5.13.18c

Heater’s Last Stand

Raise your hand if when you turned off the heat last month you were amazed your system lasted through winter because you’re pretty sure it’d been circling the drain since Thanksgiving.

Hands down.

Greg and Brandon Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating know you don’t want to talk about heat after the winter we just survived, but now is actually the best time of the year to make some critical decisions about your heating system. “Because you don’t need it right now,” said Grand Master Plumber Greg Sheck. So, whether you’re certain of your system’s impending death or just curious, Greg and Brandon want you to do them a favor…

Go over to your heating system, right now, and run a quick test to make sure it’s in proper working order. “Don’t worry, running a test on your heater isn’t technically the same as turning it on,” said Greg for those still suffering from the psychological effects of March.

  • Move the thermostat switch to the “heat/on” position and turn it up at least 10 degrees higher than the actual room temperature.
  • Listen carefully. Within a few minutes, you should hear your heating equipment jump into action.
  • If the equipment doesn’t start up, press the reset button on your burner’s relay. Press it just once.
  • If your system still doesn’t start, consider these points:
    • Are the emergency switches on? (There may be two: one at the stairs and one at the unit)
    • Did the fuse or circuit breaker for your equipment trip?

If the system kicks on, good! But, Greg wants you to consider a few things while it’s humming:

  • How many times in the past three years have you had the system serviced? Check out your service history to review the dollars spent. “If the numbers are creeping up there, you might want to invest in a new high-efficiency system instead of return-repair visits,” said Greg.
  • Are there any abnormal smells or funky noises? A bump or two from the basement is to be expected, but “if you hear excessive humming, clunking, banging, or smell strange odors, that’s not good and even if you don’t replace the system, it certainly needs a check-up.”
  • Is the air dry or dusty? Noticeable amounts of dust or drastic changes in air humidity can be symptoms of a declining heating system.

“We don’t want folks to sit back, enjoy their spring and summer and then find themselves in October with a faulty system,” said Brandon Sheck. “That is actually the worst time to make critical decisions about your heating system because that’s when you need it.”

G&C is pleased to offer financing options for pro-active customers this spring. “We have a 12-month financing option with 0 percent interest if you pay it off in said months, or longer terms like 60 to 84-month options for about six to nine percent interest,” said Brandon who is glad this gives customers peace of mind about coming up with money upfront for something they don’t even want to talk about when the weather is nice.

If you’re suspicious that your heater may have made its last stand over the winter, call the guys at G&C Pluming and Heating to get some honest advice and suggestions about what you should do right now.  In addition to financing options, Greg can tell you about some helpful MASS Save rebates that will also help.

We’ll tell you all the details next time!

g&c-awards

Plumbers Without Cracks

To follow-up on G&C Plumbing and Heating’s THIRD Angie’s Super Service Award, we figured we’d fill you in on how this A + customer service providing and major award-winning team does business!

Father and Son

It’s incredibly refreshing to know that when Greg and Brandon Sheck come into your home they are acting not only as excellent customer service providers, they are also acting as a father and son team – there is a level of respect and care in this working combination that elevates the service they provide to something pretty cool.

“My dad taught me from a young age to be respectful. That’s why we both think it’s important to wear booties on our shoes in our customer’s home, place mats down for our tools to protect our customer’s floors, and pick up after ourselves,” said Brandon who probably takes his shoes off at home too.

“One thing we hear often is how we’re the only plumbing company to answer the phone or to return a phone call. Not just within a day or so, but to return the phone call at all,” said Greg who is super happy is wife Christine is great with customers on the phone.

Over the years, the father and son team has added crew members to their A+ business. Even though the “new” guys may not be related, Greg and Brandon treat them like family and expect them to treat customers in the same fashion G&C has always run the family business.

  • They believe in treating people how they would like to be treated.
  • They get a lot of work from word of mouth and strive to keep those words positive.
  • They are polite and personable with customers and even their pets.
  • They feel it’s a lot easier to be nice to people than to be mean to them.

Greg’s Story

Greg worked for the same plumbing company for 14 years and was fairly happy until his boss changed his business model in an attempt to make a quick buck and “things went downhill real fast,” said Greg.

In 2005, G&C Plumbing and Heating was born.

As a Master Plumber of his own company, Greg worked for well-known builders and general contractors in the Franklin, MA area until the housing crash of 2009, when “five general contractors filed for bankruptcy all at the same time -that was tough,” said Greg.

