice. “I try not to let that negative stuff affect my mood and relationships so positive posts are really reminders to say the world, my life and this trade are wonderful, and have blessed my life and the life of my family more than I realize.”

Baker Plumbing

Baker Plumbing started in 1956, as Bob’s grandfather was an aircraft mechanic during WWII, and after the war he moved from Ontario to Alberta to start a family and started rehab training—provided by the military—to become a plumber. He got his license in 1952, then went on his own in 1956.

He had four boys—three of which became plumbers—one went stateside to become an engineer, one started a plumbing business in Cardston, and Bob’s father, Gerry, stayed in Calgary running mostly new construction, remodel, and eventually was heavily involved in septic fields and water treatment.

Bob Baker now runs the company and he has been on his own since 1998, focusing on commercial service and renovations—multi-national restaurant and hotel chains. “It makes for an exciting and diverse scope of work. which frankly I love, and it keep me interested and highly involved in the day-to-day. The next generation is on its way as my two boys have taken to the trade as well. Isaiah just completed his journeyman tests (and passed) and Pete is half through his training.”

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heating

Bob Baker with his two sons, Peter (l) and Isaiah (r).

Baker has never actually been out of the trade, really. With his grandfather, dad and several uncles trained as plumbers, he started out plumbing at three or four years old. Riding in the truck with his dad, making putty snakes, hauling garbage to playing gopher boy. That role continued until he finished high school and was accepted to university.

Baker spent a few years there, then switched to obtain a computer science degree. He got married and needed to make some money, took a job as a maintenance man for the several apartment buildings while continuing his schooling. “I actually realized that that all those years working with my Dad, I actually learned a lot and that I loved doing plumbing. I eventually quit computer science, went to trade school, got my ticket in 1997, and have been plumbing ever since.”

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heatingBaker owes a lot of his success, in life and in his career, to his father. He spent a lot of time working with him, appreciating what he was teaching him as both a man and a plumber. “Since he’s been gone, in almost every situation I find myself in, I ask myself, how would dad handle this? The end goal really is to leave the same impression on my own children.”

Sadly, Baker lost his Dad to brain cancer in 2006, which was swift and brutal. “Prior to that experience I never really thought about legacy or traditions or even family as in generational stories, so in the midst of dealing with the emotions of loss, pride, sadness and gratitude, I felt the urge to create something meaningful to me, my business and hopefully to my kids,” said Baker.

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heating

The Baker Family Crest

Hence, the Baker crest of arms was initiated. The Bakers have a lot of English and Scottish blood and have some prints of family crests dated back to those eras. “I stole some of those ideas and created a few of my own and the response has been exactly what I’d hope for. As for symbols it goes like this: Fire for Heating; Water drop for Plumbing, The Snake head for Drain cleaning; the Winged Foot, because we’re fast; The Skull, because we’re Bakers that are Plumbers till death; and the inscription is: If We Can’t Do It, It Can’t Be Done in Latin. Of course, we have Baker and 1956, which is our beginning.”

For the Love of the Job

For Baker, that’s an easy one. He loves the people he’s met and worked with, and he has created some lifelong friendships with some fantastic people all because they plugged their toilet or their pilot light went out.

“If you’re able to walk into a stressful situation and be calm and reassuring all while actually delivering on the solution, most people consider that heroic. It’s one of the absolute coolest feelings in the world.”

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heatingBeing an effective problem solver, says Baker, is an addiction, and plumbing and heating provide almost endless opportunities to get that fix. “Over the years I’ve tried really hard to learn and know a person’s name and then use it every time we met—it’s a difference maker. All those piled together have made the plumbing trade for me, more than I had hoped for some 30 years ago.”

Yet, according to Baker, the biggest issue facing the trades is the oldest issue. “Trades in general are thought of as second-tier jobs. Yes, I mean jobs. Nobody outside of the trade thinks of it as a career.”

Just last year Baker went to the local high school to talk to the principal about contributing to trade education. “He took me to the shop class and proudly pointed to the toilet and sink they had set up and said, ‘We got the plumbing side handled.’ Great guy and really good at his job, and I’ve even worked in his home, but plumbing is NOT a toilet and sink.”

