Angie’s List Super Service Award 8 Years Straight

Wilson Plumbing Angie’s List Winner

2017 Marks Eighth Year In A Row For Honor

We’re proud to announce we’ve again received the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA) for the eighth year in a row, marking a string of accomplishments that began in 2010. This latest award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List throughout 2017. Continue reading

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Country Faces Urgent Need For New Vo-Tech Trade Schools

U.S. Urgently Needs Recruits For Trades

vo-tech trades offer better careers

High Tech Trade Schools Filling Needs Across Country

A quiet trend that’s building across the country is the realization by state governments and private industry that a vocational trades education is an essential option for young people starting out, and that the trades can be just as financially rewarding, if not more so, than a traditional, and increasingly expensive, college degree.

“Readers of a certain age are likely to have fond memories of huddling over wooden workbenches learning a craft such as woodwork or maybe metal work, or any one of the hands-on projects that characterized the once-ubiquitous shop class.”

High schools and trade colleges have struggled for decades to attract students to career-oriented tech classes teaching dozens of much needed hands-on skills ranging from welding to nursing to plumbing.

Today, according to economic modeling company Emsi, skilled trades and the arts show some of the highest earning potential among all job categories, including white collar occupations that have long enjoyed the high ground of compensation. Continue reading

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Freestanding Tubs, Larger Showers Popular

Larger Showers Replacing Bathtubs

Kohler acrylic freestanding tub

Kohler’s Veil freestanding tub is the focal point in this Modern Fusion bathroom theme.

According to recent trends, the popularity of bathtubs is on the wane. When it comes to remodeling, about one in four households that have bathtubs are replacing them, usually with a larger shower. At the same time, households that are hanging on to their bathtubs can now indulge their senses by converting a strictly functional room into a personal spa oasis.

For those opting to indulge in a nice, hot soak the leading choice for a replacement is a freestanding design. Freestanding designs come in two versions, partial and full. A partial freestanding tub hooks up to a conventional in the wall faucet and filler, while a full freestanding uses a floor-mounted filler and faucet. If you’re considering a freestanding tub, here’s what to look for in terms of design and construction.

Your Tub Choices Are Nearly Limitless

Even though bathtub use is declining, the variety of tubs available in the marketplace is growing, in large part due to new materials and improved manufacturing methods. New materials now cover everything from carbon fiber to acrylic, while still supporting an extensive range of options in wood, marble, and stone.

Improvements in modern manufacturing techniques mean higher quality steel tubs and extended finishes on traditional cast iron. The pros and cons of nine popular materials include cost, heat retention, surface, scratch resistance, weight, etc.

From Marble to Plastic, Materials Free The Imagination

Acrylic’s advantages include a wide range of colors and an infinite choice of shapes. Large slabs of plastic are molded to the desired shape using heat to soften the acrylic sheets. The process results in a non-porous smooth surface that retains heat, although the plastic is subject to scratching.

Fiberglas is another material that’s been adapted to the bathing scene, which isn’t that far removed from a boat or a pool. Compared to steel or cast iron, lighter weight is a real benefit when it comes to ease of installation and structural requirements, especially on a second floor or higher which might need additional re-enforcement to support the weight.

Acrylic and cast iron both have excellent heat retention qualities, and depending on how much bathing is done that feature alone could result in considerable energy savings over the lifetime of the tubs. In the case of cast iron, that lifetime lasts forever.

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Austin Cool House Tour Features Energy Efficient Regional Architecture

Energy Efficient Home Blends Great Looks, Big Savings

Cool House Tour 2018

Exciting to again work with Austin’s A.R. Lucas Construction on this stunning entry in the 2018 Cool House Tour. The Cool House Tour is an annual event produced by Austin Energy Green Building and Texas Solar Energy Society that showcases homes designed and built with energy efficiency, comfort and regional design as their main goal.

Owners Work From Home

This home, and others on the tour, benefit from the latest in energy efficient practices, appliances, and fixtures. In this home the owners adapted traditional architectural techniques — tall windows for plenty of natural lighting and deep roof overhangs for summer shade — to achieve about 16% more in energy savings than similar Austin homes. Considering that the owners both work from home, the savings are even more impressive.

You can learn more by visiting the Austin Energy Green Building’s Facebook page.

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Hi-Tech Smart Homes – What To Look Out For

Smart Home Of The Future Is Now

In 2013 Smart Built Home predicted smart homes driven by flex screen technology. Today, smart phones control our homes using an endless stream of appliance apps.

Smart Homes Driven By Smart Phones

So-called smart homes have been touted for decades, but only now are they really taking off, thanks to wi-fi, Bluetooth, smart phone apps, and the internet itself. There’s an avalanche of ads for home tech wireless devices every time you turn on the big screen.

Cameras, lights, thermostats, garage doors, ovens, DVRs, cable schedules, washing machines, door locks, personal assistants – the list is growing, and seems endless. All have one or two things in common: app controlled, router wi-fi and or Bluetooth connected, electronics.

For homeowners, contractors, and the service professionals who will have to tend our devices, there are numerous challenges and plenty of rewards.

Home Advisor reports that Lennar, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, will be first to incorporate the new generation of smart technology into their homes, labeled with the Wi-Fi Home Design Certification seal of approval and designed from the foundation up to take advantage of a quickly evolving technology.

Toilets Were First Wave

Toilet manufacturers like Toto were in the vanguard of establishing a market niche for app-controlled appliances. Their NeoRest line of super deluxe seats and top of the line fixtures, though considerably more expensive than conventional products, enjoy enthusiastic support from their user/owners. Continue reading

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Laundry Room

Laundry Room Storage Upgrade

Plenty Of Functionality, Style Touches

Getting the most out of your laundry room upgrade means designing for storage, making sure the appliances fit, and checking that the workflow is right for your style of living.

