Gibson's Heating and Plumbing
Serving Northeast Indiana,
Northwest Ohio & Southeast Michigan


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If your water heater is not heating enough or is running out of hot water too fast, there are many possible causes. Here are some of the most common.

1. The Dip Tube Is Broken

Cold water enters the water heater through the dip tube where it is forced to the bottom of the tank for quick heating. When the tube is broken the water remains at the top of the tank, where the hot water outlet is, causing it to return cold water with the heated water.

2. Sediment Has Built Up at the Bottom of the Tank

Over time, minerals in the water can build up at the bottom of the water heater tank where the burner is located. This causes a gradual reduction in heating efficiency that will make the water heater work harder and eventually resulting in less hot water. Flushing the tank annually will prevent sediment build up.

3. The Heating System Is Malfunctioning

Most water heater problems occur with these systems:
  • Thermal switch
  • Thermostat
  • Heating element

A licensed plumber should inspect the water heater and repair the pasts as needed.

4. Hot Water Heater Is Too Far From Where It's Needed

If the water eventually heats up, the problem is sometime a hot water tank that is too far from where it's needed. In the cold months in particular, pipes will cool the hot water before it reaches the faucet where it's needed. Insulating the pipes can help reduce heat loss.

5. The Water Heater Tank Is Undersized

If you have recently noticed that your water heater suddenly seems to supply less hot water, or runs out suddenly, it could be that your water heater tank is too small to keep up with demand. Installing a larger tank or tankless water heater will ensure that you have all the water your household needs.

Have questions about your hot water heater? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help.
For most homeowners a water heater is something hidden away in the basement or closet that never comes to mind until the hot water stops flowing. A tank-style water heater will generally last 8-12 years. By inspecting your water heater at least once year and performing some basic maintenance steps, you can ensure that you are getting the maximum lifespan from the unit. Here's what to check.
  1. Is the supply of hot water inconsistent? Sudden drops in hot water supply could signal a problem with the burner, or a build up of sediment in the tank.
  2. Is it making unusual sounds? Gurgling sounds coming from a hot water heater are often a sign that sediment has built up at the bottom of the tank. Flushing the tank regularly can prevent sediment build up.
  3. Are there burn marks at the base of the water heater? This is often a symptom of combustion back drafting. Because this is a safety issue, have the water heater inspected by a professional plumber.
  4. Check for proper ventilation. Ensure the draft hood is securely connected. The flu should be properly connected using a minimum of three screws per joint. Flues that are run out a chimney should be properly lined and connected to prevent carbon monoxide from re-entering the home.
  5. Is there a drain pan under the water heater? If the water heater is on an upper level of the home, a drain pan will ensure that water leaks do not cause damage to the floor and ceiling below in the event of a leak.
  6. Ensure a drip pipe is in place and is not leaking. The T&P or pressure relief valve should have a pipe that extends 6 inches from the floor.
  7. Ensure that there are no combustable materials near the water heater.
Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help with all your hot water needs.
As the population continues to age, many homeowners are finding that their home does not provide the level safety and convenience that it once did. Bathrooms in particular can present safety and access issues. Thankfully, their are many ways you can update your bathroom to increase your safety and improve your quality of life as you age.

Updating a bathroom to make it more safe and user friendly doesn't have to involve a complete remodel. Some bathroom upgrades can be performed with a few simple skills and basic tools.
  1. Toilets - Low toilets can make it difficult for individuals with low mobility. Installing taller "comfort height" toilets, as well as grab bars, can make access much easier. Ensure that grab bars are securely anchored to studs with screws.
  2. Faucets - Faucets with knobs or hard to turn levers can be replaced with designs that use large paddle style levers or a single lever. Motion detecting faucets offer effortless function.
  3. Showers and Bathtubs - Grab bars can be attached to provide secure entry and exit. A stable shower seat combined with a hand-held shower head will allow for bathing while seated. Shower curtains can be easier to operate and provide greater access than shower doors.
  4. Floors – To prevent slips, use rubber-backed rugs and ensure that showers and tubs have good traction.
  5. Lighting - Good lighting is essential to any safe and user-friendly bathroom design. With compact, bright LED lighting you have light exactly where you need it, even in the shower.
Have questions about making your bathroom safer and more accessible? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help with all your plumbing upgrade needs.
As the spring weather arrives, now is good time to ensure that your home's plumbing system is in good shape to prevent any unexpected problems. Here are a few simple inspection and maintenance tasks that we recommend every homeowner perform at least twice a year.

