Learn About the First Black Woman Master Plumber

Meet Adrienne Bennett: A Trailblazer In the Plumbing Industry

February is Black History Month - a time for reflecting on the lives and achievements of those Black pioneers who knocked down walls, fought for equality, and helped change the world for the better. Some of the more famous examples come from the worlds of the Civil Rights movement, academia, entertainment, sports, and politics - but one of the most inspiring examples comes from an unexpected place: the plumbing industry. Keep reading to learn about the life and career of Adrienne Bennett, the first Black woman to become a Master Plumber!

Humble Beginnings

Adrienne Bennett got into plumbing through a chance encounter at a Detroit rally for President Jimmy Carter in 1976. It was here that she met a recruiter for the Mechanical Contractors Association of Detroit, Gus Dowels. Dowels was looking to recruit minority women for a 5-year apprenticeship program with the Plumbers’ Union.

Bennett was studying engineering at the time, so this was an intriguing opportunity that seemed like a good fit. The deal was sealed when Dowels mentioned how much she could make if she completed the program - $50,000 a year.

From Apprentice To Business Owner

Bennett’s apprenticeship was a difficult period for her. She was surrounded by men (five women had joined the program before her but dropped out for various reasons), making her a target for discrimination, intimidation, and even physical harassment. Bennett refused to quit or be broken by the abuse she endured almost daily. Instead, she completed the apprenticeship and became a journeyman plumber in 1985.

Two years later, she passed her master plumber exam - making her the first Black woman to obtain a master plumber license. But her career only gets more impressive from there. She went on to become the first Black female plumbing inspector, work as a code enforcement officer for the City of Detroit, and serve as senior project manager for the $80 million expansion of the Henry Ford Hospital. In 2008, she became a business owner when she founded the plumbing contractor Benkari with her son.

Where Is Bennett Today?

Adrienne Bennett is still the President & CEO of Benkari. As a growing independent contracting company, they have completed numerous commercial projects, with plenty more in the works. Bennett was thrilled to have Benkari be involved in the restoration of Michigan Central Station, which she remembers fondly from her childhood in Detroit. Some of Benkari’s other projects include the construction of Little Caesars Arena and the renovation of much of Detroit’s utility infrastructure.

To this day, Bennett remains the only Black female master plumber in America - but she wants to change that. She is a vocal advocate for women and people of color in the plumbing industry. She continues to exemplify what’s possible through hard work, perseverance, and adversity. Truly, Adrienne Bennett’s story is one slice of Black History that will inspire and encourage generations to come!

About Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc

Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc has been Palm Desert’s preferred plumber for over 35 years. As a family-owned and operated local business, they are honored to have been named Nextdoor’s Neighborhood Favorite company for two years. They offer same-day service, competitive pricing, membership plans, and 24/7 emergency plumbing service - so there’s no better choice for plumbers in Palm Desert, CA!

How to Save Money On Heating Bills for Holiday Shopping

Lower Electric Bill Means More Holiday Spending Money

Heating costs are one of the biggest expenses that homeowners face during the cold winter months. It can be difficult to juggle the demands of heating a home while saving enough money to buy holiday gifts, enjoy vacations, and fund holiday festivities. Parents may want to give their children the Christmas of their dreams but wonder how it will be possible to afford gifts while also paying for rising heating costs.

In this blog post, HVAC experts share advice on how homeowners can reduce their energy usage and save money this winter. Saving money on utility bills can mean substantial savings towards holiday shopping. Improving the efficiency of the home's heating system will help keep the home warm all winter long without breaking the bank.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Homeowners who want to reduce electric bills this winter should consider installing a programmable or smart thermostat. Thermostats control the overall function of the heating and cooling system. A new wifi thermostat can benefit homeowners by making it easier to program and adjust the temperature for efficiency.

