The Other Competitor

By Thad Plumley

The heartbreaking story that unfolded recently near my house can’t help but stop you in your tracks.

A model family, the kind you usually only find in a Hollywood script—a father, mother, teenage son and daughter, three dogs—died due to a deadly level of carbon monoxide poisoning the air of their home.

So sad.

And so preventable.

It was discovered days after the tragedy an exhaust pipe on top of a tankless water heater was slightly dislodged, ending the mystery of where the deadly gas entered the home.

It was also discovered the water heater installation was a do-it-yourselfer. The father and a friend installed the system at some point prior to the accident. An installation permit, as required in Ohio, was never filed.

When announcing their discoveries, the police added no carbon monoxide detectors were in the house, meaning a simple device could have literally been the difference between life and death.

The police also stressed they could not determine if a human or product error led to the dislodged pipe. But we all know weekend warriors can be dangerous animals.

It’s important you learn how to combat DIYers simply wanting to check all of the boxes on their honey-do lists. In fact, it’s not too strong an approach to consider homeowners wanting to do any type of work on the family water system at their home as much of a competitor as that other water well contracting firm near you.

Lead conversations you have with potential customers with the importance of you, a professional water well contractor, providing life-sustaining water to their home. Detail your history in the profession, and if you’re at a multi-generation business, proudly highlight the decades in which your family has served countless customers throughout your area.

Hopefully you can add that you are a member of the National Ground Water Association, the leading professional association for your profession, as well as a member of its voluntary certification program.

Add the products you get from the groundwater industry’s top manufacturers and suppliers are superior to what they can find in their nearby big-box stores.

Then be blatant. Add it up for them. Superior products installed by a superiorlevel contractor whose superior skills are recognized by a superior trade association in his or her field is the superior choice. That trumps any cost savings created by having water system work on a honey-do list.

Obviously, DIY jobs don’t always end with heartbreaking news stories and police press conferences. But from time to time, needless tragedies remind you of the importance of having jobs well done.

Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at and on Twitter @WaterWellJournl.