Tag Archives: plumbing

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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!

 

 

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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!

 

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How to Determine If Your Plumbing Team Is… Good

There are ton of talented plumbers out there! Unfortunately, when it comes to customer service, sometimes even the most talented shoot themselves in the foot. The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating believe that customers deserved both – talented plumbers with amazing customer service skills.

Calling a plumber usually means you already have a headache to deal with. Don’t let the person who is supposed to be helping you add to that headache!

“I’ve been in the plumbing business for a while now,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. (25+ years) “Plumbers are in high demand, and are sometimes let off the hook for some pretty dismal business practices because of sheer demand. Brandon and I are very busy helping people with their plumbing, bathroom remodeling, and heating issues, and could probably cut some service corners if we wanted to. But, the one thing I decided to do, long ago when I started this business, was always uphold the highest standards of customer service.”

That is why Greg and Brandon put together a little list of sneaky tricks to watch out for when you’re looking for someone to help you with a plumbing or heating project. We are not suggesting many plumbers try them – plumbers are good guys; we know lots of them and many are our best friends. But, it’s always best to do your due diligence when selecting a crew that’s going to be coming into your home.

The following are practices that Greg and Brandon consider to be UNACCEPTABLE, and so should you!

1. Hiring the unlicensed and uninsured

“Don’t do it,” says Brandon Sheck. You might be blown away by the price tag on the estimate, but it’s simply not worth the risk.

There are some projects you might be able to handle yourself on the weekend, but most cities require homeowners to use licensed and insured contractors, even when you don’t need a permit. “Keep in mind, you must use licensed professionals for structural, electrical and plumbing work,” said Brandon. If you use unlicensed tradespeople, a building inspector can require you to tear out the job and do it again if it is not done to code. And you are left on the hook for the cost.

When hiring a plumber…

Ask to see identification, a state license and proof of current insurance. If you get that weird feeling in your gut that you always get when something is not right, you can check licensing and insurance credentials by calling your state’s licensing department and/or state insurance commissioner.

2. Lowballing a bid

You know it, we know it – the cheapest route is not always the best. But, it’s always tempting.

“A wicked cheap bid should spark that gut feeling again. Something’s probably wrong,” said Brandon. There is just no way around it, plumbing is expensive and fees can vary widely, so this is something that’s sometimes hard to judge. The best way to get a sense of what a project should cost is to get one or two bids for a project.

Angie’s List, which charges a fee to access reviews of local businesses and professionals, says: “A common plumbing scam is to give a low estimate that doesn’t account for all of the labor needed. You will then need to pay for the additional labor before the plumber finishes the job, putting you in a tough situation.”

Funny thing – G&C Plumbing and Heating has an A+ rating on Angie’s List! Just a little extra proof that they play by the rules, and then some.

3. Showing up uninvited

We don’t even like it when our neighbors show up uninvited these days. “If a plumber shows up, out of the blue, to tell you to hire them, this is a bad sign,” said Greg.

Don’t invite anyone into your home whom you have not first checked out. Find trustworthy plumbers by collecting recommendations from:

  • Friends and colleagues. – This is how Greg and Brandon get most their work.
  • Review sites like Angie’s List (paid) and Yelp (free).
  • The Better Business Bureau. – This is great for verifying complaints or suspicions you have about a company.
  • A Web search. A reputable company should have a helpful and accurate website. Everything should be spelled right, contact information should be up to date, and the best companies will have free, helpful advice for customers right on their website.

4. The bait-and-switch

“If you have a conversation with your plumber about using a certain brand for your project, but a different product is used without consulting you on it- that is not nice,” said Brandon.

Bait-and-switch is a deceptive marketing practice. “When you obtain bids, get the make and model of parts or equipment that will be included. This will help you compare with the final product,” said Greg.

Like Mr. Rogers said…

Look for the helpers!

We don’t mean to sound scary. There are more great, amazing, talented and good plumbers out there ready and willing to help you with your headache of a plumbing project than there are bad. You just need to do a bit of homework to make sure you’re picking from the good pile, so to speak.

Hey, we happen to know two of the best in the industry, and suggest you call Greg and Brandon at G&C Plumbing and Heating for yourself to find out why they are just so…Good.

Replace That Old Water Heater

Oh Good, You’re Finally Going to Replace That Old Water Heater.

This is a follow-up to The Plumbers Without Cracks series “This Old Water Heater,” where plumbing experts, Brandon and Greg Sheck, provided tips on how to extend the life and efficiency of your older water heater. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be. In this installment, they answer the question: Is it dead, yet?

Scary Noises
Maybe.

Banging and bumping sounds from your pipes suggest pipes are being subjected to stress they aren’t designed to take. This could lead to leaks in the near future and you should call your plumber right away. – It’s not dead!

Banging sounds from inside your water heater are likely large mineral deposits breaking off and falling to the bottom of the tank. This means your water is too hard and you are wasting money on inefficiency. – It’s not dead!

Bubbling and gurgling however. If you hear these sounds, shut down your water heater immediately. Call a plumber and get out of the room. Bubbling and gurgling suggest the water inside your heater is boiling. Instead of being an innocent heater, it’s now a pressure cooker ready to explode. Get rid of it. – It’s dead!