Making small adjustments to the temperature, such as lowering the heat at night when people are asleep or when no one is home, can help homeowners to save money on their electric bills. There is no need to heat an empty house, so why not save money by programming the thermostat around work hours?

New wifi thermostats connect to smartphone applications so that homeowners can adjust their system from anywhere at any time. Smart thermostats are the best for improving energy efficiency. Smart technology learns the home's environment to make automatic adjustments for maximum energy savings without the homeowner lifting a finger.

Air Filter Replacement

The air filter is a mesh screen placed over the air intake for the home's HVAC system. It prevents particles of dust and airborne contaminants from being sucked into the HVAC system. A clean air filter is essential for preventing airborne contaminants from recirculating throughout the house and clogging up the inner workings of the heating system.

The air filter needs to be changed around every three months. Some people may need to change their air filters more frequently, such as people who smoke indoors or have many pets. Animal fur, dust, and other debris can become lodged in the heating system, leading to increased energy bills due to inefficient performance.

Keeping the HVAC system clean by replacing the air filter on time can significantly reduce energy bills. Failing to change air filters often enough is one of the most common reasons people experience a sudden spike in heating costs. When the heating system is full of dust, it cannot perform efficiently, and the struggle to heat the home leads to more energy usage.

HVAC Maintenance

HVAC maintenance at the beginning of the season can help save homeowners money on heating during the cold winter. A tune-up on the heating system is a great way to ensure everything works smoothly. Any parts in the HVAC system that are worn out could cause high utility bills.

Cleaning the inside of the HVAC system to remove any dust and debris can also help improve the performance immediately. Working on heating systems can be dangerous because of the high temperatures, so homeowners should always trust an experienced professional. HVAC technicians will know how to safely inspect, clean, tighten loose parts, and make small repairs to the heating system.

About Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc

Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc is proud to serve Palm Desert, CA, and the surrounding areas with outstanding services from expert technicians. Homeowners can depend on the team from this local plumbing and heating company to always be on-time, professional, and knowledgeable. Call them today to schedule an appointment for HVAC maintenance in Palm Desert, CA!

It's a Ghost! It's a Zombie! No, It's Water Hammer

Water Hammer: a Short Guide to What It is and How It Gets Fixed

A banging sound starts from behind the wall in the middle of the night. It briefly stops, then starts right back up again. This continues until the sun rises, leaving homeowners wondering: "What was that?"

Chances are, it's water hammer when a homeowner hears banging, clanging, or pounding noises behind the wall. One should not ignore this phenomenon. Water hammer does not get better on its own. It needs immediate attention. Otherwise, a homeowner could face long-term damage to the plumbing system and even burst pipes.

What Exactly Is Water Hammer?

Imagine a pipe. Water flows through one end, and a valve stops the water's flow at the other. When someone turns on the faucet, the valve opens, allowing water to stream through the faucet. When they turn the water off, the valve closes, preventing water from passing through the pipe.

Water hammer is when the flow of water hammers against the closed valve. This can cause loud sounds that bump in the night (or day). Some causes of water hammer include:

  • Loosely-fitted pipes
  • New plumbing appliances and fixtures, such as faucets and sinks
  • Worn valves
  • Clogged air chambers
  • Water rippling from the water tank

Sometimes, valves do their jobs too well. When a valve suddenly cuts off water flow, the water may not stop in time, creating an unpleasant banging noise.

Is Water Hammer Dangerous?

Noisy water pipes aren't dangerous. However, the shockwaves created by the flow of water can wreak havoc on a plumbing system. If left unaddressed, this could cause:

  • Eroded pipes. Water pushing against a closed valve can erode the inside of a pipe. This can cause it to weaken, increasing the likelihood of leaks.
  • Burst pipes. Burst pipes are every homeowner's nightmare. Burst pipes can lead to water damage, mold growth, and flooding––all of which can cause extensive destruction. Pipes can burst with little to no warning, too.
  • Broken valves. A valve can only take so much water pressure before it breaks. This can lead to many concerns, such as water damage.

