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The New Homeowner's Guide to Your Plumbing and Heating Needs: An Interview with Timothy Cosette

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Titan Plumbing is a residential service company. We specialize in all facets of plumbing, gas heating and residential repairs. We do everything from small repairs to complete installations. Whether it is a bathroom or kitchen, we offer pretty much any service that you may think of related to plumbing and heating. We have been in business for exactly ten years. We serve the Metro West, North Shore, and Greater Boston area. At the moment, we have multiple technicians on staff. Also, we provide emergency service. If someone happens to call with an emergency, we can usually get someone over there to assist them the same day. On the other end of the spectrum, we do have the manpower to perform large scale projects as well.

Is your company mostly based off referrals?

I would say it is about 80-85% repeat customers. We do a bit of advertising and a lot of online marketing. We also market our own customer base quite often.

How did you get into this line of work?

I started the company on my own ten years ago. I have always been pretty good at fixing things. I entered the Carpenters union right out of high school. The economy was really bad at the time so there wasn't a substantial amount of work. I had a friend who introduced me to a plumber and it worked out because plumbing is a rather steady job. I have now been doing it for the past eighteen years. I'm happy to report that we have steady work year round.

You seem to offer an enormous amount of services; would you pick any specific ones out as your specialties?

I have many employees that specialize in different things. However, there are some services that I would consider our specialties. The top services we provide are the maintenance and installation of gas heating and hot water systems. This field is very complex; the equipment and controls have changed so much since the older technology was introduced. The industry is constantly changing. The equipment has basically changed so much that if you do not stay up-to-date with trainings, you will easily fall behind. Therefore, my employees and I are always attending trainings and seminars to learn about the new high-efficiency equipment out there. Also, we offer old steam piping rejuvenations and steam boiler replacements.. I am sad to say that there are no schools available to learn this dying art. We find ourselves reading books, watching seminars and studying the old steam installer's manuals. We dedicate a ton of time on training and learning how to design new systems all while adapting to the old existing steam piping and principles. Steam heating is still prevalent in the areas in which we serve.

Especially with the internet these days, I know it is easy for a customer to learn about a new product at the same time you do. Do you ever run into a problem where these new products are not easily accessible?

I actually haven't. For the most part, we stay on top of things. We always try to participate in trainings and gain experience with even the newest of products. One example is a company called Red Link that came out with a wireless control product where you can use your smart phone to control the temperature in your home. This system allows users to remotely monitor and control both heating and cooling systems, including humidifiers and dehumidifiers. I'm sure it will be the wave of the future.

It says that you offer kitchen and bathroom remodeling as well. Does this include services that do not relate to plumbing and heating ie. Design, cabinetry, flooring?

Yes we do. We have a team of contractors that we work with to perform kitchen and bathroom remodeling services. We do subcontract a few of them out. If a customer is looking for a complete remodel, we can provide that and manage the whole project. If they just want plumbing and they would like others to manage, we can do that as well.

What are some of the most innovative products you offer? Can these products really help you save on heating costs?

There is one particular product that we have offered over the past few years that has proven most successful. The Ray boiler has become very popular with our clients. It holds a huge advantage over other high efficient boilers due to the fact that it is made out of cast iron. Cast iron is a material that has been used in all the older boilers that we replace. The old boilers lasted for 50+ years due to the durability of this material.. Most of the newer high efficient boilers are made with cast aluminum or stainless steel. This product is the only one on the market to come with a lifetime heat exchanger warrantee. It is a high-efficiency piece of equipment. That utilizes old reliability with today's electronics. Not many other plumbing and heating companies are very familiar with this product. We have really been recommending it because of its durability. The maximum warranty you'll get from most boiler companies is ten years, while this one is lifetime. As long as the owner keeps the home, that boilers heat exchanger is covered.

What are some key qualities a homeowner should look for in a qualified plumbing and heating company?

First and foremost, I would recommend going to the Better Business Bureau and looking at the company's reputation. Also you can search online at the Massachusetts's Plumbing Board site to make sure they have the proper plumbing licensing. Of course referrals are definitely one of the best ways, along with online reviews. All of these tools make it easy to make sure they have a professional in their home and that their skills should match up to fit their needs.

Communication is the most important part.. When a company provides a proposal it should have a detailed explanation of the services provided. It should never be assumed that everything spoken of is included. When meeting a plumber you should pay attention to the level of respect the plumber shows the customer and their home. For example, we make sure to put drop cloths and wear shoe covers so we don't make a mess. Lastly, unforeseen problems do occur sometimes if the plumber doesn't communicate these situations to the client immediately. It could create an unpleasant experience.

What should new homeowners be thinking about (related to plumbing and heating) once they settle into their new home?

First, new homeowners should have a plumber come in and inspect the plumbing and heating systems. Regular home inspectors catch most obvious things but not everything. I've seen many times when people will buy a home to find out there is an underground drainage problem, which the home inspector can obviously not detect on his own. A licensed plumber is a professional and will know what to look for. Most plumbing companies will have a camera that they can actually put in the drains and give you a report of exactly what is going on underground. This is something that a good plumbing company should do as part of an inspection to make sure everything is in working order. If you are still in the process of buying a home, be sure to ask the last time the heating system has been maintained or serviced. I hate to say but most people don't maintain gas and heating systems. With today's equipment, you need to be sure to keep it maintained each year. If you don't have service records, you take the chance of voiding your warranty.

What are some of your most difficult types of projects?

I would say the most difficult one is repairing underground drainage lines that are broken, cracked, or have root intrusion. This type of project is very invasive. If the issue is inside the home, we have to jackhammer the basement floor, excavate, remove the drains, and replace them. If the problem is outside the home, it requires heavy equipment to excavate the land, replace the drains and return the yard back to its original state or better. It can be a very expensive unexpected burden on the customer. Sadly to say most people will find out about a problem when it's too late and the system has already backed up. This brings raw sewage into the home. This can be disturbing and stressful to the client.

What would you say sets your business apart from other comparable companies? Is there anything that you believe you do better/different?

If you are comparing other plumbers who have multiple technicians and provide many services, we are similar to most. However, we do offer multiple options on our proposals. If we were going to give a proposal to our client, we wouldn't offer just one solution. We actually give many different options so they can choose which one fits their particular needs and budget. Very few companies offer various options. We find it isn't really fair to the client for us to choose what is best for them.

What are your favorite projects to work on?

I would have to say installing heating systems. It is fun to design and build a system. It feels satisfying when a client sees the finished project and states "Wow that is a wonderful piece of art". We have had some clients show off their systems to friends on social media sites. We have even had a client actually state "That boiler is amazing it looks like it belongs in outer space". I really enjoy the entire process; listening to the customer's needs, ordering all the parts, and the assembly. It is very satisfying to see their faces when it is finished. I also love to follow-up with them the following year and hear that the new equipment has in fact given them comfort.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Direct line 9788512486 Emergency after hours line 7814383100 press # 1 teamtitanplumbing@yahoo.com

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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