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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!

 

 

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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!

 

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G&C Plumbing & Heating Earns Esteemed 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

 G&C Plumbing & Heating has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of customer service to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2016.

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This achievement is particularly significant as Angie’s List experienced unprecedented member growth in 2016. More than 1.6 million consumers, many of whom were eager to quickly hire highly qualified service pros, joined Angie’s List after the company added a new, free membership tier.

“Companies that can meet higher demands without missing a beat in their exemplary performance standards truly do stand apart from their peers,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Only a fraction of the Plumbing companies in the Franklin, Massachusetts area were able to do it.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must also be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

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

For more than 21 years, Angie’s List restricted access to its verified reviews to consumers who paid membership fees. When the company removed that barrier, some companies worried that the new, non-paying members would not be as engaged as members of the past. Experience has shown, however, that these newly added members are just as engaged – across all age groups – as prior members. Also, because the company continues to adhere to its review verification process, there has been no degradation of review quality.

“The biggest change at Angie’s List is that we are connecting even more consumers to high quality service professionals,” Hicks said. “And that’s good for everyone.”

 ###

 Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than 4.5 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

 

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Keeping the Dishwasher Clean

The other day Brandon stopped into one of his favorite suppliers and a regular customer approached to thank him for the tips in our last blog on how to clean the garbage disposal. “I just thought it was supposed to stink like trash,” the busy mom of four told Brandon as she picked out hardware for the G&C Plumbing and Heating guys to use when they installed a new sink and vanity in her bathroom. “You know, my dishwasher smells pretty bad too, how should I clean that?”

Take it away, Brandon…

The first thing you’re going to want to do is clear the drain and filter. It’s not a glamorous job, especially if you don’t do it regularly, so you might want to put on some rubber gloves.

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  1. Remove the bottom dish rack and locate the filter and drain. In newer machines, these filters eliminate the grinder that pulverizes food scraps and then pushes the food down the drain. If your drain is clogged, your dishwasher will be louder and stinkier than it should be.
  2. Remove the filter system, which typically has a few interlocking parts, and clean the parts individually at the sink. Use the spay of the faucet, sponge or small brush to dislodge the gunk (hence the gloves) This is going to help immensely with drainage and efficiency.
  3. Check the spray arm for trapped food scraps by lifting it off its base with a little tug. Rinse that under water and clear clogged holes with a toothpick. There is often an additional hole on the underside of the spray arm that shoots water into the filter, make sure you clean that out too before popping it back into the bottom of the dishwasher.

Once you have all the components back into place, and it’s not many so don’t be afraid to take them out, I recommend a vinegar wash to sanitize and deodorize the dishwasher.

  1. Place a cup of white vinegar in a bowl at the back of the upper rack in an empty washer.
  2. Run the dishwasher on your pot scrubbing, or longest, cycle to wash away grease and yuck. If you have hard water, the vinegar will even help with discoloration if you use it regularly – I recommend three or four times a year.

Now that the gunk and yuck is all washed out, I like to give a final rinse for lasting freshness.

  1. Sprinkle about a cup of fresh baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher. (Fresh baking soda does a better job than the box you’ve had in your cupboard for a decade)
  2. Run the shortest cycle available with nothing else in the dishwasher and you will be greeted with a fresh-smelling, brightened and stain-free interior when all is said and done.

The last step is to take a warm rag dipped in a vinegar and water solution and clean the seal along the frame and top of your dishwasher. Regular cleanings like this will also help prolong the life of the machine – Bonus!

Dishwasher

Thanks, Brandon!

 

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Keeping the Garbage Disposal Clean

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t! But, this holiday season, your garbage disposal will likely be on over-drive with all the prepping and cooking going on in your kitchen. The last thing you need is a backup or a breakdown! So, the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating suggest you start the New Year off right with a good old cleaning of the garbage eating machine.

