Friday, June 22, 2018

London Plumbing & Remodeling: Do I really need a permit to install or change a water heater?

The simple answer is YES! Sometimes people think that pulling a permit means excessive costs, invasive inspections and having to bring their entire home “UP TO CODE” on everything they have ever done or repaired. This is not the case.  Most of the time the inspector will limit their inspection to the items on the permit.

 When we replace a water heater (propane, gas or electric) we are dealing with gas, flame, exhaust gasses or 220 volts of electricity. If everything is done safely & up to code you should have many years of good service from your new water heater.

 I used a licensed Plumber or Contractor, so they must have done the work up to code, RIGHT??  I mean they are licensed aren’t they? It is unfortunate, but that is NOT TRUE!

 Recently we have replaced 2 water heaters.  #1 was in a manufactured home, it was installed improperly and when it leaked it caused property damage.  #2 was installed by another local plumber who didn’t install the water heater up to code so the warranty was voided by the manufacturer and our customer had to replace the unit.  On another job, a water heater was vented by the contractor in an unsafe manner, under a deck, within 18” of combustibles & less than 48” away from windows and doors.

The advantage of pulling a permit is that your life & health safety are being protected as an independent 3rd party does the safety inspections. Had the people with the above water heater installations insisted on permits then everything would have been done up to code & safely.  Look for more on this in our next article, and thank you for reading.

 London Plumbing & Remodeling (formerly Stuart London Handyman) is licensed, bonded & insured.  Contractor’s license # is 846653.  We are located in Pine Grove, CA & are a full service Plumber, contractor & handyman.  Please give us a call @ 209-296-3613.  “WE CALL BACK & SHOW UP!” TM

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Amador Council of Tourism: Yelp Business Strategies - Wed June 27

You are invited to an educational session, Yelp Business Strategies,  on Wednesday, June 27, 5 pm to 7 pm, at Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort. Attached is the information about our exciting event September 14-16, a Yelp Gold Country Getaway. In preparation for the Getaway, Amador Council of Tourism and Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort are offering an opportunity to elevate your knowledge about Yelp for your business. Appetizers will be available and a no-host bar thanks to the generosity of Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort.

Guest speakers are John Carroll, Yelp Senior Manager of Business Outreach, and Alex Lane, Yelp Sacramento Community Director. Discussion will cover a range of topics like: benefits and considerations of Yelp, how to drive good results from Yelp’s Gold Country Getaway. Amador Council of Tourism will provide a handout on reputation management on social media platforms.  

Thanks to all who have responded with ideas for the Gold Country Getaway. It is really taking shape. We still have room for more, if the opportunity fits your business plan. Please do call or email Maureen Funk, or 209-969-5065, or Emily Tirapelle,, 209-223-8589, with any questions or ideas.

Thank you for your support,

Maureen Funk
Amador Council of Tourism
PO Box 40/460 Sutter Hill Road, Ste. D
Sutter Creek CA 95685
Phone: 209-267-9249

Yelp Gold Country Getaway 2018, September 14-16

We are looking for experiences at Amador destinations for the Yelper Elite on Friday, September
14, and Saturday, September 15. We want exclusive, awesome experiences that will bring them
back to Amador for more.