“It’s Just a Little Leak”

It’s possible.

“Even a little bit of water coming out of the heater is not normal,” says Greg Sheck, a master plumber who knows what he’s talking about. So, if you have been telling yourself that the little water, that has become progressively more water even though you are not willing to see it, is just due to your house “settling”, it’s time to admit you have a problem. Good news is, it’s not necessarily terminal. “You might just have a leaking temperature-pressure valve,” says Sheck. If you get it fixed right away – It’s not dead!

However, if you have hard water, or an ancient water heater, a leak may be a gator-roll-sign that the tank inside your water heater has rotted out and is getting ready to fail. When it fails, the 80 or so gallons of sediment rich water is going to come out, all at once, all over your floor. – It’s dead!

What Stinks?
You bet!

“If your water stinks, it’s likely your water heater is to blame,” says 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. – It’s dead!

The final part of “Oh Good, You’re Finally Going to Replace That Old Water Heater,” addresses moving on from the old hunk of junk and buying a replacement. Stay tuned.

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Winterization Tips

We interrupt your regularly scheduled “Oh Good, You’re Going to Replace that Old Water Heater,” to bring you this Halloween Spooktacular:

Re-Occuring Nightmare on Your Street

The sight was unbearably gruesome. Greg and Brandon Sheck, the father and son team from G&C plumbing and Heating, approached the scene cautiously. The melting spring snow was almost indistinguishable from the bulbous mass around the garden hose protruding from the otherwise well manicured home. The plumbers braced themselves.

“NNNNNOOOOOO,” cried the homeowner, falling to his knees at the sight of the water squirting out from behind his new, and freshly painted, cedar shake shingles. Brandon placed his hand on the client’s heaving shoulder, looked at his dad and shook his head. It was hard to witness such neglect. Greg nodded, understanding his son’s dismay. He knew his client hadn’t intended to completely destroy the entire lower level of his home by leaving the garden hose connected and the exterior water on all winter. It was mistake. People get busy. But, such a sight still sent waves of nausea through the master plumber. If only they could go back in time, to October, before the mayhem, and warn everyone of what was coming. Could they stop the destruction from happening again?

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 on your street! “It’s very important to disconnect hoses as water will be trapped in the line and cause the outside faucet to freeze and split,” said Greg. October is the perfect time to do this, and, good news, it’s easy!

  • 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 – 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!

We now return your to your regularly scheduled program…..BOO!

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Leaky Toilet?

Expert Tips from the Trenches to Stop the Plumbing Emergencies Before it Happens.

Greg and Brandon have acted as first responders to a few home emergencies in their time. Several feet of clogged pipe from food build up and flooded basements from a broken toilet, plumbing isn’t always pretty, but the guys at G&C try their best to keep it from ruining your weekend, holiday, or return from vacation. The father and son team from Franklin, MA suggest the following to avoid serious plumbing problems before they start.

Dear John, it’s not you, it’s me.

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. But, it’s difficult to talk your wife or daughter into brushing their long hair in the garage instead of in the bathroom. And, it’s even more difficult to ask your Italian mother or grandmother to stop cooking with olive oil. 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.

Stay tuned next week for more pre-emptive tips from G&C!

Stop Plumbing Emergencies

Stop Even More Plumbing Emergencies Before They Happen.

Greg and Brandon have witnessed their fair share of plumbing catastrophes; most have to do with water in all the wrong places. Again, plumbing isn’t always pretty, but the guys at G&C try their best to keep it from ruining your weekend, holiday, or return from vacation. The father and son team from Franklin, MA suggest the following to avoid even more serious plumbing problems before they start.

Yippee, Mom installed a pool in the basement!

“Know where your main shutoff valve is located,” implores Greg to avoid unexpected pools. Most homes have dozens or hundreds of different valves to make up a plumbing system, but the main water valve controls the flow of all water into your home.

The main shut off valve is usually located at the lowest level of your home on a wall closest to the street. Did you find it? Good. Now, test the valve to make sure it turns off properly. Greg and Brandon suggest hanging a large tag labeled “main valve” or “turn me” from the valve handle so all members of your household can find it in case a pool starts forming in your basement. If you are going to be gone for more than a week, it’s always smart to shut off this valve off before leaving despite your kid’s nagging desire for an indoor pool.

Keep The Rinse Cycle in Your Washing Machine

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.

Next month on Plumbers Without Cracks we’ll explore the nature of The Almighty Water Heater. Until then, continue looking for your main shutoff valve and keep those pants pulled up!

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Plumbers Without Cracks

Welcome to the blog from New England’s premiere father and son plumbing and heating team. Greg and Brandon Sheck have over twenty years of experience in the industry and pride themselves in being professionals that return your call, show up on time, and keep their glutes completely covered.

Over the years at G&C Plumbing & Heating, Greg and Brandon have witnessed it all; from unintended swimming pools in a basement to heating units that spontaneously fell over. This biweekly blog is a gift from Greg and Brandon to their many loyal customers. Enjoy the valuable, and free, information along with a few laughs over stories only a plumber can tell.