Little Back Ground Info

We all know and love that a garbage disposal chews up all the food scraps we toss down the drain. But, do you know how it works?

“The disposal operates with an electric motor that is either hardwired or plugged into a 120-volt box,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. “Inside the disposal is a grinding chamber where shredding blades grind up whatever you toss down the sink. From there, tiny impeller blades and a plate force the particles and liquid down the drain which is why it’s super important to run cold water while the disposal is on. The dishwater is what carries the garbage through the entire process.”

If you learn anything from Greg about your garbage disposal today…

“It’s not a trash can. Only put biodegradable food in your garbage disposal. No gum, garden debris or chemistry experiments,” said Greg. Other things to avoid include fibrous, oily, starchy and expandable material that can tangle or clog up the system:

  • onion skins
  • grease and fat
  • corn husks
  • artichokes
  • celery stalks
  • potato peels
  • rice and pasta
  • coffee grinds
  • egg shells

Daily Maintenance

“When you run your garbage disposal, let it keep going a few seconds after the grinding you can hear stops,” said Greg. “There may still be small pieces, so leave the water and everything on for a few seconds before you shut it down.”

Also, when you are cleaning up after a good chicken fry, use a towel or paper towel to wipe off as much grease as you can from pans before rinsing.

Finally, if you accidentally toss a big chicken bone down there (small chicken and fish bones actually help clean the blades) Physically remove objects by first turning off the fuse that supplies power to the disposal. “So you don’t chop your hand off,” said Greg. “You can then use pliers or tongs to remove the trapped object.  A flash light will be helpful. “Be careful, damaging the grinder while sticking metal objects down the disposal is easier than you might think. Bottom line – Don’t stick your hand down there!

The Big Cleaning

There are a few routes you go when it comes to cleaning a disposal. If you kept your owner’s manual, that would be a good place to start. If not, Greg recommends the following options:

DIY Clean

Grinding ice cubes and salt in your garbage disposal is a great way to remove sludge and debris. In addition to cleaning the garbage disposal, grinding ice will sharpen the blades and salt will help with stinky smells.

  1. Turn the cold water on
  2. Turn on the disposal
  3. Empty four cups of ice cubes into the sink
  4. Feed the cubes down the disposal as quickly as it will take them – This will freeze all the gunk, causing it to chunk off the impeller blades and the plate
  5. Add one cup of rock salt
  6. Let everything continue to run a minute beyond the grinding noise

Professional Clean

“Don’t use drain cleaners,” said Greg. “These are mainly caustic chemicals that can corrode your disposal’s guts and kill it.”

BCcontainterMDInstead – order a tub of BIO-CLEAN from the G&C guys. “BIO-CLEAN is a blend of bacteria and enzymes. The bacteria are natural, and the concentration is the most powerful on the market,” said Greg. Interestingly, one $49.95 tub of BIO-CLEAN can clean your garbage disposal about 100 times. And, it cleans pretty much anything involving organic waste.

Bottom line, it works better than anything you can pull out of your freezer, but either option should do the trick and keep your disposal running smoothly through the holidays.

From all of us at G&C Plumbing and Heating

We hope you had a restful holiday that is full of peace, love and absolutely no plumbing emergencies. However, if your sister-in-law clogged up your disposal with potato peels, your kids gunked up your washing machine with that magic snow, or your heater just finally gave out – you know how to contact us! We promise to get you back on track for relaxation as soon as possible.

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Keep the (Washing) Machine Clean

Sweater on top of sweater with two or three layers under the sweaters – that’s how we roll during a New England winter. If you’re still playing our friendly Heating Hold Out, you might have a few more layers on top of all that, making your winter laundry piles the biggest you’re likely to see all year.

Help Your Washer Keep Up

While your machine is ridding your mounds of winter clothes of dirt, pine needles and ice melting sand, it can accumulate a buildup of said dirt and detergent residue that makes it harder to do its job.

