G&C Plumbing and Heating are experts in bathroom remodels. Look at these photos of one of our recent renovations and give us a call to update your bathroom.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Last week’s ‘Bomb Cyclone’ was something else. Who calls a storm that? Anyway, a big dump of snow in January has become the norm here in New England, but these subzero temperatures are a bit disturbing. Greg and Brandon from G&C Plumbing and Heating had their hands full after the storm helping customers with frozen pipe issues.
Frozen pipes are a problem because they prevent water flow, but even worse, frozen pipes can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding. A lot of people don’t even know they have burst or split pipes until it gets warmer and the ice blockages melt – making a mess. “The biggest problem we typically see is improper insulation,” said Grand Master Plumber Greg who suggests stopping by your local hardware to pick up some rubber foam pipe insulation. “The sleeves are easy to pop on and can save you a ton of headache when temps dip. Additional insulation can also be added to walls and ceilings to keep the pipes warm.”
But, what if you can’t get to the pipes, can’t see them, don’t have that kind of time or money to add insulation this month, or have already done this and are still worried about pipes freezing? No worries. The guys have three plumber-grade tips to help keep your home safe and comfortable during this deep freeze.
- Keep interior doors and access panels open. Pipes are often located in cabinets. When the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to keep cabinet doors open so that the heat from the rest of the house can keep the pipes warm as well. You should also keep all interior doors open so that the heat can flow throughout the home. This leads us to…
- Keep the heat on. Even if you’re skipping out of town to warmer weather, make sure that the heat is kept on. “The heat does not have to be kept as high as you normally would keep it if you were actually home, but keeping it set above 60 degrees is a good idea especially when it’s really cold out,” said Greg. This should provide enough heat to keep the pipes warm and to prevent any water inside from freezing. And, your grandfather was right –
- Allow faucets to drip. Say you have an area of the house where it gets particularly cold, allow the faucets in that area to drip slightly. “Allowing the faucet to be open will relieve pressure in the system. If a pipe freezes, it is actually the pressure that is created between the blockage and the faucet that will cause the pipe to burst,” said Sheck. Allowing the faucet to be open will prevent this pressure from building up and thus, keep the pipe from bursting.
Follow these tips when the temps and wind chill dip to help keep your home safe and comfortable. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating. They can help with any problems you have this season.
Clients ask Greg and Brandon Sheck all the time, “Why isn’t it G&B Plumbing and Heating?” Brandon will sort of shrug and tilt his head towards his father, and Greg will blush slightly and say, “The C is for my wife’s name, Christine.” But, there is more to this story, and during this Holiday Season, we thought it would be nice to tell the sweet version!
Young Greg Sheck
Greg found his first plumbing job in 1985. He took the job because it was a $.50 raise over his current job of pumping gas for $5 hour. “I didn’t know anything about plumbing, but I was pretty into a .50 raise, so I started plumbing on weekends until I graduated high school.” After high school, Greg started plumbing full-time and discovered he really liked it. “My boss pretty much handed responsibility over to me, so I had to learn how to do plumbing the hard way, which usually entailed doing it wrong, getting yelled at, and then doing it again.”
Despite the learning curve, Greg managed to stick it out and in 1990, he passed his Journeyman’s plumbers license. He was offered a great job, and here is where the romance kicks in, he got married to a lovely lady named Christine!
Greg continued working for the same plumbing company for 14-years, but Christine knew he could do more. After raising their beautiful baby boy Brandon, and sweet baby girl Tayla, she encouraged Greg to start his own company – one that was reflective of his business principles. “Over the years, I’d put together a code of how I wanted to treat the people I worked with,” said Sheck.
- Treat people how they would like to be treated.
- Make word of mouth the best advertising by striving to keep those words positive.
- Be exceedingly polite, personable, and honest with customers and even their pets.
- Return everyone’s phone call.
