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Homeowner seminar input.

I am looking for input on a homeowner seminar I am working on. I know many homeowners come to this site for help. I would be interested in feedback on what topics to discuss in a seminar, how long your attention span would be so it does not get drug out. Weather on not YOU would attend a seminar to learn about your homes mechanical systems.

I am also looking for input from industry manufactures to see what support might be available.

My list of topics so far covers some basic heating and plumbing issues. This list is very general. Each topic has many details that will be addressed.

1. Health and safety benefits of modern plumbing, heating and cooling.
2. Locating and tagging all main shut-off valves and checking operation.
3. Locating and tagging all electric disconnects and checking operation.
4. Leaking valve packing symptoms and solutions.
5. Types of valves.
6. Tub and shower faucet operation.
7. Sink faucet operation.
8. Basic toilet problems solutions.
9. Basic drain problems, pipe types and solutions.
10. Basic furnace operation.
11. Basic Boiler operation.
12. Energy efficient heating & cooling options on the market.
13. Why do we have codes and inspection.
14. Why to choose a professional to service
15. Periodic maintenance.
16. Water quality.

What do you think could be added/deleted.

Thank you for your help,

Joseph A. Landree


  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728

    Two things to instill in the minds of the learning HO would be to realize their limitations, which can be a double edged sword. There are things you can do for yourself within your home that you now pay others for which in all reality you probably could and should do yourself. Then there are things you ARE doing to your home (that you potentially are puting your home at risk) that you should NOT be doing and should require a pro to do.

    The second and probably the most important would be to hire wisely. Being in this field (on both sides of the counter) I surmize that out of 100 mechanics doing this work, 80 of them are doing it wrong (I know I'm gonna take my lumps for this but its true). Out of the 20 that "do it right" you have to ask yourself, "can I afford him?", "does he want to work for me?", "do they have enough men to handle me as a client as well?".After you can answer these questions honestly I'd have to say understanding a basic agreement (Contract) would rank right up there with one and two above. Understanding that a proposal is just that, a proposal. It's a negotiation that can be modified, altered, ammended, ect.,. Writing in "RESONABLE" starting and completion dates that make sense to both parties. Markup and extras are another topic I'd discuss. Having a homeowner buy their own material sounds good at first light but after there is a problem with the part(s), who pays for the return trip and drayage? What happens when you buy the fixture and I accidentally break it? If there is only a million dollars on the job but your fixture cost five million, how can the mechanic or you recoup, or obsorb this cost when there wasn't enough in labor figured on the job to warrent it in the first place. If I say I'm going to supply and install it, then thats what I have to do. I could break a hundred of them but my agreement with you is in writing. You on the other hand wanted to save money but I accidentally damaged it. Who is responsible??

    Gotta go to work now.

    Hope I don't break anything.

    Good luck!

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544

    why not try a Find a Professional ad for free? It would be a good way to reach homeowners. It would also give you a way of showing you company information on your Wall posts.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Tim_32
    Tim_32 Member Posts: 5
    The \"Average\" homeowner

    Just a comment if I may...My feeling is that the "average" homeowner sadly doesn't care about the mechanical workings of their home. I think it is safe to say the homeowner and contractor who visit this site are "above average" and probably care about their homes and customers...

    Your list of topics looks good. Limit time to 2 hours per session and have equipment and demos available. Hands on is the best way homeowners can learn and remember.
  • ChasMan
    ChasMan Member Posts: 462

    I will ditto your remark and add that "7. Sink faucet operation" wont draw too many people out.

    Home depot puts on a lot of seminars and wiring seems to be popular, right up there with faux painting 5 years ago. Plumbing, not so much. I think this is because it appears less abstract. of course, nothing could be further than the truth but most handy folks think they know all about plumbing and not that much about electrical.

  • [Deleted User]
    homeowner sem

    I got bored at #5 types of valves.Instead of a seminar to homeowners how about a seminar to tradesmen who are not plumbers or heating techs?Like a handyman, apt super,maintaince man, land lord. the homeowner can only use the info when his equipmentbreaks down.I don;t think this will happen enough to justify the class.I like the idea but point it in another direction, my 2 cents
  • Jamie_5
    Jamie_5 Member Posts: 103
    As a homeowner

    I would think that there is going to be a WIDE range of interests in this type of seminar. Some want to learn as much as they can while others sadly don't get beyond the t-stat or the faucet. When there is no water, heat, or air they start to wonder. I would definitely concentrate on things that can create a dangerous enviroment. CO, legionella, Checking PRVs on boiler, and water heater. Low water cut off on boiler,is there one? scalding. You get my point.

    Start off with this, and see how it sparks their interests, questions will follow just be ready to field them. I don't know how many people would sign up for something like that. Single mothers ?

  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    That is when you here the words....

    "That's Why I Hired YOU!"....

    basically meaning, you speak in plumber mechanical terminology and physics equations ....

    "not to be rude buh i have no idea what you just said":)

    some people are fairly busy and as much as they might like to have all kinds of things expressed to them as to the whys and wherefores of all the various points of distinctions ,i have to think , they are more often just liking to know that you have done your best to provide them with what they need and are satisfied it wont take a R and D team to make a needed repair. as a thought. :)

    i am not trying to steal your dream.... thats just a couple thoughts that have been run by me in one form or another , from time to time.
  • jalcoplumb_2
    jalcoplumb_2 Member Posts: 172
    Intention of class.

    My intention was to target those who were about to undergo an extensive renovation project and/or some one who does not feel comfortable having a contractor telling them what they need. Or a person who just purchased a home and has no idea where to start.

    One example would be the homeowner who has trust issues. Is he selling me a load of crap? On the other hand, the person who just purchased an 80% efficient heating system and later found out there was a 90+ system available.

    I think a basic education in nomenclature and how things work so that a homeowner can make a more informed decision on what to purchase and when to purchase it.

    A couple of examples of thing I hear often are as follows.

    I wish I knew that the PH of my water was harming my pipes.

    If I knew I could change the anode rod in my water heater every couple of years to extend its life, I would have done it.

    Just from personal experience, trying to educate a consumer when you are in their house about to replace their steam boiler is painful. I was supposed to drain water from what valve? I moved in two months ago and was told there were automatic controls on the boiler.

    I am not looking to turn out a journeyman-qualified homeowner. Just help them be a more informed consumer.
  • Xc8p2dC_2
    Xc8p2dC_2 Member Posts: 150
    Jalco, I agree

    Find your target audience>> For me it would be "creating better efficiency", especially with my CCF rate at $2 a therm

    Wether it be, dual flush toilets, direct DHW, programable T'stats, high eff heating/hydro units like mod/cons or anything that will save money

    And then educate, the biggest part of efficiency is how the customer controls it>>
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