Tag Archives: plumbing tips

drain-trap

The Drain Trap – Yogi Guru of Your Plumbing

Under the bathroom sink, the kitchen sink, utility sink, and even under drains you can’t see – the piping that connects them is most likely configured in an S or U shape called a “trap”. But, many wonder, what’s with the weird shape?

The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating are artists in the department of shaping and caring for these little creatures that often makes it impossible to place trash bins and stuff you want instant access to under your sinks, and they hold them in very high regard. Turns out traps deserve a little space…

“When water comes into a home, it needs a way to leave,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. “Most homes have a main water line that usually comes in around the foundation and carries water to a water heater and then to hot and cold-water lines that run throughout the house. That is how water gets to you home. How it leaves is a different story because each fixture has its own drain line and each of the drain lines ties into a larger main line, which takes the water out of the house.”

Turns out, that little U or S shaped part under each drain is like a little Yogi guru who maintains a sense of calm over a whole slew of stuff. “They’re called traps because that’s what they do: Trap water inside, preventing sewer gases from coming back into the house,” said Sheck. – Like your yoga teacher who always seems to be trapped in some intense frustration with all that crazy breathing and pretzel positioning.

How are these little Yogis/traps configured and what calm do they keep?

“There are several connections in a trap,” said Sheck of his artistry. “A nut connects two pieces together with a threaded fitting and a ferrule forms the seal. The nut screws down over the ferrule to form a water tight seal.” – Whatever you say Maestro.

“If you encounter a strange odor in any room where there is a drain, your trap is probably dry and the sewer gas is escaping into your home,” said Sheck who swears this is usually a quick fix that can be remedied by running water down the drain and filling the trap back up with water.

If the smell continues, it might warrant a call to G&C because sewer gas is hydrogen sulfide created as organic waste decays, and although the smell is mostly an annoyance, it’s disgusting and no one will want to come to your house if it smells like you know what fumes. Not even you.

Sheck Tip for Drain Trap Maintenance

To keep the stink away, drains should be used at least once every couple of weeks to keep water in the traps. This includes showers, toilets, tubs, bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks, washing machine drains, floor drains, and any thing you can think of where water passes out of your house.  

“Keeping the traps free from clogs is also helpful,” said Brandon our other experienced G&C plumbing artist. “Any objects that go down a drain can get stuck in the dip of the trap, which is handy if you drop an engagement ring down the sink, but gross if a bunch of hair and nail clippings clog the system.”

Using a sink trap, a simple plastic or metal cap placed over your drain, can be handy at catching all the important and not so important stuff that could wind up in a trap that is already working so hard to keep the peace with life’s crap – literally. Which is why next time on Plumbers Without Cracks, Brandon will give us his top ten sink traps to help keep the Zen flowing in your drainage system!

Until next time, Namaste.

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.

fish

Save Some Water for the Fish

In honor of Earth Day, the guys from G&C Plumbing and Heating would like to share some handy plumbing tips on how to save the world (and, inadvertently, cash and Karma) It might even make you feel good to know you’re doing something helpful for the earth – You’re welcome.

“Save some water for the fish,” my mom always yelled at the bathroom door when I was a kid,” said Greg Sheck, the Grand Master Plumber from G&C Plumbing and Heating in Franklin, MA. “Alright, alright, mom,” I’d yell, wondering how my three-minute shower was going to somehow, single handedly, keep the fishing industry alive. That’s a kid for you. I’m just glad I can now proactively help my mother’s ’cause’ on a much grander scale as a plumber. This one’s for you, mom.

Drip… Drip…Drip…

Aside from the annoying sight and sound, a dripping faucet can waste more than 10 gallons of water per day – That’s like $100 every year around these parts. “First and foremost, make sure your taps are fully turned off,” said Sheck who spent a bunch of time yelling at his own kids over the years to make sure they turned the faucets all the way off. “However, if you find yourself trying to twist a tap very tightly only to find it continues to drip, you should probably replace it immediately.” ($100 a year – cough, cough)

If possible, upgrade your standard faucets with low-flow substitutes, or better yet, an aerator faucet that has a circular screened disk of metal that modifies the overall flow. “Along the same lines, an upgraded low-flow showerhead only consumes 2.5 gallons of water per minute, instead of the standard 4.5 gallons,” said Sheck. So, if we do the math correctly, that would save more than 20,000 gallons of water per year. That’s like a gazillion dollars!

And, good news, most low-flow showerhead models available today have a good, strong shower stream- the guys recommend them all the time in their bathroom remodeling projects.

Unmasking the Leakers

Just like in the White House, leakers often attempt to remain anonymous, and not all water leaks can easily be spotted. (What? – Even Plumbers Without Cracks have a sense of humor)

A good way to determine if you’re home has a hidden leak is to make it a habit to check the water meter before and after a specific period when the water is not in use. If the meter has drastically changed, then there’s a good possibility that there’s a hidden leak somewhere and you should call Gregg and Brandon to come check it out.

The Problem with John

Toilet flushing consumes about 30% of your water bill. That’s a lot of cash to flush down the drain. If you have a standard toilet, you might want to upgrade it to a low-flow or dual flush option. “With a dual flush option, you can choose between a higher-flush for solid waste or lower-flush option for liquid waste. The lower-flush uses less than 1.3 gallons of water,” said Sheck who made that toilet talk sound so professional we couldn’t even make a number two joke or anything – Thanks Greg.

If you’re not ready to replace your toilets just yet, then just make sure they’re not running when not in use. “That can be a sign that the flapper is leaking inside the tank and needs replacing,” said Sheck.

To detect a toilet leaks, remove the lid from the toilet tank and add a dye tablets left over from coloring Easter eggs or a few drops of food coloring to the water in the toilet tank. If the tank is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes. Flush as soon as the test is complete and then call Greg and Brandon.

#Savethefish