As an owner of a plumbing company, you likely deal with multiple installations over the days, weeks, months, and years. Your team completes an installation or service call and moves on to the next job, never looking back. But occasionally, you learn that a product you’ve installed has been deemed problematic.
The recent warning about solar water heaters has prompted many plumbing companies to take notice. Selling under the names Solar & Bamboo and Solar Installations, the company that produced the water heater was reported to NSW Fair Trading in Australia by a plumber for the company. According to the plumber, the solar water heaters heat water to a temperature that could actually scald a person.
Additionally, the plumber reported these solar water heaters can also produce discolored water that might cause skin irritations to those who are sensitive to them. Last month, the company’s director and general manager was convicted for selling the dangerous hot water heaters.
”The tanks had the potential to produce an uncontrolled water temperature that could result in very hot water flowing into bathroom and kitchen taps or from the tanks, presenting a serious risk of scalding,” Anthony Roberts, Australia’s Fair Trading Minister, stated.
Since most service businesses regularly install hardware made by third-party manufacturers, news like this can be alarming. How can you know if the products you’re installing are safe for your customers? Here are a few steps that can help you safeguard your customers, as well as protect you against liability if something occurs as a result of appliances or hardware you install.
- Check for safety stickers. One of the charges against Solar & Bamboo was that the tank was missing a required watermark that certifies the tank as approved by NSW. Check to make sure everything you install meets industry safety standards. If you have additional concerns, research the product to learn as much as you can about it.
- Stick with trusted brands. While you might save a few bucks going with that new water heater or electrical wiring, it’s best to stay with the brands you know. If you’re looking for a discount, consider working out a deal for regularly buying from the same place, but don’t take risks with safety…for your workers or your customers.
- Conduct regular testing. Testing of the water in the solar water heaters made by Solar & Bamboo revealed elevated alkaline pH levels, which can cause skin irritation. While your plumbing business isn’t obligated to test the alkaline pH level of every hot water heater you install, by randomly testing your products, you can safeguard your business and your customers.
- Graciously offer refunds. If a product you’ve installed makes the recall list, use your database to contact customers and let them know. The manufacturer will usually cover the cost of recall and by notifying the customer and offering to switch it out for a replacement at no charge, you’ll establish your business as a reliable, customer service focused business.
By always looking out for your customers, you can ensure long-term repeat business. You’ll also protect your workers and your customers from harm, which is the most important thing your plumbing business can do each day.