Tag Archives: gandcplumbing

under-the-sink

S -Traps, P-Traps, J-Traps – Oh MY!

“Little Lady, the problem is you have an outdated S-trap.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

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

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

The S-Trap

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

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

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

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

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

As Shakespeare’s Plumber liked to say…

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

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

 

replacement

Do You Need a Piping Replacement?

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

Gulp

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

Water Discoloration

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

Pipe Material and Condition

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

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

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

Low Water Pressure

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

Tell Us Your Results

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

ceiling-brown

What the Heck is That Ugly Spot on My Ceiling?

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

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

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

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

Stains Around the Bathroom Fan

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

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

Stains Below Bathroom Fixtures

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

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

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

So, Breath

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

fish-scales

Bathroom Design Trends of 2017

Brandon Sheck of G&C Plumbing and Heating loves to keep up on bathroom design trends. He in no way considers himself to be an interior designer or anything close, but he is a guy who has developed a mean sense of style over the years of remolding bathrooms with his Dad, Greg. So, just in time for summer, we forced Brandon to once again offer his take on current design trends that the guys would love to help you implement in a bathroom renovation project.

All About the Tile

“It’s really all about what makes you comfortable and happy, but I think some of the coolest bathrooms have tile that is kinda crazy looking when you first see it,” said Brandon to underscore the point that he’s not an interior designer. What he means by “crazy looking” is stylish, and here are some of the stylish tiles Brandon has found to be successful in creating a whole new look in a renovated bathroom:

Patternedpattern
“There are great bathrooms where the tile floors blend into the background,” said Brandon. “But, in some of the trendier designs lately, we’ve seen a throwback to patterned tile. At first my Dad and I were skeptical, but the right pattern does create an artistic look that totally works in the right room.”

Hexagonhoneycomb
“I’ve heard it referred to as honeycomb,” said Brandon. “It’s a big trend and looks wicked cool with a gray and navy blue color scheme.”

 

 

Long and Narrow Subwaysubway
This is perfect for someone who wants to be trendy, but doesn’t want to commit to something as bold as a pattern. “The long and narrow subway tiles just take the coolness of the subway look a bit further. It makes a bathroom look super sharp,” said Brandon.

 

fish-scaleFish Scale
“The first time my Dad and I saw this, we were sure our client would change her mind as soon as we put it up, but it really looks awesome. We were surprised,” said Brandon. “It doesn’t actually look like fish skin, it has a classic Hollywood look to it.”

Nailing the Accent

After figuring out tile, paint colors and a layout, Brandon says it’s the accents (or where your eye is immediately drawn to) in a bathroom that is all the rage in design for 2017. Here are some of the cool things he and Greg are seeing and including in their remodeling projects:

Free-Standing Tubs
“These are where it’s at,” said Brandon. “Doesn’t matter if it’s a vintage claw-foot or a modern soaking tub, people love the freestanding tub look and they look really great in a larger space.”

Cabinets A la Minimalist
“With bold tile patterns and big tubs in the middle of a bathroom, it’s best to keep things in balance with minimalist cabinet shapes and colors when you want to be trendy,” said Brandon. Clean cabinets with simple knobs and handles keeps the space from feeling crowded.

Free-Standing Vanities
A less expensive option to that ‘free-standing’ tub look is the free-standing vanity. It’s a fun way to incorporate a personal design trend into your bathroom. “People are finding really cool vintage vanities at antique shops and we can build entire bathrooms around them,” said Brandon.

Unusual Light Fixtures
We don’t often think of putting a unique light in the bathroom, but it works in 2017. “When you walk into a space with a bunch of neutral colors and then there’s this unusual light fixture, your eye just goes there and it’s cool. It’s also easy to switch out when you get bored or want to change things up,” said Brandon.

Need More Ideas?

Brandon and Greg are more than happy to come out for a visit and go over ideas you have about your bathroom remodel. They are humble guys and will try to suggest they don’t know much when it comes to style and interior design, but don’t let them fool you. These guys know plenty and have seen and worked on enough projects over the years to know what works and what doesn’t. They will give you honest and sound advice about your creative ideas – That’s how they roll.

Spring-Cleaning

Plumbing “Spring Cleaning”

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

Spring Plumbing Tips

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

So, Brandon and Greg suggest you…

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

All Clear

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

gandcplumbing-toilet

Replacing John

Last month, the guys gave you some tips on how to tell if it was time to get a new toilet. Our bet is that many of you may have kicked the old throne when you read through the results. Sorry about your toe. The good news is, replacing a toilet is not all that hard, and the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating even offer options on how you can accomplish installation.

Here are their secrets:

“It’s best to have a buddy handy when you are ready to replace a toilet,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck who works with his son Brandon during such a task. “Lifting a toilet is cumbersome and it’s easier to obtain a level set on the floor when there are two of you.” Greg also recommends having the following on hand, in addition to the new toilet:

Wax Ring, Adjustable Wrench, Channel Locking Pliers, Screwdriver, Towels, Sponge, Bucket, Penetrating Oil, Putty Knife, and Hold-Down Bolts.

So, once you’ve grabbed a buddy and picked out your new John…

Here is option one on how to replace an old toilet:

  1. Turn off the water to the toilet.
  2. Remove the tank lid.
  3. Remove the refill tube from the overflow pipe and drain water from the tank.
  4. Use a rag to pick up any remaining water.
  5. Disconnect the water supply line.
  6. Disconnect the flapper chain.
  7. Unscrew bolts attached to the tank.
  8. Remove tank from the bowl and place on a towel.
  9. Remove the caps sitting on the bolts.
  10. Unscrew nuts with an adjustable wrench.
  11. Rock the bowl a bit to loosen the grip on the floor and place on a towel.
  12. Remove wax ring from the toilet and the floor.
  13. Clean the floor around the drain hole.
  14. If the bolts look rusty, replace them.
  15. Place a new wax ring on the new toilet and carefully position on top of the drain hole. You only get one shot to place it.
  16. Replace wax ring when you miss.
  17. Replace it again.
  18. Take a break and thank your buddy for being a true friend.
  19. Place the new toilet over the hole and gently rock the bowl until it sits level on the floor.
  20. Screw nuts back on with adjustable wrench.
  21. Place caps on bolts.
  22. Place tank on the bowl.
  23. Screw bolts to attach the tank.
  24. Connect the flapper chain.
  25. Connect the water supply line.
  26. Attach the refill tube to the overflow pipe.
  27. Turn the water back on.
  28. Test the new toilet for any leaks.
  29. Find a way to dispose of your old toilet.
  30. Figure out how to pay your buddy back.

Not bad, right? Just 30 simple steps…

Here is option two:

  1. Call Greg and Brandon
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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.

 

bioclean_can_400__68576.1365387652.1280.1280

BIO-CLEAN is Super Fascinating!

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

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

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

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

 

Fascinating Suggested Uses for BIO-CLEAN

SEPTICS

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

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

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

GARBAGE DISPOSAL ODORS

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

GREASE TRAPS

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

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

SUMPS WITH PUMPS

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

OUTHOUSES AND VAULTS

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

R.V. & BOAT HOLDING TANKS

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

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

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

You Totally Want a Tub, Don’t You?

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

 

 

rubber-duck

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

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

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

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

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

You can totally do it – Here’s How!

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

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

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

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

Step one – Remove the old caulk

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

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

Step two – Mask the gap

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

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

Step three – Apply the caulk bead

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

Step four – Shape the bead

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

“Wow, thank you,”

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

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

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

(More on that next month)

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

 

washer-dryer

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!