What is an Elite Yelper? The Yelp Elite Squad is Yelp’s way of recognizing people who are active in
the Yelp community and role models on and off the site. Elite-worthiness is based on a number of
things, including well-written reviews, high quality tips, a detailed personal profile, an active voting and
complimenting record, and a history of playing well with others. Elite Yelp attendees are hand-selected
to ensure our success.
Deadline: May 24th, Thursday
Short list of musts:
Current Amador Council of Tourism Membership
Brick-and-mortar business with an existing Yelp listing
At least 3 stars on Yelp.
Desirable: Guest Wi-fi during event and Amador-awesome
When: Daytimes, Friday, September 14; Saturday, September 15; Sunday, September 16
Make it work: Choose an experience your business will offer. Be playful and think VIP. Set a
maximum-size group for your event that will make it most successful for you and most enjoyable for
your Yelpers. Set a cost. Yelpers will be happy to pay for this experience, and have done so at other
getaway events.
Send Maureen Funk,, and Emily Tirapelle,, an email with “Yelp Gold Country Getaway” in subject line, and tell us your great idea, including the details.
Keep calm: This is about in-person marketing, not the Yelp platform itself. To avoid any perception of “pay to play”, Yelp sets up a separate event listing where attendees can review the event, not the
business itself. These reviews are essentially always positive! This also protects the business from
getting reviews on their business page based on a one-off experience. The event reviews will still live on Yelp and are (most importantly) viewed mostly by Elite Yelpers far and wide, not just those who
attended the getaway. By handpicking our guests, we are getting a concentrated group of influencers to visit Amador County for the first time. Yelp puts tens of thousands of marketing dollars toward
promoting and cultivating an experience for the Elite Yelpers, which is most effective for both our users and the participating businesses.
Here are some examples of other Getaways:
Yelp’s Tahoe Getaway
Yelp’s 10-Year Anniversary
Yelp Winter Break
What else to know:
Yelp Factsheet
ABC’s of Yelp
Guidelines for Yelp Posts
Still have Questions? Contact Emily Tirapelle or Maureen Funk.

Friday, June 15, 2018

London Plumbing & Remodeling - Toilets: Rebuild or Replace?

Sometimes we have toilet problems. It doesn’t flush completely, there may be drips or water on the floor, stained vinyl near the toilet, or the water keeps running. What do you do, repair it or replace it? Many toilets in service today use up to 5 gallons of water per flush. That’s a lot of clean, fresh water being sent “sent down the drain”! Below are some suggestions.

If you have shopped for a toilet lately you will see that all toilets have a maximum flush volume of 1.28 gallons. This is a federal law! (Some new toilets use even less water). The advantages of the newer toilets are water saving with adequate flushing of solids most of the time. You have the choice of an ADA or Comfort Height toilet, which has an elongated bowl, and is about 2” taller than the standard toilet. Please call us for our recommendations on which brands seem to have less problems than others.
   If your current toilet is having issues, purchasing a new standard size or comfort height toilet will often save you money in the long run over a toilet rebuild. Why you may ask? When we rebuild or renew a toilet sometimes the new parts are not as good as the original parts. If we rebuild your toilet you get a 30 day warranty. New toilets have fewer problems & have a minimum of a 1 year warranty.
   New toilets can be purchased at most hardware stores, big box stores & local plumbing houses. Prices of new toilets can range from about 99.00 dollars to well over 500.00. Other considerations when replacing a toilet is the angle stop or shut off valve just adjacent to the toilet. If your valve is difficult to turn, leaks or is just old we can replace it at the same time as the toilet. The entire job only takes about an hour.
   London Plumbing & Remodeling (Formerly Stuart London Handyman) is here to help with your home improvement projects, plumbing needs & repairs. We are a full service plumber and general contractor located in Pine Grove, CA.
Lic # 846653

Friday, June 8, 2018

Amador Council of Tourism - Thurs June 14

Hello Amador Tourism Industry Partners-
The next Board meeting, Thursday, June 14, 9 am, Kennedy Gold Mine. Please note changed location and plan accordingly. We will meet in the Changing House and can  be a bit cool. Bring a layer just in case.

We are still looking for Yelp Experiences and you can email or with your ideas. If you don’t know what to do or want to be involved without being a hosted site, we can help.

Save the date: Plan to attend a Prepare for Yelp meeting, Wednesday, June 27th, 5 pm to 7 pm, Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort. Light snacks and no-host bar. If you are interested in hosting an experience and learning how to prepare for the weekend, call the office at 209-267-9249 or email Maureen or Emily.  More details to follow.

State Fair is coming up, July 13-29. Sponsorships are available.

A new website will be launched later this summer. If you are not a member, your listing will be substantially reduced. Please email or call the office to confirm your membership status. We will happily assist you.

