Neighbors Helping Neighbors – A Plumbing Story

Imagine you’re one of those many households around Pennsylvania and around the country with two working parents, and one or more kids.

You’re trying to juggle your mortgage, your utilities, your absurdly high Comcast bill, your health insurance payments and everything else that comes your way.

Suddenly, you’re looking at signing onto a contract with a plumber that’s going to cost you $4,000! Something’s wrong with your home, and the home insurance that you pay every month doesn’t help, because the home insurance company doesn’t feel like covering it.

You look at the legalese language on your contract and realize there is no way to get that covered – it’s the New Year, your bank account is low from buying Christmas presents – and all of your other bills are also about to come due!

Well, you don’t have to imagine the scenario – because that’s something that happened to a local family of six just a few days after the holiday season.

When sewage and gray water backed up into the house, causing an unholy mess in the basement, the homeowners were desperate. They called a local plumbing firm out of the yellow pages, one of the biggest names around, a name they had seen on trucks and billboards and on TV.

What they got was an estimate for over $4,000 to replace the entire sewer line, including ripping shrubs out from around the perimeter of the home, and running more than 40 feet of pipe to the street.

All of this was based on a 15 minute inspection where the plumber showed up, looked at the line from the street, and said – it’s not running. Therefore, the line is broken.

Now, the plumbing company wanted the homeowners to sign to get this project going right away – within the week, since they didn’t have use of their water and couldn’t shower, wash dishes, do laundry or even flush the toilet without a deluge of dirty, nasty water leaking from the pipes.

So what did these homeowners do?

They were lucky enough to know crews affiliated with the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, of GTKYF Foundation Inc. A crew showed up and quickly diagnosed the problem within minutes. They unclogged the line, restored use of the sewer system, and put in a new cleanout to help diagnose line problems – all at cost, in a way that worked for the stressed-out family’s budget.

Compassion Mixed with Talent and Expertise

First, the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program is run by people who have real trades expertise and experience with household plumbing systems, heating systems,  electrical systems and more.

It’s also run by people who have compassion for everyday working families and their needs in an often predatory economy.

But there’s a third resource that the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program has – that’s an investment in modern tools.

When our crews show up at a home, they are able to look inside plumbing lines and other infrastructure and diagnose problems.

With a significant investment in a RIDGID see-scope and camera system, there’s no guesswork when it comes to what’s happening inside your pipes. On the other hand, if the plumbing shop doesn’t look inside, and tries to diagnose everything from outside, they’re working on outdated technology and relatively ineffective methods. And a goal of padding the often commission based tech pay check.

At the same time, they benefit from getting a large project done up-front to get money flowing in to cover overhead and expenses. That’s why some of the bigger firms tell homeowners to replace the WHOLE LINE at the first whisper of a problem, telling them “it’ll cost more to fix it again later” – that’s NOT always the case. They’re looking to line their pockets – and if it doesn’t fit the customer’s budget – well, that’s just too bad.

That’s not how Neighbors Helping Neighbors works – we’re not a for-profit company. At the same time, we’re not just a non-profit with very little experience or skill. This program provides real, solid assistance to homeowners at affordable rates, not just to get someone’s business, but to help out those who are in need.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors doesn’t just do HVAC and plumbing – we handle all sorts of home improvement and home maintenance situations where homeowners are under the gun, unsure where to turn, uncertain about how they will keep their home safe and liveable.

If you have a home repair crisis and aren’t sure who you can trust, call Neighbors Helping Neighbors and get connected with helpful technicians involved in the STEP Group, a skills training and employment program, to see firsthand how this process works.

That’s what the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program is based on – we teach those who want to learn the skills they need to make a living in a world where labor is so often underpaid and underappreciated. We “take out the middleman” between the talented worker and the price-conscious customer. We simply do work the old way – the direct way. We believe that everyone deserves an honest service, and attention to their needs. You don’t see that in the corporate world, where financially stressed families are encouraged to go into debt just to survive. Time and time again, as we work with homeowners to look at energy efficiency, sustainability and maintenance solutions, we hear the gratitude that comes with having heroes show up to help you when you need it most.

It’s just what we do. Call and talk to us about what you’re facing and we’ll see if we can help.