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Winners of 'Master Plumber for a Day' competition

19 October 2018
heating water pressure

To mark World Plumbing Day in 2018, Master Plumbers ran a Facebook competition offering the chance to win the services of a Master Plumber for a day.

Out of hundreds of entries, the lucky winner was Rachel Phillips from South Taranaki. Rachel and her husband Grant are renovating their 1920s house, situated on farmland with spectacular views of Mount Taranaki.

Phillips family crop2

Water pressure and heating problems

Rachel, Grant and their small son Kenny had just moved into the house and encountered issues with the water pressure. Their shower was either boiling hot or freezing cold, so particularly unsuitable for Kenny to use. She commented, “It takes a good half an hour to run my son a bath and when you’re two that’s a really long time.”

Heating was another issue in their unmodified, uninsulated house, where they relied on a portable gas heater. With a good supply of timber on the farm, Rachel wanted to get advice about installing a woodburner and possibly a wetback water heating system.

Houghton’s Plumbing, Heating & Gas of Hawera stepped up to be Rachel’s Master Plumber for a Day. Managing Director Glenice Houghton was delighted to be part of the competition and kept in regular contact with Rachel over the next few months.

Rachel says, “Glenice was so good and supported us every step of the way.” In the build up to the job they exchanged emails and photos and discussed options. Rachel and Grant decided to go ahead with installing a woodburner but put the wetback on hold for the time being.

“Our current water cylinder is old but still has a bit of life left in it, so when we have to replace it we’ll choose between installing a wetback or a gas continuous flow water heating system. As we live in a rural area, any gas will have to be bottled.”

Rachel and Grant bought the woodburner and Glenice guided them through the process of filling out the right documents to get the necessary consents from the South Taranaki District Council.

Finally, everything came together and 28 August was chosen as The Day.

Sorting the shower

Chris Baylis and John Te Awhe from Houghton’s found the farm uses high pressure spring water, while the hot water system in Rachel and Grant’s property is low pressure. This made it very hard for the mixer taps on the bath and shower to cope, and the cold water would overwhelm the hot.

A simple solution was found for the shower. The multi-function showerhead (only suitable for high pressure systems) was replaced with a single-function head and a wider hose replaced the existing narrow one. Rachel was thrilled at the immediate change. “The pressure in the shower is great. Now when we use the mixer tap, halfway is perfect!”

Houghton’s cleaned the mixer tap on the bath, which improved things slightly. “It still takes 20-30 minutes to fill a bath, but now Kenny, a typical small boy who likes mud, can use the shower,” says Rachel. “That’s made a huge difference.”

Happy customers—deserving winners

Rachel had nothing but praise for her Master Plumber for a Day experience. “Glenice is great and knows what she’s talking about. The guys were so helpful—they spotted and sorted a potential issue with the burner installation, which may have resulted in a failed council inspection.” It passed inspection with flying colours.

Rachel found Chris and John were happy to answer her questions and provide advice. “They even told us how we have to ‘wear the new fire in’ by tempering it. They’re service agents for Metro fires in our area, so it was great to have trusted, expert advice.”

She also appreciated that Houghton’s gave her a quote for additional costs before starting work. While Master Plumbers footed the bill for one plumber for eight hours, Rachel paid for all materials, an extra plumber and mileage. “That was so helpful. It meant we could budget for the costs and were able to pay straight away.”

Glenice Houghton says it was a pleasure working with Rachel and Grant. “They were so easy to deal with. We were happy to install the woodburner and sort out the water pressure issues. When Rachel sent through photos of the setup, I got the first inkling about what the problem was. Low pressure hot water systems are a common problem in rural Taranaki properties.

“We have been proud members of Master Plumbers for 35 years and are pleased to have been involved in the ‘Win a Master Plumber for a Day’ competition. Congratulations to Master Plumbers for a fantastic promotion and to Rachel and family—the deserving winners.”

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