Please do call or email with questions.
Thank you for your support,

Maureen Funk
Amador Council of Tourism
PO Box 40/460 Sutter Hill Road, Ste. D
Sutter Creek CA 95685
Phone: 209-267-9249

Friday, June 1, 2018

London Plumbing & Remodeling: Whole House Fans: Keeping cool in Summer

In previous postings we looked at attic ventilation and ceiling fans. What is the difference between an attic fan and a whole house fan? The attic fan is designed to keep temperatures in the attic lower. By keeping the attic cooler less heat pushes down through insulation and the ceiling and this keeps your living space cooler.
The whole house fan is a different type of fan. Usually installed in the hall it operates by exchanging the hotter air inside of your home for the cooler outside air. The best time to use your whole house fan is in the evening when it cools off (thru the night if you like) and early in the morning before it gets too hot.
By opening the windows (and turning off the A/C) we draw cool fresh air into the house and vent it into the attic. In addition to cooling the house it also cools the attic helping to keep energy costs down. The whole house fan is usually two speeds and by running a motor (or fan) and not using the A/C the house is kept cooler at a lower energy cost.
These fans require some real effort to install and often we need to bring power to the appliance in the attic. In addition to significant time and experience to install these units we need to make sure that the attic has enough venting in the gables & eaves so that we can exhaust the hot air quickly. Without enough venting the whole house fan will not be as efficient as it should be.
Whole house fans come in a variety of styles & costs. Considerations are amount of air we need to move, noise and cost of fan & installation. These fans start in the $200.00 range up to $1600.00 or more. The more expensive units are quieter, have insulated doors and are usually energy star rated.
If you have questions or want to discuss installation of a whole house fan (or if you need other home repairs including plumbing, electrical or carpentry please call us. We are here to help! London Plumbing & Remodeling (formerly Stuart London Handyman), License #846653. We are a licensed plumber & contractor. Please call us a 209-296-3613. Thanks for taking the time to read this post & let us know if you have questions you want answered.

Friday, May 25, 2018

London Plumbing & Remodeling: Ceiling Fans: Keeping Cool in Summer

Hot summer weather will be upon us again and its important to be able to keep cool without breaking the bank. A CEILING FAN can be installed in almost any room and helps to circulate the air. Often with the use of a ceiling fan people find that they can leave the A/C thermostat 2 or 3 degrees higher (so the A/C will work less) and still be comfortable in their homes & businesses.

Ceiling fans are available in multiple styles, colors and price points. We do however recommend staying away from fans that are very cheap as they tend to vibrate, hum and usually don’t move enough air unless on high speed.What are the factors we should look for when purchasing a ceiling fan? The most important factor when purchasing a ceiling fan is Sizing. Here is a good guideline: 

Length of Longest Wall in Room - Best Ceiling Fan Width
Less than 12 feet - 36 inches or less
12 to 15 feet - 40 to 48 inches
More than 15 feet - 52 inches or more

By following the above chart you will be able to move enough air in the room to be cost effective (you save energy by using slower fan speeds). Some things to consider are: is the fan an energy star rated appliance and what is the warranty. Finally of course style and cost. A ceiling fan can save you money, improve home values and keep you cooler in the hot summer months.

Other important factors are: is there an existing ceiling light (we need power to run the fan) and is the electrical box installed suitable for the weight of a ceiling fan. Special electrical boxes are built to carry the weight of heavy items. The electrical box also needs to be braced properly. If you don’t have power in the attic, we can run power, install the electrical box & fan complete the project for you quickly.

Please call London Plumbing & Remodeling (formerly Stuart London Handyman) at 209-296-3613 for ideas, installations of ceiling fans and other projects in your home. We are a full service plumbing company & a general contractor. Thanks for reading.
License # 846653

Friday, May 18, 2018

London Plumbing & Remodeling: Attic Fans: Do they work, and should I get one?

Fun Tip Friday by London Plumbing & Remodeling

Before you know it the hot summer days & warm summer nights will be upon us. The air conditioner will be running & the electric meter will be spinning! Can an attic vent fan help reduce cooling costs & keep our homes cooler during the hot summer months?

Yes, they can IF properly installed. An attic fan will remove hot air from the attic space and discharge it to the outside of the house. Did you know that attics can reach temperatures of 150 to 160 degrees F during a summer day, although outside air temperatures are only 95 to 97 degrees F.

Exhausting the hot air allows the outside air to cool the attic. With a cooler attic less heat enters your home thru the ceiling and makes it easier to keep your house comfortable during those hot summer months. Your air conditioner or cooler will work less as the inside temperature of your home will be lower.