The 150 sq. foot space shown above features include a deep sink and tall faucet that can accommodate a mop bucket for easy cleanup, and a fold-down ironing board that stores away in a wall mounted cabinet when not in use and that doesn’t gobble up valuable floor space.

The continuous counter allows plenty of room for folding the laundry, while open shelving combined with contemporary cabinets offer plenty of storage. The overall color and style create a relaxing space that makes wash day in a relaxing, efficient space a more pleasant task.

Paint Color Plays An Important Role

One important aspect of this comfortable work room is the use of an extended color palette that blends several different colors in a subtle, harmonious way. When using more than two or three basic colors, it’s difficult to avoid ending up with a conflicting mess of out-of-synch hues and shades.

If you’re unsure, it’s easy enough to test paint schemes ahead of time. It’s much easier to get it right in the planning stage than spending time and effort in the do-over phase.

Let Your Budget Determine Your Options

It’s always best to establish a budget before jumping into the deep end. Once that’s done, the entire job of deciding which options work best for your situation becomes a lot easier.

The under counter wicker baskets, above, are perfect for tossing dirty laundry into, and a small window over the sink adds plenty of light and avoids a closed in tunnel look.

If you’re looking for more information on ways to refresh that worn out laundry room, check out these budget options that start at $300 and stop just short of the moon. You might be surprised at how easy it is to get a fresh makeover without breaking the bank.

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What A Way To Go!

Tech Toilet Soars To New Heights

If simply checking your Facebook feed while you’re taking care of business isn’t enough, here’s a visual solution that offers plenty of options for enhancing your private time! Interested? We can make it happen!

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Japanese Soaking Tub And Garden

Soaking Tub Garden Oasis

Neglected Outdoor Shower Turned Into Spa Oasis

This Massachusetts homeowner rescued an abandoned outdoor shower by turning it into a beautifully proportioned, Japanese inspired outdoor soaking tub that’s much more than the sum its minimal footprint might suggest.

The restored structure is a woodworkers dream of cedar, oak, and mahogany built on the old bones of the neglected cold water only shower. Now updated with wi-fi and the addition of essential hot water for year-round use, the wooden vessel was custom-built by an Alaskan firm that specializes in traditional Japanese soaking tubs.

On their way to enjoying a relaxing soak in the tub, bathers pass through a lavender filled garden bordered by hydrangea, free to luxuriate in a warm, comforting environment that washes away the debilitating effects of a stress filled day.


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When Dream Homes Become Nightmares

Know What You’re Buying

money pit

Before You Say “I Do”

The British call them follies. Hollywood made a movie about them. Reality tv has dozens of shows devoted to them.

What are we talking about? Money pits, like the horror story featured in this 2016 New York Times article.

At the same time you’ll be influenced by the fresh coat of robin’s egg blue in the halls.

When you’re shopping for an existing home, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and to quickly lose track of the cold facts that often lurk in the background of virtually any property that’s been around for more than a New York minute.

Ask Hard Questions, Demand Good Answers

There’s a basic list of considerations every buyer should be aware of after they’ve gone through the listings, found a few favorites, and are actively engaged in the inspection stage. This is when the adrenaline starts kicking in and reasoned judgement tends to give way to the excitement of your very own dream home.

Typically you’ll be escorted by the seller’s representative, whose job it is to focus your attention on the positives while minimizing the negatives. And if the property you’re inspecting happens to particularly strike your fancy, their job is that much easier.

Keeping a clear head about what could be hiding in the shadows can be challenging. As you move through the process of evaluating your potential new home, you’ll weigh the neighborhood, shopping, schools, work commute, and dozens of other location related factors.

Don’t Let Yourself Be Distracted

At the same time you’ll be influenced by the fresh coat of robin’s egg blue in the halls, the crisply folded French hand towels in the kitchen, and the sparkling white brilliance of new subway tile in the bath.

It’s when you’re most vulnerable that you need to seriously evaluate the condition of the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, gas lines, roof structure, insulation, and several other factors before coming to a decision. Set emotion aside and order a well-qualified home inspection before deciding on your next move. Here’s a short list to help make the job of sorting wheat from chaff a lot easier when it comes to understanding the commitment you’re about to make.

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Celebrate World Plumbing Day March 11

World Plumbing Day Promotes Water Preservation

world plumbing day poster

World Plumbing Day was first observed on March 11, 2011. Since its inception, the site has compiled a collection of FAQs, press releases, and activities to promote and encourage a responsible approach towards preserving clean, safe water.

Coincidentally, the New York Times published a long overdue article on the “flushability” of hygenic wipes, and the enormous amount of damage they cause to municipal waste processing systems.

“I agree that they’re flushable,” said Tim Haapala, operations manager for the Charleston Sanitary Board. “A golf ball is flushable, but it’s not a good idea.”

We’re Ruining Our Own Water Supply

World Plumbing Day looks at both technology and passive conservation methods that can, and should be, used to preserve and protect our dwindling reserves of potable water sources. By now, most of us are familiar with low flow mandatory toilets and limited flow faucets and showerheads. Increasingly, these methods of conserving and preserving are being augmented with digital technology and software that can help maintain greater control over wasteful useage.

Even though western countries face increasing threats to their water sources, both in availability and in quality, under and undeveloped countries are bearing the brunt of easy access to safe drinking water.

We’re All In This Together

How we react to current and future challenges to our dwindling supplies of safe, clean, drinkable water depends entirely on the actions we take today. Wilson Plumbing’s first greywater home is proof that efforts at the local level can pay dividends all the way up the line.

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