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 New England, we have a variety of heating systems; furnaces, boilers, and pumps to name a few. When sitting in our living room, enjoying the Olympics, we’re not too concerned about how the heat gets to us, just that it does and that it follows us everywhere in the house.
As the temps outside fluctuate wildly (as they are now), it can be tough on a central heating system and sometimes cause it to go belly-up. Should that happen, the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating think it’s good to be in the know just in case you have to shop around for a replacement system.
Furnaces are how the majority of North American households’ heat. “This type of heating system is called a ducted warm-air or forced warm-air distribution system,” said Grand Master Plumber and Heating Expert Greg Sheck.
Basically, a furnace works by mixing fuel with air to create a fire. The flames heat an exchanger which produces hot air. The air is pushed by a furnace fan and forced through ductwork downstream of the heat exchanger. “These types of systems used to be big energy guzzlers, but as the demand for conservation has increased, the standards on furnaces have gone up dramatically,” said Sheck.
Instead of carrying heat in warm air like a furnace, boiler systems distribute heat in hot water which then gives up heat as it passes through radiators or other devices in rooms throughout the house. The cooler water then returns to the boiler to be reheated.
Long ago they used steam boilers which boiled water and then steam carried heat through the house, condensing to water in the radiators as it cools. This technology, although effective, was very inefficient. Today, boilers are considered top of the line in energy conservation, especially in on-demand systems and radiant heat components.
“Heat pumps are basically two-way air conditioners and are very popular,” said Sheck. Heat Pump are often considered the wave of the future for energy conservation. There are a few common types of heat pumps:
- Air-source heat pumps use the outside air as the heat source in winter and heat sink in summer.
- Ground-source, or geothermal, heat pumps get their heat from the constant temperature underground.
- Ductless heat pumps distribute energy through refrigerant lines instead of water or air.
Now You Know
Those are a few of the common central heating systems you run into in today’s heating system market. If you are one of the unlucky few who find themselves heatless as the outdoor temps go up and down like a yo-yo this month, call Greg and Brandon today, they can go over more specifics about which system would be best for your home. G&C knows heating!
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!
To round out our showerhead blog earlier this month, Brandon Sheck, Plumbing Wonder and Brilliant Bathroom Remodeler from G&C Plumbing and Heating, is following up on his dad’s impressive knowledge of showerhead history with some input on water conservation and water conserving showerheads on the market today.
WaterSense and the Showerheads
According to the EPA, showering accounts for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use for the average family. To help with water conservation, the EPA developed the Watersense label in 2006 as a voluntary program for manufacturers. “The EPA provided specifications for water efficient products and if a manufacturer meets those specifications, the product is eligible for third-party testing, and then rewarded with the right to put the WaterSense label on that product,” said the Brandon.
Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). Watersaving showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must use no more than 2.0 gpm. “The WaterSense label is also supposed to ensure that the products provide a “satisfactory shower” that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads,” said Brandon.
A “satisfactory shower” is determined by a showerhead’s water coverage and spray intensity. To compensate for using less water, which naturally results in less intensity, “showerhead designers found it beneficial to aerate their sprays to compensate for the smaller holes in the showerhead,” said Brandon. This resulted in some showers feeling more like a mist then a spray which can feel “less wet.” “Although, some people actually enjoy the misty feeling, so it’s become a bit of a personal choice when selecting a water conserving showerhead,” said Brandon. The following are a few he suggests to clients when they are remodeling their bathroom and want to incorporate a Watersense Certified showerhead:
“The device uses a water dispersion system adapted from the agricultural industry to release a thick mist,” said Brandon who stresses that this showerhead may not be for everyone because even the website describes the Nebia as “akin to stepping into a cloud.” But, if you are looking for maximum water conservation, the Nebia uses just .75gpm on its normal setting and only slightly more on its high-pressure setting.
