Tag Archives: helpful tips

dishwasher-open

Keeping the Dishwasher Clean

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

Take it away, Brandon…

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

dishwasher-filter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dishwasher

Thanks, Brandon!

 

raise-your-hand

Heating Hold-Out Hacks

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

COOL!!

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

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

Bragging Rights Rule!

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

Crack the Oven Door

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

Run the Ceiling Fan Clockwise

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

Use Pipe Insulation Under Doors

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

Let the Sun In

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

Close the Doors

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

Let the Tub Water Sit

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

Seal Up Cracks

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

Stay Warm and Toasty

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

 

This Old Water Heater

If the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating could talk you into updating anything in your house to improve your energy efficiency it would be that old water heater in the corner of your basement. By nature, the traditional hot water heater is like a 1976 Chrysler New Yorker in that it is giant, and in constant need of fuel. It is not, however, impressive or fun.

“Water storage tanks work constantly to keep water hot for when you want it. When the water sits, it cools down, known as standby heat loss, then the burner or heating element kicks on to heat it up again, and again and again and again,” said Greg, master plumber who hates old water heater inefficiencies.

The guys agree that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but water heating is the second largest energy hog in your home – heating and cooling is numero uno. So, until the old unit goes belly up, or you get sick of paying an extra $300 to $400 a year to constantly reheat a tub of water in the corner of your basement, here are a couple of tips to help out:

Turn Her Down
Most water heaters come preset to 140 degrees, but for every 10 degrees you turn the beast down you’ll save 3% to 5% on your bill. “We recommend keeping water heaters at 120 degrees so you don’t burn yourself,” said Brandon who likes a nice hot shower as much as the next guy. Call him and he’ll set the temperature for you. If you’re a Sunday, do-it-yourself kind of guy, or gal, here’s how to get 120 degrees:

  • Find a thermometer to measure the water coming out of the tap farthest away from the heater. Mark the temperature on the water heater thermostat because chances are it will be wrong. (It might even just say low, medium and high)
  • From there, turn down the thermostat to what you think will be 120 degrees and then wait a few hours and measure the water temperature again at the same far-away faucet. This might take a few tries, so if you want to call Brandon now and get back to the game you can. Some old water heaters have two thermostats — one for the bottom heating element and one for the top for twice the fun.

Drain the Junk
Tanks build up sediment which reduces efficiency. Do you have another Sunday? If so:

  • Turn off the water and power to the water heater. On a gas unit, set the burner to “pilot.”
  • Connect a garden hose to the spigot at the base of the tank and other end of the hose pointed at your floor drain.
  • Turn on the tank’s spigot.
  • Open a faucet in a bathroom or kitchen (hot side only) to allow air into the system so water will drain from water heater.
  • Don’t drain it completely, less water more often is actually best. A quart every three months.

What? None of the above sounds fun? Ok, stay tuned for the next installment of Plumbers Without Cracks when we discuss: Oh Good, You’re Finally Going to Replace That Old Water Heater. If you just can’t wait two weeks, give Brandon or Greg at call today at 508.541.8783.