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Tuesday, 24 October 2017 19:11

How to Drain a Home Plumbing System

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There are several reasons you may need to drain your home's plumbing system. You may have a vacation home that will be unoccupied during the winter months, and the water needs to be drained to prevent damage from frozen pipes. You may be undertaking a major plumbing, repair, or you need to drain the lines to fix water hammer or another issue.

1. The first step is to locate the main water shut-off valve. This is usually located near the water meter.

2. Next, go to the highest floor in the house and open the sink faucets.

3. In the basement or lowest level of the home, open the laundry tub faucet.

4. Return the the top floor of the house and turn on the shower and tub drains.

5. Next, flush the toilets on every floor.

6. All the faucets should be left open and the water should be drained now.

Need help draining your plumbing system? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help with all your plumbing and drain needs.
One of the major causes of damaging water leaks in the home is from a failed washing machine supply hose. If the washer is on an upper level of the home, it can lead to major flooding and many thousands of dollars of damage – an expense that may not be covered by homeowner's insurance.  If your washer hoses are plain rubber, we recommend that you replace them with braided stainless hoses for extra security.

Water Alarms

Because water leaks often go undetected, stopping the leak early is essential. That's where a water alarm can be invaluable. A water alarm can detect even the smallest water leak and send a signal to shut off the hot and cold water supply valves to the washing machine. 

Another application where water alarms can prevent a water leak disaster is with water heaters. When a water heater tank fails, the amount of water released can flood a basement. A water alarm is cheap insurance against major water damage.

Need help with water alarms or other plumbing safety devices? Give us a call, we're here to help.
Having pipes that make strange noises is not just annoying, it can also be a sign of a plumbing problem. If severe cases, loose pipes can disconnect from mounting brackets stressing the pipe and causing a water leak. 

Water Hammer

If a banging noise is heard when turning the water on and off, water hammer is the likely cause. Water hammer occurs when the water chamber that normally cushions the water pressure becomes filled with water. The condition can usually be fixed by draining the pipes in the home to restore the chambers with air. 

Pipe Rattling Sounds

Rattling noises from your plumbing system are often caused by pipes that have come loose in anchoring brackets or are making contact with a wood joist or other object. Tighten the lose brackets, or add additional brackets as needed to support the pipe.

Vibration Noises

As pipes pass through holes in joists they can come in contact with the wood framing. If you're lucky and can access the pipe where it's contacting the joist, it can be cushioned with pieces of foam insulation.

Squeaking Pipes

As hot water passes through metal pipes they cause them to expand. The pipe may then rub against the metal mounting straps as the pipe expands and contracts. Adding foam of rubber cushioning to the mounting anchors will quiet the noise.

Have noisy pipes or other plumbing problems? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help with all your home plumbing repairs.
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 21:09

Tips For Designing a Laundry Room

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Having a dedicated laundry room in your home is a great convenience. Whether your redesigning your current laundry room or designing a new space, here are some tips to ensure everything goes smoothly and that the room fully meets your needs.

Where Should a Laundry Room Be Located?

Traditionally, laundry rooms were located in the basement of a home. A basement offers a number of advantages. There will be a floor drain to handle overflow if a hose breaks. Noise and vibration will also be better isolated on a basement floor. However, it's not always convenient on a multi-level home to have the laundry room located far from the upstairs bedrooms.

The main level of the home off a garage or back door is another popular location. Combining a laundry room with a mud room you have the advantage of utility sinks and a washer where it they are most convenient.

If the laundry room is going to be added to an upper level of the home, it's important to ensure that the washer is placed on a drain pan to prevent water damage. In addition, strong, stainless steel braided hoses should also be used for extra protection against leaks.

If the laundry room is near bedrooms look for a washer and dryer that is insulated and has lower decibal rating.

Gas and Electric Hookups

In addition to hot and cold water supply and drains, you will need 120-volt circuits for the washer and, if you have a gas dryer, a gas supply line and ventilation line. These hookups should be left to a licensed plumber and electrician.

Lighting and Ventilation

Laundry rooms will generate a significant amount of heat and humidity. If the washer and dryer are in a large space, such as a basement, a ventilation duct that vents the dryer outside may be sufficient. On upper levels or smaller spaces, an exhaust fan should be installed to prevent mildew growth and unhealthy air.

