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Plumbing Problems During the Holidays – Boston, Worcester

27 Nov 2013

Thanksgiving is here. Happy Thanksgiving to all the customers and friends of Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating. We all should be focusing on blessings, family, and turkey!  We should be..but we know it isn't always possible all the time. The business of Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating is to help homes and business with all their plumbing problems, including clogged pipes, new home construction, gas fireplaces, heating systems and everything else to do with your pipes! During the holidays, plumbing problems don’t stop just because it is inconvenient for you. At Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating our work never stops, if you have plumbing issues, we are here to help.

It is our sincere wish that Thanksgiving finds you comfortable and surrounded by family.  To all of our loyal customers and the citizens of the Boston and Worcester areas, we would like to offer you our most sincere best wishes and thanks.  We work hard to earn your continued trust and we want you to know that we do not take your trust for granted.  Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family, and to all you hold dear.

Heating System Maintenance and Upgrades Keep Your Home Warmer – Boston, Worcester

22 Nov 2013

It is getting cold. Now is the time to get your home prepped for the heating season if you have not done so already. The cooler temperatures are making your furnace work harder, but if you have not gotten your home, or your furnace, ready for winter, it is not too late.

Having your furnace professionally serviced will help it work more efficiently. Furnace maintenance means: clean the blower assembly, adjust the burners, clean the coils and heat exchanger, and perform other maintenance to help reduce your energy consumption. New high-efficiency natural gas furnaces and oil furnaces should be serviced annually.

Change the furnace filter: Be sure to change furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Filters play an important role by trapping dust particles that can affect the efficiency of your furnace and indoor air quality. Dirty filters make the furnace work harder to keep your house warm.

Upgrade your thermostat. If you have an older manually-operated thermostat, replace it with a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the settings so you won’t have to remember to do it yourself.

Prevent air leaks. Use caulk to seal the air leaks around windows and install weather stripping on doors to ensure the air you’re heating doesn’t escape. Inexpensive gaskets are also available that can be installed behind electrical outlets that are located on exterior walls. Warm air can leak from those as well.

Don’t use space heaters.  If possible, try not to use electric space heaters. It costs considerably more to heat your home with electricity. If you need a new steam heating system, hot water heating system or a new furnace, Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating can help you choose the most economical and efficient heating system for your home.

For more information on efficient home heating or heating system maintenance, contact us.

Excerpts – Tahoe Daily Tribune

Prevent Frozen Water Pipes in Winter – Worcester, Boston

13 Nov 2013

A quarter-million families have their homes ruined and their lives disrupted every winter because of frozen water pipes. Cold nights can very quickly turn into ongoing, inconvenient, extremely expensive ordeals when your pipes freeze.

In cold climates pipes freeze for a combination of three reasons: quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. Both plastic and copper pipes can burst when they freeze. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.

However, this disaster is largely preventable. By taking a few simple precautions, you can help save yourself the mess, money, and aggravation frozen pipes cause.

There are a number of preventative steps you can take to keep your pipes from freezing. Here are a few simple tips:

Before The Cold

You can prepare by protecting your home during the warmer months. Here’s how:

  • Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember: The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
  • Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers' installation and operation instructions.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
  • Before winter hits, disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.

Even if you’ve taken the right preventative steps, extreme weather conditions can still harm your pipes. Here are a few more steps you can take:

  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Before You Travel

  • Traveling in the winter months might be good for the soul, but don’t forget to think about your pipes before you leave. What can you do?
  • Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it's warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it may be deactivated when you shut off the water.

If Your Pipes Do Freeze

What do you do if your pipes still freeze, despite your best preventative measures? Don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean that already you have burst pipes. Here’s what you can do:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water: You could be electrocuted.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If your water pipes have burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.

For assistance if your pipes freeze or burst, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

Plumbers for Specialty Plumbing Needs – Worcester, Boston

06 Nov 2013

For a homeowners and businesses there are times when you need a professional plumber because the plumbing problem goes beyond replacing the inner workings of your toilet tanks.

Many household problems like a clogged toilet or a leaky faucet can easily be resolved by a plumber or homeowner with basic DIY skills, but some occasions require more specialized work. For example, there are plumbers who are specialized to work with natural gas lines, the installation of fire sprinkler systems, maintenance and repair of water pipes and on home remodeling projects.

A specialty plumber that installs fire sprinkler systems provides an important service in the plumbing profession. Almost all cities and towns have codes or ordinances that require commercial buildings to install and maintain fire sprinklers. They are also becoming more popular as an added safety feature in residential homes.

Make sure you hire a plumber with the proper training for any work that involves fire sprinkler systems. In most states, you can verify a plumbers’ credentials by checking with your state licensing board.

Besides making house calls and installing sprinkler systems, there are certain plumbers who actually specialize in the plumbing associated with home remodeling and new construction. When a new home is built, water pipes need to be run, and toilets, sinks and faucets need to be installed correctly and up to code. A more specialized plumber should be utilized for home remodeling work.

Plumbers for remodeling and home additions must be able to read, understand and communicate details laid out on blue prints. Also, plumbers should be able to understand the overall inner workings of the entire project and where the plumbing aspects of the project relate to the overall project as well as an in-depth understanding of city codes and ordinances regarding home construction, and the ability to work with and communicate with other contractors.

Before making a decision on which plumber to hire, check credentials and make sure your hire a plumber with the experience to complete the task at hand.

It is recommended that homeowners verify a plumber's license by checking with state licensing boards or through the secretary of state's office. For more information, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.