For all the Right Reasons
In 2005, G&C Plumbing and Heating was born to carry out Greg’s principles. (He’s totally on the nice list.) “I was nervous at first, but Christine never had a doubt,” said Sheck. A family business through and through, Brandon came on board later that year as an apprentice to Greg. The father and son team started working exclusively for homeowners doing residential service and repair work, and Christine answers their phones when the guys are busy on a job. “Turns out it was the right move, business has never been better,” said Sheck.
The moral of this little holiday tale: Listen to the people who know you best, they are usually right. And if you have plumbing, heating, or bathroom remodeling questions, listen to Greg and Brandon Sheck -They know your name, and you recognize the G&C Truck as it travels back and forth across southern Mass. They are your neighbors, and they’ve got your back. Happy Holidays!
During a recent bathroom remodel, the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating got some pretty interesting questions about showerheads. It started off simple enough about if “water saving” showerhead models were any good, but then took a turn for the fascinating when Greg Sheck, Grand Master Plumber and Bathroom Remodeler Extraordinaire, found himself sharing his in-depth knowledge about showerhead history. It’s totally worth repeating here!
In the Beginning
Bathrooms, a room for bathing and doing your business, didn’t really become a “thing” until the late 1800’s. It was around this time that public health officials discovered that drinking water with human waste in it, even just a little bit, made people sick (bout time, folks – gross). “So, it was the city planners that started creating the plumbing infrastructure that would provide clean water in one pipe and remove sewage through another,” said Sheck.
As running water became a feature in all houses and apartments, the convenience of hot water from the tap soon followed. “By the early 1900s, bathrooms were finally becoming a standard part of every new house, complete with a sink, toilet, and bathtub,” said Sheck.
Everyone saw the benefits of standing to wash, and by 1907, plumbing fixture magazines showcased model bathrooms that look completely familiar to us with bathtubs that have shower heads consisting of a nozzle attached to the water pipe and covered with a round face with holes in it.
For the next 85 years this showerhead design was in pretty much every bathroom all over the US. It wasn’t until the US Government decided water conservation was something to be taken seriously, that national water flow standards were enacted in the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992.
“This set minimum efficiency standards for toilets, faucets, urinals, and showers, and the new law mandated that shower heads were not to exceed a flow rate of more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch,” said Sheck who knows you might not know what he’s saying there, but enjoys his showers at this rate.
Because showers account for more than a third of household indoor water usage, the Environmental Protection Agency started giving WaterSense certification to showerheads that use 2.0 gpm or less. Some of the new low flow heads are rated at even lower flow rates, such as 1.8 or 1.5 gpm, saving significantly more water. “To compensate for the lower rate of water, manufactures started making the holes in the shower head smaller to create a constricted spray, but this means there are bigger gaps between the water jets and that doesn’t always provide the greatest shower experience,” said Sheck bringing us up to present day in his stroll down showerhead memory lane and back to the question of “are water saving showerheads any good?”
I know, I know, you’re asking, “That’s it – we’re all just stuck taking an unsatisfying shower if we want to conserve water?” No! Next time, Greg and Brandon will share their secret knowledge of excellent showerheads, water saving, and beyond!
There’s nothing worse than the kids confusing your dingy bathroom grout lines for Halloween décor this time of year. Yuck. No matter what color your grout is, use these handy tips from the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating to keep tile looking fresh and yucky free.
All you need is water, vinegar, and baking soda
“Sometimes customers go a bit over board trying to clean grout that’s still in good shape and doesn’t need to be replaced,” said Greg Sheck, Grand Master Plumber and bathroom remodeler extraordinaire from G&C. Greg tells customers that all they really need is some water, vinegar, and baking soda. “It’s better than using harsh chemicals because, in most cases, your bathroom is enclosed and harmful chemicals can become trapped in the tub and or shower area no many how many windows you have open or how powerful your fan is.”