Indoor plumbing systems are remarkable pieces of technology. On average, the home's plumbing system can last decades without problems. However, water hammer can significantly lower its lifespan, leading to stress, inconvenience, and property damage.

How Can a Professional Plumbing Fix Water Hammer?

First, a qualified professional will determine the reason for water hammer. The issue could lie with a faulty valve. It could also lie with malfunctioning kitchen appliances. Once they understand the source of the problem, they can address it.

To fix water hammer, a plumber may turn off the water main and drain the plumbing system of water. They might do this if an air bubble in the plumbing system is causing the issue. They might also install a water hammer arrester. Water hammer arresters absorb the shockwaves that the inconsistent water flow causes. They may also install an air chamber that reduces the pressure build-up water hammer causes.

About Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc

Homeowners don't have to watch YouTube videos about fixing water hammer. Instead, they can call on Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc. These professionals offer same-day service to those living in Riverside County and the surrounding area. They also have almost 25 years of experience helping homeowners with their plumbing needs. Interested parties can call today for plumbing service.

Get an Early Start on Fall Heating Maintenance

Get Heating Systems Ready With Early Maintenance

If the temperature is any indication, there's still plenty of summertime to go. It may seem too early to start thinking about fall, but in reality, it can be helpful to get an early start on some fall chores. One of the recommendations that heating maintenance specialists make is to schedule yearly fall heating maintenance early.

Few things are as frustrating and chilling as losing the heater during the fall and winter. To prevent problems from occurring with the heater during the cold season, homeowners should take time to schedule heater maintenance early before the rush starts. This article is a quick guide to fall heater maintenance, including the benefits and a quick walk-through of the process from local heater maintenance experts.

Benefits of Heating Maintenance

Routine maintenance is part of owning any machine or appliance. People are quick to change the oil in their cars as part of a maintenance program, but homeowners often forget to give their heater and air conditioner some attention. Experts recommend HVAC maintenance twice per year, once in the spring to focus on the AC and once in the fall to focus on the heater. This allows each system to be prepared for the upcoming season so homeowners can recognize benefits like:

  • Lower heating bills
  • Greater reliability
  • Lower repair bills
  • Longer equipment lifespan

What Is Included In Heater Maintenance?

Heater maintenance is part of a comprehensive maintenance program for the entire HVAC system. Every three months, owners should ensure that air filters are changed for their heater and air conditioner. This keeps air flowing freely through the system and reduces the amount of dirt and grime that can cause damage inside the heater. Changing the filters can be done by homeowners and is the most important step in maintenance.

Professional heater maintenance is the second most important step. This service is done by a maintenance professional and aims to protect heating equipment. Some of the things a professional will do during heater maintenance are:

  • Ensure clean filters are in service
  • Check the blower motor and electrical components
  • Look for gas leaks
  • Clean the burner
  • Ensure proper operation
  • Check the thermostat

It's Never Too Early To Start

With high temperatures still hanging around for another month, it may seem too early to worry about heater maintenance. However, this is a perfect time. Early fall maintenance ensures that the service can get done on time. Once temperatures drop and everyone turns on their furnace, everyone else will be prompted to call for maintenance or emergency service. Scheduling fall maintenance early ensures that maintenance gets done before the company is busy responding to other customers' repairs or maintenance calls.

Another benefit of scheduling maintenance early is it gives time for a company to do repairs if they find something wrong. Heater repairs can take days between calls and waiting on parts. With early maintenance, professionals can find problems early and repair them before the heater is necessary, so homeowners don't have to deal with an outage.

About Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc

Chris Wilson Plumbing & Heating Repairs Inc is a comprehensive plumbing and HVAC repair and maintenance resource. Their respectful technicians are available 24/7 for emergencies and during normal business hours for heater maintenance. Get ahead of the rush and call today for fast heating service in Palm Desert, CA.