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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.

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.”

The Commercial Washroom

Your Commercial washroom expert

Baker Plumbing spends more than its fair share of time in commercial washrooms. You might say it’s our home away from home. Commercial washrooms are even more important given our COVID environment. 

Part swap in record time

Commercial washrooms are specially designed to accommodate large numbers of patrons a day. The commercial washroom must still maintain high standards of cleanliness and sanitation. They are not your typical home bathroom. That’s why Baker Plumbing takes the time, tools and experience to ensure your Commercial washrooms are not a distraction. Your restaurant feel shouldn’t stop at the washroom and Baker will ensure it doesn’t. 

flushometer the staple of the commercial washroom. Typically, a washroom will have a half dozen or more flush valves keeping sanitation levels pristine. Invented by William Elvis Sloan and the legacy continued by the Sloan Valve Company.[1]   The flushometer revolutionized the commercial washroom. Innovations have come but the flushometer is still very similar to the original. See below.

A scuffed and oxidized metal flushometer valve with a porcelain handle attached to the back of a toilet
A polished and modern

A flushometer is a commercial setting fixture, as it provides a high-pressure and better-performing wash and flush than a normal gravity toilet. However, a flushometer requires that the building have a larger supply line than is normally found in small to medium residential buildings, and therefore such buildings typically use tank-type toilets.

For all your plumbing needs including commercial washrooms installations or repairs call Baker Plumbing today

Function of the Valve

The ingenious function of the flush valve is its use of water pressure rather than gravity from a raised tank like in previous models.

The diaphragm separates a pressure chamber from the main water supply. A narrow passageway leads from the main water supply into the pressure chamber. This passage meters the flow by slowing re-pressurizing of the pressure chamber after the action of a flush.

Diaphragm technology allows the flush valve to open and let water into the bowl. The main cylinder valve operates up and down. A groove allows water from the main supply to flow when in mid position. The valve is shut off at both its top and bottom positions.

A second valve releases the water in the topmost pressure chamber when the flush lever is activated, sending the main cylinder valve shooting upwards. The topmost pressure chamber slowly refills through its narrow passageway, pushing the valve cylinder back down gradually. A flush occurs while it is in its open mid positions. Because the water is gradually shut off, slower water at the end of the cycle serves to refill the bowl.

The valve cannot be kept open by holding the flush lever in the activated position, wasting water, because this only sends the main cylinder valve all the way up to its topmost shutoff position. A flush can only occur when the valve is in one of its mid positions.[1]

Baker Plumbing

Call Baker Plumbing today for any of your installation or repair needs today.

plugged toilet

Plumbing Mashed Potatoes

What do plumbing and mashed potatoes have in common?

Baker cleans impossible drains

This residential drain was so packed and plugged with every imaginable paper product it resembled mashed potatoes. With the use of the flex shaft we beat this mess into a puree and opened the drain line. In the video above you can first hand with our high powered camera. What we see here is 35′ of backed up piping and some poorly graded plumbing. These combine to make a difficult situation a bit more difficult but nothing that Baker Plumbing can’t handle.

Tools of the trade

I remember using flat steel push cables and other such ancient devices. Today’s plumbing are far more capable, effective and yes more expensive. In this particular job we used our compressed Airgun, AirGun link my personal favorite for clearing toilets, then we switched to our reliable Super Vee cable snake Drain snake link . Both of these proved ineffective due to the amount of debris in the drain line.

Bring in the Heavy Artillery

The next move was to bring in the big guns. Today we choose the Ridgid Flexshaft Ridgid Flexshaft link and the Ridgid mini-camera Best cameras made This combination proved to be the deciding factor. Using them as a team we worked our way through the debris ensuring our effective disruption of the blockage, as we went. This proved the undoing of the blockage and the return to service that this family desperately needed.

The Finale

While it took some doing we were successful in clearly the line of all the debris. With the use of the latest in plumbing tools and technology we are able to prove to the client and ourselves that the work was not only complete but lasting. Isn’t that the most important thing? Lasting work done by your local Calgary Plumber, Baker Plumbing.

Episode 1 Drain Gate

Episode 2

Episode 3

scoping commercial drains in Calgary

Drain Cameras in Calgary

Calgary Drain Cameras

Baker In Action

Baker Plumbing takes its responsibility of cleaning and maintaining your plumbing and drainage systems so seriously that we only use the very best in tools.

Drain cameras have become an essential tool in providing both us and our clients the most accurate in information and assessments.

Truly its impossible to successfully diagnosis what might be happening to your drains without the drain camera being used.

These miracles of technology have come a long way over the last several years in resolution and in data transfer. We can now send video of your unique plumbing system with these amazing drain cameras almost instantly and provide equally fast solutions to any issues that we find during our examinations.

Amazing!!

According to Simon Blake

Drain inspection cameras that are affordable for the average contractor have been around for about 25 years. They have become sophisticated electronic devices and, like anything to do with electronics, the pace of change is rapid.