The technology that is being developed for plumbing and heating systems will require some of the brightest and motivated minds, says Baker. “The message from us all in trade should be we need you. We need to do a better job at promoting ourselves and not in a selfish way but by being fine, upstanding citizens involved in current affairs, coaching little league teams, being out and about in our communities. As with anything else, the message starts and ends with each of us. The question is what message do we send both in and out of the work vans?”

Social Media—A Game Changer

“Being self-employed with your mentors being your dad and granddad makes for a pretty small circle. While clients and contractors are amazing and great to work with, no one really gets plumbing and its problems like plumbers,” says Baker.

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heatingThe social channels have brought dozens of plumbers into Baker’s life in the most positive of ways. Other than the salacious DOPE-GATE scandal, Baker can’t think of a single negative interaction online, unless you count the private no-names that try to ignite fires where ever they go.

The summer of 2019, Baker spend a fantastic week in Chicago and was given the first-class treatment and tour by several of the plumbers from the area. While others in his group were hitting tourist traps, Baker was in the heart of Chicago until 2 a.m. experiencing some of the most amazing things.

Baker also went to WWETT in March of 2020 and spent three “unbelievable days visiting with some of coolest plumbers and people I’ve ever met, and all because I post my work on social media. It’s mind blowing,” says Baker

Fitness First

Every tradesperson experiences aches and pain sooner or later, says Baker. Some of those can lead to debilitating injuries if not properly looked after. Having experienced all of them—shoulders, wrists, knees, back, etc.—one in particular in 2015 put Baker out of commission for several weeks. “It was a wake-up call that unless I started really keeping myself healthy, my time in the trade was ending soon. With a family to feed and being self-employed, I needed no further motivation.”

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heating

A new chapter — beekeeping

It started out simple with a few back exercises but exercise has grown into something Baker really enjoys. With the onset of COVID, I got serious about the home gym and the Baker Barn was born. “It’s been a life saver, both physically and mentally, to have a place where I can burn some calories and relieve some stress. I generally try and spend 90 minutes per day in the barn, and at 50 years old, I honestly have never felt better. If you’re not working out, then all of the fancy tools in the world won’t work by themselves,” says Baker.

To the Future

According to Baker, for the past 28 years or so there really wasn’t much of a work/leisure balance. Raising five kids was truly a 24-hour endeavor, but Baker has been humbled as his kids have turned into men and women to start their own lives. Both Baker’s boys have chosen the plumbing trade path, and they can now start to take over some of the duties. “My new passion has fallen to bees. This past year was my second full year as a beekeeper and so far it’s been a lot of fun learning something totally new. The hope is to turn bees into the next Baker Empire over the next five years, but I’m just enjoying the nuisances of the new craft,” says Baker.

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heating2020 was a hell of a year. COVID wreaked havoc on a lot of what Baker does. Being mostly hospitality focused proved to be challenging, but Baker has some tremendous relationships with many of his clients, and as he has supported them, they have supported him back. It’s also given the company a chance to zero in on its 3,000 residential clients that use Baker’s services once or twice a year. “With the boys taking a more active role, we’ve been able to provide faster and more efficient service to those sequestered at home. Of course, it’s also provided ample opportunity to reflect on the blessings of being considered essential, and helping those that need some assistance as things appear to get a wee bit darker.”

Bob Baker, Baker Plumbing, Calgary, Alberta, plumbing, Baker Barn, @bakerplumbing, heating, HVAC, water heatingBut as the calendar flips to 2021, Baker expects a banner year. He’s secured some great new contracts, and with the help of his boys, the ability to serve even more continues to grow. “We’re grateful that everyone is healthy and progressing through the challenges that our little moment in history is giving us the opportunity to participate in. We’re optimistic about the future and truly believe that there is no better time to be in the trades. We wish everyone, everywhere all the best in 2021. I’m especially delighted to start the year off by answering these questions and contributing to the foundational work Mechanical Hub provides at no charge. I do mean it: I think you and the team are doing great and important things,” says Baker.

Finally, when asked the last time he said, “today is a great day,” Baker can honestly say that he says that almost daily. “Maybe not in the moment of things going sideways, but the days of discouragement and disappointment are few and far between. I am a blessed man, mostly because I’ve worked hard to be so.”