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Plumbers, other service workers busy with stay-at-home orders in place

MISHAWAKA, Ind. - As states like Michigan extend stay-at-home orders, people are getting used to living their life in the confines of their homes. But that means they are using all their appliances and electronics more than they would normally.

Jose at A+ Plumbing Heating and Cooling said they aren’t doing too many routine system updates during this time. But that isn’t affecting their business because they are getting a lot of emergency plumbing calls and it stems from a lack of toilet paper in the stores.

“There has been an uptick in emergency calls in the community just in regards to plumbing because a lot of people are staying at home and trying to be more sanitary," Jose Noel Rocha, marketing director for A+ PHC said. “Because of a lot of the issues the community has been having in terms of finding toilet paper, the sewage and a lot of their different septic systems have been finding some problems.”

It’s not just that folks at home are using their appliances more but also since there is a lack of toilet paper in the community, he said people are going to wet wipes or flushable wipes as a solution.

However, those wipes do not flush well and are actually causing plumbing problems.

“Even the ones that say flushable, we recommend they get thrown in the trash can and that causes more clogs so we need to go in there with our sewer machine and that’s actually our larger machine,” he said.

But it’s also important their staff and customers are safe before getting the job done.

“The CDC recommends that with any plumbing or sewage calls that you should assume that the virus is present on-site so we’re using just extra precautions. OSHA recommendations are that you should always have a mask glove and eye coverings, we’re actually adding to that,” he said.

They are adding this extra protective suit so their workers are covered head to toe before going inside a home.

If the plumbing problem can be done from the outside, there is no in-person contact with the homeowner.

He said they also have ways to pay virtually and even set up meetings through zoom if needed. However, they have gotten numerous calls from residents worried about risking their health or other's health.

“What we’ve seen besides the fear, is a lot of hope and coming together because people are letting us know if there is a health risk in the home, we can actually take the precautions to keep everyone safe,” he said.

Rocha said it’s really important to communicate if there is a health risk in your home, so they can try to accommodate.

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