Category Archives: Tip and Tricks

under-the-sink

S -Traps, P-Traps, J-Traps – Oh MY!

“Little Lady, the problem is you have an outdated S-trap. That’s illegal is some states, ya know, so I’m going to have to rip that out and install a P-Trap. It’s probably going to cost you.”

Don’t be fooled by the fancy alphabetical references, sink traps are everywhere, keeping sewer gasses from coming up through your drain. It’s true that some traps work better than others because of their shape, but most are a simple fix for a licensed plumber.

In our final blog about sink traps (because who knew there was so much to say about them) Brandon and Greg Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating want you to be in the know when interviewing a plumber for a job, however small. So, here is the rest of everything you need to know about sink traps…

The S-Trap

Invented by Alexander Cummings in 1775, the S-Trap was crucial in the success of indoor domestic plumbing. This simple S-shaped piece of plumbing solved the problem of sewer gasses traveling back up drains and into homes by providing an internal trap. Problem was, the S-shape tended to get clogged, required an overflow, and could easily siphon dry even when well-vented. So, introducing the…

U-Trap, Turned P-Trap, Turned J-Trap

Originally coined the U-Trap by Thomas Crapper in 1880, (No, we are not making that name up) Mr. Crapper (Yes, we will use that as often as we can) found the U-shape of the drain trap to be more efficient in maintaining a water seal to prevent the escape of sewage gasses into a building. Crapper’s new U-bend also didn’t clog, so, unlike the S-bend, it did not need an overflow. The most common of these traps is referred to as a P-trap or a J-Trap because of the later addition of a 90-degree fitting on the outlet side of the U-bend that created a P or J shape – depending on which way you’re looking at it. These are the shapes of a trap most often installed under a sink. Thanks Mr. Crapper!

Sheck Tip For Turning an S-Trap into a P-Trap

“In older homes with original plumbing (AKA New England Homes) it’s not unlikely to run into an S-Trap. We can easily convert it into a P-trap by adding a four or five-inch horizontal length of pipe on the outflow side pipe and connecting a vent. Venting is the trickiest part of this conversion, but we’ve got your back.” – Grand Master Plumber Greg Sheck who means “tricky” for the average Joe, which he is not.

As Shakespeare’s Plumber liked to say…

A drain trap by any other name, is still a drain trap.

S-Trap, U-Trap, J-Trap, or P, it’s keeping the sewage gasses out of your home or business, but don’t let someone fool you into thinking one letter is any more difficult to fix or install than the other!

 

sink

Drain Catchers – Your Drain Trap’s BFF

Last time, the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating educated us about the Drain Trap – that funky U-shaped piece of plumbing that you’ll find under any drain to help keep sewage gasses from entering your home. Yuck. However gross, we all agree they’re pretty important, and keeping them clear of debris is a good way to help them work properly. So, Brandon is offering up his favorite drain catchers for your sink, tub and shower to help keep the bad stuff out of the goodness of your handy dandy drain trap.

“A simple mesh or rubber drain catcher can stop a bunch or crazy stuff from going down your drain,” said Brandon Sheck, plumber extraordinaire. “It not hard to remove items like rings and earrings, or hair and fur that slip down the drain and settle in the trap under your sink, but an inexpensive catcher can stop much of that from going down in the first place.”

Large plumbing fixtures such as showers and tub drains have traps that are not as easy to see as those under a sink because they are under floor level or behind walls. Tubs and showers have traps that are harder to get to and either require crawling under the house or cutting a hole behind the tub or shower and digging out the area where the trap is located.

So, to prevent the cutting, crawling, digging, and taking apart, nonsense, just grab one or Brandon’s favorite catchers for all of your drain traps instead:

  • “Silicone products are my favorite,” said Brandon. “They are easy to clean and last the longest.” The OXO GOOD GRIPS SILICONE DRAIN PROTECTOR stays in place to catch hair and other junk, but it doesn’t disrupt the flow of water. “It is also made from durable stainless-steel and forms a firm grip during installation so it won’t break its seal when a tub or sink is full.
  • “For people who don’t like the look of drain catchers, or the junk on top of them, something like the DANCO, INC. HAIR CATCHER is a great idea because the catcher is under the chrome finished top making it look like a regular drain,” said Brandon. “Just remember to empty it every now and then!”
  • For older tubs or sinks with stoppers, the EXCELITY DRAIN PROTECTOR HAIR CATCHER is a great idea. “This catcher remains odorless and is handy for hair dresser sinks or pet grooming that utilize different chemicals and scents,” said Brandon.
  • And Finally, for the little scientist within us who likes to see gross stuff, Brandon recommends the DRAINWIG BATHTUB DRAIN HAIR CATCHER. “It fits most drains and you only have to clean it every four months, but when you do, you can see all the debris that went down your drain,” said Brandon. Gross. “It won’t do as well at catching jewelry, but it’s perfect for keeping tub drain traps clear and this company also makes one for the shower.”