Always an optimist, Greg used the crash as an opportunity to change the G&C business model and started working exclusively for homeowners doing residential service and repair work. “Turns out it was the right move, business has never better.”

Brandon’s Story

Brandon participated in wrestling year-round and it taught him a little something about having a strong work ethic. He took his energy to Westfield State where he was regularly on the Dean’s List and eventually graduated with a 3.3 GPA in Business and Marketing.

“During summers and school vacations, I would do plumbing with my dad to earn spending money for the next semester,” said Brandon. But, after a few years of working with his dad, he started to realize he was incredibly talented at the plumbing practice. He enjoyed figuring out the best way to solve plumbing problems and became serious about learning the trade and family business.

Although their personal and professional approach to business has blessed the guys at G&C with a dedicated client base, Brandon has applied his business and marketing education to help bring G&C Plumbing and Heating’s marketing strategies into the now. His efforts have made finding G&C Plumbing and Heating much easier by focusing on their website, business partnerships, and social media – He was the guy who came up with the idea of writing this absolutely amazing, potentially award winning, blog!

And that’s the story

A father and son team working hard to serve their community. They know your name, and you recognize the G&C Truck as it travels back and forth across southern Mass. It’s a great story when you think of it: A successful local business that helps friends and neighbors.

award

Let’s Hear It for The Boys…

You sang. We know it.

New England’s premiere father and son plumbing and heating team, Greg and Brandon Sheck, who pride themselves in being professionals that return your call, show up on time, and keep their glutes completely covered have won The Angie’s Super Service Award for the third year in a row!

“We would like to thank our customers for supporting us,” said Greg. “This is such an honor and makes all of our hard work worth it.”

In case you’ve just emerged from under a rock, Angie’s List is a consumer-driven organization that collects customer satisfaction ratings on local service companies in more than 720 categories. They provide an exclusive list of these companies to members based on feedback from local consumers.

G&C Plumbing and Heating, along with all the other 2017 Super Service Award winners, had to meet strict eligibility requirements, which included maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade. The SSA winners had to be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check, submit a current trade license verification, and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Companies are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted.

“This award not only honors providers who have excelled in the past year, but also makes it easier for consumers to identify high quality service providers,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks in a statement. “The Super Service Award logo has come to be a symbol that consumers look for as a sign of quality, and a tradition for many top-rated service pros.”

We knew the guys at G&C did their homework!

The 2017 SSA covers performance from November 1, 2016 to October 31, 2017. Service professionals who have earned and accepted the award will have distinctive badges displayed on their company profiles identifying them as 2017 SSA winners. Companies must earn this award each year based on the prior year’s performance and will have the 2017 SSA badges on display until January 1, 2019.

Give a honk to the guys and their new badge the next time you see them drive by in their famous G&C truck!

Congratulations guys!!

 

Blue Bathroom

Bathroom Remodeling to Boost Your Bottom Line

Last month, the great guys from G&C Plumbing and Heating shared with you some tips about what types of bathroom remodels are recommended when you want to put your house on the market and make top dollar at closing.

“I thought of some more ideas,” said Brandon Sheck, Bathroom Remodeler Extraordinaire.

Ok, Brandon, tell us more…

Brandon actually suggests working with your real estate agent to figure out exactly how a bathroom should best serve what you’d consider a “choice buyer” (someone who falls madly in love with your house and has the means to buy) in order to decide how best to spend your budget on materials and various rooms.

Some bathrooms play different rolls (pun intended) in a person’s life and home. During your walk-through, Brandon suggests figuring out how each bathroom space should function to attract that choice buyer.

Master bath. This is often considered the second most important space in the house during a showing, next to the kitchen. This is a big selling point and can make or break a sale. If the space is outdated or difficult to navigate, Brandon suggests investing most of your remodeling budget here.

The full bath, or family bathroom. This is generally a space for everyone in the house where function trumps fashion. “This is not the place where you have to splurge with a vessel sink and granite countertop to increase your asking price,” Brandon says.

A three-quarter bath (includes a toilet, sink, and shower). These spaces are generally not a place people hang out in to enjoy some personal time. They are about utility (and maybe accommodating your mothers-in-law’s short visit). Brandon suggests focusing on clean lines in this space. A new corner cabinet, flooring, lighting, and fresh paint will do the trick.