It is important to have the fan set with a thermostat (at about 100 degrees F +/-). We also like to install a switch to turn the fan off during the winter months, but this is optional. Many homes already have an attic fan but it is no longer working. Other homes have attic fans but they were installed improperly…what I mean by that is the fan is installed in the gable but there is no blocking around the rest of the vent. A large portion of the exchanged air is limited to the immediate area of the fan instead of having the air drawn thru the attic and cooling it.

Finally what is the cost of an attic fan replacement or new installation? That depends on many factors but the fans range in price from about $ 89.00 to $ 400.00 or more. Differences in price are due to energy efficiency, noise, & how effective are they at changing the air in the attic. Sometimes additional vents may need to be installed. Installation price will vary as well depending on the complexity of the job.

Please feel free to call London Plumbing & Remodeling at 209-296-3613 for an estimate & to review options. BTW we also install ceiling fans & whole house fans (but we will talk about them next time).

ACWN Presents Wendy Cookson "Capsuling Your Wardrobe and Dress for Success" - Wed May 23

Friday, April 27, 2018

Important Spring safety and energy saving tips from London Plumbing & Remodeling

LONDON PLUMBING & REMODELING (Formerly Stuart London Handyman)

Well, Spring has arrived quickly in the Mother Lode. We had an amazing winter with lots of rain and now the lakes and reservoirs are mostly full. So with moving into spring there are a few home maintenance things we should do that will save us money and help to keep us safer.

When the season changes, you should change the batteries in your smoke & CO detectors.  This is a life and health safety item.  If you have high ceilings, there are some replacement batteries that will last longer so you may not have to replace the batteries as frequently; however, the rule of thumb is to replace smoke and CO detector batteries when you reset your clocks for Spring and Fall. Why is this so important, you ask?  Smoke or CO (Carbon Monoxide) can kill you while you sleep! The early detection of these items helps to make our homes safe for our family and friends.

You may have an erratic smoke or CO detector which alarms frequently. There can be a number of reasons that this happens. First of all, a smoke detector that has been working properly for a number of years and now alarms often may have a bad battery. Another cause is a buildup of dust or dirt on the sensor, or improper placement of the unit.  Other times it’s just old and needs to be replaced.  New smoke detectors can be purchased locally at any hardware store.  Some need to be "hard wired" to the existing electrical system and in older homes, a battery-only replacement is used. Some people don't like the look of the large smoke or CO detector on the walls in their house and bedrooms.  For those people there are much smaller units which meet the safety requirements and are ascetically pleasing.  If you are unable to replace batteries or need new or additional units, we can install them for you.

As the season has changed, we should consider air filter replacement for the HVAC (heater and air conditioner).  These filters should be changed every 30 to 90 days, but more frequent replacement improves air quality in your home.  Some filters are pleated and offer more surface area (and can be changed at a longer interval) but even though the manufacturer may recommend replacement in 3 months in reality 60 days is a much better time frame.  Why do I need to replace the filter so frequently, you ask? It's because with a clean filter the heater or air conditioner work more efficiently. If your equipment isn't working so hard, then it will work better and save you money on your energy bills.

A lot of people and businesses have "Mini Split" units.  These units almost always have a washable filter. This unit should be gently cleaned according to the manufacturer's instructions at least every 30 days. Thanks for taking the time to read these hints.  Let us know if we can be of service to you, and please like us on Facebook.

Enjoy the Spring weather.

Stuart & Team

Thursday, April 19, 2018

ACWN: Motivational Coach Vicklyn Marie - Wed Apr 25

Guest Speaker Vicklyn Marie, and a new meeting format - come join us!
We are combining some Fast Track elements with regular meeting elements - let's see if it can work.
See you next Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

ACWN's "Baskets & Bows" - Wed Mar 28

Baskets and Bows! The professional Wildflower floral staff at the Jackson Rancheria is showing us how to make exquisite custom gift baskets and bows to use for your work, charity or personal gifts!

Lunch catered by the Jackson Rancheria and a $10 free play voucher is provided.