Next time, Brandon and Greg will go into more detail about the different kinds, shapes, and sizes of drain traps. “It’s handy to know the difference, especially if you’re working with a plumber who might be trying to pull a fast one on you,” said Brandon. “There is no reason to pay someone extra to pull an engagement ring out of your bathroom drain trap just because they used a fancy name for it.” Knowledge is power!

drain-trap

The Drain Trap – Yogi Guru of Your Plumbing

Under the bathroom sink, the kitchen sink, utility sink, and even under drains you can’t see – the piping that connects them is most likely configured in an S or U shape called a “trap”. But, many wonder, what’s with the weird shape?

The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating are artists in the department of shaping and caring for these little creatures that often makes it impossible to place trash bins and stuff you want instant access to under your sinks, and they hold them in very high regard. Turns out traps deserve a little space…

“When water comes into a home, it needs a way to leave,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. “Most homes have a main water line that usually comes in around the foundation and carries water to a water heater and then to hot and cold-water lines that run throughout the house. That is how water gets to you home. How it leaves is a different story because each fixture has its own drain line and each of the drain lines ties into a larger main line, which takes the water out of the house.”

Turns out, that little U or S shaped part under each drain is like a little Yogi guru who maintains a sense of calm over a whole slew of stuff. “They’re called traps because that’s what they do: Trap water inside, preventing sewer gases from coming back into the house,” said Sheck. – Like your yoga teacher who always seems to be trapped in some intense frustration with all that crazy breathing and pretzel positioning.

How are these little Yogis/traps configured and what calm do they keep?

“There are several connections in a trap,” said Sheck of his artistry. “A nut connects two pieces together with a threaded fitting and a ferrule forms the seal. The nut screws down over the ferrule to form a water tight seal.” – Whatever you say Maestro.

“If you encounter a strange odor in any room where there is a drain, your trap is probably dry and the sewer gas is escaping into your home,” said Sheck who swears this is usually a quick fix that can be remedied by running water down the drain and filling the trap back up with water.

If the smell continues, it might warrant a call to G&C because sewer gas is hydrogen sulfide created as organic waste decays, and although the smell is mostly an annoyance, it’s disgusting and no one will want to come to your house if it smells like you know what fumes. Not even you.

Sheck Tip for Drain Trap Maintenance

To keep the stink away, drains should be used at least once every couple of weeks to keep water in the traps. This includes showers, toilets, tubs, bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks, washing machine drains, floor drains, and any thing you can think of where water passes out of your house.  

“Keeping the traps free from clogs is also helpful,” said Brandon our other experienced G&C plumbing artist. “Any objects that go down a drain can get stuck in the dip of the trap, which is handy if you drop an engagement ring down the sink, but gross if a bunch of hair and nail clippings clog the system.”

Using a sink trap, a simple plastic or metal cap placed over your drain, can be handy at catching all the important and not so important stuff that could wind up in a trap that is already working so hard to keep the peace with life’s crap – literally. Which is why next time on Plumbers Without Cracks, Brandon will give us his top ten sink traps to help keep the Zen flowing in your drainage system!

Until next time, Namaste.

replacement

Do You Need a Piping Replacement?

Yes, it’s a real thing. See, unless you just built your home or it’s only a few years old, there’s a chance that your plumbing is outdated. Over time, pipes suffer from the elements, resulting in corrosion, rust, and sometimes Hollywood blockbuster type disrepair and despair.

Gulp

Not to fear, Greg and Brandon of G&C Plumbing and Heating are here and have devised a simple check list to help you catch a pipe problem before raw sewage is flowing under your house or into your basement. Thanks guys!

