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Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is plumbing so expensive?

Bill Howe Plumbing, Inc. continues to aggressively keep their costs in check by working from the high volume lowest consumer cost objective. We know you feel the pinch of high gas prices, rising insurance costs and power rates in your household. That’s why we only incrementally increase our rates over the years, maintaining that the best cost to customer service ratio. Despite our costs as a business going up just the same as your household, our customer service plan has continued to allow us to grow with repeat business. By not using gimmicks like “all day high rates” to hide the ‘no’ overtime exaggerations or up-selling products to increase your costs, our customer satisfaction has fueled our growth as a company. With Bill Howe Plumbing, you get a choice to save money by having your service scheduled during our regular hours, when it will save you money.

Why should I select Bill Howe Plumbing?

Bill Howe Plumbing has been following a different business model since 1980. Many high profile plumbing companies have come and gone in the last 30 years. Most of those worked on the theory of charging premium rates for any service done. Repeat and word-of-mouth business was ignored to make as much as possible. Eventually the customer base is depleted as a bad reputation is built. They sell off their assets and sometimes even return with a new name, but same old practices. Bill Howe Plumbing was started to meet the value-demanding property management companies. The Howe family built a business embracing these customers’ needs. It soon became clear that home owners needed the same cost advantages. Unlike national chain plumbing companies, the Howe family calls San Diego their home. There is no giant corporation headquarters demanding high prices to sacrifice future business. There are no stockholders demanding a greater return, just the Howe family working to keep your future business and hopefully your recommendation to your neighbors too.

Can you install my item?

We will be happy to install your provided fixture to code. We do need you to sign our “Plumber Provided” waiver that warranties our installation work but not the item you provided. Over the years, large warehouse stores have been able to offer their customers enormous discounts that we cannot match. But if, for instance, that faucet turns out to be defective and floods your kitchen and the condo below you, their remedy is to hand you a replacement faucet. When we supply the materials, not only are you getting the item delivered to you, should there be a rare manufactures defect, you will also be covered from additional damage. Bill Howe Plumbing gives you the choice to make your own responsible decision.

What about designer items?

For the special remodel or to match any décor, we have available many lines of plumber grade fixtures. Unlike some companies who arrive with a “warehouse” on wheels to up sell you material, we carry a basic set of plumber-grade fixtures and you only pay extra for what you want to order. Not a huge inventory of expensive items you will never need nor buy.

How is my plumbing technician selected?

Based on the information you provide us when you schedule your service call, we send out an experienced technician outfitted for your work. One of our methods to save you money and keep the cost of repair down for you is to use trucks outfitted for what you need.

How soon can you get here?

With more than 50 trucks to serve you, we can usually be there the same day. We can also schedule a time that is convenient to your schedule and include a reasonable window of time. Our regular business hours are between 8 am and 5 pm.

We are also on-call evenings, weekends and holidays, so call Bill Howe Plumbing anytime at 1-800-BILL-HOWE (1-800-245-5469).

How much do you charge?

Bill Howe Plumbing always provides you with a well trained professional who will personally address your need and quote you a fair price. We are happy to provide a free estimate of our very reasonable rates.

While we really need to see the job to guarantee a price, our extensive experience allows us to often provide a fairly accurate phone quote. With this quote, you will see up front that Bill Howe Plumbing is offering fair prices.

Can I get a tax rebate on new plumbing products and installation?

The Federal Government is offering tax incentives on certain products and installation. Click here to get more information.

Do you offer same day service?

Yes, typically we can offer same day service for estimates, repairs, tune-ups, duct cleaning and other HVAC services. Our regular hours are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., however we also have technicians available for emergencies 24/7. Our technicians can come out to install your unit within a week of your scheduled estimate.

What is a SEER?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is most commonly used to measure the efficiency of a central air conditioning. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.

What does HSPF stand for?

HSPF stands for Heat Seasonal Performance Factor, which measures a heat pump’s heating efficiency. The higher the HSPF, the more efficient the heat pump. More technically speaking, the HSPF represents the total heating output of a heat pump during the normal heating season, as compared to the total electricity consumed during the same period.

What does AFUE stand for?

Gas furnaces are rated according to their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, or AFUE. The AFUE rating measures how efficient a gas furnace coverts fuel to energy. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the unit. A gas furnace with an AFUE of 95 percent is one of the highest efficiency gas furnaces you buy on the market today.

What does EER stand for?

The Energy Efficiency Ratio is known as the EER. It measures how efficiently a cooling system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level (95 degrees Fahrenheit). Like the SEER, HSPF, and AFUE, the higher the EER rating, the more efficient the unit.

Should outdoor units be covered in winter?

No.  Heat pumps and outdoor air conditioning units (aka outdoor condensing units) operate year-round and should never be covered. They are built to withstand an outdoor environment and should not be covered.

Should a thermostat be set to “auto” or “on”?

Preferably auto. That way, the fan operates only when the temperature requires it. This is the most used and the most efficient setting. However, there are advantages to using the “on” setting. Air is constantly filtered through the unit’s air filter, and the constantly circulating air results in an even temperature throughout the house.

Can shrubs or flowers be planted around an outdoor unit?

Yes, but you should allow for room for air circulation in and out of the unit, roughly about 18 inches from the unit. Without this room for air circulation, the unit could overheat.

If an outdoor unit needs replacing, should the indoor unit be replaced too?

Yes, because of efficiency. Air conditioning and heating units are designed to operate as a matched system. The efficiency rating is based on the entire system. Replacing the entire system ensures the system will be reliable and efficient.

How do I know what size unit our house needs?

At Bill Howe Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., our lead estimator will come to your home for FREE to let you know what size he recommends. Factors like size of the square footage, how well the house of business is insulated, body heat (how many people occupy the space) and any other heat producing equipment in the space (electronics, computers, appliances, lighting), also the climate of where the property is geographically located.

What is the difference between a split system and a package unit?

A split system uses indoor and outdoor components to provide a complete home comfort system. A package unit or self-contained unit requires no external coils, air handlers, or heating units.

How quickly can Bill Howe Restoration respond to my flood?

In most cases we can have our certified technician at your door within one hour of receiving your call in dispatch. Our technicians are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day because floods don’t always happen during business hours.

How long is the drying process?

Typically it takes from 3-5 days depending on the extent of the damage, though some jobs may take longer. We keep you informed along the way so you understand where you are in the drying process.

If I experience a flood will I automatically get mold?

Not necessarily. If we are able to get out to your property in a timely manner and begin the drying process immediately, you significantly reduce the risk of developing mold. If mold does occur, we have the ability to remediate that as well. We are certified in water remediation as well as mold remediation and can effectively and safely handle either situation.

Will my insurance cover your services?

Every policy is different and each insurance company has its own limits and restrictions. However, in most cases insurance covers the necessary costs to put your property back to its pre-loss condition.

Does Bill Howe Restoration work with my insurance company to settle my claim?

Yes! We deal with adjusters every day and have a lot of experience in working with insurance companies. We use the insurance industries accepted pricing structure and guidelines, so getting your claim settled in a timely manner is not a problem.