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Hiring people with a positive mental attitude is important, so John Henry's developed a detailed interviewing process that works well. One of our favorite (previously secret) interview questions to ask applicants is, “Who was the most important person in your life, and why were they important?” Applicants' answers tell a lot about their life experiences and beliefs.

The most common answers of who was important are fathers and mothers. That makes sense, because parents typically lead by example and bring out the best in us. Parents' goal is typically to provide a better life than they experienced. I know that firsthand, because I was blessed with caring parents and am a father too.

Other answers about who was important are grandparents that filled in when a parent was gone for whatever reason. Occasionally it is because of a tragedy, and there have been heartfelt stories.

Some applicants indicate mentors or a best friend provided leadership to bring out the best in them.

The best answer I have heard was “It is difficult to decide who was the most important person because there have been so many.” This applicant said his parents were important, but he always had a lot of mentors to look up to for leadership and direction. Teachers helped direct him through his school years. Some mentors led him closer to God. Other mentors lifted him up during times of adversity. He also relied on professionals that gave guidance. His list was long, and he was grateful for their support. We hired him, and he has been successful!

Hiring the right applicants with a positive mental attitude is the starting point in building successful careers that will make a difference in the success of a business. Experience taught us plumbing and HVAC technicians must have the right mental attitude to perform service properly. It’s a requirement to survive at John Henry's!

A good example why the right mental attitude is important is those technicians tend to care more about you and are willing to go that extra mile. They can save lives and do because the most important person in their lives helped teach them values.

For instance, John Henry's requires our technicians to use carbon monoxide meters on all service calls. Caring technicians will check the carbon monoxide levels as they enter your home or business. Interestingly enough, the technicians' carbon monoxide meters have gone into alarm during many service calls to indicate high carbon monoxide levels. Does your current technician check for high carbon monoxide levels?

Quality technicians are also curious. They know the source of high carbon monoxide levels typically comes from the furnace or water heater. Yes, WATER HEATER! It’s not readily apparent that water heaters are a major source of carbon monoxide poisoning, but many are not vented properly and backdraft carbon monoxide. Water heaters quietly sit in the corner and tend to operate even when they should not be working -- that is, until they leak.

Caring technicians will explain water heaters need annual maintenance to verify the burners are clean and also to flush out sediment. This keeps them operating efficiently as recommended by the manufacturers. Without annual maintenance, dirty burners can cause flame impingement, resulting in cooler flue gases that increase carbon monoxide levels.

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Cooler flue gases also cause carbonic acid and backdrafting. Backdrafting occurs when the flue gases spill into the home or business rather than venting to the outside. An indication of backdrafting and carbonic acid is a brown crust on the joints of flue pipes or deposits lying on top of the water heaters. Carbonic acid attacks metal and causes natural gas water heaters to fail prematurely. Have you or your technician checked the top of your water heater lately?

Burners should be cleaned, and flames should be adjusted. A properly burning flame is typically blue and crisp. It is much more efficient and definitely safer!

An easy way to insure annual water heater maintenance is to get a plumbing Service Maintenance Agreement (SMA). An SMA provides annual required maintenance on water heaters and also checks for plumbing risks like washer hoses that need to be replaced, defective water piping joints, gas piping leaks, Reverse Osmosis system maintenance, water softener maintenance, and the list goes on. Why wait to get surprised by plumbing systems that fail?

So, who was the most important person in your life? It may have been that technician with the right mental attitude that saved your life!

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