Water Discoloration

Unless you just got a call from your Town Hall that someone is flushing the water line, this is not a good sign. “Brown or dark water is the result of corrosion in your pipes, leaving rust as the water runs through,” said Greg Sheck, Grand Master Plumber who really doesn’t want you drinking brown water. “What’s worse, if left untreated, mineral deposits can clog pipes, which builds pressure, and if pipes are under continual pressure, the pipes can eventually burst.” Don’t let that happen, ok?

Pipe Material and Condition

Homes out here in New England are typically made with multiple different plumbing system materials. Most modern systems use brass, copper, or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes. “Older buildings used cast iron, lead, and galvanized steel and some of those are not good,” said Greg. “Lead is highly toxic and, if consumed, can ultimately put a person in the hospital. There are tests to reveal how much lead is in each pipe, but I suggest getting rid of them as soon as possible no matter what the level is.”

Sheck Tip: Each piping material has a different life span: Brass, cast iron, and galvanized steel can have a life span of 80 to 100 years, copper lasts about 80 years, and PVC piping only survives for around 40 years.

If your house is over 60 years old, there’s a chance you might have some exposed pipes that you can check out the condition of. “If you can see the piping running through your basement, check that for discoloration, flaking, dimpling, moisture, bumps, and anything else that looks off. This can give you an idea of what the rest of your piping looks like and if you need to replace it,” said Greg.

Low Water Pressure

It can be hard to tell why you might experience low water pressure. Some it’s from a simple clog, but the issue can quickly escalate to leaks. Leaky pipes can damage your foundation and framing, causing wood rot, ugly ceiling stains and mold (Check out our ugly ceiling stains blog for more info on that nightmare)

Tell Us Your Results

Based on the check list above, is it time to replace and upgrade your piping or are you good for a few more years? If you’re still not sure, give the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating a call – they’ll give you an honest and straightforward answer that is soooooo not Hollywood block buster material, but super helpful all the same.

ceiling-brown

What the Heck is That Ugly Spot on My Ceiling?

When you see it, your heart skips a beat. That yellowish-brown stain on your ceiling – It’s not a good sign, but what exactly does it mean and why is it there? Greg and Brandon from G&C Plumbing and Heating have a few explanations to help keep you out of the emergency room.

The Good News Is, It’s Not Always a Plumbing Problem

“Well, that might not actually be good news either, because it typically means you probably need some repair work done on your roof,” said Greg Sheck, Grand Master Plumber and guy who has inspected about a gazillion ugly ceiling stains over the course of his career.

When stains appear at the ceilings along outside walls at the corners, it’s typically ice dam related. If the insulation in the attic is insufficient and there are attic air leaks, it’s very likely that ice dams caused the leaking. “In these cases, you’re going to have to call a roofer, not a plumber, sorry,” said Greg.

Stains Around the Bathroom Fan

“This is a very common ceiling stain spot and it’s caused by condensation,” said Greg. When a bathroom exhaust fan is connected to an un-insulated or under-insulated duct and doesn’t make an airtight connection to the roof cap, the moisture doesn’t exhaust properly  and condenses like crazy. “The moisture then condenses inside the duct and eventually drains down to the bottom and leaks on the ceiling next to the fan.” Gross ceiling stains ensues.

“The easy fix is to make sure the duct for the bathroom exhaust fan is properly installed and insulated and we can help with that,” said Greg.

Stains Below Bathroom Fixtures

“These make up the majority of ceiling stains that we encounter,” said Greg.  “As soon as you notice a leak, inspect it because consistent leaking will quickly destroy your ceiling and left untreated, you’ll end up with a hole in your ceiling which is even worse than a stain.”

  • Toilets are a big source for the ugly yellow stain which is why Greg and Brandon are always encouraging you to test your John for leaks .
  • Water supply lines that attach to the toilet or to the sink trap are also a big culprit for ceiling stains. The leak may come from water seeping out at the point where the water supply lines join, or maybe the connector joints need tightening. “Feel along the water supply line for dampness to find your problem. If it’s simply a matter of a loose connection, you can try tightening it, but you may have to replace the whole fitting if that doesn’t work,” said Greg who really should just say “call me,” at this point.
  • Drain pipe leaks are those that appear and disappear across your ceiling. If the drainpipe is the culprit, you’ll have to replace the fittings. “Most modern drainpipes are either made with black ABS or white PVC. You’ll need to make sure that you get the right tools needed to replace the fittings, including the specific type of glue and primer needed to reattach PVC or ABS,” said Greg but if you don’t want to end up smashing your bathroom with a hammer out of frustration, just give him a call instead for Pete’s sake.
  • A bad caulk job. Sometimes the problem is not that bad, maybe your kid forgot to bring the shower curtain liner in the tub with him and the caulk around your tub or tile just needs repairing. Phew!

