Contractor Always Gives the Customer What She Wants

BY ROBERT P. MADER of CONTRACTORs staff HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIF. ve got to do what the customer wants, is the motto of Mike Jungers of Royalty Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Brea, Calif. Thats true even when it doesnt make any sense to him. Jungers recently finished a gut remodel of a 1970s one-floor bungalow-style house here that did not include air conditioning. The owner, a single professional

BY ROBERT P. MADER of CONTRACTOR’s staff

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIF. — “You’ve got to do what the customer wants,” is the motto of Mike Jungers of Royalty Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Brea, Calif. That’s true even when it doesn’t make any sense to him.

Jungers recently finished a gut remodel of a 1970s one-floor bungalow-style house here that did not include air conditioning. The owner, a single professional woman, told Jungers that she’s never home during the day and she does not need it.

“You’ll be sorry,” Jungers told her. He knows, however, that she’s satisfied with his work and he’s expecting a callback.

Jungers installed all new plumbing, new gas pipe and a new heating system in the three-bedroom, two-bath house. He said he doesn’t know if he was low, but he gave her a price, she liked it and she’s given him referrals since then. His contract for the job was about $10,000, and the owner supplied many of the fixtures.

Jungers replaced all the pipe in the house because it had “rotted out” due to the aggressive water in the area. He had to hammer through the slab because the cast-iron drains had to be completely replaced. The supply piping was a full copper re-pipe, he said.

The master bath includes an American Standard elongated toilet, double vanities, a shower and a corner tub. Jungers installed all new equipment and fixtures, repositioned the plumbing in the shower and replaced the drain lines.

The homeowner opted for a 4-ft.-by-4-ft. barrier-free shower that has three walls and no enclosure. Jungers positioned the showerheads so the water would be contained within the shower. He suggested that the homeowner install two showerheads, one a 6-in. rain-style showerhead, and a lower handheld shower for rinsing.

The double vanity contains two tiled-in American Standard seashell shaped sinks served by dolphin-shaped faucets from Newport Brass. The owner definitely likes an aquatic theme and dolphins.

The corner of the master bath contains a separate, 100-gal. Roman-style jetted American Standard tub. A large dolphin-shaped Roman tub faucet sprays water out its mouth into the tub. Based on the enormous size of this tub, Jungers installed a Takagi T-K 2 gas-fired tankless water heater because the homeowner would run out of hot water before the tub was full had she used a tank-type heater, Jungers said. The tankless water heater, which can produce 7.5 gpm, cost about $1,400.

“You can run two showers at the same time,” Jungers said.

He suspended the Takagi unit from the bottom of the roof (easily done since the house was gutted) because that frees up closet space in a house this small. The water heater is suspended from the roof with 38-in. threaded steel rod and U-channel Unistrut bracing and vibration isolators underneath so the unit hangs like a hammock. Jungers installed it that way, first, because he thinks it’s the right way to do it and, secondly, it will move in case of an earthquake.

The installation also includes two ball valves to isolate the heater and hose bibs so it can be back-flushed because of the hard water conditions. Takagi performs that service directly, Jungers noted.

The second bathroom in the hallway includes all new American Standard elongated toilet, pedestal sink and a combination tub/shower. Continuing the aquatic motif, the pedestal lav looks like a seashell supported by a shell-shaped pedestal. It too has a dolphin faucet from Newport Brass.

In the kitchen, Jungers suggested to the homeowner, because of the poor water quality in Southern California, that she install an AquaSafe reverse-osmosis system instead of purchasing bottled water. He noted that the AquaSafe system removes all toxins and purifies the water as it enters the house before reaching the kitchen faucet and the refrigerator, which has an icemaker and water dispenser on the door. The reverse-osmosis system was installed under the sink in the kitchen and cost about $400.

On the heating side, Jungers installed corrugated stainless steel tube gas lines and a Trane 80% AFUE two-stage furnace.

Because the house was gutted he had plenty of room to install all new ductwork with dampers in the plenum.

“In all of our jobs we put in manual airflow control dampers so we’re able to evenly distribute the air throughout the whole home,” Jungers said. “We make sure that the air volume can be directed to where you want it.”

He adjusts the air volume so the airflow goes to the room that needs it. He always does a walk-through with customers at the end of the job to get the air balanced the way they want it. Even though the Flowhood may say the proper CFM is coming into a room, “You’ve got to do what the customer wants,” he said.

He also includes a one-year maintenance agreement with his jobs and encourages his customers to call him for adjustments.