“We’ve helped out a few clients whose machines were so dirty, they actually thought the machine was broken” said Brandon Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating. “These machines wash some pretty dirty stuff, and need to be cleaned to keep up.”

Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the machine once a month, but let’s face it, that’s as likely to happen as your eight-year-old remembering to floss his teeth every day. So, let’s get real here.

If you’re lucky enough to have a separate cleaning cycle as an option on your machine, run it whenever you can remember. Brandon suggests trying, really hard, to remember this option after you wash a load of cleaning rags because that can really gunk up your machine.

If you don’t have a cleaning cycle, not sure or unsure how to use it – not to fear. “Just identify your machine and select a cleanser,” said Brandon. “High energy front loaders and top loaders need one cleaning approach; top-loading non-HE machines need a slightly different approach.”

Pick a Cleanser

White vinegar, bleach or a commercial cleanser are your best options. Vinegar is nontoxic, cheap and easy to get your hands on, but some manufacturers recommend bleach or other chemical cleansers. “If you still have your manual, check to see what it recommends, if not, vinegar is pretty harmless,” said Brandon. “Just don’t mix cleaners – that’s a big and dangerous mess!”

HE Washers – Front Loading or Top Loading

Wiping down the interior of the washer to keep these machines from developing an odor is something you should do frequently. Here is the bigger cleaning:

  1. Choose the “clean” cycle if your machine has one. If not, select the hottest water setting –
  2. typically the one for whites or heavily stained clothes.
  3. Choose an added rinse cycle if available. (If not, run the rinse cycle a second time manually)
  4. Fill the bleach dispenser with your cleanser.
  5. Fill the tub as high as you can and run the machine.
  6. When the cycle has ended, clean the gasket that seals the door and the area around it.
  7. Clean the detergent, bleach and fabric softener dispensers. If you can pop them out – do it!

If you’re feeling extra motivated, wipe down the controls and the outside of the machine for a like new shine. This won’t help your machine clean your laundry, but it will look nice.

Top-Loading Non-HE Washers

Chances are these machines will not have a cycle for cleaning, but no worries. Cleaning is a bit more time consuming, but you can do it a few times a year for the sake of your clothes, can’t you?

  1. Choose the hot water setting and the longest cycle.
  2. Fill the tub to the maximum level, then pause the machine.
  3. Add 4 cups of white vinegar or 1 cup of bleach to the water and let the machine agitate for a minute or two.
  4. Pause the machine and let it sit for an hour. Dip a cloth into the soaking solution, wring it out and use it to clean the top of the drum, agitator, and inside of the lid.
  5. Clean the bleach and fabric softener dispensers.
  6. Restart the machine and finish the cycle.

Again, if you’re feeling fancy, clean the control panel and the outside of the machine for sparkle. Brandon considers this extra credit.

Pat Yourself on the Back

And relish in the fresh clean smell of all the layers you wear in the winter. You are rocking this Heating Hold Out! Don’t forget to tell us about your tips to stay warm on the G&C Facebook page!

 

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Heating Hold-Out Hacks

A few months ago, the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating announced a spirited little game to see who amongst us could hold out the longest before turning on the heat this winter. Well, today in New England it’s in the 30s – Raise your hand if you’re still holding out??

COOL!!

Brandon and Greg are behind you all the way. Remember, Grand Master Plumber Greg once held out until Christmas Eve to turn the magical warmth maker on.

The guys have been helping folks repair and replace heaters for years and they’ve gathered a few cheap and easy tricks to get customers through the coldest moments – Moments like these when you want to be the winner of the G&C Heating Hold-Out!

Bragging Rights Rule!

These hacks are handy even if you’ve thrown in the towel and turned on the heat

Crack the Oven Door

After you make holiday cookies, a nice turkey dinner, or heck, a frozen pizza – crack the oven door to let the heat from the oven mingle with the dropping temperate in your house.