“Check the ceramic tile walls surrounding your tub, shower, and floor. Cracks can develop in the grout between the tiles, allowing moisture to seep through. To stop the leak and prevent further damage you’ll need to seal all the places where water can penetrate,” said Greg. (Hey, we actually did a blog on this already – score!)

So, Breath

Yes, the yellow stain on your ceiling is bad news and yes, you need to fix it – just setting a bucket under the growing stain to wait for the dripping to start is not going to help lower your blood pressure or make the problem go away. If you just can’t bring yourself to look at it, give the guys a call and they can have you fixed up in no time.

Spring-Cleaning

Plumbing “Spring Cleaning”

The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating know that everyone gets excited to spruce up their home in the spring. Windows get cleaned, gutters, and even the garage tends to get a little lift when the sun finally peeks out. But, did you know that your home’s pipe and draining system can also get extra sparkly with a little spring love?

Spring Plumbing Tips

OK, it might not be “sparkly” in the sense that you will stand back and smile with a satisfying sigh at how your piping and drainage system enhances the ascetics of a spring-time BBQ. But, giving your home plumbing a little spring love will protect you against potential plumbing problems this season – And that prevention WILL add to your spring BBQ enjoyment. We Promise!

So, Brandon and Greg suggest you…

  1. Check all indoor faucets for drips or leaks.
  2. Check toilets for leaks by tossing in some food coloring in the tank. (Read our blog for a full leaky John description)
  3. Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.
  4. Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should not be higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  5. Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains to fill the trap and prevent odors.
  6. Snake (or call the guys to do it) slow floor drains to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of flooding.
  7. Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  8. If your home has a sump pump, pour a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off. (If it doesn’t, call the guys)
  9. Check outdoor faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If you notice an outdoor faucet dripping or if water leaks inside your home when you turn the hose on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced ASAP!

All Clear

Now that you’ve taken care of the behind the scenes plumbing spring cleaning, go forth and enjoy all of that satisfying tidying and planting that will make this spring and summer one to remember! However, if you find you need some help with your plumbing after completing this checklist, please don’t hesitate to contact Greg and Brandon at G&C Plumbing and Heating.

fish

Save Some Water for the Fish

In honor of Earth Day, the guys from G&C Plumbing and Heating would like to share some handy plumbing tips on how to save the world (and, inadvertently, cash and Karma) It might even make you feel good to know you’re doing something helpful for the earth – You’re welcome.

“Save some water for the fish,” my mom always yelled at the bathroom door when I was a kid,” said Greg Sheck, the Grand Master Plumber from G&C Plumbing and Heating in Franklin, MA. “Alright, alright, mom,” I’d yell, wondering how my three-minute shower was going to somehow, single handedly, keep the fishing industry alive. That’s a kid for you. I’m just glad I can now proactively help my mother’s ’cause’ on a much grander scale as a plumber. This one’s for you, mom.

Drip… Drip…Drip…

Aside from the annoying sight and sound, a dripping faucet can waste more than 10 gallons of water per day – That’s like $100 every year around these parts. “First and foremost, make sure your taps are fully turned off,” said Sheck who spent a bunch of time yelling at his own kids over the years to make sure they turned the faucets all the way off. “However, if you find yourself trying to twist a tap very tightly only to find it continues to drip, you should probably replace it immediately.” ($100 a year – cough, cough)

If possible, upgrade your standard faucets with low-flow substitutes, or better yet, an aerator faucet that has a circular screened disk of metal that modifies the overall flow. “Along the same lines, an upgraded low-flow showerhead only consumes 2.5 gallons of water per minute, instead of the standard 4.5 gallons,” said Sheck. So, if we do the math correctly, that would save more than 20,000 gallons of water per year. That’s like a gazillion dollars!

And, good news, most low-flow showerhead models available today have a good, strong shower stream- the guys recommend them all the time in their bathroom remodeling projects.

