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

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Tuesday, 28 November 2017 00:59

Winter Home Heating Checklist

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Winter Home Heating Checklist

Freezing weather is right around the corner in the corner. Now is the time to ensure that your home's heating system and other areas of your home are ready to fight off the chill of winter. Here are a few things to check to ensure your heating system is operating safely and reliably this winter.
  1. Schedule your furnace tune-up. Keeping your furnace maintained will keep it running longer while helping it operate more efficiently.
  2. Replace your furnace filter at least once a month. A dirty air filter will reduce furnace efficiency and reduce the lifespan of the heating system.
  3. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.
  4. Program your thermostat. If you're on a predictable schedule, set your thermostat to turn the temperature down when you're not at home.
  5. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to direct the warm air downward towards the living space.
  6. Check your smoke and CO detectors. Replace the batteries as needed.
  7. Ensure that air ducts are not covered or restricted by rugs or furniture.
  8. Seal air leaks around windows and doors.
  9. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. 
  10. Open all air ducts, even in rooms that are unoccupied.
Call Gibson's today to schedule your furnace tune-up and ensure that your heating system is ready to keep your home warm all winter long.
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 00:35

Solving Sewer and Drain Odor Problems

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Solving Sewer Drain Odor Problems

If you notice a smelly sewer odor in your home, there are several possible causes. Here are some things to check:
  1. Check the floor drain trap. Without water to block the sewer gas from escaping, odors will enter the room. Pour water down the drain to refill the trap.
  2. Check the clean-out plug inside the floor drain. Remove the grate that covers the drain and make sure there's a plug inside the drain bowl. If the plug is missing, sewer gas will be able to bypass the water trap. A replacement plug can be bought at most hardware stores.
  3. Check the toilets. When toilets are unused for a long period of time the water in the trap can evaporate. Simply flushing the toilet will refill the trap.
  4. Worn toilet wax ring. The wax ring seals the toilet flange to the toilet base. If the wax ring leaks, sewer gas will escape from under the toilet. If the ring is broken, the toilet will need to be removed and and the wax ring replaced. If the toilet is loose on the base, shims can be used to ensure that a rocking toilet doesn't break the new wax ring.
  5. Other possible causes of sewer odors include a broken or cracked sewer line or, less often, a loose connection joint in an interior wall. If you've checked the other possibilities above, it may be time to contact your plumber to hunt down the cause.
Have sewer and drain line questions? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we can help.
Tuesday, 14 November 2017 23:04

What Causes a Toilet To Fill Slowly?

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What Causes a Toilet To Fill Slowly?

Toilet Filling Too SlowlyOne of the more common plumbing problems we see is a slow filling toilet. Depending on your home's water pressure and the size of the tank, a toilet should refill in under 3 minutes in most cases. If it takes longer than three minutes there are a couple of things you can check.

1. The first thing to check is the shut-off valve located behind the toilet. Make sure it is fully open for maximum flow.

2. Next, try cleaning the pump and valve inside the toilet tank. Mineral buildup can cause the parts to stick. If the toilet has an older-style ball cock assembly, we recommend replacing it with a new fill valve and float cup design.

If none of the above fixes work, call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can can find the cause of your slow filling toilet and recommend effective solutions.

Tips To Prevent Winter Plumbing Problems

Winter Plumbing TipsDuring the winter months frozen pipes and backed up sewer lines can be a real concern. One of the most common causes of home damage, and expensive insurance claims, is water. While some insurance policies cover catastrophic damage from frozen pipes, basement flooding, and more, gradual water damage from leaks is usually not covered. Here are some tips to protect your home from water damage during the winter.

1. Test your sump pump and water backup valve regularly. Slowly pour a few gallons of water into the sump pit. It should start up and begin removing the water. If it fails to start, have Gibson's inspect the sump pump.

2. Notice changes in your plumbing. If you're experiencing low water pressure, have Gibson's inspect the plumbing system for undetected leaks.

3. Have your sewer and drain lines inspected. A video camera inspection is cheap insurance against a sewer line failure and backups.

4. Check your water heater. A tank storage water heater will last around 10 years. You can extend the life with regular maintenance, including flushing the tank and inspecting the anode rod. For extra peace of mind, consider installing a drain pan under the water heater to drain potential leaks to the floor drain.

5. Clean out your gutters and downspouts and ensure that there is adequate drainage away from the foundation of the home.

6. Seal cracks and ensure there is sufficient insulation on exterior walls near pipes. This will help reduce the risk of frozen pipes.

Need help maintaining your home's plumbing? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We are here to help.
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.
As winter approaches and the temperature outside begins to drop, the heat will be turned on and the humidity level will drop. Dry indoor air from low humidity can cause many problems in the home.

Health Problems From Low Humidity

While static shock can be an annoyance, dry skin, itchy eyes and respiratory irritation can lead to more serious ailments. As mucous membranes dry out our bodies becomes more susceptible to infections and are more likely to catch a cold or flu virus. Because dry air can cause dust and dirt to remain in the air longer, allergies can be aggravated as the air becomes drier and nasal passages dry out.

Home Damage From Low Humidity

Wood furniture, floors and other woodwork are most susceptible to damage from low humidity levels. If humidity levels fluctuate too much, wood can swell and shrink as moisture is absorbed and released, causing cracking and damage. Musical instruments, paintings and electronic equipment are also susceptible to damage from low humidity.

Use a Whole-Home Humidifier to Increase Humidity

The best solution to low humidity levels in the home is a whole-home humidifier. By working in conjunction with your home's HVAC system a humidifier will provide consistent, healthy humidity levels throughout your home. A humidity level of 40-60 percent during the winter months is best for most homes. 

Have questions about maintaining healthy humidity levels in your home? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help with all your indoor air quality needs.
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.
Professionals rely on advanced thermal imaging cameras to identify problems with plumbing, ductwork, insulation and other systems around the home. Thermal imaging works by converting infrared light into an visible image on a video screen called a thermogram. Temperature differences are easily seen as a range of bright and dark colors. Aim a thermal imager at an old window and cold air leaks become easily visible. By performing a thermal inspection of an entire house you can locate leaking air ducts and attics with insufficient insulation.

The advantages of thermal imaging are not limited to home heating and cooling. Problems with plumbing and electrical systems can also be identified. Water leaks inside walls and ceilings, and clogs inside pipes can be detected through thermal imaging. The cause of overheating electrical systems can also be quickly located by identifying temperature variations in electrical wiring and components.

Inexpensive Thermal Imaging for Homeowners

Until recently the high cost of thermal imaging systems meant they were used almost exclusively by professional contractors. With the rise of smartphones, inexpensive thermal imaging cameras are now in reach of the average homeowner. One example is the Seek CompactXR®, a portable thermal imaging camera that plugs directly into your smartphone. It works by translating thermal energy (infrared light) into a visible image right on your phone. So the next time you're weather sealing your your home tracking down water leaks, or checking for overheating electrical systems, you can take the guesswork out of the equation by using a thermal imaging device to pinpoint the source of the problem.
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