Run the Ceiling Fan Clockwise

So, heat rises, right – This is something we can all agree on? Running your fan clockwise will push warmer air back down into a room. Do this a few times a day.

Use Pipe Insulation Under Doors

Our hope is you already have this stuff all over your pipes. Why not use the extra to stick under the bottom of your interior doors to keep warm air from escaping the parts of your house you’ve manage to keep manageable?

Let the Sun In

Whenever the sun is out, open as many drapes and blinds as possible. This seems like a no brainer, but sometimes the best and the brightest heating hold-outs think they need to keep insulated drapes closed, at all times, to keep the heat in. The sun is a heater – use it!

Close the Doors

Not currently using the grandma’s spare bedroom? Close the door. This is particularly handy if you are utilizing a fire place or wood burning stove – close off the rooms you are not using to keep heat in the rooms you are.

Let the Tub Water Sit

After you’ve bathed yourself or the kids, let the warm water sit in the tub until it cools to room temperature. Not only will it help heat up the bathroom, but it can also provide some humidity for the rest of the house.

Seal Up Cracks

We saved the best for last – Blocking wind is the first step to staying warm. Winter drafts can drop the temperature by up to 100% or more, so make sure your doors and windows are sealed to prevent air leaks. Use curtains to add another layer of protection from the wind. A two-curtain setup is best, with a liner to block the draft while allowing sunlight to warm the house, and a blackout-solar curtain to block out your loud and unsightly neighbors.

Stay Warm and Toasty

We hope some of these hacks help. Be sure to speak up on the G&C Plumbing and Heating Facebook page if you’re still holding out and haven’t turned on your heater. If you’re feeling extra generous, maybe share some of your heating hold-out hacks with the rest of us!

 

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How to Determine If Your Plumbing Team Is… Good

There are ton of talented plumbers out there! Unfortunately, when it comes to customer service, sometimes even the most talented shoot themselves in the foot. The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating believe that customers deserved both – talented plumbers with amazing customer service skills.

Calling a plumber usually means you already have a headache to deal with. Don’t let the person who is supposed to be helping you add to that headache!

“I’ve been in the plumbing business for a while now,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. (25+ years) “Plumbers are in high demand, and are sometimes let off the hook for some pretty dismal business practices because of sheer demand. Brandon and I are very busy helping people with their plumbing, bathroom remodeling, and heating issues, and could probably cut some service corners if we wanted to. But, the one thing I decided to do, long ago when I started this business, was always uphold the highest standards of customer service.”

That is why Greg and Brandon put together a little list of sneaky tricks to watch out for when you’re looking for someone to help you with a plumbing or heating project. We are not suggesting many plumbers try them – plumbers are good guys; we know lots of them and many are our best friends. But, it’s always best to do your due diligence when selecting a crew that’s going to be coming into your home.

The following are practices that Greg and Brandon consider to be UNACCEPTABLE, and so should you!

1. Hiring the unlicensed and uninsured

“Don’t do it,” says Brandon Sheck. You might be blown away by the price tag on the estimate, but it’s simply not worth the risk.

There are some projects you might be able to handle yourself on the weekend, but most cities require homeowners to use licensed and insured contractors, even when you don’t need a permit. “Keep in mind, you must use licensed professionals for structural, electrical and plumbing work,” said Brandon. If you use unlicensed tradespeople, a building inspector can require you to tear out the job and do it again if it is not done to code. And you are left on the hook for the cost.

When hiring a plumber…

Ask to see identification, a state license and proof of current insurance. If you get that weird feeling in your gut that you always get when something is not right, you can check licensing and insurance credentials by calling your state’s licensing department and/or state insurance commissioner.

2. Lowballing a bid

You know it, we know it – the cheapest route is not always the best. But, it’s always tempting.

“A wicked cheap bid should spark that gut feeling again. Something’s probably wrong,” said Brandon. There is just no way around it, plumbing is expensive and fees can vary widely, so this is something that’s sometimes hard to judge. The best way to get a sense of what a project should cost is to get one or two bids for a project.