Unmasking the Leakers

Just like in the White House, leakers often attempt to remain anonymous, and not all water leaks can easily be spotted. (What? – Even Plumbers Without Cracks have a sense of humor)

A good way to determine if you’re home has a hidden leak is to make it a habit to check the water meter before and after a specific period when the water is not in use. If the meter has drastically changed, then there’s a good possibility that there’s a hidden leak somewhere and you should call Gregg and Brandon to come check it out.

The Problem with John

Toilet flushing consumes about 30% of your water bill. That’s a lot of cash to flush down the drain. If you have a standard toilet, you might want to upgrade it to a low-flow or dual flush option. “With a dual flush option, you can choose between a higher-flush for solid waste or lower-flush option for liquid waste. The lower-flush uses less than 1.3 gallons of water,” said Sheck who made that toilet talk sound so professional we couldn’t even make a number two joke or anything – Thanks Greg.

If you’re not ready to replace your toilets just yet, then just make sure they’re not running when not in use. “That can be a sign that the flapper is leaking inside the tank and needs replacing,” said Sheck.

To detect a toilet leaks, remove the lid from the toilet tank and add a dye tablets left over from coloring Easter eggs or a few drops of food coloring to the water in the toilet tank. If the tank is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes. Flush as soon as the test is complete and then call Greg and Brandon.

#Savethefish

broken_toilet

Is It Time to Kick Your Toilet to the Curb?

If your toilet is giving you grief, it might be time to replace it. Sometimes an easy fix can spare you the time and money of installing a new one. However, there are a few problems that, unfortunately, aren’t worth the effort to fix. Here’s a quick list from the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating to know when it’s time to say goodbye to your old John:

He’s Falling Apart

First it’s the handle, then the flapper, and then the fill valve. Sure, these repairs are relatively simple individually, but if you add them all up and find yourself doing one after another, you’re putting yourself into a position to end up spending more time and money on the fixes than if you were to just replace the whole thing.

“My rule of thumb, if you’re planning to replace your toilet in the next few years, then save the money and time and replace the toilet after you’ve tried just one basic repair,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating.

Clogs (and not the comfy shoe kind)

Many toilets tend to clog as they age, especially some of the first low flush models. Sometimes they simply require more than one flush and sometimes they require a plunger. “No one likes to plunge their toilet and if you’re doing it more than a couple times a month, it’s time to replace,” said Sheck. “Low flush toilets have come a long way and the new line of water savers work much better than anything we’ve ever seen.”

Porcelain Cracks

If you spot a hair line crack in the tank or bowl of your toilet, it’s time to kick it to the curb! “Even small cracks can turn into a flood at the worst possible time or can be the source of an active leak,” said Sheck who suggests inspecting toilets for cracks whenever you clean them. An unnoticed leak can lead to a ruined floor, or worse, over time.

Save the World and Some Cash

Saving water may be reason enough to replace a toilet. You can save quite a bit on your water bill every year with a low flush toilet. “A water saving toilet uses less than two gallons of water per flush which is considerably less than the old three to five gallon flush toilets,” said Sheck. Not only are you helping the environment with a new toilet by saving water, you are helping yourself save money. Just promise us you won’t try to use your old toilet as a planter in the back yard!

Should John Stay or Should He Go?

So, what’s the verdict – is your John staying or going? If he’s going, you’re in luck because next time on Plumbers Without Cracks, we’ll cover how to install a new toilet. If you’re still not sure, or have no desire to install a toilet (like most normal people) feel free to call Greg or Brandon at G&C Plumbing and Heating and they can come over and help you out with your dear ole John.

bioclean_can_400__68576.1365387652.1280.1280

BIO-CLEAN is Super Fascinating!

Ok, maybe not as fascinating as the Patriots coming back from a 25-point deficit to pull of the greatest victory in the history of the NFL. But, to a Master Plumber like Greg Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating, it’s certainly as fascinating as the Sports Center broadcast immediately following the Super Bowl! Bottom line – This is noteworthy stuff. Thus, Greg wants to share it with his clients!

“BIO-CLEAN uses enzymes and bacteria to biodegrade and recycle animal and vegetable products the way nature intended it,” said Sheck who has been using BIO-CLEAN for forever in his family plumbing business. “The certain types of bacteria found in BIO-CLEAN use the grease, hair, soap film and organic waste that clogs drains as food!”