Greg’s solution is better for your health…
“If you have an old spray bottle, mix one-part white vinegar to three parts warm water. If you don’t have a spray bottle, a bucket and sponge will do just fine with this solution,” said Greg. Spray or wipe the vinegar solution all over the grout and tile in the area you want to clean and let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
Greg’s Secret Weapon…
To make even the dingiest grout sparkle, mix up a thick paste of baking soda and water in a bowl and get a couple of cheap (or old) tooth brushes. Greg likes to use the electric kind with replaceable batteries for extra elbow grease. “Dip your toothbrushes in the paste and bang out those grout lines,” says Greg who swears this will even brighten caulk lines that are smooth and free from cracks. Once you’re satisfied with your scrubbing efforts, rinse the whole thing off with clean water and marvel in your handy work. Your lungs and grout will thank you and no one will mistake your bathroom for a room in a haunted house.
The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating are full of handy tricks like cleaning grout and checking for toilet leaks. They believe that sharing their knowledge of plumbing and bathroom remodeling helps their customers feel empowered and comfortable, which makes the guys feel pretty darn good in return. If you are looking for some straight-up good guys to help you with plumbing or bathroom remodeling issues, give Greg and Brandon at G&C Plumbing and Heating a call. They’re here to help!
Really! Make the most out of Halloween décor and toss in these outdoor plumbing tweaks recommended by the great guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating. You’ll feel good about yourself!
Even though it’s been unusually warm out this fall, we all know that eventually the temps will drop – probably overnight when we all left the windows open. “No matter the weather, we always recommend customers turn off their outside faucets or sillcocks in October so it’s done and out of the way for when we’re hit with the cold,” said Brandon Sheck, Plumber Extraordinaire and all around good guy. “It’s very important to disconnect hoses as water will become trapped in the line and cause the outside faucet to freeze and split when it’s cold out,” said Brandon who didn’t go into the sort of mess this could make, but use your best Halloween inspired imagination. Yikes!
Good news is, winterizing outside faucets is as easy as hanging those annoying spider web decorations on your front bushes. Maybe easier!
- Disconnect the hoses – Drain them and hang them up for the winter. Your hoses will last longer, be less likely to leak at the connectors, and be less likely to develop splits that leak when the hose is pressurized.
- Close the shut-off valves – From inside your home, close the shut-off valve(s) that control the flow of water to the outdoor faucets.
- Open the faucets to “bleed the pipe out” – Back outside, let any residual water drain out of the outdoor pipe. Creating an air space within the short segment of pipe gives residual water room to expand if it freezes. If you have a frost-damaged outdoor fixtures – replace them!
Disconnecting hoses and shutting off water to outside faucets are two of the most important things you can do to save yourself from a nightmare this Halloween season! If you need any help, or would rather stick to the spider web hanging, call G&C and the guys will take care of your outdoor faucets and all of your plumbing needs.
The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating are known for their creativity and use of unusual space to add another bathroom to your older New England home (closets seem to be their specialty) But, we went on a little mission to see just how creative people can get when they have their mind set on installing a bathroom somewhere. We’ve found some places that a closet just can’t touch. Enjoy!
Located on the International Space Station (ISS), this john has no gravity to ensure that water stays in the toilet bowl or to force waste down. To compensate, NASA built pumps to harness airflow and create a hygienic bathroom for astronauts. “I would love to get in on this remodel,” said Brandon Sheck, G&C plumber and bathroom remodeling extraordinaire.
“Instead of water and gravity, the entire system relies on air to create a tight seal between the user and the toilet bowl. It’s genius,” said Grand Master Plumber Greg Sheck. The addition of foot straps and pivoting bars are not just for appearances, they anchor the astronauts to the ground.
Did you know the ISS treats waste on its own and converts a large percentage into potable water? Yup – they drink what they make.
Ever noticed how just looking at the big tanks of water at aquariums make you have to, you know, go? Well, a café in Japan decided to take this problem seriously.
They spent $270,000 to build this ladies-only, except for the giant sea turtle swimming around, john enclosed by an aquarium on three sides. Apparently, the surrounding aquarium was designed to imitate the feeling of getting naked in the ocean. And you thought your bathroom design was creative…
The South Pole
Located in Antarctica, about 300 yards from the geographic south pole, this john actually moves about three feet closer to pole every year. It’s a literal john on the go.