Easter baskets for sale too! Pick up your pre-made baskets for your loved ones this Easter... all proceeds go the ACWN scholarship fund!

Wednesday, March 28th @ 11:30am
RSVP Debbie, or pay online

Thursday, February 8, 2018

10th Annual Margaret Dalton Golden Acorn Awards Dinner honoring Dennis Dalton, Karl and Patty Knobelauch - Fri Mar 2

JACKSON, CA- Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort and the Amador County Chamber of Commerce welcome you to join us for the 10th Annual Margaret Dalton Golden Acorn Awards Dinner on Friday, March 2, 2018. Dinner will be held in the Grand Oak Ballroom and Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort in honor of the late Dennis Dalton. The 2018 Golden Acorn Awards will be presented to Karl and Patty Knobelauch. Through their years of volunteering, notable dedication, and the love they share for Amador County; they have undoubtedly earned this cherished award.
The doors open at 6:00 p.m. with a no-host bar, a plated dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m., and awards to follow.
In 1979, Margaret Dalton was elected Tribal Chairperson of the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians, a position she held uncontested for 30 years.  She had a dream to help the people of her Tribe build a better life.  Through determination and hard work the Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians achieved self-reliance. But her compassion to help people didn’t stop there.  Margaret was an advocate for helping anyone in need.  Her immeasurable contributions and tireless devotion to charities and organizations in Amador County inspired the Chamber of Commerce to create the estimable Margaret Dalton Golden Nugget, now known as the Margaret Dalton Golden Acorn. This award honors and recognizes our unsung heroes, like Margaret Dalton, and gives them the thanks they deserve for their generosity.  
Tickets are on sale now, starting at $50 per person or $500 for a table of ten people, through Monday, February 19th, 2018. You can RSVP to the Amador County Chamber of Commerce at (209) 223 -0350 or at  
Karl and Patty Knobeluch

Sunday, February 4, 2018

ACWN Presents: "Pruning Roses 101" by Steve Jones - Wed Feb 28

Spring fever is approaching and what better way to prepare for it than learning the art of “Pruning Roses” with guest speaker Steve Jones.
Lunch menu choice courtesy of the Jackson Rancheria. 
Network and promote your business at the next ACWN meeting on Wednesday, February 28th @11:30am.
RSVP to Debbie, or

Friday, January 5, 2018

Amador Council of Tourism - Thurs Jan 11

Happy New Year, Amador tourism supporters-
Below is the agenda for Amador Council of Tourism’s board meeting, Thursday, January 11 at 9 am, at Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort’s hotel conference room.  Also attached are the minutes for November and December meetings, and information regarding San Francisco Chronicle advertising. The meeting schedule is as follows:
2018 Meeting Schedule, 9 am, Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Hotel No July, September Meetings

January 11
February 8
March 8
April 12
May 10
June 14
August 9
October 11
November 8
December 18, Tuesday, evening meeting

All are welcome to attend our meetings. If you cannot attend, please do call me, Maureen, at 209-969-5065, with any questions, concerns, suggestions. A light breakfast is generously provided by Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort.

Visitor Guides are expected to arrive today, Thursday. I will be delivering boxes throughout Amador over the next few days. Thank you to our advertisers. This publication has a shelf life of 18 months. Expect our next edition to publish July 2019.

San Francisco Chronicle will publish Amador and Gold Country inserts in February and March, respectively. Attached (see below) are details regarding ad costs, specs, and deadlines. Ask about discounts if you plan to advertise in both inserts. Please contact Claire Sumalinog at 415-777-7314, or email her at Some of you have already received phone calls from the editorial side for the February insert. We pay for the editorial in March along with the advertising and we are sharing the costs with Amador Vintners, El Dorado County and Tuolomne County. These inserts have been very successful for Amador.

Save the date: Wednesday, January 17th, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Amador Council of Tourism is hosting a Visioning Workshop. Please plan to attend and assist with setting the direction for your Destination Marketing Organization. Details to come.

I wish you all a prosperous and healthy New Year.
Thank you for your support,

Maureen Funk 
Amador Council of Tourism
PO Box 40/460 Sutter Hill Road, Ste. D
Sutter Creek CA 95685
Phone: 209-267-9249