Sheck considers BIO-CLEAN to be so helpful in his business that he encourages all of his clients to keep a tub on hand to prevent plumbing emergencies. “Our goal at G&C is to support our clients and empower them to feel confident about their plumbing,” said Sheck.

Wouldn’t that mean clients would be able to fix potential plumbing problems themselves instead of calling Greg and his son? Yes, that is exactly the point! Greg and Brandon are here to help their clients and it’s this approach to business that landed the guys consecutive awards from Angie’s List. (But, more on that next time!)

 

Fascinating Suggested Uses for BIO-CLEAN

SEPTICS

Most septic systems in operation today are not functioning well. The tanks need pumping frequently because of solids build up. All too often the fields stop absorbing water prematurely. The number one reason is the vast array of household chemicals which either inhibit or kill biological action. The coliform bacteria normally present in sewage are in no way equal to present day demands. They are used to warm body temperatures and are poor enzyme producers. They cannot handle synthetic materials present in detergents even under the best conditions.

BIO-CLEAN contains not only potent enzymes, but also contains bacteria that outperform the coliform species in very important ways. They are high producers of enzymes and they are acclimated so that they feed on a larger variety of materials in the waste such as fats and grease, vegetable oil, paper, detergents, fabric softeners, aliphatic and aromatic organic compounds as well as synthetic organics.

Chemicals, bleaches, detergents, food preservatives and bowl cleaners inhibit or kill bacterial action within your system. This lets solids accumulate in the tank, some of which flow out and clog the drain field. BIO-CLEAN will restore the necessary bacterial action and make your system work at full efficiency!

GARBAGE DISPOSAL ODORS

Odors come from waste that sticks to the disposal wall and slowly molds and rots. It is hurled there by the high-speed rotating blades. By following BIO-CLEAN instructions this waste will be quickly digested by the live cultures, thus eliminating the odor.

GREASE TRAPS

Cleaning out a grease trap is the worst of jobs in a food service operation. After the horrible odorous muck is removed it still has to be disposed of. Unfortunately, we are running out of landfills to put it in. BIO-CLEAN will digest the grease, eliminating the unwanted task, as well as the disposal of the pollutant. Of course, the grease trap must be large enough to accomplish two things. The flow of the water through the trap must be first slowed and then cooled, so that the oils and fats can rise and be retained between the baffles while the water continues on down the sewer.

Also, a garbage disposal should never discharge into a grease trap. If these criteria are met, daily treatment of the pot sink will maintain the digestive action. By eliminating the need to pump the trap a significant cost savings results.

SUMPS WITH PUMPS

When ground water accumulates in sumps, odors may be noticeable. This is especially true if household or sanitary waste is present. BIO-CLEAN eliminates the odor by quickly digesting organic material in the waste water. Pumps will require less energy when the rotor, housing and lines are free of build-up. Lower energy costs and longer pump life are added bonuses for using BIO-CLEAN.

OUTHOUSES AND VAULTS

Mention an outhouse and the first thing that pops to mind is ODOR! BIO-CLEAN turns the waste into water and carbon dioxide very quickly. This dramatically reduces odor and flies. Cleaning and disposal of the pit become easier and it is more pleasant for the user, too.

R.V. & BOAT HOLDING TANKS

As the waste water level increases in the tank some scum adheres to the sides and sensor. When the tank is drained, more scum is deposited. With continued use, this coating becomes odorous. It is additional weight and reduces tank capacity. There is no large access to the tanks and the build-up is so great that clean-up is difficult and time consuming that replacing the tank is often less expensive!

R.Ver’s using chemicals in their tank are also encountering the new problem of not being able to dispose of their chemically treated waste at many dump stations. Waste water treatment plants do not want this chemical toxicity in their plants, so they charge dump stations large fines.

If BIO-CLEAN is used from the beginning, a tank will drain cleanly, including the sensor, if there is one. Using BIO-CLEAN in a tank previously treated with chemicals will take larger doses and some time to overcome the toxicity. It will, however, remove the old build-up. Waste from tanks treated with BIO-CLEAN is accepted anywhere because it is biologically active.

You Totally Want a Tub, Don’t You?

Awesome, click here to get one! Greg is happy to help avert your possible plumbing disaster!

 

 

rubber-duck

Fresh Caulk – The Bathroom Update for The Bathroom That Doesn’t Need an Update, Yet.

