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What everyday appliances get taken for granted?

Next week is World Plumbing Day, when people all over the world take time to appreciate the important role proper plumbing has played throughout history by keeping people healthy and happy. Plumbing professionals and everyday citizens alike do their part to help bring clean water and sanitation to places where it is needed most.

But plumbing isn’t the only first world commodity homeowners often take for granted. From electricity and water-tight roofing to proper air filtering and heating, our world is full of amazing innovations that make life easier and safer—and never get the proper recognition. It is easy to forget how lucky we are to live in the modern world.

Why We’re Asking:

The home construction industry is full of people who dedicate their lives to making life easier for others, often with very little recognition. We want to give home professionals a chance to highlight the many things they do that make modern conveniences available—and to reflect on the innovations that make their jobs possible.

So, experts, we want to know:

What everyday housing elements do people take for granted?

What would life look like without modern amenities?
How have innovations in construction technology made life better for homeowners?
How have they made your job easier?
What small changes can people make to extend the lives of these essential housing elements?
How can homeowners better show appreciation for the men and women who keep their houses running?

We can’t wait to find out what we’ve been over-looking all this time. Check back next week to see what you’ve been taking for granted!

Experts, post your answers in the comment field below!



  • John F. Peil 03/04/13

    Many times homeowners forget routine mainenance which costs them a lot of money in the long run. If they would just change the filter, the furnace might work or if they would clean their gutters a couple of times a year they would not have costly water intrusion into their home

  • Paul Abrams 03/04/13

    Indoor plumbing, including fixtures like toilet, sink and shower are undoubtedly taken for granted in the U.S. Clean, running water is so closely tied to the daily lives of a great majority of American families including bathing, teeth brushing, toilet flushing, hand-washing, cooking and more. These are mundane tasks completed each day with little or no thought about how that water is getting to you or whether or not it is clean. Until it stops working.

    Disease related to water and sanitation claims 3.1 million lives every year. World Plumbing Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the water issues facing a large international population.

  • Joseph Molluso 03/04/13

    Well, being in the pest control industry I can tell you the number one thing that people do take for granted is being pest free. Once a house is infested with mice, roaches, rats or even worse, bed bugs, the home owner begins to understandably act frantic.

    When I am done treating the customers premises I instruct them on what they can further do to prevent pests entering the home. The best advice is for the customer to take that advice and act on it, so their home does not become infested again at a later date.

    -Joe

  • Pablo Solomon 03/04/13

    One of the elements that are now often required by code to be in useful numbers and conveniently located are electrical outlets. Here are two fun extremes I have encountered. My house was built in 1856 by a famous Texas Ranger. The walls are stone and 2 feet thick. When my wife and I began restoring it years ago, putting in electricity in general and especially electrical outlets was a major challenge. I finally used an angle grinder with a diamond wheel to cut slots into the stone, ran outdoor grade wiring and then mortared over the wire. Needless to say we have very few outlets compared to modern construction.

    On the other extreme is the dream mansion built by a millionaire friend recently. It is on a grand scale and has a magnificent views. His wife always complained about not enough electrical outlets in former homes. So along the working edge of the back of the 50 plus foot curved granite kitchen counter, he put outlets about 6 inches apart the entire length–that’s right–dozens and dozens. While everything about this estate is Texas big and over the top–I will always remember my surprise seeing the white outlets against the dark granite and thinking they were just tile ornaments and then realizing that these were dozens and dozens of outlets. OK that and being shown 2 room size walk in freezers–one kept at just below freezing and another at below zero for meats. And a pantry room with 5 isles that was bigger than most NYC corner stores. And….well you get the household elements on steroids picture here.

  • Greg Chick 03/04/13

    Water is the most taken for granted by a long shot. Not only is it taken for granted, but it is demanded. As a repair plumber, when I tell a customer I need to turn off the water for an hour or so, they exclaim “for how long?” I reply, I said just for an hour or so. In a panic they say, ” Yea, but when is it going to be turned back on?” A half hour later they ask “how much longer?”, almost as if it were air and they were choking. Apartment buildings are the worst, I spend more time explaining how much longer to each tenant than I do plumbing. It has gotten to where I won’t even do shut downs anymore for large projects. And this is after a 72 hour advance notice was posted all over the complex!

    Water is also not respected because it is so cheap, I do not mean the bill for the water is cheap, I mean the water it’s self. The reason the bill is too high is some homes use 400 to 800 gallons a day! At .007 cents a gallon, (that is cheaper than dirt, by weight delivered) it is “over priced” or so they cry. They pay a buck for a 16 oz. bottle of water at the store, and .007 cents for an equivalent of 8 times that and complain.

    This is taking water for granted, people can not be convinced that water is not endless and will always flow wastefully down the drain and misting away into the air from lawn sprinklers. When told that is a waste they say “I need my lawn” not realizing they waste thousands of gallons monthly. Most people have no clue how much water they use, because they take it for granted.

