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Prevent Frozen Pipes – Boston, Worcester

02 Jan 2014

Temperatures are falling into the teens and below, and a big Nor'easter has arrived. Both have plumbers preparing for overtime. Protecting water pipes is your first line of defense.

Plumbers will tell you that there's no substitute for insulating water pipes from the cold. Plumbers keep boxes of pipe insulation for water lines that could be exposed to freezing temperatures. They say water lines buried at least 18-inches in the ground rarely freeze in our area. But if they're exposed to a cold foundation wall or in a draft from outside air, there's a possibility of cracked pipes and big leaks. The pipes freeze, the water freezes, and the water pipes crack. Once the water defrosts, you will see the pipes leaking, you don’t know you have a problem until you have big-time water problems.

Older homes are more vulnerable to frozen pipes because of the plumbing that may not be insulated between the floor and the ground. Homeowners are also warned to remove hoses from foundation faucets that can cause split pipes during freezing temperatures.

Pipe insulation is easy to install is usually available at home improvement stores. If you have problems with frozen or cracked pipes this winter, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

You Need a Plumber to Install Gas Lines for Gas Fireplaces and Inserts - Worcester, Boston

02 Dec 2013

When you think of plumbers you think of faucets, toilets, clogged drains or other ‘water flow’ issues and problems. But, you also need a plumber if you are thinking of installing anything gas related in your home. This includes gas stoves, gas fireplaces and gas fireplace inserts.  This makes sense, because the water and gas systems in your home rely on pipes to supply the various appliances.

Many do-it-yourself homeowners will tackle a leaking faucet or a clogged drain on their own. They may even replace toilet innards as well. You may even do light electrical work. But, even if you or someone you know is handy, when it comes to gas you should leave it to a plumber.  Plumbers can guarantee that all the gas work at your home is done with the highest standards of quality as well and safety.

Gas is dangerous and toxic. Gas lines refer to both natural gas and propane. And both can be used in a home for cooking and heating. Plumbers are trained and licensed in the installation of gas lines. Therefore, in the event that something does go wrong, you have recourse. If you have a fire or sickness as a result of a faulty or poorly installed gas line, and that gas line was not installed by a licensed and insured plumber; besides the damage you have another problem, all of you insurance coverage will be null and void.

Gas pipes can leak and this will obviously impact the performance of the water heater, stove or fireplace, but gas leaks can also serious health and safety risks. Additionally, if you are installing a gas fireplace or insert in your home, a plumber is needed to pull the permit for the installation and can also let you know if your chimney requires a liner.

Anything propane or gas-related in your home involves a plumber. Plumbers may specialize in drains and anything related to water, but they are also qualified and experienced in professional natural gas line installation and repair. A plumber can help you detect issues with your gas supply, install new gas lines, move gas lines and provide you will all of the necessary installation and repair work you need to get your home safely outfitted with natural gas. Contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

Plumbing Problems Caused by Homeowners - Wellesley, MA

29 May 2013

Homeowners need plumbing that works. Unfortunately the drains get clogged and the toilet backs up. Regularly, we come across plumbing problems that are caused by homeowners. Here are some things that ruin your plumbing.

Pouring grease down the kitchen drain.

If you’re in the habit of pouring bacon grease down the kitchen-sink drain, you might as well call the plumber now. Grease is one of the best things for clogging drains.

Putting everything down the kitchen drain.
Don’t put everything down the garbage disposal.  You should especially avoid putting flour, rice, potato peels (and some other peels) and many fibrous foods such as asparagus and chard down the garbage disposal.

Using the toilet as a trash can.  

If it isn’t waste or toilet paper, don’t flush it. The toilet should not be used as a trash can. The toilet has a 3-inch drain pipe that leads into another drain pipe, which is THE drain pipe to your entire house. In other words, flushing one improper item down the toilet ultimately can stop up everything in the house.

Leaving hoses connected during winter.

This is a classic plumbing error. Hoses can cause damage when left out all year: they can lead to freezing of the outdoor faucet or its water supply pipe. It’s also very bad for your hose.

Using too much drain cleaner.

When used judiciously and on the right kind of clog, drain cleaners can be effective and relatively safe for drains. When used with abandon, they can corrode some drain materials, and they can actually make clogged drains worse.

Pouring chemicals into a septic system.

If you’re used to living with private septic, you probably know how to take care of it. But if you just bought a house with septic, you might not think twice about using chemicals like drain cleaner, chlorine bleach, paint and even anti-bacterial soaps. These chemicals kill the essential waste-eating bacteria in the septic tank.

Nailing or cutting into a wall with hidden plumbing pipes.

Know where you are nailing, screwing or sawing into a wall. You don’t want to hit the pipes.  

Joining two different metals in piping.

When you hire a plumber, make sure they know what they are doing. When dissimilar metals, such as copper and steel, are touching, a process called galvanic action leads to corrosion. Corrosion leads to leaks. Such joints must be made with a dielectric union or other approved fitting. Be sure you plumber is using the right type of metal pipes.

For your plumbing problems in Wellesley, contact Greater Boston Plumbing.

How to Find a Plumber in Boston and Worcester

26 Apr 2013

Do you have plumbing problems in your Worcester or Boston area home? If so, looking for a plumber can certainly cause anxiety. But, if you do your homework, you can find a reliable, reputable and dependable plumber that you can have confidence in.

If you live in a big city, chances are there are several plumbers to choose from.  When you contact a plumber, consider a job interview. Ask questions, ask for references, and ask around. Be sure the plumbers you are talking to provides emergency 24 hour service. Then you can check any references and see if they needed to use them in an emergency situation.

Checking out online reviews is a good way to qualify plumbers as well. If you have a central heating and air conditioning system, find a plumber that provides maintenance to your HVAC as well. Ask the plumbing company about maintenance plans as well.

Once you have chosen a plumber, explain the problem and be sure you know what they going to do for repairs. Be sure they provide to you a written estimate with itemized costs. For information on Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating, contact us.

Clogged Toilet, the Cause May Surprise You

27 Mar 2013

There are items that are made to go down the drain, flushed or otherwise travel into your septic system. Essentially, these things are human waste and toilet paper. Everything else is off limits. So what about the items that marketers deem “flushable?”

Take disposable wipes and disposable household cleaning wipes. These items have been identified as flushable by the marketing industry. But that does not mean they are good for your plumbing or good for your septic system if you have one.

Once these disposable/flushable wipes get through your drain, they can cause serious problems in the home main sewer line. These wipes are tough, they need to be for what they are designed for. They are also disposable, into your trash can. When a plumber is called into a home, and these wipes are the culprit, most often they have caused a softball sized toilet clog. The wipes don’t disintegrate, and they have a snow ball effect with the other paper, or other wipes in the drain causing a massive pile up, or clog.

Unfortunately these large clogs take some time to remove from your main septic drain. As you know, the longer the time spent, the more costly the job. So take the extra time and don’t flush the disposable/flushable wipes.
Flushable Fact: In 2009, Consumer Reports tested leading brands of toilet paper and flushable wipes. They found that all of the wipes completely failed the disintegration test and even the strongest, thickest toilet papers squeaked by with a low passing grade.*

If you suspect you have a wipe’s clog, or your toilet is having any type of clogging issues, please contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.