Joshua Ferguson (right) says most people don’t realize how important plumbing is until you don’t have it anymore. Photo by Jesse Yardley / For CREB®Now

Joshua Ferguson (right in photo) has over a decade of experience working as plumber. He owns and operates a successful plumbing business, Lumberjack Plumbing, with his partner Jordan Newman. CREB®Now caught up with Ferguson to ask him a few key questions about plumbing and how consumers can cut consumption.

CREB®Now:  Most people don’t think about plumbing until something goes wrong. But it’s a pretty critical trade, isn’t it?

Ferguson: It’s important because everyone uses it. If you like flushing your toilet, keeping your drinking water safe and showering on the regular – it’s something everyone needs, right? You don’t realize how important it is and how much you need it until you don’t have it anymore.

CREB®Now:  HOW CAN homeowners reduce consumption?

Ferguson: If your home is already built, you can opt to change certain fixtures – your toilets, your showerheads to low-flow variants. Being mindful of your consumption and being efficient, like ensuring you do full loads of laundry and dishes, helps too. For newer homes there’s more options. A greywater recycling system definitely helps. If you’re building a new, more modern home, it’s possible to install a grass-like roof with a grate which reclaims all sorts of moisture into a cistern in the basement, and that gets used for your toilet instead of using water from the main or your well. That’s a closed-loop system that takes you closer to net zero. It’s also possible to install what’s called solar evacuated tubing too. It looks like a solar panel but it’s actually a giant tube that’s full of glycol and water. That mixture gets heated by the sun and it pumps into your heating system or a dual-purpose water tank. That also reduces gas consumption by up to 80 per cent.

There are a wide variety of plumbing specializations so you’ll want to make sure that the company you hire has experience in that area.

CREB®Now:  What should consumers consider when choosing fixtures for their home?

Ferguson: When people are out shopping for their homes, it’s usually fashion over function; with plumbing it’s the other way around. You might find a nice-looking and well-made faucet from companies like Delta, Brizo, Kohler or Moen. You don’t need to spend insane amounts of money on high-end fashion plumbing. You might find that it’s easy to find replacement parts for less expensive fixtures, but you won’t be able to find those parts for high-end fixtures. Look for something that has longevity and reliability over anything else.

CREB®Now:  What should people consider when hiring a plumber?

Ferguson: You want to make sure that you’re dealing with someone who does the job right and doesn’t cut corners. The best plumbing isn’t cheap, while the cheapest plumbing sure isn’t the best. It’s important to strike a balance based on your budget. Also, specialization is key. There are a wide variety of plumbing specializations so you’ll want to make sure that the company you hire has experience in that area. Be sure to check out websites and social media profiles to see if the company has a good reputation and solid client referrals. Pictures of past projects can tell you a lot about the company’s expertise as well.