Shafer Plumbing
Shafer Plumbing

Known for creative solutions to just about any plumbing challenge, the folks at Shafer Plumbing work hard to satisfy clients.  Pictured here in front of the company’s Orange warehouse and office are (from left) Jasmine Clemente, Shelley George, Julie Cordell, Owners Steve and Ruthe Shafer, Jackson (their dog), Mike Thomas, Deyvid Rodriguez and Marrie De Vesta.

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Shafer Plumbing

Steve and Ruthe Shafer moved into their new office in March 2020 after three decades of running Shafer Plumbing out of a home office.  Considered an essential business during the pandemic, operations continued.  Their warehouse and office in Orange are the cornerstone of this family-owned business.

Shafer Plumbing does mostly commercial work—about 80 percent.

Tenant improvement is a big part of the business.  “If you rent a spot at the mall for your business and your plans call for ADA compliant bathrooms, we come in and make that happen,” says Steve.

They do salons, office buildings, restaurants, gyms, hotels, food processing plants, factories, retirement homes—anything that requires plumbing.

“We do a lot of work for the Diocese of Orange, for example,” says Ruthe.  “We did all the plumbing in the renovation of Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, an $82 million project that took two years.”

Founded in 1989, Shafer Plumbing has 14 employees, most long-term.  Steve and Ruthe met in 1988 on a Christian singles video dating service.  Steve was already a plumber doing a lot of work in L.A.  Once they got married, they chose to go into business for themselves and remain mostly in Orange County.

Steve’s knowledge of plumbing runs deep.  He notes that most Old Towne Orange homes have cast-iron sewer pipes, which have been around since the 1800s.  ABS is now used to replace or repair cast-iron pipes, which have a lifespan of about 40 years.  Also common these days are copper, PVC and PEX.

At Shafer they’re also up to speed on recent industry trends, including Calgreen codes that reference how much water can be used for different functions, such as showers and sinks.

“The amount of water for toilets is getting smaller and smaller,” notes Steve.

Another trend meant to be more environmentally friendly that they’re seeing at Shafer Plumbing is the move from traditional water heaters to tankless.  The latter type of water heater features a burner with coil around it that the water runs through to heat it.

“Tankless water heaters don’t supply instant hot water but they do supply constant hot water,” says Ruthe.  “Whereas with a 40-gallon water heater you may run out with a lot of people taking showers.”

Stacy Hudson with Finn Construction and Development has used Shafer Plumbing for the last decade.  “They are not so big, but more family-oriented, so they are enjoyable to work with, and they’ve always had good service for us,” says Hudson.

At Shafer, they know that plumbing has its fair share of unique pickles.  Christ Our Savior Church in Santa Ana proved to be an unusual job for Shafer Plumbing.  The church was newly built and had an infinity baptistry font holding a 5,000-pound stone for immersing people for baptisms.  “We ended up doing a lot of on-the-fly engineering to make things work and keep the water from overflowing to the floor,” says Steve.

“Steve is very good at coming up with creative solutions that often save a lot of money,” says Ruthe.  “He finds alternates where otherwise they’d have to tear out a project and start over. So, he is called in a lot for that kind of consulting.”     The office credos at Shafer Plumbing are respect and follow-up.  “We also make sure our phones are answered by a live person, not a robot,” the Shafers add.

Shafer Plumbing
1307 West Trenton Ave., Orange CA 92867  /  714-974-9448 

Article Published in the
Jul / Aug 22 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Sheri Ledbetter Photo by Kristin Smetona
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