The powder room or half bath. This is a tiny spot that can pack a serious design punch. This is your opportunity to make a big impression on a potential buyer. “Here is where you install the fancy lighting and interesting accessories,” said Brandon. “Because there is little hardware to replace, we can keep the costs down while seriously increasing your home value.”

When to Splurge

In any of the bathrooms above, there is room for impact statements you can make to reinforce the amount you are asking for your home. Consider some of the following as upgrades for your resale value. They are not necessarily super expensive, just upgrades to your bottom line:

  • Radiant flooring.
  • Stain-resistant grout.
  • Skylights
  • Heated shower mirror.
  • Framed mirrors.

So, now you have homework in deciding what functions your bathrooms should actually serve the potential buyer you are trying to attract. Go ahead, do your walk-through with your realtor, and then give the guys at G&C a call!

Next time, we’ll tell you all about the Angie’s List Super Service Award that the guys have won THREE YEARS IN A ROW and are STILL too shy to talk about.

 

increase-your-house-value

Bathroom Remodels Increase the Resale Value of Your Home

If you own a home that is over ten years old and you are thinking of selling it, you might want to invest a designated amount of time, energy, and money to update your bathroom(s) to significantly increase the asking price of your home.

Bathroom updates are one of the most popular ways to give a new look to your home and increase your earning potential in the real estate market. The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating have worked with several area real estate agents over the years to help prepare homes for sale and found you can typically get between a 55 to 70 percent return on your investment with a bathroom remodel in addition to raising your asking price.

“There are several levels of remodeling you can consider to help make your desired asking price a reality,” said Brandon Sheck, bathroom remodeler extraordinaire from G&C. “From full-scale rebuilds costing tens of thousands to updating fixtures and paint for a few grand, your end goals should always be to update the look of your bathroom and increase your resale value.”

If you know your bathroom needs updating and you want to sell for top dollar, Brandon suggests you do some research. Check out what similar homes in your area offer in the bathroom department. “Basically, figure out what your competition is,” said Brandon. Your real estate agent can help with this and then the guys can help you establish a renovation budget to beat out your competition!

As with many things – pizza, vacations, jobs – there are basically three levels of bathroom remodeling: good, better and best. Spoiler alert: Not all levels of remodeling are appropriate for increasing your resale value!

Fixtures, paint, and fresh tile

“This is the most common remodel our real estate agent friends suggest to clients who are preparing their house for the market,” said Sheck. The cost is typically between $3,000 to $10,000 and often includes updates like a 24-inch vanity, low-end granite countertop, and a new fiberglass bathtub-shower unit.

Other upgrades you might consider are new ceramic or subway tiles in a bathtub or shower area and a fresh paint job. “Your lighting, fixtures and finishes should be new, but you don’t need to break the bank. We can help you come up with some reasonable options that will create a big impression,” said Sheck.

Fancy fixtures and flooring

If your home is competing with high-end homes, priced $900,000 and up, fresh paint and low-end granite is not going to cut it. To get a decent return on your investment, you might be looking at a cost between 10,000 to $25,000 a bathroom. “It’s a big jump because you’re opting for high-end features and flooring, vanity, sinks, lighting, window treatments, hardware, comfort-height toilet, a 36-inch countertop, a framed mirror that matches the vanity, and a recessed medicine chest,” said Sheck.

At this level of remodeling, you’re also able to make adjustments to the layout – like a smaller bathtub to make way for a larger, walk-in shower. “I suggest contemplating this level of remodeling one or two years before meeting with an agent to put your house on the market, so you can enjoy your efforts,” said Sheck.

The bathroom you’ve always wanted.

This is a full-scale remodel that can cost over $30,000 when completed by a professional. However, the guys, and most real estate agents, DO NOT recommend doing this level of remodeling if you plan to sell your home within the next year or so  – you will not regain the expense in your sale (Sorry!)

This is a full-gut job and includes moving plumbing and possibly walls. For cabinetry, you are looking for solid wood construction with custom finishes and decorative accent pieces. Your tile can be natural marble, limestone or granite. The walls can be real wood beadboard with deep molding and windowsills are marble. The fixtures can be polished chrome with porcelain handles. The possibilities are really endless, but this bathroom would be so very hard to let go of if you are serious about moving!

“It’s fun to think about a bathroom of this caliber, and may be a consideration in your new home, but the agents we work with rarely suggest their clients should install a dream bathroom before listing a home,” said Sheck. “This type of renovation is personal and should be done for your enjoyment.”

