Careless Behavior Causes Some Serious Accidents

Just after noon on Thursday (August 12), Washington State Department of Transportation Maintenance Technician 2 Guy Copeland was busy mowing the grassy median on I-5 near Castle Rock in Cowlitz County when a passing motorist flicked a lit cigarette out of their window. The cigarette butt landed directly in front of the mower and almost instantly the extremely dry grass went up in flames. Guy immediately backed the mower up, but the fire spread quickly and had soon had the machine surrounded. After radioing for help, Guy leapt out of the mower to safety. The Washington State Patrol and two more WSDOT employees soon arrived on the scene and closed one left lane on I-5 northbound to make room for the fire trucks and personnel from Castle Rock Fire and EMS, the Cowlitz County Fire District 3 and the state Department of Natural Resources. After about an hour and a half, the fire was out, and left lane was reopened just before 2:30 p.m.

“What we have here is a careless motorist who needlessly risked the life of a state employee and damaged state equipment,” said WSDOT Southwest Region Maintenance and Operations Manager Rick Sjolander. “All because they couldn’t be bothered to put their cigarette out properly.”

This summer has been extremely dry, which increases the risk for brush and grass fires across the state. As a result, WSDOT, the Washington State Patrol and a host of state agencies and local fire districts have teamed up to send drivers a simple message, “Keep your butt in the car.”

By throwing a lit cigarette out the window, you jeopardize the safety of others, cause potential traffic back-ups while emergency response teams battle the fire, and cost taxpayers up to $100,000 an acre. It’s not cheap for those caught throwing cigarettes out their window either. The Washington State Patrol will fine violators $1,025 if caught.

WSDOT would also like to emphasize the fact that summer is one of the busiest highway maintenance seasons in the state. All motorists are asked to please slow down, pay attention and use caution while driving past a highway work zone, whether it’s in a travel lane or on the shoulder or median.
Give ‘em a Brake!

Work Zone Safety Facts:

It is more likely that a motorist will be killed in a highway work zone accident than a construction or maintenance employee. In Washington, 12 motorists are killed for every WSDOT employee killed and 214 motorists are injured for every WSDOT employee injured.
The most common cause of work zone accidents is speeding and inattentive driving.
All traffic law violation fines are doubled inside a work zone when workers are present (RCW 46.61.527).
All motorists must obey the directions of all flaggers or pilot vehicle drivers within the work zone. If you ignore their directions or in any way endanger their lives with reckless driving, you will be charged with a misdemeanor (RCW 46.61.015).
State law dictates that all motorists must yield the right of way to any highway construction personnel, vehicles with flashing yellow lights or construction equipment inside a highway construction or maintenance work zone (RCW 46.61.215).
Contact our Vermont Accident Lawyers if you have ever experienced a personal injury and think others are at fault for the accident.

Pruning Your Texas Live Oak – Good Guys Tree Service

Live Oak Tree Services

The stately live oak is a frequent and welcome sight throughout central and west Texas. These massive trees are known for their speedy growth, their long, sweeping limbs, and their exceedingly long lives — the oldest live oaks in the United States are estimated to be thousands of years old.Tree services

Unfortunately, the lives of these beautiful trees can be cut short by oak wilt — and oak wilt is more common in Texas than in any other part of the country. Oak wilt is caused by a fungus that’s carried and spread by the Nitidulid beetle. This beetle is drawn to the sweet smell of the live oak’s sap. For this reason, many folks around the Austin area are afraid that pruning, since it allows tree sap to flow to the tree’s exterior, is dangerous for the health of their live oaks.Pruning is Natural and Necessary

Your live oak is just like any other tree. It needs to be well maintained, and wise pruning is part of the care a healthy tree requires. So — what do we mean by wise pruning? For starters, consider the time of year. The Nitudulid beetle is generally far less active during our cold season, late November through early February. This makes winter the best time for pruning your live oak.

However, your tree may need pruning at other times of the year — and it’s important for your tree’s health that you not delay necessary maintenance! No matter what time of year, your live oak will need to to be trimmed if its limbs are interfering with utilities, or hanging in such a way that there’s danger to traffic, structures, or passers-by.

You may want to trim branches that hang too low to the ground, as this encourages healthy growth at the tree’s crown. Your live oak will need trimming if any of its branches have been damaged by storms, or if branches are rubbing on a building or another branch. And certainly, a dead limb should be removed right away.Precautions for Safe Trimmingtree removal

In any season there are certain precautions you or your tree trimming professional should take to minimize the risk of oak wilt. All pruning tools should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized with a 10% solution of water and bleach, or a safe disinfectant made specifically for use with trees. Remember to clean those tools before they’re used on a second tree, as well as before and after each trimming session!

Once a branch has been trimmed, it’s very important to seal the wound quickly. This is what keeps the sap from attracting the Nitudulid beetle. It’s okay to use latex paint for your sealant, but we prefer tree paint or a good pruning sealer.

The experienced professionals at Good Guys Tree Service cherish your live oak as much as you do. Call us with questions regarding the health of a live oak as well as any other of your Austin tree trimming and tree removal needs. Your 100% satisfaction is always our goal, and we’ll go the extra mile to earn it.

