We're well into the second decade of the 21st century, and plumbing has certainly changed from 100 years ago. We'll talk about those old pipes in a moment. First, here's a look at some industry related news.
According to research from the Freedonia Group, the plumbing fixtures and fittings market “is projected to advance 6.3 percent per year through 2017 to $12 billion. The residential market will account for over three-fifths of demand and will see the most rapid gains.” Let's take a look at what retailers report from the plumbing aisle.
Two-thirds of retailers surveyed believe, “technology is playing an increasingly important role in the plumbing department whether in the form of products designed to make the kitchen and bath more comfortable, keep living spaces more sanitary or reduce a home’s impact on the environment.”
According to a recent report, here are a few plumbing features that are growing into must-haves for today’s homeowners:
- A bathing experience, not just a shower. The report finds “more and more products are being introduced that allow users to stream live music to their showers through wireless technology. One system even allows users to control lighting and water pressure through a digital interface.”
- Tankless water heaters. These fixtures continue to grow in popularity. While expensive, state and local incentive programs are balancing out the cost.
- Hands-Free technology. Young homeowners don’t remember a time before hand sanitizer, and keeping a germ-free house is a priority. According to the survey, “about 30 percent of retailers have customers seeking touchless technology for their homes.”
- Water filtration systems. There’s a pendulum effect in progress, counteracting last century’s swing towards bottled water consumption. Ads about the appalling number of empty water bottles now littering the earth seek to build a tap water mentality, and with it the need for water filters. In fact, water filtration was a major trend of the 2016 International Home & Housewares Show.
- Fixtures that are both eco-friendly and human-friendly. Homeowners are still committed to lowering water usage, but they also want fixtures that provide decent water pressure. Add to that some new innovations, like sprinkler systems that can adjust according to the weather and appliances that feature a greywater recycling option.
To inspire further technological advances and lead consumers into even more attractive water-saving options, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced the WaterSense program. Products that receive the WaterSense label meet EPA guidelines for increasing water efficiency and reducing water use.
This program “seeks to help consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance.” The WaterSense site provides alternatives to replacing entire fixtures. For example consumers can buy a labeled faucet or a labeled component to achieve the same results.
The label ensures customers are not only saving the environment and using less water, but that they may also qualify for rebates from local water providers. The rebates are for labeled products, such as water-efficient toilets, shower heads, and faucets, as well as for water conservation services.
Epoxy pipe lining has been the go-to repair for several years now, in spite of concerns by the insurance industry. As you know, instead of replacing pipe, the plumber removes the corrosion and rust from the inside of the pipe, then fills and seals it with an epoxy lining. This can be a God-send for America, since many of our nation’s system of water lines are at the 100-year mark or older, like the aged system built in 1894 and now set to be relined in Battleboro, Vermont.
Chemical lining is already used to provide a light coating over pipes. Unfortunately, as in the Flint, Michigan case, regulators can choose not to use the chemicals and end up putting citizens at risk. Obviously the corrosion in the pipes needs to be remediated.
If the situation in Flint has your customers concerned about the state of their plumbing, we offer the patented Universal Roller Skid for push cameras that works well on different styles of pipes – household, larger infrastructure, or even oil, mining, and gas. A wide variety of plumbers and municipality workers have used our system successfully to inspect pipe quality and search for or identify possible blockage or leaks. Contact us today to learn more!