Tag Archives: G and C Pluming

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 See, unless you just built your home or it’s only a few years old, there’s a chance that your plumbing is outdated.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.

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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.

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Super Service Award 2016

Every year, Angie’s List gives the Super Service Award to the top A-rated companies in their category, within their market. Angie’s List may give the award, but customers determine the winners based on reviews. This year, we the people decided that G&C Plumbing and Heating was deserving of their second consecutive Super Service Award.

Congrats guys! We know you work really hard to provide superior service to your customers. Way to go, you really deserve this! What do you have to say?

“We’re pretty proud,” said Grand Master Plumber Greg Sheck as he installed a new bathtub for a client. That was all we could get out of him.

Greg is humble. Greg makes writing exciting articles about awesome service hard.

Here is what it takes to be awarded the Super Service Award

  • The award honors excellence among service and health providers who maintain a superior service record. Each year, fewer than 5% of thousands of businesses earn this award.
  • To be eligible for the Super Service Award, businesses must be in good standing with Angie’s List and maintain an “A” rating in each of the following areas:
    • Overall Grade, which averages all reviews received
    • Recent Grade, which averages reviews from the last three years
    • Review Period Grade, which averages reviews received since the previous November 1st to October 31st

Basically, winning the Super Service Award is a great badge of honor that companies can display to show clients they are honest, respectful and really, really good at their job. Look for Super Service award stickers and graphics when you are hiring people to do work in and around your home. The seal lets you know these professionals are safe and reliable, care deeply about what you think, and are the best in the business.

“We’re proud of our award because we set high standards for our business when it comes to customer service and satisfaction. Angie’s List Super Service Award confirms that we’re making our customers happy and that’s our goal,” said Brandon Sheck who is not much better than his father is when it comes to soaking up a little praise.

Well, congratulations guys! We can make a big stink about your awesomeness even if you’re too busy or modest to join in the fun. To help us celebrate, please drop a note on the G&C Facebook page and share your stories about how Greg and Brandon have helped you.

Here is an example:

I had this really strange space to add a bathroom on the second floor of my old farm house. It was basically a closet. Greg and Brandon turned it into the most amazing space. The design they came up with and the outcome surpassed my wildest dreams. Thanks guys! – Sarah Solomon Uxbridge, MA.

 

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Heating System Fuel Sources

First Question: How is your Friendly G&C Heating Hold Out going – Have you turned on the heat, yet? Let us know on Facebook. If you are in the market for a new system, you might want to consider upgrading your fuel source – that stuff that feeds your heater. Here is some info to help.heating-sources

Data source:  U.S. DOE/EIA; Mass. Utility Filings, DOER SHOPP surveys

Making a Fuel Source Switch

It’s interesting that although New England is the oldest part of the country, there are still many areas that do not have access to natural gas. Heating oil continues to be one of the most popular forms of fuel even though it’s, how shall we say, WICKED EXPENSIVE. For some it’s simply a matter of using what is already there, but if you find yourself in a position to upgrade your home heating fuel source, and maybe even consider some renewable technologies, G&C can help.

“It’s a complex decision,” said Greg Sheck the Master Plumber at G&C Plumbing and Heating. “It’s something you have to consider long term because a heating option that seems less expensive in the short run can sometimes turn out to be very costly over time due to a fuel source hike. On the flip side, a heating system with a higher up-front cost can produce lower and more stable heating costs long term.”

Sheck suggests having an energy audit and then he can sit down with you to go over the results to help determine the best upgrade for your home.

Here is what Sheck will consider…

Factors Affecting Projected Heating Costs

The following is directly from the Mass.gov Energy and Environmental Affairs website’s 2015/2016 Projected Household Heating Costs

Natural Gas: Based on the utilities’ natural gas filings at the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).  DOER estimates that the projected natural gas price this winter will average $11.90/MMBtu compared with $14.80/MMBtu last winter.  However, ongoing natural gas pipeline constraints for delivering natural gas to New England customers could contribute to price volatility during periods of very cold temperatures.

Heating Oil: Lower heating oil prices reflect lower crude oil prices.  The U.S. DOE estimates that the cost of Brent crude oil spot prices will average $52 per barrel this winter, a drop of about $13 per barrel (32 cents/gallon) lower than last winter.

Propane: Propane is also benefiting from lower crude oil and natural gas prices, as these are the fuels used to make propane.  Additionally, supply issues that have occurred in past years such as the prolonged cold weather throughout the U.S. during the winter, or late season crop drying in the Midwest resulting in high usage of propane stores are not expected to reoccur, thus leading to lower price estimates for propane customers this winter.