This is a more traditional water conservation showerhead found in many of the newer bathrooms today. The Sierra has a pivoting head which allows people to focus the water where they’d like. “With only a 1.5gpm, this low flow showerhead feels a lot like a traditional showerhead, but with some serious water conservation,” said Brandon.
Another traditional design, this retraction showerhead pulsates to simulate the feeling of high pressure. “It does a good job recreating the traditional showerhead feeling,” said Brandon. The design has a single function spray setting that concentrates water pressure with a turbine-powered engine. It is also WaterSense Certified at 1.5gpm.
Delta Showerheads with H2O Kinetic Technology
“These showerheads make a wave pattern which simulates the feeling of being splashed to create more pressure,” said Brandon. Inside the showerhead, water is channeled through a series of chambers that generates velocity and sculpts the water into a wave pattern. “The good news is, there are no internal moving parts inside the head that will break or degrade over time,” said Brandon.
The showerheads above each provide a unique shower experience that some people might enjoy, and others may not. As for Brandon, he’s a fan of that traditional shower feeling that delivers maximum spray intensity and a satisfying wet feeling. If you want to learn more about the various showerhead options out there, give the guys at G&C a call and they’ll gladly give you their two cents on any questions you have. And, if you are thinking about remodeling your bathroom, G&C can take care of the whole thing for you!
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.
When it comes to selecting the necessary parts for your bathroom remodel or plumbing project, there are plenty of expensive things and cheap things; fancy things and plain things; crazy things and boring things to choose from. Whatever your preference, there’s one question you should always ask yourself… “Is this a quality thing?” But, how can ever you really know – for sure? If you’re working with Greg and Brandon Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating, you can rest assured that the answer is always yes.
You’ve started your highly-anticipated bathroom remodel, and there you are walking through the aisles of your favorite big box store when you spot it – the sink and vanity of your dreams and it’s a STEAL! Done! You’re buying it. It’s perfect. You get it home, install it, and three months later it crumbles to the ground. Only then do you look it up on line and find several hundred fellow humans sharing the same soul crushing experience in the product review section that you Just. Can’t. Stop Reading.
Or, maybe, you’ve started your highly-anticipated bathroom remodel, and there you are tip-toeing through the aisles of some totally swanky, European style store in the remote corner of the most expensive town you’ve ever stepped foot in and you spot it – the sink and vanity of your dreams and it COSTS MORE THAN YOUR CAR. But, it’s your dream bathroom so you splurge. Done, you’ll die happy brushing your teeth, by golly. You get it home, install it, and three months later…
You see where we’re going with this, right?
“There are a lot of “luxury items” out there that are only luxurious because of the price tag or a brand name sticker but, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re excellent products. And, there are a lot of “affordable items” that are just not worth the cardboard box you bring them home in,” said Greg Sheck, Grand Master Plumber and bathroom remodeling extraordinaire.
Greg and Brandon have been plumbing and remodeling bathrooms for a long time. They are experts in identifying and recommending the highest quality products for their customers so you don’t have to spend years pouring over product reviews online. (And, let’s be honest, the reviews never really help because there’s always that one review that’s soooo good it makes it seem like, maybe, everyone else is either seriously overreacting, or probably didn’t install the product correctly.)
“It really doesn’t matter what your budget is, we can give you a specialized list of pretty much anything – tile, faucets, shower enclosures, toilets, and even paint. Working with these products gives us the hands-on experience of determining which are worth your money, and which simply are not,” said Greg as he installed a custom-built glass shower from a local Franklin company – he knows the owner, of course.
Greg and Brandon have relationships with all of the quality businesses in the area. The guys understand it’s their name on the work they do for you and will only ever recommend and use the best products available. This is probably why G&C has been awarded the Angie’s Super Service Award for two years in a row. They do quality work and know quality products – that’s the G&C Quality First policy.
Call the guys today if you have questions about the sink and vanity of your dreams that you’ve been eyeing!
“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!