Sewer & Drains

  1. If you have slow or drains that regularly back up. Have Gibson's clean out the drain before there is a backup.
  2. Ensure that sink drains have strainers to prevent debris from building up inside the drain.
  3. If there are drains that are unused for long periods of time, such as floor drains, pour a bucket of water to keep the trap filled. This will prevent sewer gases and odors from entering the home.
  4. If your home is more than ten years old, have a video camera sewer line inspection to check for tree root intrusion or other damage.

Sump Pump

Test your sump pump to ensure it is working. Pour several gallons of water into the sump pump pit. Pour slowly until the sump pump turns on and removed the water. Do not pour in more water than the basin can hold. The sump pump should begin pumping out water when the water level reaches about 8 to 12 inches from the bottom of the pit. If it doesn't, contact Gibson's to repair or replace the pump.

Washing Machines

Check hoses for signs of wear or damage. If the hoses are older than 10 years, consider using braided stainless steel hoses rather than rubber hoses. If the washing machine is on an upper level of the home, a drain pan should be used to prevent water damage in the event of a leak.

Toilets

  1. Check the base of the toilet for water leaks. If there are stains or standing water it could need a new wax ring seal.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring to the tank. If color appears in the bowl after 30 minutes, it has a leak that should be repaired.
  3. If the toilet handle has to be held down in order to flush properly, or jiggled to stop from running, you may need to replace the tank parts.

Tank Water Heaters

  1. Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy waste.
  2. Drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out sediment that can cause corrosion and reduce heating efficiency.
  3. Inspect the anode tube for excessive corrosion. Replace the tube if needed.

Tankless Water Heaters

  1. Tankless water heaters should be flushed to remove mineral deposits. 
  2. Clean or replace the line filter.
  3. If it is making excessive nose, have your plumber inspect the unit.
Always check with your water heater manufacturer for specific instructions regarding maintenance of your specific make and model.

Have questions about maintaining your home's plumbing system? Give us a call, we can help with all your plumbing needs.
Thursday, 02 March 2017 17:26

What Is a Dual-Flush Toilet?

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In the 1990's, low-flush (or high efficiency) toilets were brought to market to help reduce the amount of water used per flush, known gallons used per flush (GPF). Low flush toilets are designed to use 1.3 gallons per flush, while a standard toilet used 1.6 or more gallons per flush. The EPA estimates that the average US home will save $90 per year, or about $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet. To be eligible to the EPA's Water Sense label, a toilet cannot be more than 20 percent less than the maximum allowed.

Dual-flush toilets are a version of the low flush toilet that, as the name suggest, can flush different amounts of water depending on what is needed. Depending on the design, the amount of water can be cut in half. While they can save significant amount of water, the downside to dual-flush design is added complexity with more parts, as well as higher initial cost.

Have questions about low-flush toilets or other high-efficiency plumbing fixtures? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can can help with all your home plumbing installation, repair and maintenance needs.
Looking for ways to conserve water and reduce your water bill? One of the easy ways to reduce water waste is to use water conserving plumbing fixtures. According to the EPA, if every U.S. household was using efficient plumbing fixtures it would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water... an estimated $18 billion dollars per year!

Here are some water saving plumbing upgrades to consider.

Water Conserving Toilets

Toilets are one of the most water intensive plumbing fixtures in the home, consuming as much as 30 percent of an average home’s (indoor) water. If your toilets were installed prior to 1994, there is a good chance it uses more than 1.6 gallons of water with each flush. Consider replacing older toilets with a current EPA standard 1.28 gallon model. As an alternative for older larger tank toilets, you can conserve water by placing a small water filled bottle into the toilet tank to reduce the tank's volume.

Low-Flow Shower Heads

Showering accounts for around 20 percent of an average homes indoor water consumption. Today's low flow shower heads can reduce water consumption by as much as 70% will still providing a strong spray of water. If you don't want to replace the entire shower head, adding a low-flow shower adapter is a low cost alternative.