Electricity:  Based on filings by the Electric Distribution Companies with the DPU, basic service electricity prices for Massachusetts utilities will decrease for this winter.  This is largely due to lower natural gas prices as natural gas is the primary fuel used for electric generation.  The utilities expect the supply cost to drop by 28% for Eversource customers and 20% for NGRID Customers.  Unitil is expecting a 13.6% drop.  Municipal electric heat customers should check with their individual utility for prices.

Renewable thermal technologies, including cold climate heat pumps, solar water heating, and biomass pellet heating, are attractive new technologies now entering the market that can offer homeowners significant energy costs savings. DOER is supporting these emerging technologies, as outlined on DOER’s website under Renewable Energy.

It’s Starting to Get Cold Out There

Next time, we’ll take another look at how the Heating Hold Out is going for Greg and check in with the guys about specific issues you should make sure are addressed during your home energy audit.

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Bathroom 101 – Plain Jane or Fancy John

Welcome back to G&C Plumbing and Heating’s crazy amazing blog series about remodeling your bathroom. Greg and Brandon Sheck can build you a new John that will rock your world – and save you money. Believe it!

Last time you had to think long and hard about what function your bathroom should serve and what upgrades you’d like to include. You considered what kind of bathroom you were fixing up.

You never knew there was more than one kind of John did you?  Masters, family, half, three-quarter, and more – it can make your head spin. But, yours is on tight thanks to the guys at G&C.

Now, it’s time to focus on the type of bathroom you are remodeling, and with your budget in mind (If you need to revisit that blog post before we move on, go ahead) break the range of bathroom remodels down from small scale to big time to give you a better picture of where yours will fit in.

Always keep in mind

No matter how big your budget or which type of bathroom you are planning to remodel your end goal should be to:

  • Update the look
  • Increase resale value
  • Add to your contentment
  • Add functionality, amenities and storage

As with many things – pizza, vacations, jobs – there are basically three levels of bathroom remodeling: good, better and best.

We are going to explore each of these options, but obviously, even if you go with the “good” option, G&C will always give you the best service. You just won’t be paying for all the fancy stuff you would be if you’re going with the “best option.

So, here are the basic cost ranges for good, better and best bathroom remodels with the best service:

  1. The Good John Update. This can run between $5,000 to $14,000 and typically includes a 24-48 inch vanity, low-end granite countertop, and maybe a fiberglass bathtub-shower unit.

    With this option, you probably won’t be moving plumbing around. You’re looking to replace fixtures and other materials with the stuff you priced out at Lowes or the store Greg recommended  you  go to. “You can still get a big impact from a cool backsplash to make things look high-end,” said Greg.

    Other upgrades include new ceramic or subway tile in a bathtub or shower area. Of course this would include a fresh paint job on all the wall space not tiled. Maybe even some trendy wallpaper. “If your cabinets are in good condition, we can do some awesome stuff with them,” said Brandon. Otherwise, some new pre-made cabinetry can do the trick.

    Your lighting, fixtures and finishes should be new but you don’t need to break the bank. Have Greg and Brandon help you find quality stuff so you’re not having to replace them every five years. “A basic bathroom remodel is great if you’re looking to sell your home,” said Brandon.

  1. The Better Bathroom Remodel. This will run between 10,000 to $30,000. It’s a big jump because the options get greater and you get better fixtures. “New features like flooring, a vanity, a sink, lighting, window treatments, hardware, a comfort-height toilet, a 36-inch countertop, a framed mirror that matches the vanity, beadboard on the walls, and a recessed medicine chest,” said Brandon with a bit of excitement.

    You’re also able to make adjustments to the layout in the better range – like a slightly smaller bathtub to make way for a slightly larger shower. When it comes to plumbing, there are moderate adjustments you can make in the better remodel category like moving the faucets or shower, but the toilet will need to stay in basically the same spot.

    “For countertops, you’re looking at a high-grade remnant or custom piece of granite, marble or quartz, and cabinets can be semicustom with high-end finishes – maybe glazed instead of just stained or something made locally,” said Brandon. As for fixtures, upgrade when you can to higher-quality ( all brass parts)  because they will last longer. And tile – go porcelain! “A better bathroom remodel is perfect when you’re planning to stay in your home and you’re limited in the space or footprint,” said Greg.

  1. The Fanciest John Evah. If you have over $30,000 to spend on your throne, let’s do this! At this level, you’re really getting the bathroom you want and are putting some money into your home and making it more enjoyable just for you.

    It’s a full gut job, so be prepared to wait for the greatness because everything will go away, and you’ll put things where you want them, including plumbing. Maybe you need to punch into an adjacent room or the exterior for more room. “Maybe you want a full-on sauna!” Brandon has some awesome ideas. For plumbing, let Greg blow your mind with high-end finishes and parts for showers and radiant floor heating.