  • Edward Burris 03/06/13

    I can say that both plumbing and sewer are always taken for granted. If home owners would have their main sewer lines roded on a preventive maintenance they wouldn’t have sewage back up that I have seen do major damage to carpet and wood floors. This is also a cause for very unsanitary conditions when this happens. When it comes to garbage disposals home owners should run lots of hot water after grinding up items. This will flush the lines of debris that lay on the bottom of your pipes leading to needing roded. Cold water will harden ground up matter. Also if your home has a back flow device on your main water supply, they should be tested yearly to make sure you don’t contaminate the water distribution.

  • The Shade Shop 03/07/13

    Many homeowners do not anticipate the cost of window coverings or treatments throughout their house and window coverings often are overlooked as a necessity. Windows let in light and offer the view to the outside world, but homeowners know that privacy and darkness are sometimes necessary throughout the day. After homeowners paint, accessorize and decorate the interior of their house, skimping on the shutters, shades or drapes would be doing a disservice to themselves. These accent pieces tie a room together and transform a house to a home. Not only do they provide an integral role in the interior design and layout of a room, window coverings can also offer a house energy savings benefits. Many shades and blinds are made out of material that blocks harmful UV rays from entering a room that could potentially damage artwork, flooring, furniture upholstery, etc… Other window treatments keep the heat in during the winter and the heat out during the summer (even in the Houston heat.)

  • Steve and Ben Holloway KERRVILLE PLUMBING tm 03/07/13

    Water. The availability of water is perhaps under appreciated and over used.
    There is no substitute for this life giving mineral.
    Texas uses 1 billion gallons a day more than is being replenished.
    Kerrville Plumbing offers the Niagara Stealth toilet as the world’s only UHET 0.8 gpf water closet.
    The Stealth passes the 800 gram miso test and can be seen on YouTube.
    We have one in our home and save 0.8 gpf every time! It works and is highly recommended.
    Steve Holloway and Sons’ Kerrville Plumbing

  • ServiceMaster Wichita 03/08/13

    Having lived in another country for quite a few years, it is easy to take for granted the amenities as simple as running hot water. With the advances in technology and innovation, even the size and efficiency of the appliances we use have come a long way. Certainly all these things have made life better even for the not so wealthy.
    As a professional cleaning and restoration business, we are at the bottom of the totem pole. Often our services are the first to get cut when the economy conditions (business or personal) shrink. Simple maintenance of the appliances such as keeping the coils and vents clean will keep the air handling system running smooth.
    We can always wish for our clients to appreciate what we do, but it is still a wish.

  • Doug Murrell 03/08/13

    The modern day furnace has helped with the rising cost of energy by lowering your operating cost. The new furnaces have the capability to do self diagnoses to help the home owner and service personnel to speed up repairs. Longer warranties also hold down the cost of major repairs.

  • Peggy Golden 03/08/13

    Kitchen Sinks Design and Water Usage
    Four years ago we remodeled our kitchen completely. The trend at the time was single basin sink or farm sink given that you can wash all your pans and cutting boards easily with one large basin. We have come to realize that this is a huge waste of water and energy to clean this sink regularly over a double basin with one smaller sink for easy tasks and one larger basin for when needed. We have been recommending the Kohler smart divide sink as the solution to this one basin trend. At the time Kohler only had porcelain options with graceful curves and now they have a Stainless Steel option that I just viewed and have different concerns.

    Stainless Steel sinks are wonderful for ease of maintenance and longevity. The current design trend for sinks are 90 degree corners or zero radius; it is a newer look, current avant-garde styling – just looking at the design distresses us. Try cleaning these square corners. The sink we selected was a graceful curve design – the cleaning brush travels around the sink easily. The thought of hitting a square edge corner does not sit well nor would we recommend this style to any homeowner.

    Our belief is that this trend will be short lived once homeowners start cleaning the zero radius sinks and realize they get stuck at the corners. The kitchen sink is used daily for many tasks and functions. Having to use a single large basin for every task is wasteful of precious water resources and the energy expended to heat the water. Having to clean the sink is a non stop activity – curved corners will make your life much easier. Having prepared meals for the homeless in a church setting with zero radius sinks our belief is these square edged designs should remain in commercial applications and homeowners should consider all aspects of cleaning, water and energy usage before they finalize their selection.

  • Larry Washington 03/08/13

    The dryer vent piping is the one place all of us are guilty of not scheduling regular cleaning maintenance for. When is the last time you went outside to clean the exterior end of the vent piping where the lint is released into the air? That’s what I thought! If it has been more than 6 months, it’s been too long. I just did a customer’s dryer vent cleaning today and yes I did my own dryer vent cleaning in the middle of February 2013, which I found to be way overdue for some TLC. So before a new priority arises, get your dryer vent cleaned and inspected before the next Holiday arrives. Before it’s too late!

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