The best advice

Even if you’ve already met with a real estate agent, call the guys for their expert advice on any bathroom remodel. Consider it a second opinion and a potential boost to your bottom line at your home closing!

 

bobsled

G&C Knows Heating

In New England, we have a variety of heating systems; furnaces, boilers, and pumps to name a few. When sitting in our living room, enjoying the Olympics, we’re not too concerned about how the heat gets to us, just that it does and that it follows us everywhere in the house.

As the temps outside fluctuate wildly (as they are now), it can be tough on a central heating system and sometimes cause it to go belly-up. Should that happen, the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating think it’s good to be in the know just in case you have to shop around for a replacement system.

Furnaces

Furnaces are how the majority of North American households’ heat. “This type of heating system is called a ducted warm-air or forced warm-air distribution system,” said Grand Master Plumber and Heating Expert Greg Sheck.

Basically, a furnace works by mixing fuel with air to create a fire. The flames heat an exchanger which produces hot air. The air is pushed by a furnace fan and forced through ductwork downstream of the heat exchanger. “These types of systems used to be big energy guzzlers, but as the demand for conservation has increased, the standards on furnaces have gone up dramatically,” said Sheck.

Boilers

Instead of carrying heat in warm air like a furnace, boiler systems distribute heat in hot water which then gives up heat as it passes through radiators or other devices in rooms throughout the house. The cooler water then returns to the boiler to be reheated.

Long ago they used steam boilers which boiled water and then steam carried heat through the house, condensing to water in the radiators as it cools. This technology, although effective, was very inefficient. Today, boilers are considered top of the line in energy conservation, especially in on-demand systems and radiant heat components.

Heat Pumps

“Heat pumps are basically two-way air conditioners and are very popular,” said Sheck. Heat Pump are often considered the wave of the future for energy conservation. There are a few common types of heat pumps:

  • Air-source heat pumps use the outside air as the heat source in winter and heat sink in summer.
  • Ground-source, or geothermal, heat pumps get their heat from the constant temperature underground.
  • Ductless heat pumps distribute energy through refrigerant lines instead of water or air.

Now You Know

Those are a few of the common central heating systems you run into in today’s heating system market. If you are one of the unlucky few who find themselves heatless as the outdoor temps go up and down like a yo-yo this month, call Greg and Brandon today, they can go over more specifics about which system would be best for your home. G&C knows heating!

master-bath

Recent Project: Master Bathroom Remodel

At G & C Plumbing and Heating we enjoy working on bathroom and kitchen remodels. Take a look at a few before and after photos from our most recent bathroom remodel project.

Looking to update your bathroom? Give us a call; we would love to help!

 

bathroom-budgeting

DIY Bathroom Remodeling Budget Tips

The good guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating often find that most people considering a DIY bathroom remodel go about creating a budget backwards.

Typically…

The Do-It-Yourselfer stands in their bathroom, scowling, and says to themselves, or out loud: “I’m going to scrape together X amount of dollars to fix this #(@!^$% bathroom once and for all.” Then, they grab a sledge hammer and go to town. If, when it’s all said and done, they don’t end up too many thousands of dollars over their pledged dollar amount, they feel pretty good (spoiler alert – half of these folks end up calling G&C to finish the job).

Let’s be honestly, most people attempting a DIY bathroom remodel have no idea what kind of stuff they need or really want to put in into a new bathroom, let alone how to do it. “You really need to consider the materials you plan to use before you can set an accurate budget,” said Greg Sheck, Master Plumber and bathroom remodeler extraordinaire.

So, if you’re going to attempt a DIY, instead of starting with the sledge hammer, Greg suggests you start with a little…

Reconnaissance

“One of the major costs in a remodel is moving fixtures, like the toilet, sink, or tub. If you keep the same floor plan, you’ll spend less on plumbing,” said Sheck (so, let’s pretend that’s what you’re doing).  Now, Greg recommends heading out to your favorite do-it-yourself big-box store or fancy bathroom joint and conducting a little investigation into tile, fixtures (such as a new John, tub, or sink), and accessories like lighting and mirrors. Add it all up!

Once you realize that things like using tile flooring instead of a marble flooring or die-cast zinc-alloy instead of solid gold fixtures can save you, literally, gazillions of dollars, you will be in a better state of mind to pull a number out of your head/bank account to start your project. You might even make an amazing discovery like, “you know what, I think I actually like the floor currently in my bathroom and I am not going to rip that up during the remodel.”