Since Brandon and Greg Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating started offering up free professional tips here on their Plumbers Without Cracks blog, the guys have been flooded with questions when they run into customers at service visits, wholesaler outlets, even at dinner. “I love it,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg.  “The more our customers know, the more we can actually help them.”

So, it’s no surprise that when Greg was out to dinner with his lovely wife, Christine (Yes, she is the C in G&C – isn’t it romantic?) A customer, who had the guys install a new heating system last year, had this to ask from the next table:

“Hi Greg, I am planning to call you in a few years to remodel our kid’s bathroom, but I think it has some life left in it for now. One problem I am having is with the caulk around the tub, it’s all dingy. Do you think I could handle fixing it myself?”

The customer’s wife looked over her husband’s shoulder and mouthed to Greg, “He doesn’t know how to do it.” So, here is the answer Greg gave to the father of two kids who love to splash in the tub every night:

You can totally do it – Here’s How!

The entire process, from start to dried caulk, should take about four hours, so make sure you pick a time when no one needs to bathe. 5:00 p.m. on a school night is probably not the best time. I suggest a late Sunday morning so you can catch the afternoon game with a sense of accomplishment.

Head out to your local hardware store and get a quality caulk gun – about $20. You’re also going to need a couple tubes of 100% silicone caulk made for bathrooms – It should say something about containing mold and mildew prevention additives. You can get latex caulk, it’s easier to clean up, but latex will not last as long as silicone. You’ll have your choice of white, almond and clear at all hardware stores. You can also order custom colored caulk at some home centers. Tile stores often have a variety of options.

Other things you’ll need from the store or your garage:

  • Razor scraper
  • Single-edge razor blades
  • Caulk remover
  • Mineral spirits
  • Paper towels
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Bleach
  • Course sponge or rags
  • Masking tape
  • (An oscillating tool with a flexible scraper blade is very handy, but you can do the job without it)

Step one – Remove the old caulk

Prepping the surface for new caulk is over half the battle for this project. You need to properly clear away the old before the new will work. If not, your caulk job will look horrible no matter how steady your hand is. A Horrible caulk job can mess up the look of an entire bathroom. To get it right:

  1. Slice through the old caulk along the walls with a utility knife (or with that oscillating scraper blade, if you splurged) Then scrape along the tub or shower floor
  2. Scrape off as much caulk as possible
  3. Apply caulk remover to loosen what remains
  4. Scrape the remains off
  5. Remove any loose grout between the walls and the tub or shower floor
  6. If you notice mold under the grout along the wall and tub gap, kill it with bleach
  7. Scrub the grout, rinse off the bleach and let it dry – Use a hair dryer to speed the drying
  8. Clean the surfaces one last time with mineral spirits
  9. Let dry for 10 minutes – Maybe catch some of the pre-game show.

Step two – Mask the gap

Start by finding the largest gap between the tub/shower and the walls. That gap dictates how far apart you must space the two rows of tape.

  1. Mask the wall corner gaps first
  2. Apply tape to the walls above the tub or shower floor
  3. Apply tape to the tub or shower floor

Step three – Apply the caulk bead

  1. Load the caulk tube into the gun and cut the nozzle tip at a blunt 20-degree angle that is the same width as the gap you marked off with your tape – You can actually stick the uncut tip in the gap to see where the cut should be
  2. Hold the gun at a 90-degree angle to the gap and push a bead of caulk slightly ahead of the nozzle as you push the gun forward and continue applying pressure

Step four – Shape the bead

  1. Wet your finger with water and, starting at the outer corner, wipe your finger across the caulk to create a rounded bead
  2. Remove excess caulk from the gap
  3. Clean off your hands
  4. Remove the masking tape while the caulk is still wet
  5. Let the caulk dry (cure) before using the tub or shower – About four hours
  6. Go watch the game!

“Wow, thank you,”

the man said as he ordered a round of desserts for the now table of four. Then, Greg dropped his biggest tidbit of the night…

“When we remodel your bathroom, the showers we use don’t even have caulk and you’ll never have to do this again.”

You could see the mega mind explosions happening at the other end of the table. “No caulk what so ever?” the man’s wife whispered. “None,” Christine beamed.

(More on that next month)

If you have any plumbing or heating questions, feel free to comment on this blog or on Facebook – The guys would love to hear from you!