Having good lighting is also important. Consider recessed LED lighting directly over the washer and dryer and sinks.

Need help installing or upgrading your laundry room? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call.
One of the most energy intensive appliances in the home is the water heater, second only to the air conditioner and furnace in annual energy costs for the average home in Indiana. Even if it's a newer, high efficiency model, there is still radiant heat loss from the tank. One simple way to prevent heat loss is to install a water heater blanket. Usually made from fiberglass or other insulating material, water heater blankets are available at most home improvement stores for $20-$40 depending on the size of the tank. Water heater blankets are simple to install and will pay for itself in just a year or two in increased efficiency.

You may be thinking, can a blanket help save energy when my tank feels cool to the touch? Yes. Because it takes more energy to heat water than air, insulation will help. Still not convinced? Once the blanket has is installed for a few hours, put your hand under the blanket. You'll notice that it's nice and warm to the touch. That's heat that will keep the tank warmer for a longer period of time rather than radiating out.

One word of caution on water heater blankets: some manufacturers advise against using them because if they are not properly installed they can block controls, ventilation and valves. So be sure to cut away around controls and the pressure relief valve and follow the instructions on the package carefully.

Have hot water questions? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we can answer all your water heater questions.
Do you have bathroom shower or sink drains that are slow and gurgle after draining? In some older homes it's not uncommon for water to take longer to drain. The reason is that drain pipes used in the past had a smaller diameter than drain pipes used today. Another common cause of slow draining is inadequate plumbing vents in the roof to aid in air flow. When a plumbing system is starved of outside airflow, it can slow water flow and result in drain gurgling sounds.

A professional plumber should clean out the drains with a drain snake or a high pressure drain cleaning machine. In some cases it's not the floor drain that causes the problem, so be sure to have the upper reaches of your plumbing system inspected, including the vent pipes.

Have plumbing or drain problems? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help.
Water leaks around the home can be more than a minor irritation, they can lead to expensive damage to your home and furnishings. Undetected water leaks can also cause mold to grow inside the walls of your home, which can cause health problems. While a leaking faucets can add up to many gallons of water over the course of a year, there are other ways water leaks can cost you much more.

1. Washing Machine Hoses

One of the most damaging water leaks that can occur in the home is a burst washing machine hose. If the washing machine is on the main floor or upstairs the damage can be even more extensive. Check the hose connections to make sure they are tight. If the hoses are over 5 years old, or show signs of cracking or buckling, they should be replaced. Consider installing braided stainless steel hoses, which can withstand more pressure than rubber hoses.

2. Leaking Toilets

Leaking toilets are often the most overlooked leaks in the home because they are the least likely to be noticed. To test for leaks add a few drops of food coloring to a gallon of water and pour it into the toilet tank. Without flushing the toilet if the coloring appears in the bowl there is a leak.

3. Water Heater Leaks

Water heaters that a beyond their life expectancy (typically 8-10 years) are most susceptible to leaks. Rust and corrosion inside the tank will eventually cause water to start leaking. To keep your water heater working reliably and reduce the likelihood of corrosion, flush sediment from the hot water tank annually.
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 06:00

Inexpensive Bathroom Remodel Ideas

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Homeowners typically renovate or remodel their bathrooms to either improve their home's resale value or increase style and comfort. According to Remodeling Magazine, the average cost of a bathroom remodel is $16,500. If you aren't ready to spend that much money on your bathroom, here are some ways you can make improvements for less then $1,000.

1. Update the Walls and Floors.

Fresh paint can make a drab bathroom come to life. Most bathrooms can be repainted with just 1-2 gallons of paint. Be sure to use a paint designed for bathrooms.

If you're willing to do some work yourself, adding a new tile of vinyl flooring is something you can tackle with a little research. Many home improvement stores offer free classes to customers on replacing tile and other flooring materials.

2. Install a New Shower Door

Because it's a large surface in the bathroom, replacing an old, bland shower door can make a big impact. Designs with patterns or frosting can add style to a bathroom.

3. Replace a Shower Enclosure

If you're shower has a old enclosure, it's pretty simple to have a new enclosure installed.

4. Install New Plumbing Fixtures

Replacing old faucets, shower heads, and tub fixtures with the latest designs and finishes can dramatically improve the look of any bathroom.

Need help with bathroom plumbing upgrades? Call Gibson's, we can help.
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.
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