Efficient Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets

Faucets in the home can use more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). Replacing these faucets with high-efficiency faucets that have a flow rate of less than 1.5 gpm can save a significant amount of water. It's also important to ensure that all faucets have an aerator installed to reduce water flow.

Have questions about water conserving plumbing fixtures? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 00:41

How to Drain a Water Heater Tank

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One of the best ways to extend the life of your water heater and ensure it operates efficiently is to flush the tank annually to remove sediment buildup. The process is straightforward, here are the steps:
  1. Shut off the water supply - Locate the cold water supply valve at the top of the water heater and turn it to the off position.
  2. Turn off the water heater - If you have a gas water heater, simply turn the thermostat knob to the “pilot” setting. If the water heater is electric, turn off the power at the breaker panel.
  3. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located near the bottom of the tank. Place the other end of the hose near a floor drain, in a bucket (have several large buckets to empty into and rotate them if needed) or outside the home.
  4. CAUTION: Even though a water heater may be off for hours, the water in the tank may still be hot enough to scald.
  5. Open a hot water tap - Open a hot water tap on a floor above that is nearest the water heater. This will relieve pressure in the system, helping the water drain from the tank.
  6. Open the drain valve - After all the water has drained from the tank, turn the cold water supply at the top of the tank back on for a moment. This will clear out any remaining sediment. Repeat this step until the water runs clear.
When you're finished draining the tank, return it to operating condition by following these steps:
  1. Close the drain valve
  2. Remove the hose
  3. Turn on the cold water supply to refill the tank.
  4. Return to the hot water tap you opened earlier. Once cold water begins to flow from the tap, turn it off.
  5. Turn the gas valve back on from the pilot position or turn electricity back on to the tank.
  6. Check the valve opening to ensure it's not leaking.
IMPORTANT: Always read and follow all manufacturer’s directions and warnings for your particular water heater. Some water heater tanks must be completely full to avoid damage to the gas burner or heating elements.
Most of us will experience it at some point, an object falls into the sink, jams the garbage disposal and it stops running. Now what? First, and most importantly, never attempt to clear the disposal until the power has been disconnected. Do not rely on turning power off at the switch, unplug the disposal from the wall outlet located under the sink. If the unit is hard-wired and has no plug, turn off the power at the circuit breaker.

It is not recommended that you forcefully try to remove whatever object is stuck inside the disposal. Instead, most under sink disposals can be unjammed using an allen wrench to manually turn motor shaft and free the impeller. The flywheel lug is located on the bottom of the disposal. Insert the wrench and turn the shaft counterclockwise, then clockwise until the obstruction is cleared and you can feel the motor shaft spinning freely. It may takes several attempts to free the shaft. Once it has been cleared, restore power the disposal, turn on the cold water and check that it is operating correctly.

If the disposal cannot be powered on, you may need to press the reset button located on disposal. Make sure the disposal power switch is in the OFF position before pressing the reset button.

Have garbage disposal problems? Call Gibson's Plumbing and Heating, we can help with all your plumbing repairs.
If you're considering buying or renovating an older home it's important to understand the problems that older plumbing systems can present. Many times pipes, sewer and drain lines and fixtures will require upgrades to operate reliably. Before buying an older home, it's a good idea to have a professional plumber inspect the home to ensure it is up to code.

Old Pipes

Prior to the early 20th century, lead pipes were common in American homes. Because lead can leach into the water supply, they should be replaced. In the 1960s, galvanized steel was a popular pipe material. because they have a lifespan of around 40 years, they should be replaced to prevent leaks. Polybutylene plastic pipes were popular in the 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s. Because they can become brittle and are prone to breaking, they should be replaced.

Deteriorating Sewer and Drain Lines

One of the most common problems with older sewer lines is tree root intrusion. Once a sewer line has been damaged, it's only a matter of time before it completely fails. For this reason, older homes should have regular sewer and drain line inspections.

Other areas that should be inspected in older homes include:
  • Roof vents
  • Floor drains
  • Toilets
  • Water heaters
  • Disposals
  • Washing machine hoses
Need a home plumbing inspection? Call Gibson's Plumbing and Heating. We can help with all your plumbing needs, from sewer lines to toilets and sinks.
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