Bottom Line

Consider how much you can invest, what materials you can salvage from your existing bathroom, and how the bottom line fits into the current value and resale value of your home.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to come up with a budget that you can feel confident about! But, if you find yourself now saying, “You know what, this seems like a ton more work than I am up for.” No worries! Greg and Brandon can probably save you money if you contact them to start your bathroom remodel instead of calling, mid-way, to fix your DIY disaster.

Aside from having extreme budgeting expertise and the connections to get material at better prices than the “sales” at a big-box store, the guys can help avoid many of those unforeseen expenses that often pop up mid-DIY project. The “oh, goodness, I think we have to replace the entire plumbing system to install that” kind of catastrophe.  As plumbers with mad contracting skills, Greg and Brandon would be able to tell you costs upfront to avoid over-budget surprises. So, give the guys a call to get the straight and narrow remodeling answers you deserve!

gandc

Exciting Developments on the Horizon for G&C Plumbing and Heating

In the coming months, Greg and Brandon of G&C Plumbing and Heating will be introducing a ton of cool stuff for their customers! There will be set pricing and membership opportunities, so you’re never caught in a lurch if a plumbing disaster strikes. And, they will be upping their game when it comes to bathroom remodeling, too. Keep your eye out, and check in at this website from time to time to see what new and cool stuff is happening with our Plumbers without Cracks.

Of course, they will always remain the faithful and courteous plumbers you can count on and trust. Greg and Brandon pride themselves in always answering the call when you are in need. And now, Christine, Greg’s one and only (and the “C” in G&C), will be the one to answer your call and set up your appointment with they guys. No waiting around for a call back!

Because they always strive to empower customers with as much plumbing knowledge as possible, here are some tried and true tips the guys often recommend to help avoid potential disasters. We like to call them…

Expert Tips from the Trenches.

  1. Dear John – Although it is rare to have your porcelain throne spontaneously explode, it can happen. More likely, a leaky toilet is the result of the working parts inside the toilet failing. When this is the case, slowly but surely, your toilet can waste enough water to fill an Olympic-sized pool.”If you suspect a leak, you or your eight-year-old can run a fun and easy test by pouring a bit of food coloring into the toilet’s tank,” says Greg, a plumber with over 20 years of experience. “If you see coloring in the bowl the next day, you need to replace the flush valve.” A bit of preventative maintenance on your favorite lounge chair can go a long way.
  2.  Don’t Burn Your Pipes or Your Plumbers – Bathroom and kitchen sinks can quickly get clogged with hair, soap residue, and fats. This is a messy problem that can become disastrous if not attended. In the bathroom you can use a wet/dry vacuum to remove small masses, and in the kitchen, flush the drain with a bucket full of boiling water to help oil dissolve. However, please never pour flesh eating products like Drano in your sink. “I can’t tell you how many times I have been chemically burned after opening a pipe to clear a problematic drain,” said Brandon Sheck. These over the counter products run along the bottom of a pipe and burnout a small path along the way, but they don’t actually clean out the problem and often get trapped themselves creating a little corrosive chemical pool that can damage your pipes and the hands that fix them.The simplest way to keep drains running clean is to not put clogging material down there. If you do experience a slowing of your drain, just remember – don’t burn your plumbers! G&C recommends using BIO-Clean. This product is not available in stores and is a blend of bacteria and enzymes. The bacteria are natural, not genetically-engineered. The enzyme concentration is the most powerful on the market and is used by many amazing plumbers such as G&C.
  3.  Stinky Water – “If your water stinks, it’s likely your water heater is to blame,” says Greg Sheck. The internal parts that do the heating in the tank can corrode because they spend their lives in a hot water chemical bath. The by-products of the corrosion mix with your water and cause a horrible smell. If this happens, you need to call a plumber immediately. The chemical breakdown of your water heater’s components is happening too fast, and your water may pose a health risk.
  4.  Washing Machine Check-UP – Another plumbing point that can be become problematic is a set of rubber connection hoses on your washing machine. “These hoses can dry out, burst and the next thing you know, the rinse cycle is happening in your family room,” said Brandon. To avoid this plumbing problem, check the hoses twice year for cracks and blisters. If crawling behind your washer twice a year is going to be a long shot, you might want to call G&C to replace the rubber hoses with steel models and have them install a single-lever shutoff valve that is easy to reach.