    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 windowsill are marble. The fixtures can be anywhere from polished chrome with porcelain handles, Brushed Nickel or even Oil Rubbed Bronze.” Brandon is now doing a sketch of the plans…

    Wow.

And that’s it – the good, better, and best of G&C bathroom remodels. By now, you should have a pretty good handle on what materials you plan to use and what your expected outcome is. Next time let’s consider the final step in the process – timing, and when you should do this.

It’s a thing. You’ll see.

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Bathroom Remodels – We Do That.

There is nothing more fascinating to a master plumber like Greg Sheck than coming across antique relics in bathrooms, covered floor to ceiling, with pink tile…

Sure, Greg and Brandon of G&C Plumbing and heating can come by and fix your leaky, robin’s egg blue sink.

Ok, they can come back and reseal your pink toilet.

No problem, they’ll be back over to stop the water from leaking through the bright yellow tile in your tub.

And on, and on, and on…

BUT, what if you could have Greg and Brandon come, once and for all, rip all that “nostalgia” out, and update your bathroom to a century where they actually still manufacture the parts that make up your sink, tub, and toilet?

YOU CAN!!

That’s right, although Greg can talk for hours about the engineering genius behind Victorian era toilet bowls, the master plumber understands the frustrations of living in antiquity which is why he has…

A general contractor’s license!

“I wanted to be able to provide customers the plumbing expertise required in bathroom remodeling projects, from start to finish,” said Greg about why he felt the license was important to his business.

“As a plumber, I am able to see the bigger picture in a bathroom remodel and save customers some money by taking out the middle man. Brandon and I do all the work ourselves and call in experts for detailing and carpentry work.”

Benefits of having it done right the first time.

One of the biggest advantages to having your bathroom professionally remodeled by G&C Plumbing and Heating is the result. They just do it better, and that can substantially increase the value of your home and its energy efficiency.

True, having the guys come in might be a little more expensive than you slaving away for six to eight months with a how to book from Home Depot, but the overall costs of remodeling will depend on how much work you want done and the type of fixtures you choose as replacements.

  • The guys understand what works in a bathroom – From selecting and installing proper title that you won’t slip on, to determining the best placement for vanities, tubs and toilets; the guys understand the mechanics behind each aspect involved in your bathroom because that’s what they specialize in.
  • The guys think about function when designing a bathroom – Custom shower doors that prevent water from escaping. Installing a handrail in a shower to prevent injury. Installing outlets that shut off if an electrical item falls into water.
  • The guys focus on efficiency – From installing efficient toilets and shower-heads to selecting tubs that fill with less water, this know-how can save you some green on water bills. Heat exchangers and more efficient water heaters can save on gas bills. Timers on bathroom fans, better lighting, or a glazed window can save on electricity bills. G&C Plumbing and Heating totally gets this and can get it done right!

So, if you’re ready to ditch the pink tile and those crazy glass flowers holding up your 50-year-old vanity mirror, give Greg and Brandon a call. They’ll be honored to look through your water closet antiques and more than happy to make honest and helpful suggestions on how to bring your John into this century.

Interesting antiquity tidbit – the term “John,” when used to reference the toilet, comes from Sir John Harrington. One of Queen Elizabeth’s 102 god-children, Harrington is credited with devising Britain’s first flushing toilet.

G&C Up Close and Personal (Papa Greg)

Greg and Brandon of G&C Plumbing and Heating are great guys, but don’t take my word for it. Let’s take a moment to get to know a bit about each of them. This way you’ll understand the stellar work you’re getting and feel even better about the referrals you’re making to friends and loved ones.

First up:

Papa Greg

In 1985, while pumping gas for $5 hour, Greg Sheck was offered his first plumbing job for $5.50 hour. “I didn’t know anything about plumbing at the time, 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 meant doing it wrong, getting yelled at, and then doing it again.”

This was before cell phones, so “if I did have a question it was either figure it out myself or find the nearest bar because chances are that’s where my boss was.” 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, got married to a lovely lady named Christine, had a beautiful baby boy named Brandon, and a sweet baby girl named Tayla.

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. “The “G” is for Greg and the “C” is for Christine in case anyone is wondering how I came up with the name.”

Now a Master Plumber, Greg worked for well-known builders and general contractors in the Franklin, MA area until the crash of 2009, when “five general contractors filed for bankruptcy all at the same time -that was tough,” said Greg who decided to use the time to change the G&C business model.

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. “Turns out it was the right move, business has never better,” says the happy papa!

And that’s the story, well half of it: 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.

Great job Greg!!

Stay tuned next time to hear about Greg’s son, Brandon – the other plumber who prides himself on keeping his backside covered (poor plumbers and the plumber’s crack jokes that plague them)