What makes it super interesting is thinking about how many people risked their lives just trying to make it to the South Pole – Those who made it deserved a bathroom, don’t you think? The small John took years to construct and was the only source of waste plumbing on the South Pole from 1975 until 2008. It has since been remodeled, sorry Brandon…
In Broad Daylight
In Basel, Switzerland, you can enjoy a nice sit-down on the street corner and people watch. YIKES!
Designed by artist Monica Bonvicini, who enjoys delving into public versus private life in her exhibitions. This piece is entitled “Don’t Miss a Sec,” and was inspired by her viewers’ reluctance to use the bathroom during art shows, fearing they might miss out on something important.
Some might say it has one flaw…
For the outside to look like a mirror, it must be very bright so that the mirror’s surface has plenty to reflect. The inside must be kept dark so that light can’t pass through the glass. If the placement of light is switched, however, the walls become windows and your business becomes everyone’s business.
Our Point Is
The next time the little voice in your head (or an actual person who needs to learn to keep their mouth shut) tells you, “That’s a crazy place to put a bathroom” when all you’re trying to do is add a little quality of life to your antique New England home, you can say, “No, that’s not crazy, here’s crazy!”
Give Greg and Brandon at G&C Plumbing and Heating a call to discuss your “crazy” bathroom i
“Why don’t we turn the closet into a bathroom?” Jane* nudged her snoring husband in the second-floor master bedroom of their hundred plus year-old farm house as the Eureka moment struck her. “YES!” She nudged him harder and he rolled out of bed, assuming it was his turn to feed the baby. “What?” John* asked, scratching his head and realizing the baby was sound asleep. “Turn the closet into a bathroom,” Jane pointed to the closet nestled close to the dormer framing and abutting their daughter’s room. Her face lit up as she imagined not walking downstairs, multiple times, during the night to relieve herself. John looked over at the closet. There wasn’t even a gable there. “That’s a crazy place to put a bathroom.”
Fast-forward a few months…
“Well, that should do it,” said Greg Sheck, Master Plumber and Miracle Worker from G&C Plumbing and Heating, as he brushed the last of the construction dust off Jane’s dream bathroom tile– built where her small closet once stood. Jane smiled as she admired the full shower, sink, toilet and snazzy design. John stood slack jawed. The baby squealed.
*This is a true story, with real customers whose names have been changed to protect their innocence and marriage.
“Older New England homes are so awesome, but they often lack amenities that homeowners look for today, namely more bathrooms,” said Sheck who works with his son Brandon to help customers find creative and unique ways to bring their gorgeous old homes into the 21st century without destroying their timeless charm.
“Jane and John have an amazing antique home, but it only had one bathroom. A hundred years ago, even having one bathroom was considered upscale,” said Sheck. “Brandon and I are plumbers and contractors, not everyone knows that, and we enjoy helping people like Jane and John upgrade their antique homes to meet their needs. Sometimes that requires creativity and some “that’s a crazy place to put a bathroom” like thinking,” laughed Sheck.
The guys at G&C Plumbing have installed small and large bathrooms in many older homes, and new. Jane and John’s bathroom was a favorite project of theirs because it showcased their appreciation of the old world and their flair for trendy design.
“Because we didn’t disrupt the floor plan, the second floor maintains that antique feel. The bedrooms are close to one another and there is a common hallway area that is so representative of an old farm house,” said Sheck. “Around the corner in the master is this bathroom that packs a big punch in a pretty small space, but from out in the hallway you’d never know it was there.”
Greg and Brandon helped Jane pick out light and reflective tile and fixtures to make the space seem and feel bigger than it is. – It’s the size of a closet, remember! Also, there are no windows because everyone agreed they didn’t want to add a dormer and disrupt the exterior design, so lighting was key in creating the feeling of natural light. “My biggest fear was that I was going to feel like I was, well, standing in a closet,” said Jane. “I don’t.”
If you are looking to add a bathroom or remodel an existing bathroom in your home, but find yourself thinking it’s a crazy idea, call Greg and Brandon and watch the crazy magic happen!