Angie’s List, which charges a fee to access reviews of local businesses and professionals, says: “A common plumbing scam is to give a low estimate that doesn’t account for all of the labor needed. You will then need to pay for the additional labor before the plumber finishes the job, putting you in a tough situation.”

Funny thing – G&C Plumbing and Heating has an A+ rating on Angie’s List! Just a little extra proof that they play by the rules, and then some.

3. Showing up uninvited

We don’t even like it when our neighbors show up uninvited these days. “If a plumber shows up, out of the blue, to tell you to hire them, this is a bad sign,” said Greg.

Don’t invite anyone into your home whom you have not first checked out. Find trustworthy plumbers by collecting recommendations from:

  • Friends and colleagues. – This is how Greg and Brandon get most their work.
  • Review sites like Angie’s List (paid) and Yelp (free).
  • The Better Business Bureau. – This is great for verifying complaints or suspicions you have about a company.
  • A Web search. A reputable company should have a helpful and accurate website. Everything should be spelled right, contact information should be up to date, and the best companies will have free, helpful advice for customers right on their website.

4. The bait-and-switch

“If you have a conversation with your plumber about using a certain brand for your project, but a different product is used without consulting you on it- that is not nice,” said Brandon.

Bait-and-switch is a deceptive marketing practice. “When you obtain bids, get the make and model of parts or equipment that will be included. This will help you compare with the final product,” said Greg.

Like Mr. Rogers said…

Look for the helpers!

We don’t mean to sound scary. There are more great, amazing, talented and good plumbers out there ready and willing to help you with your headache of a plumbing project than there are bad. You just need to do a bit of homework to make sure you’re picking from the good pile, so to speak.

Hey, we happen to know two of the best in the industry, and suggest you call Greg and Brandon at G&C Plumbing and Heating for yourself to find out why they are just so…Good.

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Energy Efficiency 101

Since we all just had a cord of wood delivered to avoid turning on our heating systems here in New England, (How is everyone doing? Anyone turn on the heat, yet? Let us know on Facebook!) let’s focus some attention on energy efficiency. The guys at G&C are big on going green and encourage all customers to take advantage of an energy audit to make sure you’re utilizing your home to the fullest.

Over the years, Greg and Brandon have gathered some tips to get the most of an audit. Today, they share them with you because they’re such nice guys!

The Energy Audit Low Down from a Master Plumber

“Professional energy assessments go into great detail about your home’s energy use,” said Greg Sheck. “You can contact your utility company or hire an outside energy auditor and they will typically go room-by-room, examining your house and taking a look at past utility bills.” Mass Save can also be a big help.

Greg said that most professionals will do what is called a blower door test which includes a machine that measures the airtightness of buildings. It can also be used to measure airflow between building zones, to test ductwork airtightness and to help locate air leakage sites in your home.

Do You Have to Clean Your Closets?

Greg says, No!

“But, you should make a list of existing problems such as condensation on windows or rooms that have drafts,” said the Master Plumber.

He also suggests having copies or a summary of your home’s yearly energy bills. “You can get these from the utility company if you burned them to keep warm this month,” laughed Greg.

Why Is He Looking There?

“An auditor usually examines the outside of the home first to get a sense of the size and the number of windows it has and then he or she will focus on you,” said Greg. So, be prepared to answer the following:

  • Is anyone home during working hours?
  • What is the average thermostat setting for summer and winter?
  • How many people live here?
  • Is every room in use?

This is Not an Interrogation; You Are Not in Trouble!

Unless you’re hiding something in the basement, your answers should help uncover some simple ways to reduce your household’s energy consumption. Walk through your home with the auditors as they work, and ask questions about weatherization and getting those new light bulbs. Be sure to strike up a conversation about heating systems, financing and rebates. Then call the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating!