Sending The Right Person to Your Home


A lot of times, the decision of who to send to a customer’s home isn’t made that same day—it’s made during the hiring process. We go through preemployment testing and an extensive interview process to make sure that we add the right people to our team. When the time comes that you need us to be there, we have many capable people we can send to get the job done right.

The quality of the people being added to our team is very important to us. It’s not just their technical knowledge that’s important. (Once we get someone on our team, we can always improve their technical knowledge.) Instead, it’s more important to focus on finding a great person that has a desire to serve the customer. This is the type of person that will do everything to keep our clients’ best interests at heart. Whenever we hire someone new, we make sure that they share our values.

If we send someone to your home, we do everything necessary to make sure that person will treat you the way we would want to be treated. When a client calls us, we believe we have an opportunity to treat their home like we would treat our mother’s or grandmother’s home. If we take that to heart and maintain that central objective every time we go serve someone, we’re going to be successful.

We have very few one-strike-and-you’re-out rules in our business, but there is one that all of the people on our team know about. That is, if at any time they do anything to intentionally take advantage of our client, they will be asked to leave employment with Boulden Brothers immediately. We know that people make honest mistakes sometimes, so we’re not talking about something like an accidentally scratched floor. Instead, we’re talking about finding out that an employee has intentionally acted against our customer’s best interests. Because of our long-standing reputation, we take this extremely seriously.

We will take action even if an employee is a top performer. If an employee goes out on the field without having our clients’ best interests at heart, we’re going to make a change.

Protecting Your Home and Family


Employee Selection

There are many ways that we protect our customers’ homes, but it begins with the decision of who we send to make the visit. As a rule, if we wouldn’t send someone into our own home, we wouldn’t send them into one of our customer’s homes either. On top of that, we regularly drug test our current staff as well as conduct preemployment drug testing and criminal background checks for everyone that wants to be a part of our team. We take this rule very seriously.

Ongoing Training

We provide regular training to our technicians. Whether it’s for customer service training or technical training, we want to make sure that our people are on the cutting edge. Our team stays on top of the latest technology and customer service methods. We provide this training five days a week, whether in-house or from a third-party resource.

Staying up-to-speed with Technology

Over the years, our equipment has become more sophisticated. As electronics have advanced, they have increasingly become a part of the heating and air conditioning system. As a result, the systems are much more complex than they used to be. Along with that complexity comes increased difficulty during repair and maintenance. We do the very best we can to stay in front of the technology curve and make sure all of our employees are up to speed with any new challenges.

Certifications

We think it’s important to add great people to our team regardless of whether they are in the trades or not. Therefore, new employees don’t need to have certifications in order to start with us. Once they join our team, however, they will get involved with NATE certification, manufacturer certifications, and gain an understanding of safety issues such as the impact of carbon monoxide. Employees on our team must stay current with the certifications they need in order to meet our standards.

We are very obsessive about these things so our customers don’t have to be. Whenever a customer gives us a call, they can focus on the things that matter.

The Boulden Brothers Way


There are a lot of different components that make up the Boulden Brothers way. The main idea is to treat people how we would like to be treated. That means that we’re always doing what is right for our clients. It also means that we have warrantees and guarantees in place so customers will know that they are protected if a problem ever arose. Along with that, there are other unwritten promises that we make to our customers that might be even more important.

Longevity

We’re going to be here for our customers for a long time to come. We’ve been here since 1946, so when Boulden Brothers makes a warrantee or guarantee, customers can be confident that we’ll be here to stand behind the work that we do. We also have the experience that comes from being around so long.

Reputation

Reputation has a lot to do with the success of a company. Boulden Brothers started with coal and then got into heating oil. We no longer do heating oil, but we’re still in the propane business. The fuels business means that we have customers for life, since we make home visits several times a year. It was ingrained in us very early on that we will do everything we can to keep a customer for life. That same relationship applies to our heating/air conditioning, plumbing, and electric clients. Even though we might not visit their homes as often as a propane customer, we have the same philosophy embedded in everything we do.

History

The Boulden Brothers way has been around for generations. It’s interesting—I was a member of the Delaware House of Representatives for five terms. When I first started campaigning, I was in my late 20s. I went up to this one house, knocked on the door, and introduced myself. The woman at the door told me that she had been doing business with us since the 1950s. She still had a magnet on her oven that I hadn’t seen in years with our old company logo on it.

I think that more than anything shows how the Boulden Brothers way began. We’ve touched people’s lives for so long to make sure their homes are comfortable, safe, and warm that our clients expect that of us. Even more so, we have to take it to heart because we need to exceed those expectations. Once we make a family happy, we hope that they will have a lifelong relationship with us.

I received a call from a satisfied customer earlier this week. He had recently had foot surgery and his wife had arm problems. There was a pretty bad snowstorm, and our techs who were at their house took it upon themselves to shovel the snow up to their front step. That’s not something that most other companies would do, and I believe that there’s a good chance they will tell their friends and neighbors that we care—not only about fixing their heating system, but about recognizing their unique needs and going above and beyond. It was a nice opportunity to say thank you to our customers for trusting us to keep their home comfortable.

Who We Are


My grandfather and his brother (my great uncle) started Boulden Brothers in 1946. Our services have expanded since then to include Boulden Brothers Propane, One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, Mr. Sparky Electric, and of course, Boulden Brothers Plumbing and Drain Cleaning. Right now it’s me and my brother, so there are still Boulden brothers at Boulden Brothers.

I can’t say that I always knew I was going to be a part of the family business. Although I was too young to ever see my grandfather working there, I did have a chance to watch my dad, who had been there since 1959. He bought his first oil truck the year he started, and later bought out the business in 1962. I think I realized that I wanted to pursue this line of work towards the end of my time in college. Once I graduated, sure enough, I got started in the business.

I have some pretty big shoes to follow—my dad was a pillar of the community. He’s still alive, but he has since retired. He was always very involved with the community and he instilled the importance of that into me and my brother. Right now, my brother focuses on the day to day operations in the propane business, while I spend more of my time in the day to day operations of services (plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electric).

We don’t have children who are involved in the business, but I think they are learning the Boulden Brothers way just like my brother and I did—they learn how we do things by observing our interactions with others. I have a freshman in college, a junior in high school, and a third grader. My brother’s kids are in third grade and kindergarten. We haven’t consciously talked to them about joining the business. Certainly, we would hope that some of them might decide to join us in the future. However, we want them to choose a field that they are interested in. If they want to do something else, we don’t want them to feel obligated to join the business. We want the to work here because they really want to.

The products/services that we provide at Boulden Brothers complement each other. With our propane business, we have a chance to provide customers with a heat source. With heating and air conditioning, we have a chance to make sure that our customers’ equipment runs at peak efficiency as reliably as possible. Plumbing and electric are nice sidelines so that we can provide all the services in the house. If our customers have residential plumbing, heating, air condition, or electric needs, we can do it all.

To some degree, all the areas that we’re in are crisis type businesses. People don’t call us because they want to have a chat about their water heater—they’re calling because they have a problem. That also gets compounded because the propane and heating/air conditioning businesses are very weather driven. A lot of activity must take place in a short period of time. When you add urgency to the equation, things can quickly become challenging.

We run into people who are at wit’s end for two reasons: First of all, they call us because they have had some sort of breakdown and it is hot or cold in their house. Secondly, some customers have dealt with other contractors in the past and they’ve had a negative experience. When they come to us, they expect we will be just as difficult to deal with. We’re lumped in with other home improvement contractors, some of which would do things that we would never do. That can make potential clients leery. To help our customers feel confident, we have warrantees and guarantees in place. We firmly believe that customers shouldn’t have to worry about being taken advantage of.

Wilmington Plumber’s Tip: Problems Roots Can Cause Your Sewer Lines

Your sewer line is a major component in your Wilmington home’s plumbing, but because it is buried, rarely needs maintenance and almost always works as intended, most people forget about it. However, a sewer line can quickly become a much bigger problem if you allow tree roots to grow close to it. Here are some of the problems an errant tree can cause for your sewer line and what to do about them.

What Roots Do to Sewer Lines

Trees actively seek water at all times. They grow slowly, but when they grow they move their branches toward sunlight and their roots toward water. On most developed properties attached to a city sewer system, the best source of water is the sewer line.

If allowed to continue, tree roots grow toward the sewer line and eventually infiltrate the line. It may take time, but eventually those roots will find seams and cracks in the pipe and break into it seeking water.

Over time, this will result in leaks, cracks and clogs in your line that can flood your lawn, back up in your home or cause problems for your neighbors.

Solving the Tree Root Problem

The first thing you should do is ensure there are not trees or shrubs growing close to your sewer line. If you don’t know where your sewer line is, check your property assessment or have a plumber help you find it. Remove any trees in the vicinity to avoid such a problem.

If you suspect a tree root problem, have your plumber perform a video inspection to check for roots and other blockages. If they find roots, high pressure jetting can often remove the problem completely.

Keep in mind that if the damage is advanced enough, you may need to have parts of your sewer line replace or relined. The actual work required will depend on the severity of the damage and the opinion of your plumber. Talk to a professional to learn more about what options are at your disposal.

A sewer line is vitally important to the operation of your Wilmington plumbing system. If you even suspect that a tree’s roots are infiltrating your pipes, contact Boulden Brothers right away for a full inspection.

Why Consider a Solar Water Heater in Wilmington DE

Did the energy bill for your Wilmington DE home decrease this month? Probably not. Energy prices seem to always be on the rise. People are looking for new and creative ways to lower their monthly expenses. Solar energy has gained popularity in Wilmington DE because of the potential it has to decrease your consumption of electricity. In this blog post we’re going to discuss solar water heating: how it works and why it might be a good option for your home.

What is a Solar Water Heater?

Some people confuse solar panels for solar water heaters. A solar panel array use the sun’s light to generate electricity. A solar water heater actually uses the sun’s heat energy to heat up water.

How a Solar Water Heater Works

Solar water heaters are pretty simple pieces of equipment. They have a large collector that is installed on your roof or somewhere on your property that gets a lot of sunlight. Water is pumped through the collector through a series of tubes. The heat from the sun warms the water and it is returned to your water heater’s tank. The hot water naturally collects at the top of the tank to get pumped into the home. In warmer climates, like in Florida or California, these types of water heaters can achieve temperatures over 200° F.

Solar Water Heater in Wilmington DE

But what about the winters in Wilmington DE? There isn’t much heat available when the temperature drops. Well, according to a recent study conducted in Toronto, even during the months of January and February, a solar hot water heater could produce water temperatures over 80° and 90° F. This is a great way to supplement the work of your current water heater during the winters.

Energy Efficiency

The main benefit for solar water heaters is a decrease in energy consumption. You use your water heater everyday probably to shower, wash dishes and more. Water heaters account for a large percentage of your monthly bill. By capitalizing on the renewable, limitless energy from the sun you can potentially greatly reduce the amount of energy that you have to buy.

If you have any questions about solar water heaters and if they’re a good choice for your home in Wilmington DE, contact Boulden Brothers. We have experience working with solar water heaters and can help you decide if your home would benefit from one.

Dover, DE Plumber’s Guide: 3 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

If you live in Dover, DE, you’ve probably heard about some of the things that you should never put down your garbage disposal. There is a lot of misinformation floating around the internet about what you can and cannot put down your garbage disposal. We thought it would be helpful for our customers in the Dover, DE area if we put together a simple list of 3 things that you shouldn’t put in your garbage disposal.

Grease

When you fry bacon in the morning for breakfast, what do you do with the grease that’s left over? If you’ve been putting it down your kitchen sink, it’s probably starting to cause problems in your drains. When heated, grease turns into a liquid and when it cools it actually solidifies. This gooey solid will cling to your pipes and start to attract other pieces of food and form a clog.

Potatoes, Rice and Pasta

When you put potatoes, rice or pasta in hot water what happens to them? They soften and expand as they absorb the water. When you put those things into your garbage disposal they do the same thing. After you’ve washed them into your pipes they will continue to expand and can eventually clog your drain.

Fibrous Vegetables

Fibrous veggies like celery are hard for your garbage disposal to break down. In small amounts these types of foods might be okay but it’s still a risk. Because vegetables like asparagus and celery have such tough, long strands, it’s very difficult for your garbage disposal to break them apart. You might end up washing a mushy ball of vegetables fibers into your drain which is never good.

Other Materials

You wouldn’t believe the materials that we’ve had to clean out of people’s garbage disposals. Some other things that you shouldn’t put down your garbage disposal include paint, engine oil, fruit pits like peaches or avocados, coffee grounds and bones. All of these things pose a danger to your garbage disposal and your drain system.

If you have any questions about your garbage disposal in Dover, DE or if you need garbage disposal repairs, call the experts at Boulden Brothers. We have years of experience offering comprehensive plumbing installation, repair and maintenance services in Dover, DE. We would love to talk with you about how we can help. Give us a call today!

Wilmington Plumber Tip: Different Kinds of Plumbing Traps

Appliances that use water and are installed inside a house all require some form of a water trap in the waste pipes to provide a water seal to drains or outside atmosphere. These traps are important in preventing bad odors from entering the house, as well as keeping out bacteria and insects.

The Wilmington, DE plumbers at Boulden Brothers have provided you with some examples of the most common plumbing traps that can be found:

The ‘P’ Trap

The ‘P’ trap usually has a screw joint half way along so that when it’s installed the outlet can be moved through about 270° in the horizontal plane so that it will mate with a horizontal waste pipe coming in from an angle. One benefit of the ‘P’ trap is that after it’s installed it can be removed for clearing blockages, or any other problems, and the remainder of the pipe will not be affected. A downside to the ‘P’ trap is that its formation needs a good amount of space in order to fit within the rest of the waste outlet.

The ‘S’ Trap

The ‘S’ trap usually has a screw joint half way along so that when it’s installed the outlet can be moved through about 270° in the horizontal plane so that it will mate with a vertical waste pipe coming up ‘off center.’ The advantages and disadvantages of the ‘S’ trap are the same as the ‘P’ trap.

The ‘Bottle’ trap

The ‘Bottle’ trap usually unscrews at the bottom as a means by which to clear blockages. The output for the waste pipe is always horizontal. The ‘Bottle’ trap takes up less radial space under a waste outlet and is ideal for pedestal mounted sinks where space is usually very limited. They can, however, be deeper that the ‘P’ and ‘S’ traps.

The ‘Shallow’ trap

The ‘Shallow’ trap is most often used on devices, such as baths and showers, where there isn’t much space above the floor. Where fitted to a bath, a banjo connector is normally used above it for the overflow from the bath. This type of trap doesn’t always meet regulatory standards for water seal depth. In instances in which there isn’t an alternative to fitting a shallow trap, it will be necessary to run a deeper trap further along the pipe where space allows, and definitely before the pipework enters a stack pipe, or discharges.

The ‘Shallow’ trap with a connector for the bath overflow.

Similar to a shallow trap described above but with an addition inlet in the bend. Usually this type of trap is supplied with a blanking plug fitted in the second inlet and a separate connector for this inlet must be purchased. The point of the second inlet is connecting the hose from the bath overflow. This removes the need for a banjo connector above the trap, allowing these traps to fit where space is very limited.

These ‘Shallow’ traps have the same challenges as an ordinary shallow traps in that in instances where there aren’t alternatives to running a shallow trap a deeper trap will need to be run further along the pipe line.

Call the Wilmington, DE plumbers at Boulden Brothers if you have further questions.

How Do Sump Pumps Work? A Dover, DE Plumber’s Guide

If you live in Dover, DE, you may have heard about sump pumps and wondered how they work. The plumbers at Boulden Brothers have been offering high quality plumbing services throughout the Dover, DE area for many years. We’ve installed, repaired and maintained sump pumps in many homes. We thought it would be helpful if we put together a simple explanation of how they work and the benefit they are to your home.

Sump Pump Installation

A good place to start in explaining how sump pumps work is to start with their installation. Here are the basic steps.

  • The first step is to dig a hole in the lowest point of the house (typically the basement)
  • Following that, a perforated plastic sleeve is lowered into the hole that will hold the sump pump and allow water into it.
  • The sump pump and an activator float are placed in the hole.
  • A long plastic ejector pipe is attached to the sump pump and run outside your home.

How Sump Pumps Work

As water starts to fill your basement it will naturally flow to the lowest point and begin to fill the sump pump’s hole. When the water rises high enough, the float will activate the sump pump. The pump will push the water up and out of your house.

Sump Pump Benefits

If you’ve ever heard of someone who came back from vacation to a flooded home then you know why sump pumps are important. Sump pumps protect your home from flooding and water damage. They can potentially save your home from thousands of dollar in damage. Additionally, water damage can also cause slab and foundation problems that can cost even more to fix.

Boulden Brothers offers complete sump pump services throughout the Dover, DE area. We would be more than happy to talk with you about installing a sump pump in your home. Give us a call today!

Free Port Penn Plumbing Guide to Kitchen & Bath Design: Best Practices

When designing a new kitchen or bathroom in Port Penn, or remodeling an existing one, it is important to consider not only form, but function. These rooms are characterized by particular appliances and fixtures that serve important roles within the space. Following best practices about how and where to lay these major pieces of the room out will help turn a plan into a dazzling and functional space.

Kitchen Best Practices

The design of a kitchen traditionally revolves around three main appliances: the range, the refrigerator and the sink. These are the basic, standard pieces of equipment you will find in every kitchen. Your vision may involve more fixtures, appliances and work areas, and that’s fine. What’s important is to establish space for work and traffic flow when laying these things out.

For example, during the design phase, consider the aisles and walkways in your kitchen. If you have an island, there should be at least 42 inches of space between it and the closest counter or appliance on all sides. This is to allow for enough space to, say turn around while carrying a roast from the oven, or be able to slip past someone who is getting a glass of water at the sink. Carefully consider how many people will be using the kitchen at one time and where the high traffic walkways are.

Bathroom Best Practices

You may not realize it until giving it some thought, but the considerations for bathroom design are very similar to those of kitchen design. That is, you want to have a space that gives enough room around all the major fixtures to move naturally and comfortably, while also using materials that will be durable and easy to clean.

The number one consideration here is safety, and it should guide all the questions you ask yourself and your contractor during the design process. Is the shower big enough for each person to turn around without banging into the wall or door? Is there enough space between the tub and sink to maneuver safely and comfortably? Are the floor and tub made from materials that provide enough traction to be able to stand safely, even when wet? Consider all these variables when consulting with your contractor on what materials to use and where each fixture or appliance should go.

By all means, have fun with your design project. It’s fun and exciting to design a new room the way you have always pictured it. Just be sure to also consider some best practices while you do it, so that you wind up with a room that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also safe and functional. If you have any plumbing related questions about your Port Penn home, give Boulden Brothers a call!