Water Heater Services – Your Local Plumber

Water Heater Services

All water heater manufacturers recommend at least an annual service on all their water heaters. This usually involves draining and flushing the tank and cleaning the burner assembly. Additionally, every 4 to 5 years, the anode rod should be replaced. The anode rod will slow the corrosion of any exposed metal, including taps and welded joints. Excessive corrosion is the leading cause of most complete water heater failures and the timely replacement of the unit’s anode rod will serve to extend its life. Water Heater Services

Water Heater Repair

One of the most common calls we receive is, “my water heater isn’t working properly…can you help?” The answer is always, yes! In the event your unit is not working properly, our licensed plumbers will identify the problem and provide the solution. We will install top quality parts and service your water heater for a reasonable price.

Water Heater Installation and Replacement

Whether it is a new installation, or it is the replacement of an existing water heater…we can help! The life expectancy for most units is between eight (8) and twelve (12) years. In some cases, it may be more expedient to replace an old water heater as opposed to performing another repair. At this point we will help you decide which unit is right for you based on initial expense, unit quality and ongoing operating expense.

Tankless Water Heater Installation

Tankless water heaters offer homeowners a unique space and money saving opportunity. Also, homeowners install tankless heaters in crawlspaces and on the exterior of their homes, to remove the liability posed by an existing attic or closet installation. These units can provide as much hot water as you require, but only when you require it. As such, they are far more energy efficient which is better for your wallet and the environment! We offer a full line of tankless systems to meet your needs and budget. Tankless water heaters serviced More information here

Tankless Water Heater Repair and Servicing

As with regular water heaters, tankless water heaters must also be serviced periodically. They need to be de-scaled/de-limed and the inlet screens removed and cleaned. Whether a repair or a regular service, we are qualified to maintain your tankless water heater.

Unlicensed Plumbers

Please be aware of unlicensed plumbers and handymen that install standard vent water heaters in a direct vent application. Neither your life nor your family’s life is worth the savings. Not only do you run the risk of burning your house down, you also run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Natural gas or propane water heater venting applications must be strictly adhered to!

Water Heater 101

Safety should always be the #1 concern when attempting to service or replace a water heater. This safety concern is definitely true for all water heaters regardless of the unit size. Water heaters utilize very potent energy sources, the most common being natural gas, electricity and propane. Also, most units are extremely heavy (yes even tankless units) and they operate under high pressures and temperatures. Natural gas and propane water heaters emit gases such as, carbon monoxide that are hazardous to your health.
Tanked water heaters should always be placed on a level surface. This is especially true for attic and garage installations where bodily injury and property damage can occur. That level surface must also be compliant with the fuel type. For example, only a metal and not a plastic pan should be placed under a gas fired water heater in the attic. That level surface or floor or stand must also be rated and/or constructed to support the weight of the water heater when it is filled. For example a 50 gallon water heater weighs approx. 560lbs. One gallon of water weighs approximately 8.34 lbs.

When servicing an electric water heater the power should be turned off and the electrical disconnect or breaker must be in plain view. This reduces the possibility of someone else restoring power to the unit while the technician is working on it. Given the fact that most electric water heater units operate on 240 volts, a simple misstep like this can result in severe injury or worse.

Always be aware of the various shut-offs: water shut-off valve; gas shut-off valve/gascock; electrical breaker or disconnect. Please do not assume that they are functioning as intended, because all valves eventually breakdown and fail.

Water Heater Maintenance

All manufacturers recommend at least an annual service on all their water heaters. This usually involves draining and flushing the tank and cleaning the burner assembly. Additionally, every 4 to 5 years, the anode rod should be replaced. Anode rods are difficult to get to and remove and its service should be performed by a licensed professional. The anode rod will slow the corrosion of any exposed metal, including taps and welded joints. Excessive corrosion is the leading cause of most complete water heater failures and the timely replacement of the unit’s anode rod will extend its life.
Water heaters expand and contract continuously. The more intense expansions occur when the incoming water temperature is reduced by the change in season. Now the “Delta” or the desired change in water temperature is that much greater resulting in greater expansion. This is why a greater percentage of units fail in the fall and winter.

Water heaters can be flushed quite easily, but it can become expensive if you don’t properly manage your energy source. For example, when flushing electric water heaters, the power source must be turned off for the duration of the service and should only be turned on after the unit is filled and the air in the tank is completely purged. If you are not comfortable doing this, then please call a licensed plumbing professional.

Water Heater Repair or Replacement

The life expectancy for most units is between eight (8) and twelve (12) years. If your water heater is over 10 years old and it needs either a gas valve or burner assembly or major electrical rebuild, then we will generally recommend replacement and not repair. Of course, if there is a water tank leak then the option to repair is taken away.
A six (6) year manufacturer’s warranty is the industry standard on most tanked water heaters. Some retailers increase their warranty and the price accordingly, but from our factory tours, most manufacturers use the same metal, welds and protective coatings.

When it comes to water heaters, unit cost is inversely related to efficiency. This simply means, the lower the cost of the unit the less efficient and consequently, the more expensive that unit will be to operate. It’s mostly a matter of how you would like to pay – less upfront but more to operate or more upfront and less to operate. Having established that fact, then this is what you should generally anticipate:
Contact us hers @

Fuel Tank Vent Efficiency Cost Manufacturer’s Warranty
& Electric Yes N/A Least X 6 Years
Natural Gas/Propane Yes Standard/Top
Vent/Regular Good X multiplied by 1.4 6 years
NG/Propane Yes Direct Vent Better X multiplied by 2.3 6 years
NG/Propane Yes Condensing Best X multiplied by 4 6 years
NG/Propane Tankless Direct Vent
or Standard Best X multiplied by 4 12 years