“The technology in cameras is advancing rapidly, probably more so than any of our other product lines,” noted Marty Silverman, vice president, marketing, for General Pipe Cleaners, McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.

In that short period of time, they have evolved from 50 lb. machines that recorded on VHS tape – if they recorded at all – to today’s compact three-pound machines that record via Wi-Fi to a smartphone or tablet.

A better picture

The primary purpose of a drain camera is to see what is blocking the drain. That sounds obvious, but manufacturers have gone to considerable lengths to improve the picture of not only what is ahead of the camera, but on some camera models improved peripheral vision helps the technician do a detailed inspection of the pipe walls and see clearly the type of pipe connections they are dealing with.

Pan and tilt – in which the camera lens rotates and tilts so the operator can inspect the walls of the pipe – is now available in smaller cameras, noted Frank D’Andrea, president of Ratech Electronics, Toronto. The company’s Pan n’ Tilt Push model is designed to inspect four to 12-inch lines, making it practical for residential and small commercial sewer inspection. “It allows you to see a lot closer and in a lot more detail.”

Ridgid, Elyria, Ohio, recently introduced its TruSense technology on standard and mini reels. It includes High Dynamic Range (HDR) and TiltSense technology. “The HDR balances out the light and the image in the pipe so you get a clearer overall image as well as being able to see much further down the line,” explained Amy Moneypenny, global product manager for underground technology, inspection and locating.

HDR balances the light and dark areas on the colour picture to avoid overly bright or dark areas. “You can see all the walls of the pipe in greater detail with HDR.” It can also be turned off for greater contrast. “On the monitor, they can toggle the HDR on and off depending on the job and situation,” she added.

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Ridgid’s TiltSense technology is an onboard inclinometer that measures and displays the pitch of the camera, allowing the plumber to immediately see the slope of the pipe, plus or minus in degrees. “When you are in muck and water and you can’t see much of anything, you can quickly find bellies in the pipe that you would not normally be able to see,” said Jeff Albertini, Ridgid global product manager, underground technologies, hand-held tools.

For more information See The Ridgid Website

Winter in Calgary

Winter is Coming to Calgary

Baker Plumbing logo

Garage Heater Install

Winter officially begins on December 21, yet if you live in Calgary you know that winter starts far sooner that than. In fact winter in Calgary is about to start this weekend with the mercury dipping below -20C. With temperatures like that it won’t take long to find out if your furnace, boiler and fireplace is working properly.

If by some chance you find out that one of your heating appliamces is not up to snuff. Baker Plumbing is ready with the knowledge, experience, tools and skills to get things warmed up fast!

Here’s a little more information on our favorite season, winter!

Winter is Coming

Winter, coldest season of the year, between autumn and spring; the name comes from an old Germanic word that means “time of water” and refers to the rain and snow of winter in middle and high latitudes. In the Northern Hemisphere it is commonly regarded as extending from the winter solstice (year’s shortest day), December 21 or 22, to the vernal equinox (day and night equal in length), March 20 or 21, and in the Southern Hemisphere from June 21 or 22 to September 22 or 23. The low temperatures associated with winter occur only in middle and high latitudes; in equatorial regions, temperatures are almost uniformly high throughout the year.

Definition of Winter

Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate zones (winter does not occur in most of the tropical zone). It occurs after autumn and before spring in each year. Winter is caused by the axis of the Earth in that hemisphere being oriented away from the Sun. Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, and some use a definition based on weather. When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa. In many regions, winter is associated with snow and freezing temperatures. The moment of winter solstice is when the Sun’s elevation with respect to the North or South Pole is at its most negative value (that is, the Sun is at its farthest below the horizon as measured from the pole). The day on which this occurs has the shortest day and the longest night, with day length increasing and night length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. The earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates outside the polar regions differ from the date of the winter solstice, however, and these depend on latitude, due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth’s elliptical orbit (see earliest and latest sunrise and sunset).

urinals

Why No One Talks About Urinals Anymore

URINALS AIN’T NO ONE’S FRIEND

URINAL CLEANING DONE RIGHT

 

In every commercial restroom in the world you’ll find a urinal, at least in the men’s room anyway. With all that’s going on in the world, that could actually be a very bad thing. Check out this article from the Chicago Sun Times. Something to think about the next time you enter the men’s room.

Wearing a mask in public restrooms should be mandatory during the pandemic, researchers say, because there’s increasing evidence that flushing toilets – and now urinals – can release inhalable coronavirus particles into the air.

The coronavirus can be found in a person’s urine or stool, and flushing urinals can generate an “alarming upward flow” of particles that “travel faster and fly farther” than particles from a toilet flush, according to a study published in the journal Physics of Fluid Monday.

“Urinal flushing indeed promotes the spread of bacteria and viruses,” researcher Xiangdong Liu said in a press release. “Wearing a mask should be mandatory within public restrooms during the pandemic, and anti-diffusion improvements are urgently needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Liu and other researchers from Yangzhou University in China simulated urinal flushing using computer models and estimated that, within just five seconds of flushing, virus particles could reach a height of more than 2 feet off the ground.

“Potentially, it could contaminate other surfaces you would touch – the handle, the tap,” said Charles Gerba, a professor of virology at the University of Arizona. “The concern is also – was there anything left over from the person who was there before? Aerosolization from the previous user you may potentially inhale?”

Some of the same researchers released similar findings in June, focused on toilet flushing. Through another computer model, the researchers found that thousands of particles can come out of the toilet within 70 seconds of flushing, and that some can reach higher than a foot above the toilet bowl in half that time.

“It is reasonable to assume that the high-speed airflow will expel aerosol particles from the bowl to regions high in the air above the toilet, allowing viruses to spread indoors causing risks to human health,” the researchers said at the time.

The studies are interesting but unsurprising, as research on particles kicked up in “toilet plumes” has been around for about two decades now, said Joshua Santarpia, a professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center specializing in bioaerosols.

“The more interesting thing to me was that I hadn’t considered the urine issue – whether SARS-CoV-2 was shed in urine,” he said.

Coronavirus found in urine, stool

Many people aren’t aware that toilets and urinals can release particles into the air, let alone that genetic material from SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes the disease known as COVID-19 – can be found in patients’ urine and stool, Gerba said.

“It’s probably been overlooked – urine contamination,” Gerba said. “Smallpox, Zika virus are excreted in the urine. What’s surprising is that a respiratory virus can be excreted in the urine.”

At least two studies – one in Tokyo and one in Guangzhou, China – have found coronavirus RNA in patients’ urine. Studies published in the journals Gastroenterology and The Lancet also found coronavirus RNA in patients’ stool, even weeks after the patients showed negative results in respiratory samples. One study in and around Beijing, however, did not find any evidence of virus in 72 urine specimens.

It’s still unclear whether COVID-19 can transmit through urine and infect another person, Gerba said.

“Is there enough virus in the urine to worry about? Does enough get aerosolized? Those are questions we need to look at,” he said.

The researchers at Yangzhou University argue that transmission in a public restroom has already happened. They cite local news reports of a couple, who work at a food market in Beijing, contracting the virus at a restroom nearby.

“What’s worse, two of COVID-19 reemerging confirmed cases in Beijing have been reported to be infected from a public toilet, which practically proves the danger from the public restroom,” the researchers wrote.

Can the coronavirus disease spread through air?

Health experts believe the virus mainly transmits through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes, but the World Health Organization says that “short-range aerosol transmission . . . cannot be ruled out.”

Researchers measuring the amount of viral aerosols in different areas of two Wuhan hospitals found that while the concentration detected in isolation wards and ventilated patient rooms was very low, it was higher in the toilet areas used by the patients, according to an April study published in the journal Nature.

The researchers recommended that room ventilation, open space, sanitization of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas could effectively limit the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols.

“I think there’s a lot of strategies and interventions that could be developed if it really turns out that there’s significant risk,” Gerba said.

For now, the next best step would be to put the researchers’ computer model to the test to see if flushing a urinal actually kicks virus particles up into the air, Gerba and Santarpia said.

“Somebody should really validate some of this experimentally. It’s a model, and there are a lot of assumptions,” Santarpia said. “More work needs to be done.”

FULL ARTICLE

baker heating guru

‘BEST IN CALGARY’ Plumber list again

AS GOOD AS ANY, BETTER THAN MOST

MADE ANOTHER LIST

Best Plumber in Calgary

 

Looking for one of the Best Plumbers in Calgary then look no further. Baker Plumbing is proudly a multi-generational family business which has been serving Calgary and area since 1956! That’ s 64 years of experience under one roof! Read about our history here, BAKER HISTORY

Currently the family business is being directed by Bob Baker whose been practicing as a Master Plumber since 1996. Bob’s sons Isaiah and Peter are at present completing their apprenticeship programs at SAIT ensuring the 4th generation of Baker plumbers servicing the greater Calgary area which also Okotoks, Rocky View, Airdrie, Cochrane and Bragg Creek, for years to come.

Looking for a local plumbing company with experience in a wide ranging skill set from hot water tanks (Bradford White), water softeners, furnace installs/ tune ups and other guaranteed services? Baker ranks among the best plumbing and heating companies in Calgary.

Our services of course include plumbing, heating, gas fitting along with an impressive array of Plumbing and HVAC equipment. We repair, install and service what we sell.

Our clients include industrial, commercial and residential locations of all types. We ensure their bathrooms, kitchens, furnace rooms, boiler rooms and so much more are working effectively and efficiently. With over 64 years of experience and with a dedicated team of actual plumbers and not technicians, our service is considered one of the best in the city of Calgary. We strive on time, on budget and we guarantee always our work.  Our equipment is maintained to the highest standards while our knowledge, experience, and skills exceed industry expectations at all levels, to the benefit of all our clientele.

Call Baker Plumbing today!!